By: Paul Reichert
June 23, 2023

Competitors and fans from all over North America were gathering in Tomah for the big annual event that has been going on since 1976.  Here at Tomah-Sparta Speedway we also have competitors and fans coming from all over Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois to check out the racing action at our historic ‘Daytomah’ race track.  While the Upper Midwest Vintage Racing Series made their annual appearance to take us back to the heyday of Wisconsin short track racing, one of our visiting racers had the most exciting night of their racing career.  Once a year Michael Joines makes the trek from Quimby, Iowa to race at Tomah.  Joines had the race of his life to claim the Hobby Stock feature for his first ever Tomah victory.

Michael Joines powered by Landon Lockington to take the lead early in the going of the Clark Powersport of Hillsboro Hobby Stock feature.  While Lockington was holding onto the runner-up position, his cousin Shelby and rookie of the year leader Seth Gnewikow got into a tussle over third.  That battle unfortunately came to an end when Gnewikow suffered a mechanical failure that forced him into the infield on lap four.  Shelby made quick of Landon to settle into second on lap five and began her pursuit of Joines.  Over the next several laps Shelby’s Monte Carlo was slowly reeling in the heavier Impala of Joines.  Lockington was right on Joines’ rear bumper with six laps remaining.  Lockington was doing everything she could to find a way around Joines, but the  Iowa native stuck to the inside line as he captured the win and got the ring the Victory Bell in TACU Credit Union Victory Lane.  This was also Joines’ first win in Wisconsin and no doubt his first career victory.

Nine racers started the Upper Midwest Vintage Racing Series feature as Tracy Prissel and his Mike Miller Camaro shot by Roger Peterson and his Marv Marzofka car for the race lead.  Jason Stark and his 1980’s CWRA-style Camaro got around both Dan Linnehan’s 1966 Chevelle and Peterson to take over second by lap two.  Stark got a little too aggressive in battling Prissel for the lead and spun him out in turn three on lap four.  Linnehan took over the lead, but the restart did not get far when Andy Muller and his Bobby Allison Miller American car spun out in turn four right in front of several other drivers.  Peterson, Roger Frank and former Modified champion Paul Brown all got collected in the incident to end their nights.  While Linnehan continued to show the way on the restart, Stark was looking to get back to the front.  Stark powered by the Buick Grand National of Jim Hendricks, Jr. for third on lap five, then quickly got around Prissel on lap six to claim the number two spot.  With five laps left to run, Stark caught up to Linnehan and the battle was on for the lead.  Linnehan maintained his line on the inside to keep Stark in his rear view and claim the win, which came five days after winning the UMVRS feature at the Milwaukee Mile on Father’s Day.

Andrew Gardner got the better of point leader Jamie Pearson to take charge of the Command Post Saloon Hornet feature.  Charles Vian, Jr. was making his way forward as he disposed of Pearson, Samantha Linnehan and Tristan Drazkowski to take over second place on lap four.  Vian, Jr.’s quest for the lead was interrupted by a yellow when Doyle Cavender, Jim Hendricks, Sr. and Matt Drazkowski tangled on the back straight.  Vian, Jr. lined up alongside of Gardner on the restart and quickly zoomed past Gardner for the lead.  Last week’s feature winner Adam Moore was in search of two wins in a row and got up to third behind Tristan Drazkowski.  Yellow slowed his progress on lap nine when Travis Atkinson came to a stop on the front straight.  Moore would power his way around Drazkowski to move into second with three laps to go.  Vian, Jr. had enough of a lead that Moore could not make up as he scored his first victory of the season. 

The TACU Credit Union Six Shooter feature had to do a complete restart after the racing got a bit hairy in turn one and resulted in Greg Brown spinning out.  Brother Chris Brown powered by both Daniel Loendorf and Tim Murphy, Sr. to settle into first place.  Andrew Moore and Dustin McCracken were working well together as they were on a mission to get to the front of the field.  Moore and McCracken moved into the second and third positions by the midway point of the race.  Now the hunt for Brown and the win was on.  Both drivers were slowly closing on Brown for the lead and finally had Brown in their sights with five laps left.  Brown ran a bit wide in turns one and two with two laps to go, and that allowed both Moore and McCracken to dive to the inside and take over the top two spots.  Two laps was not enough time for McCracken to notch his fourth win of the year, but Moore made that move for the lead at the right time to drive off with his first feature of 2023. 

