Weinfurter, Gress battle to CWRA wins at Marshfield
It was tight, action packed CWRA Stars to Legends Tour racing at Marshfield Motor Speedway Friday, July 6, with Jeff Weinfurter of Wisconsin Rapids and Darek Gress of Neillsville each taking extremely close wins in the two, 30-lap main events.
The night’s racing was dedicated to long time Wisconsin Fans for Auto Racing member, Sue Bednarski.
Mike Sievers of Wisconsin Rapids had the lucky drawing of the night and started on the pole of the first 30-lap Feature. He took an early lead but within a lap it was Derrick Van Dreel of Wisconsin Rapids grabbing the lead.
His lead was short lived as well, as Jeff Weinfurter moved in front. Darren Jackson of Wisconsin Rapids moved into the second spot with Mark Mackesy of Wausau, who has been on a hot streak of late, settling into the third spot.
Positions were rapidly changing throughout the 17-car field when the caution waved for a Jack Greenwood of Phillips spin. With the race realigned for the restart, it was once again Weinfurter taking the lead.
Jackson and Mackesy were putting the pressure on however, looking for their chance to supplant Weinfurter from the top spot. Darek Gress was on the move and with 15 laps to go moved all the way to fourth from his 15th starting position on the grid.
The order remained the same, as Weinfurter was looking to hang on to the top spot with eight laps remaining. Weinfurter stretched his lead as Jackson and Mackesy battled side by side for second spot. Mackesy eventually grabbed the position and immediately got up alongside Weinfurter looking for the lead.
The two battled that way for the remainder of the race, with Weinfurter taking the checkered flag a car length ahead of Mackesy, who was ahead of Jackson by the same margin. Gress kept the fourth spot at the stripe and was followed by Frank Nitzke of Berlin and Jesse Bernhagen of Stevens Point in sixth.
The second, 30-lap main event again found Sievers on the pole via the inverted line up from Feature one, and he immediately motored out front.
A lap was all he would pace the field for however, as Van Dreel, took over the first position the next round. Rachal Kallas of Winneconne, from her fifth-starting position on the grid, moved into second position in hot pursuit of Van Dreel.
In the blink of an eye, Rookie contender Bernhagen moved into third and was fast closing on the leaders. The second spot was his at Kallas’ expense two laps later, and Van Dreel became his next victim within a lap.
Bernhagen looked strong, pacing the field, but no less than a five-car train were hot on his heels. Gress and Weinfurter were two of those pursuers, and they dispatched of Bernhagen with 12 laps left in the race.
Lapped traffic came into play, and as a result Weinfurter was able to sneak in front of Gress and take the lead. With 10 laps to go, it was Weinfurter and Gress battling side by side and nose to tail with fast closing Mackesy right behind.
A caution for a multi car spin slowed the action with nine laps to go, but once again Weinfurter took the point on the restart. Gress wasn’t finished, however, and taking the extreme outside groove moved alongside Weinfurter.
Mackesy made it a three-car battle, nearly splitting the two leaders, making a move in the middle of the wide track.
With one lap to go, Gress made a last gasp attempt at an outside move, making it work going down the front stretch, heading toward the checkered flag, beating Weinfurter at the line by a mere inches.
Weinfurter had to settle for second, with Mackesy third in one of the closest finishes ever witnessed in CWRA Stars to Legends Tour competition. Following the leading trio was Jackson, Bernhagen and Kallas to round out the Top 6.
The wins for Weinfurter and Gress ended Mackesy’s consecutive wins streak at three, but Mackesy hopes to get back in victory lane at the next Tour event, the Marlin Walbeck Classic, at Dells Raceway Park in Wisconsin Dells, Saturday, July 21. Weinfurter and Gress are hoping they can start streaks of their own as they have proven to be more than up to task having taken two main event wins each respectively.
30 lap Feature one 1. Jeff Weinfurter, Wis. Rapids, WI., 2. Mark Mackesy, Wausau, WI., 3. Darren Jackson, Wis. Rapids, WI., 4. Darek Gress, Neillsville, WI., 5. Frank Nitzke, Berlin, WI., 6. Jesse Bernhagen, Stevens Point, WI., 7. Brian Henry, Omro, WI., 8. Monte Gress, Neillsville, WI., 9. Rachal Kallas, Winneconne, WI., 10. Dakota Blakeslee, Wis. Rapids, WI., 11. Derrick Van Dreel, Wis. Rapids, WI., 12. Mark Schultz, Oshkosh, WI., 13. Mike Sievers, Wis. Rapids, WI., 14. Greg Matthews, Wis. Rapids, WI., 15. Dave Neitzke, Eureka, WI., 16. Eric Wilhite, Athens, WI., 17. Jack Greenwood, Phillips, WI.
30 lap Feature two 1. D. Gress, 2. Weinfurter, 3. Mackesy, 4. Jackson, 5. Bernhagen, 6. Kallas, 7. Henry, 8. Blakeslee, 9. Nitzke, 10. M. Gress, 11. Sievers, 12. Van Dreel, 13. Schultz, 14. Matthews, 15. Neitzke, 16. Wilhite, 17. Greenwood.
CWRA Stars to Legends point standings as of 7/6/18
- Mark Mackesy 392
- Jeff Weinfurter 373
- Darek Gress 369
- Darren Jackson 348
- Jesse Bernhagen 290
- Rachal Kallas 287
- Brian Henry 275
- Derrick Van Dreel 272
- Frank Nitzke 270
- Monte Gress 255
- Mike Sievers 220
- Dakota Blakeslee 170
- Dave Neitzke 164
- Greg Matthews 162
- Jack Greenwood 100
- Jim Sauter Jr. 82
- Tod Stenson 64
- Jesse Pocksyck 63
- Brock Heinrich 62
- Mark Schultz 55
- Kirby Kurth 53
- Eric Wilhite 48