Rothe shakes off demons to win feature

By Tom Goff FRRC/WIR Media Director August 22, 2013; Buchanan, WI - In what has been a season of ups and downs – mostly downs -- Tim Rothe thought his string of winning at least one Fox River Racing Club feature at Wisconsin International Raceway was over. But for once, the racing gods were on his side. Rothe passed Nate Van Wychen on lap 20 and went on to win the 35-lap super late model main event on Y100 Night. “For a long time, I thought this was going to be a year we didn’t win one, so I’m happy to take one whenever we can get one,” said Rothe, who finished 1.227 seconds ahead of Lowell Bennett, who also got by Van Wychen in the closing laps. “It’s been one of those years,” said Rothe, the 2006-07 champion from Stephensville. “They can’t all be good years, but everybody appreciates a win no matter when it comes.” Meanwhile, a rare bad week for Jeff Van Oudenhoven tightened up the points battle. Van Oudenhoven had problems with a broken throttle return spring, which relegated him to a 20th  finish in the 22-car field and whittled his 54-point lead over Maxwell Schultz to 31 going into the final week of the season. Schultz finished eighth. Bad luck also hurt Andy Monday, who dropped from third in points to fifth after being forced out of the race on lap five with a broken panhard bracket. Van Wychen, who has also had his problems for most of the season, started on the pole and won a couple of side-by side battles with Tom Gee Jr., on restarts to stay in front. But after Rothe passed Gee for second on lap 17, he began to reel in Van Wychen, cutting his one-time two-second edge down to just a car-length on lap 24. On lap 28, Rothe ducked his black No. 3 Chevrolet under the white No. 80 Ford of Van Wychen and took the lead exiting the second turn.“Luck just went our way for once, basically,” said Rothe. “It’s not that we had an overly bad car all year, we just never got any real breaks. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good.” Rothe, who became the eighth driver to win in 12 weeks of racing, was never in serious point contention this year because he missed a couple of races. “We had some rear end problems and some drive-train related issues. It’s just been a wired year for little things,” he said. Defending track champion Lowell Bennett, who got off to a slow start while trying to find the handle on a new car, continued to build momentum. After winning the pole, Bennett finished third, followed by Van Wychen, Gee and Kyle Calmes, rounding out the top five. Going into the final week, Van Oudenhoven has 876 points to 845 for Schultz. Terry Baldry jumped to third with 818, Brett Piontek is fourth with 810 and Monday fifth with 806. Late model Manitowoc’s Brett Wenzel started on the pole and led every lap en route to winning his third feature of the season, but the spotlight was on the points battle between Mike Meyerhofer Jr. and Brent Strelka, who continued to swap the lead. Strelka went in five points ahead of Meyerhofer, but came out eight points behind after being involved in an early chain-reaction mishap which buckled his hood, while Meyerhofer turned in a solid fifth-place finish to grab an eight-point edge at 948-940. Jesse Van Oudenhoven took second, while Tyler Bauknecht finished third, and Alex Stumpf was fourth. Wisconsin sport trucks Good starting position also helped Jason Plutz win his first 20-lap feature of the season. The former champion from Appleton started outside of the front row passed pole sitter Tyler Nettekoven on the second lap and led the rest of the way, holding off Kyle Quella at the finish. Quella and Brett Van Horn are locked in a tie entering the final week, each with 944 points. Super stocks Larry Raygo survived a close call with three laps to go to win the 20-lap feature. The Omro veteran almost got caught up in an accident when the lapped cars driven by Rachel Meyerhofer and Tony Schumacher came together between turns one and two. Raygo, who started on the outside of the front row, led every lap, finishing .33 seconds ahead of Dave Meyerhofer. Dylan Wenzel of Fremont finished third to all but lock up his second consecutive title. Wenzel has 552 points to 501 for Raygo. Sizzlin’ 4s Devin Yaeger ran into bad luck on the last lap, literally, when two cars spun in front of him between turns three and four, allowing Braison Bennett of Neenah to earn the win. Defending