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By: Paul Reichert
September 1, 2023

The Labor Day holiday weekend is summer’s last stand as we get those final vacations and get togethers in before the kids head back to school. The high powered Late Models helped to kick start the festivities of Labor Day weekend as they brought the second running of the Late Model Triple Crown Series to a close at Tomah-Sparta Speedway. While he may have struggled to find the right setup in the first two rounds, Tom Luethe and crew may have hit on something for the final round. Luethe led from green to checkered to score his first career Late Model win and give him some momentum for Oktoberfest in about a month.

Tom Luethe shot past Drew Bernhagen to lead the start of the final Late Model feature of the year. Thayrin Rezin battled side-by-side with Bernhagen for a few laps before surging by him to take over second spot on lap four. Thomas Farra’s debut in a late model has a steep learning curve after he spun out in turn four on lap six. Fortunately Farra did not hit the wall and was able to return to competition. Luethe pulled away from Rezin on the restart, and by lap seven the battle over second began between Rezin and Mahlon Borntreger. This would be the race within the race for the rest of the 25 lap main event. Borntreger powered by Rezin to move into second and then tried to close the gap Luethe held on the field. Rezin felt re-energized to catch back up to Borntreger, and ran alongside him before taking back second on lap ten. As Rezin tried to catch up to Borntreger, the 08 machine got new life as he caught Rezin again and settled into the runner-up spot at the crossed flags. The fight over second was like a yo-yo between Rezin and Borntreger the rest of the race. A little further back Allen Borntreger was struggling to find grip on the outer groove in his fight over fourth with Drew Bernhagen. Luethe was happy to see the back-and-forth second place battle as he maintained about a five car length lead to capture his first ever Late Model feature win in just his second year behind one of these high powered race cars. Despite finishing in fifth, Allen Borntreger had enough of a cushion to be crowned the Late Model Triple Crown Series champion.

The Zoellick Home Repair and Log Staining Sportsmen feature saw point leader Michael Giloman surged ahead of Mark Challet to lead the first circuit. Finding grip on the outside was a struggle for Giloman as Challet powered under him to settle into the number one position on lap two. Giloman would now be hounded by Jake Schiller and have to defend second place from him. As Challet began to slowly open up a lead on the field, Giloman was doing everything he could to keep a tight hold onto second from Schiller. Challet would be the car to beat tonight as he drove off with a dominant second checkered flag win of the season.

After winning the heat race in his debut earlier in the night, Mike Gratz nosed ahead of Landon Lockington to lead the opening lap of the Clark Powersport of Hillsboro Hobby Stock feature. The outside was still a struggle as Lockington powered by Gratz to take over the lead spot on lap two. By the fourth lap Jason Bolster and Matthew Cleveland stuck to the inside lane to move into second and third places. Bolster dove to the inside of Lockington at the end of lap five and surged into the lead entering turn one on lap six. Cleveland would do the same thing to Lockington to take over second on lap seven, but he was not wasting time to catch the leader after that pass. Cleveland was on Bolster’s bumper on lap nine, then got a run under Bolster coming out of turn two to become the new race leader entering turn three and coming to five to go. Taking over the ride that went to victory lane at HobbyFest 4 five days ago, Cleveland pulled away to win his first feature in some time at ‘Daytoman’ and give the grey 28 machine a second straight trip to TACU Credit Union Victory Lane.

The Command Post Saloon Hornet feature saw Rookie of the Year leader Josh Schwartz outduel heat race winner Travis Atkinson for the lead. Matthew Heim followed closely behind Schwartz and found a way under him to take over the lead spot on lap two. Mike Hennessy, Jr. had a very fast race car that quickly was on the move as he got up to second on lap three at the expense of Brandon McCarthy and Schwartz. Heim’s mirror quickly filled up with the brown and tan race car of Hennessy, who quickly shot past Heim to take over the race lead on lap four. As Hennessy, Jr. began to pull away from the field, fast qualifier Paul Finch was coming from deep in the field to say that the race was not quite over yet. Daughter Jordan dropped out of the top five thanks to Dad on lap six, Brandon McCarthy saw a fast blue race car swoosh by him for fourth at halfway, then Finch took over the third podium position from Dan Linnehan on lap nine, and by lap 11 Finch would overpower Heim to settle into second. Now Finch had just four laps to eat away at Hennessy, Jr.’s sizable lead. Finch was making some pretty good sized dents into that lead, but he only got as close as three car lengths.

Austyn Blank outran Christopher Neal to lead the start of the TACU Credit Union Six Shooter feature. Greg Brown, Jr. was making his way through the field and was eating up the margin he had to make up on Blank. Brown, Jr. moved to the low side of Blank and became the new top dog in the race on lap four. Points leader Mike Gratz had to come from deep in the field at the start of his quest to claim another feature win. By lap seven of the race, Gratz powered around A.J. Finnegan to put himself in second and now was ready to challenge Brown, Jr. Going to the outside lane, Gratz would power ahead of Brown, Jr. to take the lead at the end of lap ten. The outside lane was also not being helpful to the Six Shooters as Brown fought back to take back the lead on lap 11. Brown would stand his ground on the inside to fight back Gratz and join brother Chris as a first time feature winner at ‘Daytomah’.

