WAUSAU, Wis. – A return to weekly racing at State Park Speedway this year for Merrill’s Jason Weinkauf has now brought a payout in the form of one of the biggest wins of the veteran’s racing career.
Weinkauf won the 13th annual Wayne ‘Lodi’ Lodholz Memorial, claiming the 86-lap Auto Select Super Late Models feature Thursday night at the Rib Mountain quarter-mile oval. He led the final 74 laps and fought off several challenges on late restarts to win his first feature of the season.
“It feels awesome. For myself, I’ve been trying to win one of these big three races for a long time,” said Weinkauf after the race, referring to State Park’s three biggest super late model memorial races honoring Lodholz, Larry Detjens and Flip Merwin. “Now we finally did it. Really excited.”
“Wayne was a good friend,” Weinkauf also said about Lodholz, a former late model competitor who passed away in 2009. “Anybody that knew Wayne, the guy would help anybody, he would do anything he could to help a guy out, and how could you not like a guy like that?”
Weinkauf also accomplished something few have been able to do at State Park Speedway in 2021, finally knocking Justin Mondeik from his perch at the top of the class. Weinkauf stopped Mondeik’s string of six straight feature wins and became just the third different feature winner in weekly super late model racing this year, and in his first year back racing on a weekly basis in years after many years racing on the ARCA Midwest Tour.
“I’ve got to give a shout out to the crew. We made a lot of changes to the car (this week), and the car wasn’t bad last week, but we took a chance,” said Weinkauf, who a week earlier had tied his best feature finish of the season coming in second.
Weinkauf took the lead on the restart after an early red flag and then stayed there, safely ahead of fierce racing behind him as well as several spins that on a nearly full-moon night resulted in tempers reaching boiling points.
Weinkauf also showed strength on both the inside and outside, including twice choosing the outside of the front row on restarts. He opted to start on the outside on a lap 46 restart with Dillon Mackesy of Athens inside of him, then again chose the outside with Wausau’s Travis Volm inside him on the final restart with 15 laps left. Both times he cleared his competitors quickly after the green flag was dropped, and he would drive away to win by nearly a straightaway while Volm held off Brock Heinrich of Wausau for second.
Mackesy led the race early, holding the point until lap 13, when the car of Wausau’s M.G. Gajewski started smoking heavily and sprayed oil around nearly the entire track. A lengthy cleanup of more than 15 minutes ensued, long enough for Gajewski to even check over his car and rejoin the race after the red flag.
Weinkauf was running fourth before the caution but moved up to the outside of Mackesy on the restart. He was able to get a good jump on the outside and would clear Mackesy on lap 14, and slowly pulled away with Mackesy fighting off three-time defending Lodi winner Luke Fenhaus for second.
Mackesy would eventually clear Fenhaus and slowly closed in on Weinkauf by the race’s mid-point. Volm and Mark Mackesy also made up the top five at the halfway mark, with Mondeik running sixth after spending the better part of 20 laps trying to find a way around Mark Mackesy.
Mondeik’s situation would get worse on lap 46 when he made contact with Mark Mackesy, who spun on the backstretch, and the result was both drivers went to the rear of the field. Mondeik would work his way back up to fourth before a scheduled competition caution came out with 20 laps left to set up a final sprint to the finish, but he would go to the back again five laps later after contact in turn two caused Dillon Mackesy to spin into the infield and sustain front end damage on his car.
Weinkauf continued to lead the whole time but would face off with Volm in a battle of No. 76 cars on restarts twice in the final 20 laps, including on one final restart with 15 to go. Weinkauf would quickly clear Volm on both, though, and went on to build a big lead in the final laps. He would go on to win by nearly three seconds over Volm, who battled to his best finish of the season holding off Heinrich in the final laps for second.
Mark Mackesy would finish fourth with Gajewski coming in fifth. Mondeik would get no higher than sixth at the end after spending the final laps trying to get around a frustrated Dillon Mackesy.
Fenhaus set fast time for the evening and was challenging the leaders early but suffered a flat tire from contact shortly after the lap 46 restart. He would finish ninth.
