By: Paul Reichert
September 8, 2023
It has been a long and grueling season of racing at Tomah-Sparta Speedway. Drivers have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows throughout the racing campaign in their quest to become a track champion. The final race of the season was just as competitive and exciting as the first race of the year way back in May. Two drivers would put the ‘cherry on top of the sundae’ by winning their final features and become season champions. We would witness our first Minnesota racer become a champion at ‘Daytomah’, an driver that was not given much of a chance wound up with their first ever track crown, a track title in quite some time for a veteran, and one driver wrapping up a monster year without turning a lap.
The grand finale for the Zoellick Home Repair and Log Staining Sportsmen feature saw Michael Gilomen zoom past Troy Dobbratz to take the lead in the early going. Mark Challet powered under Scott Mahlum, and then switched lanes to get around Dobbratz for second on lap two. It would be Gilomen and Challet fighting tooth and nail for the lead and the win the rest of the way. Challet tried for several laps to find a way underneath Gilomen for the lead, but Giloman kept a tight hold on the inside line. Gilomen drifted up the track a little bit at times in turns one and two, but Challet was not close enough to challenge him for the lead. In fact, Gilomen got a run coming out of turn two to pull a little further ahead of Challet. Gilomen had the strong car on this night as he captured his third victory of the year, scored a clean sweep of the evening’s festivities and officially locked up the season points championship.
Landon Lockington outran Mike Gratz to turn one to lead the start of the Clark Powersport of Hillsboro Hobby Stock feature. HobbyFest 4 winner Charles Vian, Jr. was working his way through the traffic and got up to second by lap four. Jason Bolster lost control of his race car and spun in turn four on lap five to bring out the yellow. Vian, Jr. lined up alongside Lockington for the restart, and he wasted little time in powering by Lockington to become the new race leader. Opening night feature winner Jesse Fischer had a fast race car and was keeping up with Vian, Jr.’s torrid pace. Fischer got along side of Vian, Jr. as they fought over the lead, and he nosed ahead of Vian, Jr. to take the lead as the crossed flags were displayed. Vian, Jr. got a run coming out of turn two to surge past Fischer and keep a tight grip on the lead. Fischer was never able to muster another charge back to Vian, Jr. and fight again over the lead. Vian, Jr. would make a third trip to TACU Credit Union Victory Lane and give the car its fourth straight feature win. Despite tangling with Gratz on lap nine, Shelby Lockington recovered to finish fifth and secured her first ever track championship
The first three laps of the last Command Post Saloon Hornet feature of 2023 was a battle between eventual rookie champion Josh Schwartz and Jordan Finch. Schwartz led the first two laps, but Finch powered by him to settle into the number one spot on lap three. Dan Linnehan drove past Schwartz on lap five to move into second and slowly began to reel in Finch. Jay Raines went into turn three a little too hot and turned Paul Finch in their fight over third. Raines tapped out at the flag stand to give third back to Paul Finch. Linnehan got alongside of Jordan Finch on the restart and even nose ahead of her to take the lead at the end of lap 11. Their battle for the lead took a turn when hard contact entering turn one damaged the left rear tire of Finch on lap 13. Paul Finch now was the leader of the pack on the restart. Matthew Heim was not able to close the gap on Finch down the stretch as Finch score win number three on the season, swept the night’s racing, and captured his first ‘Daytomah’ title since becoming the Mini-Stock champion in 2019.
Alex Lueth powered past Zachary Morgan to lead the opening lap of the ultimate TACU Credit Union Six Shooter feature. Andy Moore traded in his usual Hobby Stock for champion Mike Gratz’s Six Shooter and he was just as fast in this race vehicle. Moore went from seventh at the start to motor past Lueth to assume command of the race on lap two. As Moore was quickly leaving the field in his wake, Curtis Hellickson and Tim Murphy, Sr. got into a hot and heavy fight over the runner-up position beginning on lap four. Making his Six Shooter debut after racing the last two season in the HSRA, Hellickson was able to maintain second place over the Tomah veteran. With four laps remaining, Hellickson ran a little bit wide in turns one and two and that allowed Murphy, Sr. to dive underneath Hellickson to become the new second place driver. .Moore was back in Sparta with his first ever Six Shooter win to add to his multitudes of Hobby Stock wins. Gratz had a large enough lead on Greg Brown, Jr. to add the Six Shooter title to the Chaos and Mini-Van championships he already claimed this year.
