Wausau, WI – Mark Eswein found River Valley Bank Victory Lane at State Park Speedway for the first time since 1997 and picked up the biggest payout of the year for winning the Budweiser Flip Merwin Memorial 52-25 presented by Rib Mountain Liquor and Tobacco and Ciggy Shack.
Driver’s raced 52-laps, took a short break, then races 25-laps in honor of Merwin and his snowmobile number 525.
Rookie driver Ryan Hinner grabbed the early lead of the 77-lap feature event, but it didn’t last long as the caution flew just three laps in to the race when point leader Mark Mackesy spun going in to turn one.
On the restart Hinner and Colin Reffner battled side by side for the lead and this time it was Reffner who was able to grab the top spot. Mark Eswein made his way to the front and passed Hinner for second and set his sights on the leader Reffner.
Last race’s winner Neil Knoblock worked his way towards the font as well. As Eswein looked outside for the lead the 70 of Knoblock was right there, looking inside Eswein as both tried to find a way around Reffner.
As those three battled hard at the front fast qualifier Chris Wimmer worked his way in to the top five with 36 laps to go and began to close on the front four.
Eswein finally made his move and raced side by Reffner for the lead of the Budweiser Flip Merwin Memorial 52-25 and took it with 33-laps to go until the break.
Knoblock held steady in the second position while Wimmer and Jeremy Lepak battled to have the third position at the break. Wimmer took the spot, but just before lap 52 Lepak got back around the #52 of Wimmer.
Eswein led at the break followed by Knoblock, Lepak, Wimmer, and Reffner. Drivers came to a stop on the backstretch and were allowed to adjust tire pressures before going back to racing.
When the green flag flew Eswein and Knoblock battled side by side for the top spot. It took three laps for Eswein to clear Knoblock and regain the lead and then it was Knoblock who had his hands full with a challenge from Lepak.
The caution flew with 21 laps to go and on the restart Eswein had no problem grabbing the lead. Knoblock settled in to second and with eight laps to go Wimmer made his way around Lepak and in to the third spot once again.
As the top four held their spots, Mackesy, who was sent to the rear after that early spin, worked his way all the way in to the top five.
Eswein took the checkered flag and thanks to River Valley Bank, DeLisle Construction, Ciggy Shack, Black Line Asphalt, Hayes Graphics, Heinrich Landscaping, Bartelt Insurance, ESPN Radio, and Curt Keene the he took home $3,525, the biggest winning payout ever at State Park Speedway! Knoblock came home in second, Wimmer third, Lepak fourth and Mackesy, who was sent to the rear for that early spin, drove all the way back towards the front for the fifth place finish!
Currently the top three drivers in the C-Tech Super Late Model Division are separated by six points or less!
River Valley Bank also came on board sweetening the winnings for support division drivers as well. In the Super Stock feature Marv Flick took the early lead, but received immediate pressure from Wayne Mackesy and Claire Decker.
Decker grabbed second from Mackesy, but immediately Mackesy took the spot back. Cole Yach, winner of the last two races, worked his way in to third.
A near collision held up Mackesy and Decker, allowing Yach to move in to second and the 79 of Jeff Nowak to follow right behind and in to third with under five laps to go.
Yach closed in to Flick, but ran out of time as Flick took the checkers with Yach second, Nowak third, Mackesy fourth and Decker fifth.
Travis Volm won the last two NAPA of Schofield Pure Stock features at State Park Speedway, but Thursday it was Mitch Stankowski who was able to hold off the point leader.
Nicholas Grish led early while Stankowski worked his way in to second and then looked for the lead. Stankowski and his #5 machine took the top spot with 15 laps to go with Mark Kalata in tow.
Kalata made the move for the lead and took it with ten to go. The caution flew with seven laps left in the feature, sending current point leader Travis Volm to the back.
Stankowski reclaimed the lead with under five laps to go and held on to take the checkers. Things got crazy on the track as Volm, who was sent to the back, drove back to the front for a second place finish with Ben Capek taking third, Bo Benish fourth, and Mike Kasperek fifth.
Bradley Conant put on a show in the Snap-On Mini-Mod feature. The fast qualifier grabbed the lead with 10-laps to go and held on until the end. Phil Malouf, who took over the point lead, finished second and Erik Connel third.
In the Mini-Stock class Kevin Burris found River Valley Bank Victory Lane in his first race at State Park Speedway during the 2011 season. Dale Robinson finished second and Josh Klopotek, the current point leader, third.