champion Cory Romenesko leads Ethan Beattie by just one point going into next week’s finale with 567 to 566 for Beattie and 549 for Bennett. Figure 8 Sherwood’s Ryan Krol passed Randy Krueger with four laps to go and posted his first feature win in nine seasons. Kaukauna’s Jared Baughman has already wrapped up the championship with 722 points to 575 for second-place Willy Van Camp. Summary Super late models 35-lap feature: 1, Tim Rothe, Stephensville; 2, Lowell Bennett, Neenah; 3, Nate Van Wychen, Kaukauna; 4, Tom Gee Jr., Sobieski; 5, Kyle Calmes, Freedom; 6, Brandon Conrad, Freedom; 7, Terry Baldry, Waupaca; 8, Maxwell Schultz, Reedsville; 9, Brett Piontek,Green Bay; 10, Ty Majeski, Seymour; 11, Bobby Kendall, Montello; 12, Gregg Haese, Manitowoc; 13, Tanner Bohlen, Hortonville; 14, Pete Vandermolen Jr., Oshkosh; 15, Michael Anthony, Appleton; 16, Brady Baldry, Omro; 17, Kyle Rhoades, Pulaski; 18, T.J. Smith, Menasha; 19, Jake Carpenter, Hobart; 20, Jeff Van Oudenhoven, Kimberly; 21, Randy Schuler, Mequon; 22, Andy Monday, Appleton. 8-lap heats: First: 1, Majeski; 2, Rhoades. Second: 1, Gee Jr.; 2, Calmes. 6-lap dash: 1, T. Baldry; 2, Piontek. Fastest qualifier: Bennett 19.546 seconds. Late models 20-lap feature: 1, Brett Wenzel, Manitowoc; 2, Jesse Oudenhoven, Freedom; 3, Tyler Bauknecht, Reedsville; 4, Alex Stumpf, Woodville; 5, Mike Meyerhofer Jr., Hilbert; 6, Cory Kemkes, Appleton; 7, Terry Miller, Neenah; 8, Corey Manders, Hilbert; 9, Louie Goss, Green Bay; 10, Sawyer Effertz, Darboy. 8-lap heats: 1, Ben Miller, Neenah; 2, Corey Manders, Hilbert. Second: 1, Wenzel; 2, T. Springstroh. 6-lap dash: 1, Meyerhofer; 2, Strelka. Fastest qualifier: 20.650 seconds. Wisconsin sport trucks 20-lap feature: 1, Jason Plutz, Appleton; 2, Kyle Quella, Appleton; 3, Hayden Watzka, Green Bay; 4, Brett Van Horn, Green Bay; 5, Bryan Monday, Appleton; 6, Jacob Boldig, Kaukauna; 7, Brian Vixmer, St. Peter; 8, Todd Kostichka, Green Bay; 9, Josh Jeske, Sherwood; 10, Tyler Nettekoven, Appleton. 8-lap heats: First: 1, Plutz; 2, Jeske. Second: 1, Monday; 2, Matt Rhode, Menasha. Fastest qualifier:  Rhode, 16.39 seconds. Super stocks 20-lap feature:  1, Larry Raygo, Omro; 2, Dave Meyerhofer, Kaukauna; 3. Dylan Wenzel, Fremont; 4, T.J. Spierowski, Neenah; 5, Denny Crass, Rosecrans; 6, Erik Turner, Two Rivers; 7, Mark Truckey, Freedom; 8, Andy Casavant, Two Rivers; 9, Jeff Treml, Greenleaf; 10, Randy Yaeger, Appleton. 8-lap heats: First: 1, Raygo; 2, T. Howard. Second: 1, Spierowski; 2, Evan Beattie, Little Chute. Fastest qualifier: Casavant 15.883 seconds. Sizzlin’ 4’s 15-lap feature: 1, Braison Bennett, Neenah; 2, Devin Yaeger; 3, Ethan Beattie, Little Chute; 4, Alex Seidl, Appleton; 5, Cody Huven, Green Bay; 6, Austin Birling, Menasha; 7, Cory Romenesko, Kaukauna; 8, Randy Sonkowsky, Combined Locks;  9, Steve Van Oudenhoven, Two Rivers; 10, Brandon Houg, Appleton. 8-lap heats: First: 1, Ethan Beattie; 2, S. Van Oudenhoven. Second: 1, B. Bennett; 2, Huven. Figure 8s 10-lap feature: 1, Ryan Krol, Sherwood; 2, Jared Baughman, Kaukauna; 3, Terry Van Roy, Darboy; 4, Randy Krueger; 5, Jeff Wilz, Harrison. Point standings Super late models: 1, Van Oudenhoven 876; 2, Schultz 845; 3, T. Baldry 818; 4, Piontek 810; 5, Monday 806; 6, Gee Jr. 802; 7, Bennett 715; 8, Calmes 704; 9, Conrad 704; 10, Bohlen 671. Late models: 1, Meyerhofer Jr. 948;  2, Strelka 940; 3, Kemkes 897; 4, Stumpf 861; 5, Brad Anthony 843; 6, Effertz 832; 7, Springstroh 832; 8, BrandonReichenberger 768; 9, Wenzel 722; 10, Corey Manders 667. Wisconsin sport trucks: 1 (tie), Van Horn and Quella 944; 3, Plutz 907; 4, Boldig 896; 5, B. Monday 889; 6, T. Vandermoss 876; 7, Kostichka 834, 8, Vixmer 755; 9, Rhode/Schuette 713; 10, Nettekoven 677. Super stocks: 1, D. Wenzel 552; 2, Raygo 501; 3, Turner 492; 4, Van Roy/Casavant 429; 5, Rick Wenzel 421; 6, Truckey 399; 7, Neal Sannes 383; 8, Treml 369; 9, Denny/Matt Crass 367; 10, Ed/Trevor Howard 357. Sizzlin 4’s: 1, Romenesko 567; 2, Ethan Beattie 566; 3, Bennett 549; 4, Huven 548; 5, Sonkowsky 540; 6, St. Van Oudenhoven 491; 7, P. Braun 468; 7, R. Braun 466; 8, 9, Yaeger 445; 10, Seidl 428. Figure 8’s: 1, Baughman 722; 2,Willy Van Camp 575; 3, T. Van Roy 517; 4, VandeWettering 437; 5, Krol 427; 6, Ken Van Wychen 277; 7, Jamie Verstegen 252; 8, Wilz 222; 9, M, Meyerhofer Jr. 220; Derek Schmitt  192. Attendance: 2,000.

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