For Immediate Release:
Season recap and SKSpeedway Clash set for 9/11 – 9/12
By: Ben Brost
The staff at SKSpeedway is proud to host the annual SKSpeedway Clash, which will take place on September 11th and 12th, and will feature eight classes of cars on Friday night, and nine classes of cars on Saturday night. Track owner Steve Kasten and track director Travis Paul are excited to welcome back the 300cc mini sprints and the 600cc sprints both Friday and Saturday night, and the IMCA/Unified Stock Cars on Saturday night, along with the six regularly featured classes at the Unity, WI dirt track.
“It’s been a tough year for not just us, but for the entire racing community with all that has been going on nationwide, but we are very thankful to be able to host this event, bring in new classes for the weekend, and just celebrate this sport we all love.” stated Kasten. “As our team has been building up for the Clash, it has taken on sort of an east vs. west feel. Unified Street Stocks racing with WISSOTA Street Stocks, USRA, IMCA, and WISSOTA A and B mods have all been invited to compete, using their own rule packages really should make for a great weekend of racing – our payout, which increases based on car count, is something that other tracks have done, but none offering $1000 to win for four classes all season, plus the IMCA stock cars for the Clash. We are proud to offer that.” said Paul.
SKSpeedway saw continued growth in car count and fan count throughout the 2020 campaign. “The car count was more gradual growth than the fan count, but we noticed in increase in both throughout this year. During our off times, we worked to reshape parts of the racing surface, continued to develop our food menu, and made sure to take into account what our drivers wanted from us as best as we could.” Kasten stated. “Friday, August 21st saw a season high car count of sixty-two teams for a regular night, and fan attendance reflected those numbers. Averaging a 10:30PM end time, fans were able to get home at a reasonable hour, and at $10 admission, there was a lot of value packed in their dollar. We wanted to provide quality entertainment at an economical price this season, all things considered.” Kasten continued. “85% of our staff was brand new this season, and I am very proud of all of them. I, for one, am thankful that John Bell (tech) Bill Stumpner (front straightaway lineup) Ben Brost (announcer) and Gene Folyer (track prep) teamed back up with us. They have worked at SKSpeedway every year since it was first opened, so they have seen what works and what doesn’t, so it’s a big deal to have had them back this year”. Paul stated.
August 21st was the last night for points battles to be had out, but unfortunately the rain came at 9:50PM and never let up. The Hornets, B Modified, and A Modified feature will be made up at the beginning of the program night one of the Clash, September 11th. All those teams that were able to make the call for their race on August 21st are eligible to participate in those three races. A few teams were involved in bad accidents in their heat races forcing them to scratch for the feature, those teams again will not be allowed to race for that one race. It’s being treated as a continuation of Friday, Aug 21st.
In the Hornet division, #715 Sam Sheehan put together a spectacular season for himself, collecting 3 wins several top five finishes amassing a total of 274 points, putting him atop the leaderboard heading into the season championship makeup feature race night one of the clash. Currently in second is longtime hornet racer Jenny Wegner, as she collected one feature win and two second place finishes, posting a total of 258 points heading into the final event.
The B Modified division saw Chili, WI standout Chad Selk add five wins to his career total, earning him 276 points heading into the season championship event. Selk has been a strong contender over the last years at SKSpeedway and has a significant lead over Andy Karl. Karl, longtime B Modified standout and former track champion, collected one feature win, two runner up finishes and one third place finish throughout his 2020 season at SKSpeedway, earning him 262 points.
The A Modified division points battle is a four-way grudge match between second generation driver Tyler Stargardt, who is the current points leader, however, a crash in hot laps last Friday night left his car damaged beyond repair, so on night one of the Clash, he will be ineligible to compete in the makeup feature event. Currently tied in second with 245 points each is 18-year-old Cole Varsho and longtime veteran Kevin Rogers. Varsho coming up through the ranks quickly and proving to be a threat anywhere he goes, collecting three feature wins at SKSpeedway and several heat wins to his credit. Rogers, a Unity WI native, a true crowd favorite, collected one feature win on the year, and pulled into victory lane amidst a roar of cheers from the SKSpeedway fans. Sitting in fourth place in points is another Modified Standout, Marshfield WI Chris Oertel. Oertel, yet another second-generation racer calling SKSpeedway his Friday night home, earned one win, three runner up finishes, and one third place finish on his season, amassing him a total of 240 points heading into the clash. Seven points separates the top four in the Modified division, which will make for an action packed 20 lap main event on September 11th.
Of the six classes that have been featured every week at the Unity, WI speed plant, three of the six points battles were able to be finalized on August 21st before the rains came, and three points champions have been crowned thus far in the 2020 season.
The Super Stock division overall brought back a lot of memories for fans, showcasing the talent of longtime veteran Randy Spacek, and the up-and-coming drivers from the Leu family stable. Spacek added yet another SKSpeedway track championship to his illustrious career. The Phillips, WI wheelman parked his number 22 in victory lane four times over the course of the season, accompanied by two second place and two third place finishes, earning him a grand total of 312 points and another title. Third generation racer Leslie Leu competed full time in his number 14x, collecting one third place finish, however, because he attended every event, and consistently finished in the top five, he earned himself a second-place finish in the points standings at 255 points. David Elliot, piloting his blue number 4x, earned himself a third-place finish in the points standings in his 2020 campaign with 220 points to his credit.