Now with the regular season in the books, there is just one event remaining that will be our fun event to close out the 2023 campaign at Tomah-Sparta Speedway Our annual Daytomah Enduro will take place on Saturday, October 14 with a new twist added to the race. The four-cylinder and six-cylinder vehicles will have an extra 50 laps of racing to decide the winner of the first ever Daytomah 250 Enduro. The pits will open for the competitors at 11, gates will open for the fans at 1, the drivers’ meeting happens at 1:30 and the new challenge of 250 laps of enduro racing takes the green at 2.
Call the track office at 608-461-1920, visit our web site at tomahspartaspeedway.com or check out the track’s Facebook page for more information about Tomah-Sparta Speedway and the 2023 schedule of events.
Zoellick Home Repair and Log Staining Sportsmen
Feature (15 laps): 1. Michael Giloman, 2. Mark Challet, 3. Troy Dobbratz, 4. Scott Mahlum
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Michael Giloman, 2. Mark Challet, 3. Troy Dobbratz, 4. Scott Mahlum
Qualifying: 1. Michael Giloman 16.513, 2. Mark Challet 16.601, 3. Troy Dobbratz 17.566, 4. Scott Mahlum 19.066
Clark Powersport of Hillsboro Hobby Stocks
Feature (15 laps): 1. Charles Vian, Jr., 2. Jesse Fischer, 3. Jason Bolster, 4. Landon Lockington, 5. Shelby Lockington, 6. Mike Gratz, 7. Tony Wheeler, 8. Seth Gnewikow
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Jesse Fischer, 2. Seth Gnewikow, 3. Charles Vian, Jr., 4. Shelby Lockington, 5. Mike Gratz, 6. Jason Bolster, 7. Landon Lockington, 8. Tony Wheeler
Qualifying: 1. Jesse Fischer 17.750, 2. Charles Vian, Jr. 17.779, 3. Shelby Lockington 17.929, 4. Jason Bolster 18.377, 5. Seth Gnewikow 18.410, 6. Mike Gratz 18.714, 7. Landon Lockington 20.594, 8. Tony Wheeler 20.713
Command Post Saloon Hornets
Feature (15 laps): 1. Paul Finch, 2. Matthew Heim, 3. Andrew Gardner, 4. Jay Raines, 5. Austin Manning, 6. Dan Linnehan, 7. Josh Schwartz, 8. Tristan Finnegan, 9. Jordan Finch
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Jordan Finch, 2. Tristan Finnegan, 3. Jay Raines, 4. Austin Manning, 5. Josh Schwartz
Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. Paul Finch, 2. Dan Linnehan, 3. Matthew Heim, 4. Andrew Gardner
Qualifying: 1. Paul Finch 18.176, 2. Andrew Gardner 18.829, 3. Matthew Heim 19.133, 4. Dan Linnehan 19.196, 5. Jay Raines 19.282, 6. Jordan Finch 19.329, 7. Josh Schwartz 20.019, 8. Austin Manning 20.054, 9. Tristan Finnegan 20.151
TACU Credit Union Six Shooters
Feature (15 laps): 1. Andy Moore, 2. Tim Murphy, Sr., 3. Curtis Hellickson, 4. Greg Brown, Jr., 5. Alex Lueth, 6. Austyn Blank, 7. Zachary Morgan, 8. Jerry Armagost, 9. Christopher Neal, 10. Brandon Young, 11. Kevin Armagost, 12. A.J. Finnegan
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Zachary Morgan, 2. Austyn Blank, 3. Alex Lueth, 4. Jerry Armagost, 5. Christopher Neal, 6. Brandon Young
Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. Curtis Hellickson, 2. Andy Moore, 3. Greg Brown, Jr., 4. Tim Murphy, Sr., 5. Kevin Armagost, 6. A.J. Finnegan
Qualifying: 1. Andy Moore 19.018, 2. Tim Murphy, Sr. 19.356, 3. Greg Brown, Jr. 19.670, 4. Kevin Armagost 19.711, 5. Curtis Hellickson 19.718, 6. A.J. Finnegan 19.764, 7. Zachary Morgan 19.923, 8. Alex Lueth 20.116, 9. Jerry Armagost 20.311, 10. Austyn Blank 20.578, 11. Christopher Neal 20.724, 12. Brandon Young 22.990