BIG MONEY TRIUMPH FOR “BIG MONEY”
Photos by Dan Lewis Photography – www.danlewisphoto.net
(Luxemburg, WI — 8/15/2014)
by Tom Wagner
Jay Matthias earned the moniker “Big Money” several years ago after a succession of wins in high paying events.
With $1,000 up for grabs — Big Money was back.
Matthias held off Johnny Whitman at the wire to win his first IMCA Modified feature of the season Friday night, highlighting action at the annual Corey Jonet Memorial at the Luxemburg Speedway in Luxemburg.
Also in the spotlight were winners Dave Bouche in the IMCA Stock Cars, Jacob Zellner in the IMCA Northern Sport Mods, Street Stocker Keith Kickbusch, and for the second straight week, Marcus Moede in the IMCA Hobby Stocks.
In the Modifieds, Matthias pounced early, assuming command of the point from Rob Charapata on the third lap. After an early caution, Matthias eased away to what appeared to be a comfortable margin. Todd Dart and Whitman sorted out from the pack as contenders at the race’s midpoint, with Dart moving into the runner-up spot on the 13th lap.
Despite racing for position, the duo managed to chip away at Matthias’ advantage. Whitman took sole possession of second with six laps to go, closing in on Matthias in the process. Matthias established the low line as the leaders began to work lapped traffic, with Whitman forced to follow in his tracks.
On the final lap, with traffic cleared, Whitman took one last shot, diving down to the bottom through the third and fourth turns, but couldn’t keep the momentum up to complete the pass. Matthias flashed across the line first, with Whitman just to his inside.
Dart completed the podium finishers in third. Title contenders Brad Lautenbach and James Tebon placed fourth and fifth respectively, closing ground on division leader Jason Czarapata. Czarapata had issues in the heat, and was forced to start 22nd on the grid before rallying to a ninth place finish.
The record books will show Bouche was scored as the leader for almost all 20 laps of the IMCA Stock Car headliner. What the book won’t show is how tough the race actually was to win.
For the duration, Bouche never was able to race without a car to his outside, or a car tucked tight on his back bumper. And most of the time — it was both.
Luke Lemmens, Shawn Havel, Rod Snellenberger, Brandon Czarapata, Rob Waechter and Troy Muench all led the charge on Bouche. For most of the race, Lemmens worked the outside line, edging in front of Bouche from time to time as the laps ticked away.
Havel ran next, sometimes right behind Bouche, sometimes the outside behind Lemmens, and every so often, right in the middle trying to split the two. Point leaders Snellenberger and Czarapata methodically worked forward on the low groove, eventually moving into Bouche’s shadow.
As the checkers flew, the lead pack crossed the line running as they had for the duration, all separated by a matter of feet from each other. The inside line was able to forge ahead late with Snellenberger finishing second ahead of Czarapata to pick up a valuable point in the title chase; closing to within 4 of the division lead. Lemmens and Havel from the outside rounded out the top five.
The Sport Mods had a dramatic finish of their own as Zellner held off a hard-charging Andy Kleczka to record the win.
Slowed only by a quick caution on the 6th lap, Zellner was able to build a margin over the pack — and needed virtually every inch of it.
Kleczka advanced early and often from his 6th row starting spot, jumping into third on the lap 6 restart. Three laps later, he took second form Randy LeMieux, Jr, and the chase for Zellner was on.
Much like the Modified main, the final lap saw a drag race to the line with Zellner holding off the point leader to claim the trophy. While Kleczka did have to settle for second, he was still able to gain points on his closest rivals for the championship, as Troy DeGrave and Chris Budzban finished behind him in the pack.
Lucas Lamberies put on a late charge to pass LeMieux en route to a third place finish with Cody Rass rounding out the top five.
The Hobby Stock finale followed the same trend; too close to call until the end. Marcus Moede took the lead on the 2nd lap from Eric Micolichek. Jeremy Jauquet quickly followed, which led to a race-long duel between the top two.
While always close, Jauquet could never quite pull even to gain an edge, with Moede holding him off for his third win of the season.