The Leu family has been a staple at SKSpeedway since the track was built 1997. The current Leu family racers represent the third generation of that family to wheel racecars include brothers Leslie and Lonnie Jr, their cousin Dylan who all wheeled their respective number 14’s full time in the super stock division, and another cousin, John, also number 14, competed in the pure stock division on a limited basis this season. Leslie, who drove the number 14x raced alongside his brother, Lonnie Jr, who raced the number 14, which is the very same car his late father, Lonnie Leu Sr. last drove in 2002. Remnants of the color scheme of the late Lonnie Leu Sr are still very noticeable on that car, as fans were treated to see that car back out on its home track this season. Debuting in 2020, Super Stock rookie number 14L Dylan Leu, started his racing career sporting a color scheme as reminiscent of his father, former Super Stock standout Lance Leu. Lance today serves as a mentor to his son and his nephews. Another unique statistic about the Leu stable of note is that all three generations have used the number 14. Patriarch Duane “Butch” Leu, although never raced at SKSpeedway, piloted his number 14 racecar throughout central Wisconsin for years, and did serve as the scale operator at the track in the early years. His sons, (late) Lonnie Sr, Duane “Duke”, Lance, and Linc have all wheeled racecars sporting the number 14 around the three-eighths mile Unity, WI oval. His grandsons, John in the pure stocks, Lonnie Jr, Leslie, and Dylan all in the superstocks, all use a variation of their family predecessor’s number. Leslie, Lonnie Jr, and Dylan are representation of an incredibly unique statistic. These three third generation racers all raced on the same track at the same time with the same number, a statistic that will likely never be duplicated. All in all, nine members of the Leu family have raced the number 14, with eight of the nine calling SKSpeedway their home track.
The Street stock division, although light in car count at times, provided some of the best action for the loyal SKSpeedway fans throughout the season. Side by side action from Kyle Gennett, Jared “B.J.” Lindner throughout the season kept the fans entertained as the competitive action roared on every Friday night. Auburndale native Kyle Gennett collected six feature wins throughout the season, and his brother Karl came out of retirement for one race, collecting a win, making that number 16 undefeated every time it was unloaded at SKSpeedway. As a result of his consistent attendance at SKSpeedway, and collecting one feature win, Merrill WI native Bruce Stanley, collected his first track championship at SKSpeedway, and his first title since 1977, earning 290 points to his credit. Stanley, known for his soft-spoken nature, has been racing every year in various classes since 1974, and quickly became a crowd favorite in the division. Early in the season, another pair of third-generation racers trailered their street stocks to SKSpeedway, brothers Parker and Hunter Anderson, the former driving a white number 27, and the latter a red number 27. Their father, Scott Anderson, raced his red #27 to several wins and track championships in the (formerly known as) Midwest Modifieds at SKSpeedway, serves as crew chief for his sons today, as they travel throughout the upper Midwest racing at area dirt tracks. Their grandfather, Bob, raced at tracks in the northern part of the state. Nowadays, both Bob and his wife Barb can be seen in the grandstands at local tracks cheering on their grandsons.
The 2020 Pure Stock division was action packed throughout each and every Friday night. Knapp, WI racer Jeremy Dahl piloted his number 85 to victory lane three times throughout the season, also collecting three runner up finishes, the same amount of third place finishes, and earning himself 305 points, and the right to be called the 2020 track champion at SKSpeedway. Warren Bartelt drove his number 16 to four second place finishes, earned the runner up spot in the points battle this season at 292 points. Medford driver Todd Heier matched Bartelt’s feature win total at three, but due to being plagued by mechanical and suspension issues throughout the season, finished in sixth place in points.
The Annual SKSpeedway Clash will kick off on Friday, September 11th with pit gates opening at 4PM, grandstand gates opening at 5PM, driver entry cutoff at 6:30PM, drivers meeting at 6:35PM, hot laps at 6:50PM, opening ceremonies including a 9/11 tribute at 7:00PM, and racing to immediately follow. 300cc and 600cc sprint cars will be racing on Friday night, along with our 6 regular classes, featuring Hornets, Pure Stocks, Street Stocks, Super Stocks, B Modifieds, and A Modifieds. USRA B Modifieds will run with IMCA Sport Modifieds, WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds. A Modifieds will also feature competition from IMCA/USRA/WISSOTA as well. IMCA A Modifieds will be allowed up to a five inch spoiler, and will be allowed to choose between the Hoosier G60, Hoosier W35 or the American Racer brand tire, so long as each of the tires on the car are the same. If a team has run at an “unsanctioned” track throughout their regular season in one of the Clash’s featured divisions, they too are invited to compete, but they must bring a copy of their home tracks rule book so they can be teched properly. The IMCA/Unified Stock Cars are making a rare appearance at SKSpeedway on Saturday, September 12th. SKSpeedway has had a rather unique payout all season. If 16 or more cars in each of the Street Stocks, Super Stocks, and both Modified divisions, those classes will be competing for a $1000 payday on both nights. IMCA Stock Cars will be offered the same payout on Saturday night when they join the program. On Saturday, the staff will be conducting the “pit sweep” on Saturday at 2PM to get everyone checked in for Saturday’s program, which is slated to kick off at 5PM. Any additional information will be conveyed through SKSpeedway’s Facebook page, as well as on the website, www.skspeedway.com. Any further questions, please contact track owner, Steve Kasten at 715-571-4555.