By: Paul Reichert
August 27, 2023
In just the past three years, HobbyFest has become the biggest race of the year for the Hobby Stock class in the Midwest. Drivers from all over converge on Tomah-Sparta Speedway in hopes of scoring the biggest payday of their racing careers thanks to HobbyFest, regardless of how much or how little experience they have at ‘Daytomah’. Charles Vian, Jr. has been a major factor in the past two runnings of HobbyFest until something happened to take away those hopes for a win. Vian, Jr. was a part of the quadruple disqualification that knocked out the top four finishers two years ago. A flat tire with four laps remaining after contact with Dave Trute came at a bad time and squashed Vian, Jr.’s dream of being a HobbyFest champion last year. This year the third time would be the charm for Vian, Jr. as he benefitted from contact between leaders Mike Krueger, Jr. and Andy Moore with six laps to go. Vian, Jr. inherited the lead and pulled away from the rest of the field to finally become a HobbyFest champion.
The HobbyFest 4 feature got off to a quick start as Mike Krueger, Jr. powered around Danny Mann for the lead. Nick Oxborough shot past fellow Elko racers Jesse Fischer and Mann to grab a hold of the runner-up spot on lap two. Defending HobbyFest champ Chris Weber would also dismiss Fischer and Mann to take over the third podium position by lap three. The inaugural HobbyFest champ Andy Moore surged underneath Dave Trute, then drove around Charles Vian, Jr. to crack the top five on lap four. Weber tried to find a way by Oxborough for second, but was unable to break through. Weber would then have his hands full trying to stave off Trute for his third spot. Unfortunately Weber suddenly slowed in turn two on lap ten with a mechanical failure that ended his quest for back-to-back victories. Someone ran over one of the tires separating the old track from the new in turn three on lap 12. That tire got loose and was on the racing surface to force a yellow flag. Krueger, Jr. continued to show the way on the restart with Oxborough on his outside. Krueger, Jr. was pulling away from his competition as Moore moved around Oxborough to settle into second place. Another player that was flexing his muscles for the win was Vian, Jr. After shooting past Trute for fourth on lap 16, Vian, Jr. zoomed past Oxborough to get a tight grip on third at the 19th lap. As they reached six laps left, Krueger, Jr. and Moore attempted to split the soon to be lapped car of Grant Witcraft entering turn one. Someone made a wrong turn as all three drivers collided with each other and slide off the track. Despite damage to his rear bumper, Krueger, Jr. was the only driver able to fix his race car and return to action. Vian, Jr. was now the new leader, but he would have to deal with Trute and Oxborough in a six-lap shootout. Vian, Jr. was able to pull away from Trute and Oxborough over those final six laps to finally add his name to the list of prestigious HobbyFest winners..
It was the final feature race of the year for the Zoellick Home Repair and Log Staining Modifieds, and Rick DeVito quickly pulled ahead of points leader Bill Schott to lead the early stages of the race. Schott tried to keep up with DeVito by hanging out on the outside, but Schott was struggling to find some grip on the outside line. Zach Oliver’s rookie campaign was filled with a lot of learning the Modifieds, and his two spins early in the race were a part of that learning curve. Spinning out on the front straight on lap two and the back straight on lap six let him know when not to be quick on the gas. Oliver spun a third time on lap nine, but he was able to re-fire his car and get back in the race. Former Six Shooter competitor Austin Powers debuted in a Modified and was making the outside work for him in catching DeVito. They got neck-and-neck with each other, and Powers just nipped DeVito at the line to lead laps ten and 11. Maybe Powers was using up his equipment too much because DeVito fought back and returned to the ‘head of the class’ with three laps remaining. DeVito was the class of this field as a HobbyFest feature winner alongside of his brother Larry, who turned in a similar performance two years ago. Despite being disqualified in post-race inspection, Schott had enough of a cushion in the points to claim his second Modified championship in three years.
In the Zoellick Home Repair and Log Staining Sportsmen feature, Scott Mahlum powered by recent LaCrosse feature winner Mark Challet to become the leader of the pack. Mahlum was on a quest to repeat as the Sportsmen feature winner from last year’s HobbyFest, and he was looking very racy in the main event. Soon points leader Michael Giloman would power first Challet for third on lap three, then Jake Schiller to move up into second on lap four. Giloman needed only two laps to close up on Mahlum and began to search for a way around him. The two drivers made contact coming out of turn two on lap seven as they tried to catch and correct their race cars. That was the opportunity Schiller needed as he shot past both Giloman and Mahlum to assume command of the race. Giloman had to reset things so he could try again to get past Mahlum, but it looked like he was taking a more cautious approach to doing that. Giloman got to the outside of Mahlum as they battled for three laps side-by-side before Giloman charged past Mahlum to take over second on the next to last lap. There would be no late race charge as Schiller was long gone and claimed the victory.