Jay Raines powered his way around Kelly Poff and into the lead at the start of the Mini-Van feature.  Fast qualifier Kevin Laufenberg needed just two more laps to wrestle second away from Poff.  Raines and Laufenberg would get into a hard fought battle for the lead and the win the rest of the way.    Laufenberg went to the high side of Raines but was not able to make his mini-van work on the outside lane.  Laufenberg tried to look low several times but could not get close enough to Raines to get a run out of the turns to power by him.  Raines began to slowly pull away from Laufenberg over the final couple of laps to give the defending champion his first year this year. 

The second High School Racing Association feature of 2023 saw Monty Odegard drive under both James Gratz and Trinity Aasen to take command of the race on the opening lap.  Trenton Frye was making his way to the front as he took over second place from Aasen on lap two.  Frye caught and then shot past Odegard to move into the lead on lap four..  Mitchell Berg struggled with his race car in the opening feature a few weeks ago, but this week Berg was running like normal.  Berg got around Odegard for second on lap five, but a yellow slowed his efforts temporarily thanks to a spin in turn one by Caleb Arneson.  Curtis Hellickson ran into Arneson and suffered enough damage to his race car to bring his night to a sudden end.  Starting shotgun on the field, it took Berg seven laps to become the race leader at Frye’s expense.  Ryatt Dobbartz started on the final row with Berg and got up to third at the halfway point of the race.  Dobbratz could not get close enough to Frye to challenge him for second, while Berg left the field in his wake and drove all the way to TACU Credit Union Victory Lane.  

The Chaos division returned to action with the always entertaining Outhouse Race.  All you need to do is drive up to the port-a-potty, run to it and grab a certain length of toilet paper, then hop back into your race car and drive away.  There’s always a driver looking to entertain the crowd during this race.  That driver was Jay Raines as he changed his clothes and came out in a woman’s dress to the amusement of the crowd.  Mike Gratz needed only 26.591 seconds to do his duty to be crowned ‘King of the Port-A-Potty’.

We begin the 4th of July holiday weekend on a high note next Friday, June 30 with the newest crown jewel event.  After a successful debut last year, the Big 8 Late Model Series returns to Tomah-Sparta Speedway for the second running of the Firecracker 58.  Now that they know about ‘Daytomah’ and have a race under their belts, will a Big 8 regular capture the win this year?  The American Super Cup Series pays their annual visit to Tomah-Sparta, plus the Hornets and Six Shooters will represent the local racers in this big holiday program.  Gates open at 5:00, qualifying revs up at 6:00 and the competitive jockeying on the track goes green at 7:30.  Don’t forget to stick around for the biggest fireworks show in Monroe County lighting up the night sky at the end of the evening.

Call the track office at 608-461-1920, visit our web site at or check out the track’s Facebook page for more information about Tomah-Sparta Speedway and the 2023 schedule of events.

Upper Midwest Vintage Racing Series
Feature (15 laps):  1. Dan Linnehan, 2. Jason Stark, 3. Tracey Prissel, 4.Jim Hendricks, Jr., 5. Roger Frank, 6. Paul Brown, 7. Roger Peterson, 8. Andy Muller, 9. Brian Hansen
Heat #1 (8 laps):  1. Roger Frank, 2. Paul Brown, 3. Jim Hendricks, Jr., 4. Andy Muller, 5. Brian Hanson
Heat #2 (8 laps):  1. Jason Stark, 2. Dan Linnehan, 3. Roger Peterson, 4. Tracey Prissell

Clark Powersport of Hillsboro Hobby Stocks
Feature (15 laps):  1. Michael Joines, 2. Shelby Lockington, 3. Landon Lockington, 4. Seth Gnewikow
Heat #1 (8 laps):  1. Seth Gnewikow, 1. Landon Lockington, 3. Shelby Lockington, 4. Michael Joines
Qualifying:  1. Shelby Lockington 18.106, 2. Seth Gnewikow 18.829, 3. Michael Joines 18.987, 4. Landon Lockington 19.612

