By: Paul Reichert
November 11, 2023
The 2023 racing season saw amazing drives throughout the season. many twists and turns in the championship battles and drivers making big impressions that took them to the top of the racing mountain. Tomah-Sparta Speedway celebrated the accomplishments of the best of the best over the course of 2023 at the year-end Champions’ Banquet, as our racing community gathered once again at the banquet hall of Club 16 in Sparta The drivers gathered for a social hour to reflect the racing season completed, Pastor Andy Buhrow offered a prayer and a delicious buffet dinner served once again by C&C Catering. After all of those preliminary activities, it was time for the main event as many trophies were handed out for the drivers’ hard work and determination.
The brightest and most successful driver this season was Mike Gratz as he became the first driver in Tomah-Sparta history to secure three track championships in the same season. Four wins and only one finish outside of the top five in 12 features put a big exclamation point on his Tomah Area Credit Union Six Shooters title. A win and a bunch of top three runs locked up the Mini-Van crown for the Tomah native. The Chaos events are fun, but Gratz was out to win every time as he kept the ‘Captain Chaos’ title for a second straight year.
Finch Racing was well represented at the Champions’ Banquet once again. A trio of feature wins for Paul Finch saw him capture the Command Post Saloon Hornet title, his first championship since earning the Mini-Stock points crown in 2019. The return of ‘Jellybean’ Jordan Finch saw her capture her second career feature win, finish seventh in Hornet points, earn the Hard Luck Award for a tough first year back on the track and a Competition Achievement Award from new race director Chris Rada. Paul Finch announced at the end of his speech that he was moving on and will get behind the wheel of a Legends car in 2024.
Lockington Racing had a very successful 2023 as Shelby ran very consistently throughout the season to capture the Clark Powersport of Hillsboro Hobby Stock championship, with cousin Landon finishing second. Shelby received a Competition Achievement Award from track promoter Greg Oliver, and the entire Lockington Family was named Pastor Andy Buhrow’s Family of the Year for bringing their name back to prominence on the racing scene in western Wisconsin.
Several veteran drivers and newcomers to Tomah-Sparta Speedway captured their first ever track championships. Allen Borntreger had enough of a cushion after dominating the first two rounds of the Late Model Triple Crown Series to be crowned the second ever champion. Ayrton Brockhouse followed dad Tim’s tire tracks with a dominant season to capture the Tomah INEX Great North Legends crown, which was capped off with brother Ayden winning his first ever Legends feature. Watching his dad Troy race at Tomah-Sparta for years helped Ryatt Dobbratz dominate the High School Racing Association to be crowned the inaugural Tomah-Sparta champion. A dominant first night of racing was just a small part of an impressive season for Bentley Thompson as he locked up the INEX Bandolero Tomah crown.
The grand finale of the night was the presentation of the Sportsman of the Year Award, which was shared by videographer Rick Porter and PR guy Paul Reichert. After the announcer that took over for Dan Deicher suddenly stepped away about a third of the way through the season, track promoter Greg Oliver decided to put Rick and Paul together as the new announce team. Porter worked as the ‘sidekick’ announcer with Deicher for several years. Reichert has worked closely with Deicher on his media shows, as well at both Tomah-Sparta and LaCrosse for the past five years.
Now we can spend time with our families and enjoy their company with the holiday season fast approaching, We can also take some time to reflect on the life and career of former Tomah-Sparta Modified champion Brad “Wildman” Wildes, who passed away from his battle with cancer the day after our Champions’ Banquet. When the calendar turns to January 1, 2024, the green flag will fly as everyone will begin preparations in earnest for the upcoming 2024 season. Be sure to “Like” the Facebook page for Tomah-Sparta Speedway because that will be your best source of news and information concerning the coming season. Once the schedule and division rules have been released, you can go to tomahspartaspeedway.com for that information. If you have any further questions on the rules or the schedule, give the track office a ring at 608-461-1920.
TOMAH-SPARTA SPEEDWAY 2023 CHAMPIONS’ BANQUET AWARD WINNERS
Zoellick Home Repair and Log Staining Sportsmen
Top Five–Michael Gilomen, Mark Challet, Scott Mahlum, Troy Dobbratz, Terrance Robinson
Zoellick Home Repair and Log Staining Modifieds
Top Four–Bill Schott, Zach Oliver, Rick DeVito, Tony DeVitoA win
Rookie of the Year–Zach Oliver
Clark Powersport of Hillsboro Hobby Stocks
Top Five–Shelby Lockington, Landon Lockington, Seth Gnewikow, Andy Moore, Charles Vian, Jr.
Rookie of the Year–Seth Gnewikow
Command Post Saloon Hornets
Top Ten–Paul Finch, Matthew Heim, Samantha Linnehan, Tristan Finnegan, Josh Schwartz, Tristan Drazkowski, Jordan Finch, Jamie Pearson, Andrew Gardner, Matthew Drazkowski
Rookie of the Year–Josh Schwartz
Tomah Area Credit Union Six Shooters
Top Ten–Mike Gratz, Greg Brown, Jr., Tim Murphy, Sr., Zachary Morgan, Austyn Blank, Dustin McCracken, Chris Brown, A.J. Finnegan, Alex Lueth, Tory Lockington
Rookie of the Year–A.J. Finnegan
Top Three–Mike Gratz, Kevin Laufenberg, Jay Raines
High School Racing Association
Top Five–Ryatt Dobbratz, Ghage Moore, Monty Odegard, Caleb Arneson, Braydon Lockington
Late Model Triple Crown Series
Top Four–Allen Borntreger, Tom Luethe, Mahlon Borntreger, Drew Bernhagen
INEX Great North Legends
Top Five–Ayrton Brockhouse, Adam Hansen, Elliott Weiler, Rose Borntreger, Ayden Brockhouse
Top Three–Bentley Thompson, Carter Stein, Ryder Robinson
Chaos Division (Captain Chaos)–Mike Gratz
Hard Luck Award–Jordan Finch
Sportsmanship Award–Bill Schott
Best Paint Award–Zach Oliver
Most Improved Driver Award–Tim Murphy, Sr.
Hard Charger Award–Mark Challet
Social Media Award–Gilomen Racing
Competition Achievement Awards–Shelby Lockington (presented by Greg Oliver), Samantha Linnehan (presented by Paul Reichert), Jordan Finch (presented by Chris Rada)
Extra Efford Award–Mark Challet
Family of the Year Award (presented by Pastor Andy Buhrow)–Lockington Racing
Sportsmen of the Year–Rick Porter and Paul Reichert