Weinfurter, Gress battle for wins in CWRA action at Marshfield Motor Speedway
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD – It was tight, action-packed Central Wisconsin Racing Association (CWRA) Stars to Legends Tour racing at Marshfield Motor Speedway June 6, with Jeff Weinfurter, Wisconsin Rapids, and Darek Gress, Neillsville, each taking extremely close wins in the two 30-lap main events held that evening.
Mike Sievers, 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, Wisconsin Rapids, grabbing the lead. His lead was short lived as well as Jeff Weinfurter moved in front. Darren Jackson, Wisconsin Rapids, moved into second spot with Mark Mackesy, 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, 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, Berlin, and Jesse Bernhagen, Stevens Point, in sixth.
The second 30-lap main event once 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, 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. Second spot was his at Kallas’s 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 was 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, in the top six.
The wins for Weinfurter and Gress ended Mackesy’s consecutive win 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, Wisconsin Dells on July 21.