Wausau, WI – Ben Pettis spoiled Mark Mackesy’s opportunity for a second straight trip to Buffalo Wild Wings Victory Lane at State Park Speedway with a late race pass, giving Pettis his first feature win since 2005.
Neil Knoblock started on the pole and jumped out to the early lead. It took just three laps for the first caution to fly as Jeremy Lepak was sent spinning, collecting Jay VanDerGeest and Tucker Miller. Just two laps after the restart is was problems for Travis Dodson, as he ended up in the wall in turn four, bringing out the second caution.
Knoblock jumped out to the lead again on the restart with Jason Weinkauf, Mark Mackesy, and Mark Eswein all in pursuit. With 59 laps to go Mackesy made his move for second, working the high side on Weinkauf to take the spot. It took Mackesy 20 laps to catch the leader, Knoblock, and when he did, the #12 machine made quick work of Knoblock’s #70, taking the lead easily.
As Mackesy stretched his lead, the battle for second heated up between Mark Eswein and Ben Pettis. The two battled side by side for a few laps, even making contact, before Pettis cleared for the spot.
With just 17 laps to go the caution came out again, this time because Lepak’s #40 hit oil on the track putting him in the fence between turns one and two. This happened right in front of the leaders and Mackesy also experience some damage.
On the final restart Mackesy picked the inside lane and claimed the lead. Behind him, Eswein got around Pettis for second, but Pettis quickly took the spot back and set his sights on the #12. While much of the attention stayed on the top three cars, fast qualifier Travis Sauter worked his way from his 12th starting spot in to fourth, with his dad, Tim, right behind him.
With 10 laps to go Pettis looked outside of Mackesy for the lead. The two battled side by side for five laps, until finally Pettis made it stick and was able to clear for the top spot. Pettis held off Mackesy the final five laps to win the Wausau Noon Optimist 75.
Mackesy, who was looking for a second straight trip to Buffalo Wild Wings Victory Lane, finished second, Mark Eswein third, Travis Sauter fourth, and Tim Sauter 5th.
In the Super Stock division Lyle Nowak was able to find his way to Buffalo Wild Wings Victory Lane for the second straight week. Ryan Hinner took the early lead, but it took just three laps for Nowak to hunt down the #23 car. The two battled side by side for over five laps, making contact, and putting on a great show for the fans. With 11 laps to go Nowak cleared Hinner to take the lead, forcing Hinner to deal with Mike Gwidt, who was closing on the top two. Hinner and Gwidt raced side by side as the laps wound down, with Hinner holding on to the second spot and Gwidt finishing third.
The Pure Stock race was full of fireworks as a first lap caution between Bo Bennish and Bradley Conant had both drivers out of their cars on the front stretch exchanging words. When we finally got back to racing, Ken Schram earned his second trip to Buffalo Wild Wings Victory Lane in as many weeks, holding off a late race challenge from James Annala.
Phil Malouf broke Adam Eckes’ hot streak in the Snap-On Mini-Mod division. Adam Eckes and Dale Louze battled hard for the second spot as the laps wound down, giving Malouf a chance to get a pretty good lead. Once Eckes got around Louze there was not enough time for him to challenge Malouf for the win. With his win, Malouf sits just nine points behind Eckes in the point standings.