Point leader Derek Moede took another step toward a second straight title with a third place run, picking up two points on Dan VanPay who place fifth behind Wes Salentine.
Only Kickbusch broke the trend of close finishes, as he raced away to the Street Stock victory, although it didn’t start that way. With Andy Fuhrmann out front, Kickbusch was one of a tight pack of cars in the hunt; joined by Scott Karbon, Gary Kasperek and Scott Boulanger.
Kickbusch worked his way through, finding an opening past Fuhrmann on the 7th lap. From there, the route was on, as the division leader walked away to the win, virtually locking up the title with two point nights to go.
Karbon, Fuhrmann, Boulanger and Kasperek eventually sorted out, finishing 2nd through 5th in order.
The Corey Jonet Memorial Trailer Race, with 23 participants on the track, had to be suspended mid-race. Contact crushed the front of a pick-up in the event, requiring emergency crews to employ the “jaws” to free the participant from the truck as his leg was wedged into the crumpled cab.
While the apparent leg injury was not life-threatening, transport was required, forcing an end to the event. No further details were available at press time.
A busy week at the Speedway begins on Thursday night, August 21st as the Corn Belt Clash Late Model Series motors into town. The Corn Belt series features many of the top dirt late model teams in the Midwest, including current point leader Chad Simpson of Mt Vernon, IA. They’ll meet a strong contingent of local stars, led by Navarino’s Nick Anvelink, who ran a few exhibition laps for fans on Friday night.
The Late Model victor will walk away with a $3,000 top prize. Joining the Late Models on the card will be the Northern Sport Mods, running for $750 to win. Start time will be 7:00pm.
The regular Friday night show will be hosted by Prestige Custom Cabinetry, and will feature all five regular divisions, plus both Powder Puff and mechanics race events, set to begin at 7:00pm.
The Luxemburg Speedway is located at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds in Luxemburg, WI. Visit the track’s website at www.luxemburgspeedway.com for updates and more information. For details on the Corn Belt Clash, visit the series website at www.cornbeltclash.com.
Luxemburg Speedway results 8/15/2014
IMCA Modified 25 Lap Feature: Jay Matthias, Green Bay; Johnny Whitman, DePere; Todd Dart, Algoma; Brad Lautenbach, New Franken; James Tebon, Algoma; Josh Long, Little Suamico
Heat 1: Chad Bartel, Shiocton; Whitman
Heat 2: Matthias; Kyle Kudick, Mishicot
Heat 3: Dave Zeitler, Luxemburg; Eric Mahlik, Green Bay
IMCA Stock Car 20 Lap Feature: Dave Bouche, Algoma; Rod Snellenberger, Pulaski; Brandon Czarapata, Appleton; Luke Lemmens, Wausau; Shawn Havel, Algoma; Rob Waechter, Ellisville
Heat 1: Havel; Lemmens
Heat 2: Waechter; Bouche
IMCA Northern Sport Mods 20 Lap Feature: Jacob Zellner, New Franken; Andy Kleczka, Suamico; Lucas Lamberies, Clintonville; Randy LeMieux, Jr, Sturgeon Bay; Cody Rass, Sturgeon Bay; Kelsy-Ann Hayes, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 1: LeMieux; Jarred VanLaanen, Green Bay
Heat 2: Rass; Kleczka
Heat 3: Zellner; Lamberies
Street Stock 15 Lap Feature: Keith Kickbusch, Kewaunee; Scott Karbon, Luxemburg; Andy Fuhrmann, Brillion; Scott Boulanger, Luxemburg; Gary Kasperek, Tigerton; Dan Juszczyk, Sobieski
Heat: Fuhrmann; Boulanger
IMCA Hobby Stock 15 Lap Feature: Marcus Moede, Algoma; Jeremy Jauquet, Luxemburg; Derek Moede, Casco; Wes Salentine, Luxemburg; Dan VanPay, Green Bay; Cory Cotter, Little Suamico
Heat 1: Jauquet; Salentine
Heat 2: Cotter; VanPay