Wausau, WI – State Park Speedway’s 2011 C-Tech Super Late Model Champion, Mark Mackesy, picked up his first win of the year Thursday night at State Park Speedway. Making his way to River Valley Bank Victory Lane for the first time since July 28th of last year, Mackesy held of charges from Nathan Haseleu and Tim Sauter to win the 10th annual Ropa’s Pizza Flip Merwin Memorial. “It feels great to be back in victory lane,” says Mackesy, “With finishing second in the first two races of the year, but then to win the Flip race is great and on a nice night and a large crowd you can’t ask for much more.”
It was Austin Luedtke who grabbed the early lead in the Ropa’s Pizza Flip Merwin Memorial 100. He held the front spot for the first 13 laps before relinquishing the lead to Chris Wimmer. Wimmer held the lead for the next 35 laps and while he had a good view upfront guys like Nathan Haseleu, Mark Mackesy and Tim Sauter worked their way towards the front.
With 75 laps to go Haseleu had worked his way from his seventh starting position up in to the second position with Sauter right behind him in third and Mackesy up from his eighth stating position to fourth.
A caution with just over 50 laps to go bunched up the front of the field and on the restart Haseleu made good use of the outside line to clear Wimmer for the lead with 51 laps to go. Mackesy followed suit and also worked his way past Wimmer in to second.
With 45 laps to go Mackesy closed in on the leader Haseleu and went to work to try and find a way around the #87. Mackesy looked inside, but Haseleu shut the door with 43 laps to go. One lap later Mackesy went to the high side this time and made it stick, taking the lead with 42 laps left.
Sauter worked his way in to the third spot as the competition caution flew with 25 laps to go. Mackesy held on to the lead as the green flag dropped and Sauter looked for a way around Haseleu for the runner-up position. With 20 laps to go Sauter cleared for the second spot and began to chase down Mackesy.
The yellow flew once again, this time with 12 laps to go. Mackesy held the top spot on the restart, but five laps later the #99 of Sauter was all over his back bumper trying to make a move. In a few laps Mackesy stretched out the lead to two car lengths and Sauter was unable to close the gap again. Mackesy took the checkers with Sauter second, Haseleu third, Neil Knoblock fourth and Jeremy Lepak fifth. “When I got in front of Nate I figured we were in good shape to win, but the two late cautions made it interesting. Both drivers are very tough competitors and raced in NASCAR, so you know there talented. Tim and I raced against each other a lot in the early 90’s and Nate and I have also raced together since the late 90’s.”
Mackesy’s win on Thursday makes him eligible for the Auto Select Challenge and a possible $16,000 pay day if he can also win the Newsline Nine Detjens Memorial and the Lodi Memorial events. “We need to have a fast race car and some luck to win all three,” says Mackesy, “We can’t have any problems or accidents or flat tires or anything like that. There will be lots of tough competitors for both races and with the money that is on the line and the honor to race in memory of both great guys, there will be lots of cars. Our chances to win all three are slim; it’s never been done, but it won’t be because we didn’t try! It would be something else if we could win all three.”
In the Budweiser/Fabiano Brothers Limited Late Model feature it didn’t take long for Jesse Bernhagen to take the lead. The #28 car grabbed the lead just two laps into the 15-lap feature and held off the charges of Clint Sillars and Wayne Mackesy to find his way to River Valley Bank Victory Lane for the first time this season. Sillars fought hard for the win with just under 10 laps to go, but couldn’t find a way around Berhagen’s #28. Mackesy passed Sillars with five to go and then with four to go the caution flew. Sillars fought back and was able to retake the second spot from Mackesy as Bernhagen took the checkers.
The Marathon parts City Pure Stock feature may have showcased some of the best racing of the night. Karl Genett took the early lead, but Michael ‘Louie’ Merriam battled back and the two raced side by side for the top spot for the first seven laps. Tim Nawrocky and Travis Volm closed on the top two as Merriam cleared for the lead, but it didn’t last long as Genett battled back bringing them even once again. The top four races side by side and nose to tail for the next ten laps.
With two laps to go Genett got a great run on the outside and cleared for the lead, but then got loose, allowing Merriam to fight back on the inside, the two were side by side for the white flag. Contact was made coming out of four to take the checkers, both drivers held on and Merriam managed to cross the line no more than inches in front of Genett to pull his Pure Stock in to River Valley Bank Victory Lane. Genett finished second, Volm third, Nawrocky fourth and Nick Erickson fifth.
The Snap-On Mini-Mods put on another great show. Phil Malouf took the early lead and hld on to win his first feature of the year, but it wasn’t without holding off a few hard charging competitors.
With four laps to go Adam Eckes had worked his way up front his seventh starting position to second with Brad Conant, who started eight, right behind him. In the closing laps Eckes looked outside Malouf in one and two for the lead, but couldn’t make it stick, then in three and four Eckes tried the inside, but Malouf shut the door. Then Conant make things interesting, he tried to go outside of Eckes who was pressuring Malouf. As the white flag flew Eckes pulled even with Malouf for the win, Eckes went to the high side out of four, but Malouf held him off to pull his #32 in to River Valley Bank Victory Lane.
In the Motors Service and Supply Mini-Stock feature Kirby Kurth put on a show. He led from green to checkers to also pick up his first win of the 2013 season. George Seliger fought his way up to second and Mariah Gajewski came home third.