Jordan Finch outran Josh Schwartz to lead the start of the Command Post Saloon Hornet feature. Matthew Heim surged into second by lap two at the expense of both Schwartz and Samantha Linnehan. Kaleb Hardy was holding onto third despite having to deal with both Tristan Drazkowski and Paul Finch. Hardy’s drive forward was stymied by his spin in turn two on the fifth circuit to bring out the caution. The restart did not last very long as Tristan Finnegan went for a loop-de-loop in turn one. Schwartz continued to fall back deeper into the pack by the halfway mark as Drazkowski and Paul Finch advanced up to third and fourth. It looked like Heim was closing the gap on Jordan Finch as they came to four laps to go, but Heim got loose entering turn one and that allowed Jordan Finch to re-establish her advantage. Heim was now going to have to fight off both Drazkowski and Paul Finch for the number two position, which he successfully did. Back up front Jordan Finch would not be denied a return trip to TACU Credit Union Victory Lane as she captured her first feature win since claiming her maiden feature win two years ago.
The TACU Credit Union Six Shooter feature was led by Rockford regular Jason Van Hise, who was racing for the very first time at Tomah. Alex Lueth got a better run entering turn one at the start to take over the top spot from Van Hise. The drivers behind Lueth on the inside lane followed his lead in kicking Van Hise out of the top five by lap three. Last week’s feature winner Chris Brown, veteran Tim Murphy, Sr., up and comer Andrew Moore and point leader Mike Gratz all settled into the rest of the top five positions. Murphy drove around Brown for second on lap five, Murphy, Sr. powered under Brown for third on lap six, Moore settled into fourth by lap seven and Gratz dismissed Brown from the top five as the crossed flags were displayed. Moore and Gratz teamed up to drive past Murphy to take over the other podium spots with five laps to go. As Lueth maintained a comfortable lead, Moore and Gratz got into a tight and close fight over second. Gratz would eventually win that fight and become the runner-up with two laps to go. Unfortunately it was not enough time for Gratz to catch Lueth as the Rookie of the Year leader sailed under the checkered flag in first place for the first time in his young career.
We are nearing the finish line of the 2023 racing season as we have a ton of titles to decide over the next two weeks. The final round of the Late Model Triple Crown Series is the next crown to be settled on Friday, September 1. Can Allen Borntrager do what Jesse Bernhagen could not last year and sweep the three-race series? Will Borntrager have to deal with some heavy hitters from the Late Model class that will be out to steal his thunder? Join us on Friday night to answer those questions and witness the Sportsmen, Hobby Stocks, Hornets and Six Shooters also competing on the legendary ‘Daytomah’ oval. Gates open at 5, another thrilling session of qualifying goes green at 6:15 and the exciting fender rubbing racing fires up at 7:30.
Call the track office at 608-461-1920, visit our website at tomahspartaspeedway.com or check out the track’s Facebook page for more information about Tomah-Sparta Speedway and the 2023 schedule of events.
Feature (30 laps): 1. Charles Vian, Jr., 2. Nick Oxborough, 3. Dave Trute, 4. Shane Strothman, 5. Jesse Fischer, 6. Danny Mann, 7. Mike Stoer, 8. Jimmie Jorgenson, 9. Robbie Rucks, 10. Reggie Mitchell, 11. Jamie Tate, 12. Chase Wangsness, 13. Jason Bolster, 14. Mike Krueger, Jr., 15. Bryan Nalan, Jr., 16. Tyler Vincetich, 17. Andy Moore, 18. Grant Witcraft, 19. Brock Westermayer, 20. Chris Weber, 21. Landon Lockington, 22. Seth Gnewikow, 23. Shelby Lockington
Qualifying Heat #1 (10 laps): 1. Jamie Tate, 2. Brock Westermayer, 3. Tyler Vincetich, 4. Landon Lockington, 5. Bryan Nalan, Jr.