Auto Select Super Late Models pres. by C-Tech
Fast Qualifier: Luke Fenhaus, Wausau, 13.638 sec.
First Heat: 1. Dillon Mackesy, Athens; 2. Rayce Haase, Wausau; 3. Travis Volm, Wausau; 4. Noah Gajewski, Marathon; 5. Mike Cox Jr., Hazelhurst
Second Heat: 1. M.G. Gajewski, Wausau; 2. Jason Weinkauf, Merrill; 3. Justin Mondeik, Gleason; 4. Brock Heinrich, Wausau; 5. Fenhaus; 6. Mark Mackesy, Wausau
Feature: 1. J. Weinkauf; 2. T. Volm; 3. Heinrich; 4. M. Mackesy; 5. M.G. Gajewski; 6. Mondeik; 7. D. Mackesy; 8. N. Gajewski; 9. Fenhaus; 10. Cox; 11. Haase
Cabelka returns 01 to Victory Lane, Henze clinches Bandolero title with sweep
WAUSAU, Wis. (Aug. 19) – Dave Lashua is still remembered fondly by many at State Park Speedway five years after his untimely death, and fans of the late pure stock driver have received even more reminders of him in recent weeks.
Lashua’s old No. 01 car has been back on the track again this year, first driven by his brother Brian Lashua and the last two weeks by guest drivers. The car has performed well, too, and this week it returned to feature-winning form as Dave Cabelka of Wausau stepped into the 01 and won the 25-lap Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks feature as part of the Wayne ‘Lodi’ Lodholz Memorial.
Cabelka led all 25 laps of the feature but had to fight off a pair of challengers late as Mitch Stankowski and Brian Schramm both closed in. He held to win his first feature of the season and became the sixth different feature winner in the class this year.
“It’s a great feeling, I was friends with Dave, with his family, he actually was in the stall next to mine for many years,” said Cabelka after the race in Brickner Family Auto Group Victory Lane. “So it’s great to win this, on ‘Lodi’ night first, but also for Dave.”
Cabelka started on the inside of the front row and after an early side-by-side battle with Brett Breitenfeldt was able to built a comfortable lead while the pack jockeyed for position behind him. Stankowski would get by Jeff Spatz on the outside for second on lap 14, though, and Cabelka soon had company with last week’s feature winner on his tail.
Stankowski caught Cabelka by lap 19 and would first look low, then try the high side on lap 22 with Schramm also closing in. Stankowski would get up to the door but no closer, and Cabelka would clear him with a lap to go and go on to win with Schramm also edging Stankowski for second.
“I felt him and saw him in the mirror,” Cabelka said with a smile after. “I knew if I didn’t give up the bottom I could possibly win it because it’s tricky on the outside, especially late in the race, so I just hung on the bottom the last five laps and it worked out.”
Hunter Landwehr of Stratford continued an impressive late-season run in the Rockstar Mini Stocks, overtaking defending class champion Garret Strachota to win his third feature of the season and third in less than a month at State Park.
Landwehr and Strachota waged a side-by-side battle for most of the second half of the 20-lap feature, with Strachota holding the inside but Landwehr hanging tough on the outside. Landwehr led by inches on the outside with three laps left when an incident followed shortly after with Wausau’s Zach Budleski spinning and hitting the outside wall on the backstretch after contact with Brad Lecher.
Strong in the outside groove in recent weeks, Landwehr still chose the inside groove for the restart with Strachota starting to hit outside. Strachota would get a good start when the green flag dropped, but Landwehr surged back on the inside, cleared Strachota and went on to win with Strachota second, Ashley Schoone of Gleason third and points leader Eric Breitenfeldt fourth. Breitenfeldt finished the night still with a 38-point lead over Strachota in the standings heading into the final race next week.
Wausau’s George Seliger put on another dominant performance in the Snap-on Mini Mods in winning his seventh feature of the season.
Seliger took the lead from Mosinee’s John Lietz on the eighth lap and never looked back, finishing a straightaway ahead of last week’s feature winner Chad Ferge. Seliger also clinched the mini mods season championship, wrapping up his fourth championship in the class with one week of racing remaining.
