Mother Nature puts Rea Memorial tickets on sale

Darren Derendorf
Special to the Times

While drivers, crews, and volunteers spent all week preparing for racing Friday and Saturday night, Mother Nature had other plans. With the rain that had fallen throughout Friday finally coming to an end, at 6:00pm track officials decided the track could still be race-able if drivers were willing to help pack the track, which is done by slowly driving the track and working the moisture into the clay surface. By 6:30pm the whole Emo Street Stock field, the volunteers, and multiple Wissota Midwest and Wissota Modified drivers got the track ready, however just as the cars were lining up for Hot Laps, sadly the rains returned and forced the cancelation of racing on Friday night. Everyone’s hard work would not go to waste though, as the decision was made to run both nights worth of racing on Saturday.

The 16 Emo Street Stock drivers were hungry to hit the track and put on an amazing display of driving all night long. The heats ran nearly caution free with the action only being halted for a couple of single car spins. The dominant drivers of the night showed their cards early as the #33 of Garett Gamsby and the #96W of Darren Wolframe taking one heat win each and the #15R of Raice Westover winning 2 heats. Attrition was high early as between the first 2 heats a total of 7 drivers would not finish, but most made it pack out for the feature races. The first feature saw our heat winners working their way to the front quickly, meanwhile in the midpack the drivers were door to door until the first caution came out for the #07 of Colt Germain who went off spun in turn 2.With lots of racing left in the evening, the drivers finished the race accident free with Wolframe taking the win.

In the second feature, Wolframe and Westover were out to an early lead but racing hard door to door until the first caution for slow car came out. As the green came back out the midpack were fighting hard for every position available until the only red flag of the night came out at the #07 of Colt Germain and the 69R of Shawn Reid crashed into the front stretch wall. Luckily both drivers walked away from the accident, but that left only a couple of laps remaining for Westover and Wolframe to duke it out. Both drivers remained door to door from the final drop of the green all the way to the checkered with Westover besting Wolframe.

Feature #1 Top 3 – 1.#96W Darren Wolframe 2.#15R Raice Westover 3.#33 Garett Gamsby

Feature #2 Top 3 – 1.#15R Raice Westover 2.#96W Darren Wolframe 3.#33 Garett Gamsby

With a 27 car field, the Wissota Midwest Modifieds not everyone would make the feature. The feature field would consist of the top 4 from each of the 4 heats and the top 4 from the B-Main, which consisted of any drivers not starting the feature. In the opening set of heats all the drivers were looking at the big picture and gave each other plenty of track to work with. Only one caution slowed the action for a single car spin on the front straightaway. In the first feature eventual race winner, the #70JR of David Simpson jumped to an early lead, with the #621 of Colin Chaschuk close behind. Farther back in the pack drivers raced door to door, lap after lap jockeying for position. Garrett Paull in the #16G and Mike Wilson in the #06 worked their way up through the field all race despite having transferred in from the B-Main.

The second set of heats took a different tone compared to the earlier races as the track began to get slick and time to make the feature began to run out. Multiple drivers spun out throughout the heats with nearly all drivers finishing their respective races. Some aggressive driving was on display throughout the heats starting with a 3 way battle for the lead which Simpson and the #47 of Don Craig were able to make the most of, and with a daring move between 2 cars the #85 of Jamie Davis was able to find his first victory of the evening. In the B-Main the fans could see the desperation in the drivers as no one was afraid to use their bumpers and after a hard 10 lap battle our final line up was set. In the 2nd feature the entire pack stayed door to door with no driver willing to give an inch. Early in the race the #88 of Tanner Williamson was working hard to find a line into the 3rd position but was unable to find a way past Craig. The action was temporarily slowed as the #3H of Keelan Hall spun on his own. As the racing action resumed Davis was able to hold off Chaschuk who was searching high and low for a lane past.

Feature #1 Top 3 – 1.#70JR David Simpson 2.#621 Colin Chaschuk 3.#85 Jamie Davis

Feature #2 Top 3 – 1.#85 Jamie Davis 2.#621 Colin Chaschuk 3.#21 Wyatt Boyum

The 17 car Wissota Modified field started their night off with some very aggressive driving, with the #14 of Blake Ferris racing from the back of the field all the way to a first place finish in his heat. While in the second heat the #50 of Brady Caul was off to an early lead, however the #21 of Matt DePiero wasn’t going to let Caul run away with an easy win. In the first feature the front row of Cameron Brown in the #4JR and Brandon Pelepetz in the #12P were able to hold the field off all race long. Deeper in the field there was a 4 car multi-lap battle for 8th place. As the checkered flag flew Brown was still leading the field and took the win. During his victory lap he treated the crowd to a quick burnout to celebrate.

As the second half of the night carried on all the drivers were focused on the big picture. The leaders at the drop of the green in each heat, the #4C of Chris Bouwman and the #T23 of John Toppozini, where able to hold the fields off for their respective wins. Farther back in the field the drivers were working hard for every position possible with 2 separate 3 way battles for positions in the Top 3. In the final feature race of the evening, the most consistent drivers found their way to the front of the field with Bouwman taking the early lead, and the #85D of Jeff Davis following close in 2nd place. Ferris followed suit with a big move to the outside to claim the 3rd position. As the leaders began to sort themselves out a battle for 8th appeared over several laps between the #88 of Tanner Williamson and Toppozini. However after nearly 6 hours of racing action the track had become dry-slick, yet all the Wissota Modified drivers were able to keep their cars under control and run caution free to the finish.

Race fans were treated to a double bill at the Emo Fair, due to heavy rains Friday night. – Erika Sheppard photo

Feature #1 Top 3 – 1.#4JR Cameron Brown 2.#12P Brandon Pelepetz 3.#4C Chris Bouwman

Feature #2 Top 3 – 1.#4C Chris Bouwman 2.#85D Jeff Davis 3.#14 Blake Ferris

By the time the final checkered flag flew at nearly 11:30pm the Speedway had crowned 3 new Rea Memorial champions. The Rea Memorial championship is awarded to the driver in each class who earned the most points among the 2 nights of racing. The new Wissota Modified champion is the #4C of Chris Bouwman, the Wissota Midwest Modified champion is the #85 of Jamie Davis and the Emo Street Stock championship ended in a tie between the #96W of Darren Wolframe and the #15R of Raice Westover.

A big thank you goes out to the near capacity crowd that came out to enjoy the races this weekend, and to the volunteers who worked tirelessly to put on a great show despite the weather. Finally, thank you to our sponsors this week Devlin’s Corner Store, Ron’s Auto Body, Tompkin’s Hardware, Norlund Oil, Sunset Country Ford, Harold McQuaker Enterprises, and Chaschuk Enterprises. The weekend warriors will be back to do battle this Saturday night August 28 with hot laps at 7pm and racing at 7:30pm. Please follow all COVID-19 guidelines, in order to speed up entry and make sure no one misses the racing action, please bring a copy of the names and a phone number of everyone in your party for contact tracing. Hope to see you this week at the races!