VANOUDENHOVEN MAKES STATEMENT WITH OPENING NIGHT WIN
BUCHANAN, Wis. (May 19, 2023) – Jeff VanOudenhoven made a major statement to the competition on Thursday night at Wisconsin International Raceway as he stormed to the lead and took control of the 35-lap Schmitty’s Tickets Super Late Model feature presented by Bergstrom Cadillac Chevrolet of Appleton.
The five-time Fox River Racing Club Champion demonstrated his desire for title number six with his win on opening night. VanOudenhoven took the lead on lap 15, then outlasted Nick Van at the midway point of the race.
Van took seized the top spot from fellow front-row starter Taylor Vandermoss at the drop of the green and built a healthy margin. On lap five Grant Griesbach, Lowell Bennett and VanOudenhoven worked past Vandermoss and settled into the Top Five. Three laps later VanOudenhoven grabbed Third from Bennett. Three laps after that he took Second and set his sights on Van.
A caution fell on lap 16 when Jesse Oudenhoven hit debris on the track and caromed into the turn three wall. He was unable to continue. The restart saw another caution at the tail of the field and brought out a red flag in order to clean the track.
Once the field was set again Van and VanOudenhoven went toe-to-toe. After seven laps of action – in which Van led at the line twice – VanOudenhoven got a massive run off turn four and grabbed the lead for good. Behind him Van was left to deal with Lowell Bennett and Sawyer Effertz. Effertz was able to sneak past Bennett with less than ten laps remaining, then snuck past Van on the final lap.
Van finished Third, Bennett Fourth and Griesbach rounded out the Top Five.
VAN WYCHEN DODGES DANGER, TAKES LATE MODEL WIN
Getting to the front appeared to be a breeze compared to staying up front for Nate Van Wychen in the Fox Cities Towing 20-Lap Late Model feature. Van Wychen dodged two calamities then held off a hard-charging Brian Henry at the end of the main.
Mike King Jr. took an early lead that saw a pause in the action just four laps in when a chain reaction brough Will TImmers and Justin Woller together on the front stretch. On the restart Bryan Monday grabbed the lead from King and looked to set sail.
Van Wychen quickly worked his way through the field, gaining spots on the outside line with Brent Strelka in his tail wind. The duo caught Monday by lap six when Van Wychen spun out of turn four. Strelka accepted blame for the incident and went to the tail of the field. Via the gentleman’s agreement, Van Wychen remained in Second.
A wild restart would see Monday spin down the front stretch and avoid any major contact with the wall or other cars, including Van Wychen. On the second Lap six restart, Van Wychen stepped away from the field to build a healthy lead.
However, Henry and fast qualifier JJ Vanderloop were on a mission. They closed the gap on Van Wychen in the final circuits and were to his bumper in the final two laps. Van Wychen was able to weave through traffic and keep both in his rear-view mirror. Henry would settle for Second, Vanderloop Third, Todd Verhagen was Fourth, and Strelka recovered to finish Fifth.
BAUMAN AND POSSELT SPLIT QUARTER MILE LATE MODEL WINS
Domination was the name of the game in the Pete’s Auto Quarter Mile Late Model twin 15-lap features.
In the first feature Tim Bauman grabbed the lead and left the field to battle amongst itself for Second. Russ Lorbiecki was able to hold off Bob Duchow for Second with Braison Bennett and Rick Spoo rounding out the Top Five.
In the second feature it was Wayne Posselt leading from the drop of the green. Posselt was challenged by fast qualifier Dan Thompson and Bennett late in the race, but was able to jump away as they battled for Second. Pete McVey and Duchow rounded out the Top Five.
WENZEL RETURNS TO SUPER STOCK VICTORY LANE
Dylan Wenzel made the most of his return to the Novus Auto Glass Super Stocks with a win in the 20-lap feature. It was Wenzel’s 45th feature win (across several divisions) in his career at WIR.
Jeff Treml jumped out to a large lead over the pack, but it was Wenzel who was on the move. Wenzel initially fell out of the Top Five, but was back to Second by lap five. He then reeled in Tremel before a caution at the midway point of the race.
Wenzel elected to take the outside line for the restart and secured the lead. Behind him, fast qualifier TJ Smith battled with Treml, eventually grabbing Second. Treml would hold on for Third as Josh Mueller snuck past Cody Vanderloop for Fourth on the final lap.
KASEY VANDERLOOP TAKES THE TRUCKS
It was the kind of breakout performance Kasey Vanderloop had been looking for. Having raced with his brother Cody over many seasons, Kasey Vanderloop took a page from his book – securing fast time and a win in the 20-lap Sport Truck feature.
After a couple of botched starts Kaden Kostichka took the lead at the drop of the green. In short order Kyle Quella, the Vanderloops, and Jason Vanhandel were ready to challenge for the win.
It was Kasey Vanderloop who emerged on top of the battling in the Top Five as he secured the lead on lap four and looked to run away from the pack. Unfortunately, Quella faded with issues on his machine. This left Cody Vanderloop and Vanhandel in a tussle for Second. Eventually Vanhandel took the spot.
Kasey Vanderloop cruised to victory with team trucks Vanhandel and Cody Vanderloop behind. Logan Mahoney and Tanner Fickel rounded out the Top Five.
CZARAPATA SIZZLES THE 4s
Jeremy Czarapata made his mark on the Roundabout Bar & Grill Sizzlin’ 4 season opener. He took the lead on a lap-four restart and outlasted a late challenge from defending division Champion Justin Fickel.
Czarapata had built a hefty lead at the midway point of the race. That’s when Fickel, Eli Schommer, and Mitch Opsahl started to work their way through the Top Five. Fickel was able to break free and track down Czarapata in lapped traffic. Despite a slight bump from Fickel, Czarapata hung on. Opsahl was Third, Schommer Fourth, and Jacoby Pollei was Fifth.
MEYERHOFER SURVIVES FOR FIGURE 8 WIN
The always wild Marty Nussbaum Racing Figure 8 feature provided plenty of excitement to round out the night. In the end Mike Meyerhofer was able to dip and dodge his way to victory.
Behind Meyerhofer, Russ Lorbiecki, Nick Ostberg, and Matt Bauer battled for Second. Lorbiecki had control until a flat tire sidelined him with just a few laps remaining. Ostberg and Bauer then caught Meyerhofer in the final circuits, but did not have enough time to mount a challenge. They would settle for Second and Third.
In victory lane Meyerhofer made mention of the late Terry Van Roy – a legend of the division and track. Meyerhofer, like many others in the Figure 8 brethren, have pledged to continue to race in his honor.
Week two of the Fox River Racing Club’s Thursday Night Thunder Program kicks off the Memorial Day Weekend. The Super Late Models, Late Models, Super Stocks, Wisconsin Sport Trucks, Sizzlin’ 4s, Rovals, and Figure 8s will be in action. Racing begins at 6:30pm.