Cohen Henze closed out a championship season as strong as could be in the E.H. Wolf & Sons Bandoleros. The 12-year old from Juda, Wis., scored a clean sweep of the night, setting fast time for the first time this season, winning his heat and then taking the 15-lap feature race.
Henze wrapped up his first track championship in style, driving to the front quickly in the feature from his 10th starting spot. He overtook Collin Murphy of Janesville for second on lap 3 and then passed West Salem’s Bentley Thompson for the lead in turn one on the fourth circuit. He cruised the rest of the way for his second straight feature win. Murphy finished second for his best career feature finish at SPS while Penn Sauter of De Forest was third.
State Park Speedway closes out its weekly racing schedule for the season next week with season championship night for the super late models, pure stocks, mini mods and mini stocks. Jim Kryshak Jewelers also will sponsor Sparkling at the Speedway, and it also will be Fighting Cancer Full Throttle night. Fred Mueller Qualifying begins at 6 p.m. and racing follows at 7 p.m.
Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Mitch Stankowski, Wausau, 15.389 sec.
Heat: 1. Dave Cabelka, Wausau; 2. Brian Schramm, Wausau; 3. Stankowski; 4. Brett Breitenfeldt, Wausau; 5. Alex Volm, Mosinee; 6. Jeff Spatz, Wausau
Feature: 1. Cabelka; 2. Schramm; 3. Stankowski; 4. Spatz; 5. A. Volm; 6. B. Breitenfeldt
Snap-on Mini Mods
Fast Qualifier: Chad Ferge, Weston, 15.734 sec.
First Heat: 1. John Lietz, Mosinee; 2. Shawn Kemnetz, Hancock; 3. Kevin Tessmer, Wausau; 4. Keagen Benz, Wausau; 5. Brian Marquardt, Weston
Second Heat: 1. Jim Lietz, Mosinee; 2. Joe Kuehn, Wausau; 3. C. Ferge; 4. George Seliger, Wausau; 5. Kole Ferge, Edgar
Feature: 1. Seliger; 2. C. Ferge; 3. K. Ferge; 4. Kuehn; 5. John Lietz; 6. Tessmer; 7. Marquardt; 8. K. Benz; 9. Jim Lietz; 10. Kemnetz
Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Zach Budleski, Wausau, 16.585 sec.
First Heat: 1. Garret Strachota, Wausau; 2. Brad Lecher, Wausau; 3. Tyler Muller, Sun Prairie; 4. Kendra Baumann, Wausau; 5. Amanda Rowe, Mosinee; 6. Travis Lang, Wausau; 7. Joey Blaschka, Wausau; 8. Jen Richard, Weston
Second Heat: 1. Hunter Landwehr, Stratford; 2. Ashley Schoone, Gleason; 3. Brad Abt, Schofield; 4. Chris Boykins, Wausau; 5. Eric Breitenfeldt, Wausau; 6. Budleski; 7. Tom Lecher, Wausau
Feature: 1. Landwehr; 2. Strachota; 3. Schoone; 4. E. Breitenfeldt; 5. Abt; 6. T. Lecher; 7. Muller; 8. Lang; 9. Blaschka; 10. Baumann; 11. B. Lecher; 12. Budleski; 13. Boykins; 14. Richard
E.H. Wolf & Sons Bandoleros
Fast Qualifier: Cohen Henze, Juda, 16.295 sec.
First Heat: 1. Laci Stargardt, Neillsville; 2. Mason Oleson, Mosinee; 3. Bentley Thompson, West Salem; 4. Oliver Weinkauf, Merrill; 5. Jayden Johnson, Oconomowoc; 6. Harley Johnson, Oconomowoc
Second Heat: 1. Henze; 2. Avery Linnerud, Milton; 3. Paxton Benz, Wausau; 4. Anna Malouf, Rhinelander; 5. Penn Sauter, De Forest; 6. Collin Murphy, Janesville
Feature: 1. Henze; 2. Murphy; 3. Sauter; 4. Malouf; 5. Thompson; 6. J. Johnson; 7. Stargardt; 8. Oleson; 9. H. Johnson; 10. Weinkauf; 11. P. Benz; 12. Linnerud