KAUKAUNA, Wis. (August 11, 2022) – Dalton Zehr has a long list of major accomplishments in his still-blossoming racing career. On Thursday night he was able to add another by capturing the 51st Red, White and Blue State Championship during the Fox River Racing Club’s Thursday Night Thunder program at Wisconsin International Raceway.
Zehr jumped to the lead after a restart alongside Dennis Prunty at the halfway point of the 60-lap feature presented by Appleton Breakfast Rotary. He would not look back on the way to his fourth overall win of the season.
Prunty grabbed the lead at the drop of the green and rode out front with Grant Griesbach in tow. As they clicked off laps at the front of the field, RWB title contenders Zehr, Gabe Sommers, and Chad Butz were working their way through the pack. Fast qualifier Jeff Van Oudenhoven was also on the move.
On lap 16 things began to take form as Zehr grabbed Fifth. He then followed Lowell Bennett past Brent Strelka to Fourth, leaving Strelka to hold off the advances of Braison Bennett. On lap 19 the two made contact, which slowed the inside line. This allowed Butz to slip around the outside and grab a pair of spots.
The first caution of the race came on lap 21 when Mickey Schallie and Curt Tillman tangled. Griesbach took advantage of the restart to steal the lead from Prunty. He brought Zehr along into Second. Prunty was left to try to fend off Lowell Bennett for Third as the field approached the halfway competition caution.
It would prove important for Prunty to hold off Bennett as the field was subject to an invert at the break. As a twist in the action, the top six were eligible for an invert based on a dice roll. The roll was a three which sent Prunty back to the lead and Griesbach to Third. The rest of the field was unaffected.
The roll played into the hand of Zehr, who started alongside Prunty for the restart. Zehr rocketed away as Prunty surrendered Second to Griesbach. The top duo broke away from the pack, leaving Prunty to deal with VanOudenhoven, who eventually took Third.
Zehr set sail to victory with Griesbach in Second, VanOudenhoven Third, Prunty Fourth, and Butz rounding out the Top Five.
RANDERSON CHASES DOWN HENRY FOR LATE MODEL WIN
Chase Randerson lived up to his name as he tracked down Brian Henry in the second half of the Late Model 20-lap feature and secured his second win of the season. With his Fourth Place finish, Bryan Monday secured the Red, White and Blue title.
The race opened with a mad scramble on lap 1 which sent Justin Woller and Nate Van Wychen spinning. Neither were damaged and carried on for the rest of the event. On the restart Matt Wittman secured the lead for a lap before Henry was able to take the top spot away.
By lap six Henry opened up his lead over Travis Rodewald and Randerson. Attention then turned to the RWB point leaders Bryan Monday and Brent Strelka. Monday, who set fast time earlier in the night, made his way past Strelka early in the race and moved to Fourth. He would hold the advantage over Justin Woller with Strelka trying to get through to challenge.
Meanwhile, Randerson had moved past Rodewald and was closing the gap on Henry. He eventually erased nearly a straightaway lead and applied the challenge coming to the line for lap 17. With inside positioning, Randerson slipped to the lead and cruised to victory.
Rodewald remained in Third, Monday held Fourth and claimed the RWB Championship, and Woller finished Fifth.
MEYERHOFER DOMINATES SUPER STOCK FEATURE
Mitch Meyerhofer didn’t misstep once on the way to a dominating 20-lap Super Stock feature win. Trevor Howard worked through the field patiently, and captured the overall Red, White, and Blue win with a Fourth Place finish.
After a scuffle at the initial green flag, Meyerhofer started on the outside of the front row. He grabbed the lead and did not look back. The best battle for most of the race was between Jeff Treml and TJ Smith for Third. Smith continually tried to go around the outside, but could not find enough drive to complete the pass.
As the race progressed, it was Howard making moves to secure his RWB title. He moved into the Top Five early, then for good measure took Fourth with six laps to go. With Smith in his sights, Howard was able to hold enough of a pad in the points.
Meyherhofer won by nearly two seconds over Terry Van Roy, who was just able to hold off Treml at the line. Smith was Fourth and Howard Fifth.
WAUTIER SCORES SEVENTH SPORT TRUCK WIN
Bobby Wautier wasted no time grabbing the lead and left no doubt on the way to his seventh Sport Truck feature win of the season.
The 20-lap main did feature some drama, however, as Cody Vanderloop had to survive a furious teammate/family battle to hold on for the Red, White, and Blue title.
Wautier, Cody Vanderloop, Kasey Vanderloop, and Jason VanHandel quickly moved to the top four spots in the first few circuits. Wautier took the lead on lap two from his second-row starting spot, with the rest following closely.
Late in the race Cody Vanderloop was running Second, good enough to secure the RWB title over Wautier. He experienced some nervous moments when Kasey Vanderloop made the pass and brought Jason VanHandel past. VanHandel, who then took Second was immediately passed back by Kasey. That left the door open for Cody to secure Third, where he would stay until the checkered flag. It was enough to claim the RWB Championship by three points.
Wautier went on to lap up to Eighth Place in the main. Kasey and Cody Vanderloop settled into Second and Third, VanHandel finished a close Fourth, and Landon Braatz was Fifth.
SCHULTE SIZZLES THE FOURS
Ben Schulte led from pillar to post in the 20-lap Sizzlin’ 4 feature, holding a strong advantage over Mitch Opsahl and the remainder of the field. Issac Therrien, who had a healthy lead entering the night, was able to cap off the RWB Championship with a Fifth Place finish.
At the drop of the green Schulte and Ospahl immediately jumped away from the field. Kurt Schweitzer, Therrien, Justin Fickel, and Gavin Klein made their moves toward the front by halfway. Schulte would have to survive a single-file restart with five to go that brought some of the quicker qualifiers to his door step.
Schulte was able to get away with Opsahl as Gavin Klein challenged to the outside. He was unable to find the grip to make the pass and would relinquish Third for a moment, but secure it back by the checkered flag. Behind Schultz, Opsahl and Klein, Schweitzer was Fourth and Therrien Fifth.
BEATTIE SURVIVES FIGURE 8 MAIN TO TAKE RWB TITLE
It was another wild one for the Figure 8s on Thursday night. Ethan Beattie survived the attrition and held on for the win to seal the RWB Championship.
Beattie secured the lead off a lap-two restart. He would be challenged by Terry Van Roy, who needed to make the pass to grab the title. However, Beattie held strong and secured the win, nipping Van Roy by five points in the RWB Championship race.
Behind the lead duo Russ Lorbiecki was Third, Craig Krueger Fourth, and – making his return to racing – Mike Meyerhofer was Fifth.
NEERDAELS SLUGS THE ROVALS
Henry Neerdaels did what not many have done – took a Volkswagen Beetle to Victory Lane. The Slug Bug took a quick lead and did not look back as Neerdaels perfectly navigated around the roval.
Pierce Manufacturing presents the Fox River Racing Club Thursday night action. With point battles coming down the stretch run the Super Late Models, Late Models, Super Stocks, Wisconsin Sport Trucks, Sizzlin’ 4s, Figure 8s and Rockin’ Rovals are back in action. Racing begins at 6:30.