Command Post Saloon Hornets
Feature (15 laps):  1. Charles Vian, Jr., 2. Adam Moore, 3. Tristan Drazkowski, 4. Andrew Gardner, 5. Adam Hayden, 6. Samantha Linnehan, 7. Paul Finch, 8. Matthew Heim, 9. Jamie Pearson, 10. Matthew Drazkowski, 11. Josh Schwartz, 12. Tristan Finnegan, 13. Doyle Cavender, 14. Andrew Lamb, 15. Caitlin Wood, 16. Jesse Sanwald, 17. Aubrie Leis, 18. Lonnie Wood, Sr., 19. Travis Atkinson
Heat #1 (8 laps):  1. Travis Atkinson, 2. Caitlin Wood, 3. Jesse Sanwald, 4. Doyle Cavender, 5. Lonnie Wood, Sr., 6. Aubrie Leis
Heat #2 (8 laps):  1. Adam Moore, 2. Matthew Heim, 3. Andrew Gardner, 4. Josh Schwartz, 5. Tristan Finnegan, 6. Matthew Drazkowski, 7. Andrew Lamb
Heat #3 (8 laps):  1. Jamie Pearson, 2. Charles Vian, Jr., 3. Samantha Linnehan, 4. Paul Finch, 5. Adam Hayden
Qualifying:  1. Adam Hayden 18.449, 2. Paul Finch 18.557, 3. Charles Vian, Jr. 18.593, 4. Samantha Linnehan 18.734, 5. Tristan Drazkowski 18.840, 6. Jamie Pearson 18.855, 7. Andrew Gardner 18.889, 8. Adam Moore 19.072, 9. Matthew Heim 19.376, 10. Tristan Finnegan 19.632, 11. Matthew Drazkowski 19.646, 12. Andrew Lamb 19.808, 13. Josh Schwartz 20.302, 14. Doyle Cavender 20,471, 15. Lonnie Wood, Sr. 20.668, 16. Traivs Atkinson 20.724, 17. Caitlin Wood 21.084, 18. Aubrie Leis 24.577, 19. Jesse Sanwald 24.946

TACU Credit Union Six Shooters
Feature (15 laps):  1. Andrew Moore, 2. Dustin McCracken, 3. Mike Gratz, 4. Chris Brown, 5. Tim Murphy, Sr., 6. Austyn Blank, 7. Tory Lockington, 8. Zachary Morgan, 9. A.J. Finnegan, 10. Daniel Loendorf, 11. Greg Brown
Heat #1 (8 laps):  1. Tim Murphy, Sr., 2. Zachary Morgan, 3. Daniel Loendorf, 4. Tory Lockington, 5. Austyn Blank, 6. A.J. Finnegan
Heat #2 (8 laps):  1. Dustin McCracken, 2. Andrew Moore, 3. Mike Gratz, 4. Greg Brown, 5. Chris Brown
Qualifying:  1. Dustin McCracken 19.054, 2. Mike Gratz 19.188, 3. Andrew Moore 19.209, 4. Greg Brown 19.545, 5. Chris Brown 19.569, 6. Tim Murphy, Sr. 19.965, 7. Daniel Loendorf 20.004, 8. Austyn Blank 20.267, 9. A.J. Finnegan 20.659, 10. Tory Lockington 20.792, 11. Zachary Morgan 21.490

Feature (10 laps):  1. Jay Raines, 2. Kevin Laufenberg, 3. Mike Gratz, 4. Kelly Poff
Heat #1 (8 laps):  1. Jay Raines, 2. Mike Gratz, 3. Kevin Laufenberg, 4. Kelly Poff
Qualifying:  1.  Kevin Laufenberg 20.212, 2. Mike Gratz 20.620, 3. Jay Raines 20.641, 4. Kelly Poff 21.682

High School Racing Association
Feature (15 laps):  1. Mitchell Berg, 2. Trenton Frye, 3. Ryatt Dobbratz, 4. Landin Frye, 5. Ghage Moore, 6. Monty Odegard, 7. Charlie Thompson, 8. Logan Backus, 9. Caleb Arneson, 10. Trinity Aasen, 11. Curtis Hellickson, 12. James Gratz
Heat #1 (8 laps):  1. Monty Odegard, 2. Trenton Frye, 3. Charlie Thompson, 4. Logan Backus, 5. Trinity Aasen, 6. James Gratz
Heat #2 (8 laps):  1. Curtis Hellickson, 2. Ryatt Dobbratz, 3. Landin Frye, 4. Mitchell Berg, 5. Ghage Moore, 6. Caleb Arneson
Qualifying:  1. Mitchell Berg 19.339, 2. Ryatt Dobbratz 20.022, 3. Ghage Moore 20.038, 4. Curtis Hellickson 20.181, 5. Landin Frye 20.482, 6. Logan Backus 20.491, 7. Trenton Frye 20.541, 8. Charlie Thompson 20.716, 9. Caleb Arneson 20.735, 10. Monty Odegard 20.819, 11. James Gratz 21.393, 12. Trinity Aasen 21.974

Outhouse Race:  1. Mike Gratz 26.591, 2. Tim Murphy, Sr. 28.716, 3. Zachary Morgan 34.327, 4. Rick Porter 36.626, 5. Jay Raines 1:38.764