The 2023 racing season will take the final checkered flag next Friday, September 8 as the Sportsmen, Hobby Stocks, Hornets and Six Shooters will run one last points race and wrap up their season championships. A couple divisions will each have a surprise champion being crowned for the first time, a veteran will claim a long overdue championship, while one driver looks to lock up a third points crown for the season. Gates open at 5:00, the last fight with the clock in qualifying revs up at 6:15 and we will witness the final victories of 2023 beginning at 7:30.

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.

Late Model Triple Crown Series
Feature (25 laps): 1. Tom Luethe, 2. Mahlon Borntreger, 3. Thayrin Rezin, 4. Drew Bernhagen, 5. Allen Borntreger, 6. Andrew Buhrow, 7. Thomas Farra
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Drew Bernhagen, 2. Thayrin Rezin, 3. Mahlon Borntreger, 4. Allen Borntreger, 5. Tom Luethe, 6. Andrew Buhrow, 7. Thomas Farra
Qualifying: 1. Mahlon Borntreger 15.838, 2. Thayrin Rezin 15,854, 3. Allen Borntreger 16.022, 4. Drew Bernhagen 16.133, 5. Tom Luethe 16.375, 6. Andrew Buhrow 16.605, 7. Thomas Farra 16.617

Zoellick Home Repair and Log Staining Sportsmen
Feature (15 laps): 1. Mark Challet, 2. Michael Giloman, 3. Jake Schiller
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Michael Giloman, 2. Mark Challet, 3. Scott Mahlum, 4. Jake Schiller
Qualifying: 1. Michael Giloman 16.308, 2. Mark Challet 16.782, 3. Jake Schiller 16.887, 4. Scott Mahlum 17.440

Clark Powersport of Hillsboro Hobby Stocks
Feature (15 laps): 1. Matthew Cleveland, 2. Jason Bolster, 3. Landon Lockington, 4. Seth Gnewikow, 5. Mike Gratz, 6. Shelby Lockington, 7. Matt McLaughlin, 8. Todd Lockington
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Mike Gratz, 2. Seth Gnewikow, 3. Landon Lockington, 4. Shelby Lockington, 5. Matthew Cleveland, 6. Jason Bolster, 7. Matt McLaughlin, 8. Todd Lockington
Qualifying: 1. Shelby Lockington 18.180, 2. Matthew Cleveland 18.392, 3. Seth Gnewikow 18.532, 4. Jason Bolster 18.579, 5. Mike Gratz 18.857, 6. Landon Lockington 19.858, 7. Todd Lockington 20.115

Command Post Saloon Hornets
Feature (15 laps): 1. Mike Hennessy, Jr., 2. Paul Finch, 3. Matthew Heim, 4. Dan Linnehan, 5. Brandon McCarthy, 6. Jordan Finch, 7. Travis Atkinson, 8. Jeffrey Von Ruden, 9. Damion Swenson, 10. Tristan Finnegan, 11. Nick Loesel, 12. Josh Schwartz
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Travis Atkinson, 2. Jeffrey Von Ruden, 3. Nick Loesel, 4. Tristan Finnegan, 5. Josh Schwartz, 6. Lonnie Wood, Sr., 7. Austin Manning, 8. Caitlyn Wood
Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. MIke Hennessy, Jr., 2. Jordan Finch, 3. Paul Finch, 4. Matthew Heim, 5. Dan Linnehan, 6. Brandon McCarthy, 7. Damion Swenson
Qualifying: 1. Paul Finch 18.258, 2. Mike Hennessy, Jr. 19.030, 3. Dan Linnehan 19.222, 4. Matthew Heim 19.298, 5. Brandon McCarthy 19.330, 6. Jordan Finch 19.567, 7. Josh Schwartz 19.584, 8. Austin Manning 19.681, 9. Tristan Finnegan 19.731, 10. Travis Atkinson 19.861, 11. Lonnie Wood, Sr. 21.388, 12. Caitlyn Wood 21.808

TACU Credit Union Six Shooters
Feature (15 laps): 1. Greg Brown, Jr., 2. Mike Gratz, 3. A.J. Finnegan, 4. Scott Ehleiter, 5. Chris Brown, 6. Austyn Blank, 7. Christopher Neal, 8. Zachary Morgan, 9. Alex Lueth, 10. James Gratz, 11. Tim Murphy, Sr., 12. Isaiah Moore
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Christopher Neal, 2. Isaiah Moore, 3. Alex Lueth, 4. Austyn Blank, 5. Zachary Morgan, 6. James Gratz, 7. Brandon Young
Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. MIke Gratz, 2. Greg Brown, Jr., 3. Scott Ehleiter, 4. A.J. Finnegan, 5. Chris Brown, 6. Tim Murphy, Sr.
Qualifying: 1. Mike Gratz 19.375, 2. Scott Ehleiter 19.558, 3. Chris Brown 19.774, 4. Tim Murphy, Sr. 19.790, 5. Greg Brown, Jr. 19.865, 6. A.J. Finnegan 19.971, 7. Isaiah Moore 20.008, 8. Austyn Blank 20.107, 9. Christopher Neal 20.237, 10. Brandon Young 20.518, 11. Zachary Morgan 20.873, 12. Alex Lueth 20.945, 13. James Gratz 21.024