McBride Stars in Luxemburg’s “Battle of the Burg” Late Model Duel!
By Joe Verdegan
June 7, 2002; Luxemburg, WI. – Shawano veteran MJ Mcbride passed Gordie Seegert for the lead on a lap 14 restart, was later repassed by Seegert then regained the lead with eight laps to go to capture the 50 lap late model feature at Luxemburg Speedway Friday night in the “Battle of the ‘Burg.” The event, sponsored by Woody’s Signs and Engine Rebuilding Services marked the first appearance of late models at the speedway in more than ten years. Mcbride collected $1,500 for his efforts in front of a packed house.
A total of 96 cars took part in the program, including 42 IMCA modifieds, 33 IMCA stock cars and 21 late models.
Tim Buhler outgunned polesitter Russ Scheffler into the lead at the drop of the green of the late model main. Buhler put his GRT chassis to the rubbered up bottom groove while Scheffler committed to the largely unused top groove. Scheffler worked up a head of steam and was able to pass Buhler for the lead on lap five. A lap six yellow flew when brothers Tim and Dave Bennett collided with Dean Maurer in turn three. When racing resumed Gordie Seegert shot into the second spot and trailed Scheffler in the high groove. The pair pulled away from the field and waged a torrid duel for the lead. The yellow flew for the second time on lap nine when Randy Markwardt spun, collecting Mike Babino Jr. in the process.
After a Bob Bennett spin on lap 14 the field was forced to restart. Seegert dove underneath Scheffler as the field took the green while Mcbride stuck his racer on top and executed a thrilling, three wide pass to grab the lead coming out of turn two. By lap twenty Seegert, Troy Springborn and Tom Naeyaert had caught up with Mcbride. The quartet ran nose-to-tail until the halfway point, when Seegert muscled his way underneath Mcbride to take the lead. Troy Springborn, who started in the fourth row, traded paint with Mcbride for several laps before taking over the runnerup spot for good on lap 30.
Seegert began sifting his way through lapped cars by lap 33, as Springborn tried to chisel away at Seegert’s advantage. Springborn caught a break when a Dave Bennett spin tightened up the field.
Mcbride was able to muscle his way inside of Springborn for second and held that position through a pair of caution periods in the next four laps. With eight laps remaining Springborn suffered a flat tire, forcing the Shawano driver to pit. With an eight lap dash to the checkers, Mcbride snuck underneath Seegert and the 35 year racing veteran hung on to win his first feature flag of the 2002 campaign. “My car loves to run these dry slick tracks, and the track even took on rubber in the top groove by the end of the race which helped,” said Mcbride. “We were going to go to another track in western Wisconsin and race tonight. But I’m glad we made this decision to come Luxemburg.”
Seegert, a driver who competed weekly at Luxemburg in the early 1980’s, was thrilled to be back at the tight, third-mile clay oval. Seegert wound up second. “All we heard from the guys who tested here was no one will be able to pass,” said Seegert. “We swapped the lead, and even went three wide more than once. What a great time that was tonight. I can’t wait to come back again next year.”
Nine time Hales Corners Speedway champion Scheffler passed Tom Naeyaert in the final laps to take third. Naeyaert settled for fourth while Bonduel’s Mark Mitchell rounded out the top five finishers.
Defending track champion RM Van Pay of Green Bay passed Jeremy Hodkeiwicz at lap 15 and cruised to victory in the caution-free, 25 lap IMCA modified feature. Van Pay also won his heat race scoring a clean sweep for the evening. The victory was Van Pay’s first of the season.
Frog Station’s Dan Ratajczak sliced his way through field from twentieth to take second at the pay window. Ratajczak qualified for the feature through winning one of two last chance semi-features. Hodkeiwicz hung on for third as the Shawano driver posted his best finish of the season. Shawano’s Craig Bartz and hometown driver Dave Zietler rounded out the top five finishers.
Green Bay’s Pat Davister used a three wide pass on a restart to take the lead and score his first 22 lap IMCA stock car feature win of the season. Davister also won his heat, scoring a sweep for the evening.
