For the first time ever, State Park Speedway will culminate its season with the Lodi Memorial Race on Saturday, September 16th. Typically slated for mid-August, Ron and Scott Wimmer made the decision to move the date of this year’s Lodi Memorial race and pair it with season championship night. Moving the season championship to a weekend night is also new and something the Wimmers think fans and drivers will both enjoy.
“It just made sense to change things up a bit this year,” said State Park Speedway Owner Ron Wimmer. “Once you hit September you are up against high school sports and school nights, so the decision to move championship night to a Saturday was a no brainer. The Lodi Memorial is one of our biggest events of the year, so we are excited to move that to a weekend and pair it with the season championship this year.”
The ninth annual Lodi Memorial Race could see a first time winner this year. Tim Sauter etched his name on the trophy from 2014-2016 and Chris Wimmer owns a pair of wins with Jesse Haase and Steve Holzhausen each earning one. Mark Mackesy won the inaugural event and is the only former winner who will race this Saturday.
With one more race on the books, there are still a few championships to be decided. In the Green Mill Super Late Model division presented by C-Tech MG Gajewski leads Jerry Brickner by 36 points heading into the Lodi Memorial 75. Gajewski won the title in 2015, while Brickner is having a strong rookie year after winning the Limited Late Model Championship in 2016. Both drivers have one win to their credit this year and look to end the 2017 season on top.
“He is close and I’d be lying if I said it isn’t on my mind,” said Gajewski. “The goal is to go for the win the same as it has been all year, but we have to play it lap by lap. We will need to take our time to prepare the car well, work as a team at the track and with some luck we will finish well.”
“My plan going into the final night is just to place the best I can,” said Brickner. “In past years I have let points get into my head, but this year I have not honestly looked at the points until last week. I think some drivers let the points get into their head and it can be a disadvantage, that is why I am just going to focus on doing my best and not worrying about where the points are. It does not change my game plan, but it would be nice to win a championship.”
The Budweiser/Fabiano Brothers Limited Late Model point title is about as close as they come. Adam Peshek leads Brock Heinrich by just three points heading into the final event of the year.
“I had a bad crash the second to last race,” said Peshek. “I felt my car wasn't the best after that, so I've spent some time trying to get the car back to where it was. I've tried not to focus too much on the points; I've been racing at some other tracks and I'm back in school, so I've been pretty busy. I am going into the race with an open mind. I will race my race and hope for the best! We have enjoyed racing there this year, it's a great track with great fans and competitors.”
“As much as I’m told not to worry about the points heading into Saturday, it’s been sitting heavy on my head,” said Heinrich. “There have been times in the past week here I’ve gotten really nervous about it. We’re so close and it’s something I would really like to accomplish. As a younger kid sitting in the stands I could’ve only dreamt to be racing a late model, let alone actually winning races. Being a track champion at a place like State Park Speedway was such a distant goal, but now it’s within my reach. Whatever happens I’m going to run the same way for the win like I do every week and in the end I think we have an excellent chance at a championship.”
Travis Volm has the 2017 Ropa’s Pizza Pure Stock title wrapped up as he holds more than a 100 point lead over second place Mitch Stankowski.
Things heat up a bit again in the Snap-On Mini-Mod division, where George Seliger holds a 38 point lead over Dale Louze. Seliger has been stout this season recording three wins and 10 top-ten finishes.
Garret Strachota has had an impressive Motors Service and Supply Mini-Stock season and pretty much just needs to start the race on Saturday to claim the title. Strachota has an impressive five wins and 10 top-ten finishes this year.
Only 23 points separate Kolton Guralski and Alex Hartwig in the D&D Automotive Bandoleros. Guralski has found Brickner Family Auto Group Victory Lane three times, while Hartwig has come on strong in the second half of the season and owns five wins of his own.
Fan gates open at 3:30pm on Saturday with Fred Mueller Qualifying at 5:00pm and racing at 6:00pm. Champions will be recognized in Brickner Family Auto Group Victory Lane after each feature.