Springborn gets first-ever feature win

Mullen crowned king of WABAM Dirt Kings Late Model Tour 2024 season opener
Don Rouse
Special to NEW Media

The 2024 Shawano Speedway (powered by Auto Select) kicked off the season April 13 with hot racing action and cooler temps than one would like.

A total of 106 cars checked into the legendary half-mile to do battle, and fans witnessed a local driver pick up the first feature win of his career.

First on the track was the IMCA Modifieds with Jerry Muenster and Lucas Lamberies starting on the front row. At the drop of the green flag, Muenster and Lamberies would head through corners 1-2 as Lamberies was starting to pull in front of the “youngster” Jerry Muenster (82 years old) as the field behind them was starting to take shape.

Mike Schmidt, Marcus Yarie, Kevin Feck and Jason Ebert were all chasing the leaders. But the man on the move was defending track champion Johnny Whitman moving up six spots from his eighth-place starting spot. After a few cautions for spins and debris, Lamberiers found himself in the company of Whitman, Yarie, Mike Schmidt and Jayden Schmidt. Whitman would gain a bit on Lamberies in the corner but was running out of laps. When the final checker flew, it was Lamberies holding off his competitors to pick up his first feature win at Shawano Speedway in 2024.

The class “To Tough to Tame” IMCA Stock Cars was next to do battle on the dusty half mile. By the luck of the draw/redraw format that is used on opening night, Travis VanStaten drew the pole position with his dancing partner on the outside, Trent Nolan, sure to make for a great start of the race.

Row 2 had Mitch Stankowski and Shawn “Lunchbox” Wagner. Row 3 was occupied by Dylan Stedjee and Jerry Wilinski who will be doing double duty this year of sorts with his modified and stock car.

When the green flag twirled in the air, VanStaten and Nolan did not disappoint with a great side-by-side battle. Through the next several laps, the pair would surrender the lead for a bit to each other. But after several cautions, time was not on the stock cars’ side, so that eventually would have to start single file and end up being a green, white, checkered dash for the win.

On the last restart, it was bound to be a great finish.

The “Horicon Hurricane” Jeremy Christians picked up eight spots through all the cautions and found himself on the back bumper of the leaders. In the end, it was VanStaten picking up right where left off last year’s campaign in Victory Lane.

The IMCA Northern Sport Mods saw history being made in their feature.

Dustin Wudstrack and A.J. Springborn led the field of 24 to the green flag.

Springborn and Wudstrack would duke it out for four laps before Brad Miller, Jeffery Teske, Tommy Rindt and Andy Klosterman began applying pressure to the leaders. Cole Magnin was on an absolute mission as he moved his machine up 15 spots and was looking for more.

Unfortunately, this feature was also plagued with several cautions for debris or spins. The final caution would put Springborn, Teske, Magnin, JJ Vanderloop and Travis Rhodes sitting inside of the top five. As the checkered flag, flew Springborn got a slice of victory, picking up his first ever feature win.

Mighty 4 division would wrap up the night with 12 laps of racing action.

Brad Wedde and Casey Gross would be in the starting front row with Bailey Tate and Justin Haufe directly behind them.

Wedde wasted no time proving why he is the defending track champion as he and Gross would exchange paint a few times down the backstretch.

Wedde began to have a slight advantage but Gross, Bailey Tate, Justin Haufe, Nathan Lisowe and Dalton Nelson weren’t about to just let Wedde go without a fight. However, nobody was strong enough to get by the 37 machine of Wedde as he cruised to victory lane.

Mike Mullen was crowned king of WABAM Dirt Kings Late Model Tour 2024 season opener, The Lumberyard Bar and Grill Spring Thaw at Shawano Speedway in BMRE Electrick Carts Victory Lane.

Mullen started third in the 25-lap A-Main as Chris Oertel and Andy Karl led the field to the green flag.

Karl took the lead as Oertel and Gunner Frank battled for position behind him. Karl stretched his lead to 4.518 seconds before the caution came out on lap 7. On the restart, Karl maintained his lead as Mullen battled with him. On the next lap, Mullen raced to the inside of Karl in turn two and took the lead, earning the Autoworx Clean Move of the Race. Caution slowed the field on the next lap, erasing the 0.749 second lead that Mullen had. On the restart, Mullen continued to pace the field as Frank and Karl battled for second place.

At the halfway point, Mullen held a 2.385 second advantage over Frank. Mullen’s advantage continued to increase as Frank, Karl, Nick Anvelink and Justin Ritchie followed behind.

Mullen went on to win his fifth WABAM Dirt Kings Late Model Tour race by 4.648 seconds over Frank, Karl, Anvelink and Ritchie.

Troy Springborn was The Pues Family Hard Charger, passing 10 cars in The Lumberyard Bar and Grill Spring Thaw, earning an additional $200.