Rookie Brett Piontek outraced Jeff LaCrosse into the lead with Tony Bouche sliding into second. Four laps into the contest the yellow flew when Tim Van De Hei’s mount stalled in turn three lap five. On the restart Davister and Brian Bruechert split the leader Bouche with a three wide pass. Davister snuck underneath to take the lead, which was short lived when Brandon Czarapata’s stalled racer drew an amber on lap nine.
When racing resumed Davister began to slowly stretch his lead over the pack. Jeremy Christians charged from his 13th starting spot into second on lap 12 and began chopping away at Davister’s advantage. Christians was able to keep Davister within striking distance. While Christians catching the leader on the high groove Bruechert also reeled in Christians. Both Bruechert and Christians caught up with Davister with five laps to go. The trio went three wide, with Bruechert running high, Davister in the middle groove and Christians down low. Davister was able to thwart the challenges of both foes to collect his first Luxemburg feature win of the season. Trailing Davister at the finish line were Bruechert, Christians, JJ Heinz and Eric Van Iten rounded out the top five finishes.
Racing resumes next Friday night at 7 p.m.
LUXEMBURG SPEEDWAY RACE RESULTS 6-7-02
50 Lap feature – MJ Mcbride, Shawano; Gordie Seegert, Jr., Oostburg; Russ Scheffler, Milwaukee; Tom Naeyaert, Shawano; Mark Mitchell, Bonduel; Troy Springborn, Shawano; Pete Parker, Kaukauna; Tim Buhler, Glenbeulah; Dean Maurer, De Pere; Mark Weisnicht, Pulaski; Cody Grosskreutz, Clintonville; Bob Bennett, Greenville; Doug Klemp, Black Creek; Greg Dhein, Waupaca; Dan Gracyalny, Little Chute; Dave Bennett, Neenah; Tim Bennett, Appleton; Ron Berna, Green Bay; Randy Markwardt, Sheboygan Falls; Mike Babino Jr., Shawano; Ron Bomber, Rio Creek (DNS)
First 10 lap heat: Berna; Seegert
Second: Weisnicht; Scheffler
Third: Parker; Naeyaert
8 lap Potowatomi Bingo Dash – Berna; Seegert; Parker; Scheffler
25 Lap Feature: – RM Van Pay, Green Bay; Dan Ratajczak, Frog Station; Jeremy Hodkiewicz, Shawano; Craig Bartz, Shawano; Dave Zeitler, Luxemburg; Shawn Olson, Algoma
First 12 lap semi-feature: Ratajczak; Jay Schraufnagel, Beaver Dam; Jared Siefert, Green Bay; Randy LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay Second: Mike Mashl, De Pere; George Henkel, Sturgeon Bay; Randy Back, Green Bay; Fred Davister, Luxemburg
First 10 Lap Heat: 1) Zeitler; Hodkiewicz
Second: MJ Hintz, Green Bay; Sean Jerovetz, Suamico
Third: Van Pay; Scott Mullen, Seymour
Fourth: Olson; Bartz
Fifth: Brian Mullen, Seymour; Art Siefert, Green Bay
IMCA Stock Car
22 Lap Feature: – Pat Davister, Green Bay; Brian Bruechert, Kewaunee; Jeremy Christians, Horicon; JJ Heinz, Green Bay; Eric Van Iten, Green Bay; Jason Czarapata, Pulaski
First 12 lap semi-feature: Shawn Kilgore, Kewaunee; Jamie Colwell, Greenleaf; Jon Wolf, Green Bay; Jeff Vlies, Brussels
Second: Craig Paque, Algoma; Joe LeBotte, Kewaunee; Junior Karcz, Pulaski
First 10 Lap Heat: Rod Snellenberger, Pulaski; Brandon Czarapata, Pulaski
Second: Davister; Jeff LaCrosse, Luxemburg
Third: Brett Piontek, Green Bay; Kyle Frederick, Gillett
Fourth: Tony Bouche, Algoma; Greg Gretz, Kewaunee