Mahlik, Diefenthaler double up
By Joe Orsini
For Star-News Sports
LUXEMBURG – Sixty-nine cars across five divisions signed in to do battle on Aug. 6 at The ‘Burg.
With the Bank of Luxemburg on hand for the kids’ coin drop at intermission, the stage was set for a great night of racing.
The weather was perfect and the on-track action was hotter than the mild temperatures.
Greg Gretz shot into the lead on the first lap of the Village Kitchen IMCA Modified feature event.
That lead was not uncontested though, and pole sitter Daniel Wilcox refused to back down and the pair staged a side-by-side battle for the top spot during the opening laps.
That battle was short lived as caution quickly flew with just two laps completed.
The restart saw Gretz lead Wilcox, Todd Dart, Jeff Bodendorfer, and Brad Theys back to racing speeds.
Dart took advantage of the restart to wrestle second away from Wilcox and Theys followed suit moving to third.
Dart then put immediate pressure on Gretz for the lead and worked his 3K machine around the topside to the front on lap five.
By the halfway mark, Dart continued to lead while Gretz ran second.
Wilcox and Theys traded the third spot back and forth like kids swapping baseball cards.
Wilcox held the spot at halfway over Theys with Jason Czarapata running fifth.
When the checkers flew, it was Dart capturing his second win of the season followed by Gretz, Theys third, Wilcox fourth and Kyle Kudick grabbing fifth.
When Eric Mahlik conquered the class “Too Tough To Tame” in last week’s Quietwoods RV IMCA Stock Car feature race, it seemed to signify a turning point in a frustrating season for the veteran racer.
If he could grab wins in consecutive weeks, it might mean the turnaround would be complete.
Brady Polcen took the lead on the opening lap of the feature but his time out front was short lived as Mahlik’s quest for two in a row looked promising as he piloted his familiar No. 9 to the top of the running order on the inside of Polcen on lap three.
With the leaders shuffling around, Aaron Karcz dove inside the 94 car of Cody Patten to secure the third spot.
Lap 11 saw Polcen lose second to Karcz and then third to Dylan Stedjee.
Caution flew shortly after with 14 circuits complete.
When the deck was reshuffled Mahlik continued to pace the top, Aaron Karcz still held second and Stedjee third.
The final half dozen laps saw the top five change up except for the man out front.
When the dust settled, Mahlik hung on to capture his second victory in as many nights, Stedjee came home second and Aaron Karcz third.
Tyler Wilson’s late race heroics got him the fourth spot, and Larry Karcz Jr. rounded out the top five.
Chris Budzban has been a long-time contender in Luxemburg but the veteran driver is only running a partial schedule this season.
Knowing his chances to taste victory would be limited, Budzban took full advantage of his front row starting spot to rocket to the lead on the opening lap of the IMCA Northern Sport Mod feature event.
Craig Dorner cut his way from sixth to second by lap No. 3 and gave chase to Budzban.
With Dorner hounding the leader, Cody Raas was steadily working through the field from his 10th place starting spot.
Raas raced to fifth before sliding by pole sitter Tyler Demars on the inside to grab fourth on lap eight. Raas then set his sights on reeling in the lead pack of cars.
That lead pack of cars consisted of Budzo leading while Dorner and Coy Vlies ran door-to-door, trading the second spot back and forth.
When the checkers flew, Budzban hung on for his first win of the season, Dorner grabbed second, Vlies third, Raas fourth and Cole Slezewski finished fifth.
Paul Diefenthaler rolled into Sunday’s show looking to cap off a weekend that already consisted of a second place finish at Outagamie and a win at 141 Speedway on Saturday.
Diefenthaler had a small, but stout field of NEW Tech Metals Unified Dirt Street Stocks looking to spoil his chances to grab feature wins in back to back weeks at The ‘Burg.
The first driver stepping up to the plate was Dave DeGrave, himself fresh off a hard-fought Saturday night win at The Hill Raceway.
DeGrave took command of the feature event at the drop of the green but Diefenthaler showed his aggression early, going topside in a four-wide battle to grab third in the opening laps.
By lap No. 6, Diefenthaler worked his way into the top spot while Jared Spaulding wrestled second away from DeGrave.
The race ran green to checker with no cautions and saw Diefenthaler grab his 16th win this season at area tracks.
Spaulding settled for second, Garrett Geyer was third, Jason Geyer fourth and Shanon Guelette fifth.
Barney DeVares grabbed the lead away from pole sitter Dillon Joski on the opening lap of the Murder Hornet A-main event, but Trever Cronick took away the top spot a lap later.
James Riske and Scott Schlafke worked their way to second and third while Adam Broehm moved to fourth.
Lap eight saw Schlafke move past Riske for second.
Just past the halfway mark, Brian Watzka Jr. stormed past Broehm into fourth.
Caution slowed the pace 14 laps in and set up a 6 lap shootout to close the night.
The restart had Cronick lead Schlafke, Riske, Watzka, and Broehm back to racing speeds.
The restart worked to Riske’s advantage as he immediately fell into a battle for the lead with Cronick. Mechanical problems put Schlafke and Watzka off the pace and out of contention.
When the checkers flew, Riske crossed the line first but a post-race tech inspection led to a disqualification from the event.
Trever Cronick was named the winner after initially finishing second with Carl King in second, Brandon Kaye third, Broehm fourth and Brandon Jorstad fifth.