Qualifying Heat #2 (10 laps): 1. Shelby Lockington, 2. Seth Gnewikow, 3. Grant Witcraft, 4. Jason Bolster, 5. Matt McLaughlin
Odd Heat (10 laps): 1. Charles Vian, Jr., 2. Andy Moore, 3. Shane Strothman, 4. Jesse Fischer, 5. Jimmie Jorgenson, 6. Danny Mann, 7. Reggie Mitchell
Even Heat (10 laps): 1. Mike Kreuger, Jr., 2. Chris Weber, 3. Dave Trute, 4. Nick Oxborough, 5. Chase Wangsness, 6. Robbie Rucks, 7. Mike Stoer
Qualifying: 1. Shane Strothman 17.146, 2. Dave Trute 17.240, 3. Andy Moore 17.264, 4. Chris Weber 17.365, 5. Charles Vian, Jr. 17.369, 6. Nick Oxborough 17.420, 7. Jesse Fischer 17.502, 8. Mike Kreuger, Jr. 17.562, 9. Danny Mann 17.578, 10. Robbie Rucks 17.656, 11. Jimmie Jorgenson 17.687, 12. Chase Wangsness 17.709, 13. Reggie Mitchell 17.787, 14. MIke Stoer 17.852, 15. Tyler Vincetich 17.985, 16. Seth Gnewikow 18.131, 17. Brock Westermayer 18.156, 18. Jason Bolster 18.203, 19. Jamie Tate 18.233, 20. Shelby Lockington 18.252, 21. Bryan Nalan, Jr. 18.384, 22. Grant Witcraft 18.742, 23. Landon Lockington 19.201
Zoellick Home Repair and Log Staining Modifieds
Feature (15 laps): 1. Rick DeVito, 2. Austin Powers, 3. Zach Oliver, 4. Bill Schott (DQ)
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Rick DeVito, 2. Bill Schott, 3. Austin Powers, 4. Anthony DeVito, 5. Zach Oliver
Qualifying: 1. Austin Powers 16.216, 2. Bill Schott 16.453, 3. Zach Oliver 16.522, 4. Rick DeVito 16.763, 5. Anthony DeVito, 17.125
Zoellick Home Repair and Log Staining Sportsmen
Feature (15 laps): 1. Jake Schiller, 2. Michael Giloman, 3. Mark Challet, 4. Scott Mahlum (DQ)
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Mark Challet, 2. Jake Schiller, 3. Michael Giloman, 4. Scott Mahlum
Qualifying: 1. Michael Giloman 16.474, 2. Jake Schiller 16.903, 3. Scott Mahlum 17.105, 4. Mark Challet 17.149
Command Post Saloon Hornets
Feature (15 laps): 1. Jordan Finch, 2. Matthew Heim, 3. Tristan Drazkowski, 4. Paul Finch, 5. Josh Schwartz, 6. Samantha Linnehan, 7. Kaleb Hardy, 8. Austin Manning, 9. Mitchell Rinartz, 10. Caitlyn Wood, 11. Matthew Drazkowski, 12. Tristan Finnegan, 13. Jim Hendricks, Sr., 14. Lonnie Wood, Sr., 15. Andrew Gardner
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Mitchell Rinartz, 2. Jim Hendricks, Sr., 3. Austin Manning, 4. Matthew Drazkowski, 5. Tristan Finnegan, 6. Caitlyn Woood, 7. Lonnie Wood, Sr., 8. Clint Hagstrom
Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. Josh Schwartz, 2. Matthew Heim, 3. Kaleb Hardy, 4. Tristan Drazkowski, 5. Jordan Finch, 6. Paul Finch, 7. Samantha Linnehan, 8. Andrew Gardner
Qualifying: 1. Paul Finch 18.178, 2. Tristan Drazkowski 18.768, 3. Andrew Gardner 18.818, 4. Kaleb Hardy 18.885, 5. Samantha Linnehan 18.987, 6. Matthew Heim 19.079, 7. Jordan Finch 19.081, 8. Josh Schwartz 19.660, 9. Caitlyn Wood 19.752, 10. Mitchell Rinartz 19.790, 11. Tristan Finnegan 19.834, 12. Matthew Drazkowski 19.880, 13. Austin Manning 20.017, 14. Lonnie Wood, Sr. 20.324, 15. Clint Hagstrom 20.617, 16. Jim Hendricks, Sr. 20.666
TACU Credit Union Six Shooters
Feature (15 laps): 1. Alex Lueth, 2. Mike Gratz, 3. Andrew Moore, 4. Tim Murphy, Sr., 5. Chris Brown, 6. Jeremy Bingham, 7. Greg Brown, Jr., 8. Jason Van Hise, 9. A.J. Finnegan, 10. Monty Odegard, 11. Zachary Morgan, 12. Brandon Young, 13. Christopher Neal
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. A.J. Finnegan, 2. Zachary Morgan, 3. Jason Van Hise, 4. Brandon Young, 5. Alex Lueth, 6. Chirstopher Neal, 7. Monty Odegard
Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. Mike Gratz, 2. Chris Brown, 3. Andrew Moore, 4. Tim Murphy, Sr., 5. Jeremy Bingham, 6. Greg Brown, Jr.
Qualifying: 1. Mike Gratz 19.071, 2. Andrew Moore 19.587, 3. Greg Brown, Jr. 19.685, 4. Tim Murphy, Sr. 91.697, 5. Jeremy Bingham 19.768, 6. Chris Brown 19.769, 7. Jason Van Hise 19.949, 8. Alex Lueth 19.987, 9. Monty Odegard 20.021, 10. A.J. Finnegan 20.038, 11. Zachary Morgan 20.141, 12. Christopher Neal 20.851, 13. Brandon Young 20.890