WSORR ROUND VIII: OSHKOSH RACING MAKES BIG COMEBACK AND BRASCHO, VANDEN HEUVEL ROLL ON OSHKOSH, Wisc., (July 28, 2008) - Off-road racing returned to Oshkosh, Wisc., as a large and raucous crowd enjoyed tight racing in nearly every class and the...
WSORR ROUND VIII: OSHKOSH RACING MAKES BIG COMEBACK AND BRASCHO, VANDEN HEUVEL ROLL ON
OSHKOSH, Wisc., (July 28, 2008) - Off-road racing returned to Oshkosh, Wisc., as a large and raucous crowd enjoyed tight racing in nearly every class and the Lucas Oil World Series of Off-Road Racing (WSORR) capped two successful nights of racing and Rounds VII and VIII on Tour 2008. "What a great turnout and what great off-road race fans in the Fox Valley area," said Doug Davis, president and general manager of WSORR. "Oshkosh met all our expectations and more. You combine a great crowd, SPEED TV, great sponsors, and wheel-to-wheel World Series action and you have a winning formula," he added. More than 5,000 fans packed into Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway in the first return of a major off-road Series in 12 years for the weekend's Potawatomi Bingo Casino "Off-Road Nights of Thunder" presented by Traxxas(RC Cars).
Kent Brascho, Pell City, Ala., the country's leading money winner in off- road racing circles, further padded his bank account with WSORR payback and has now won $40,000 this season. Brascho won back-to-back PRO 4x4 races in his Lucas Oil Goodyear Chevrolet and has a 45 point bulge over the rest of the class in the season long points battle. In Saturday's Round VIII, Jerry Conrad made his first podium appearance of the season in a Goodyear Ford and Al Drews was third in a Ford.
Dan "The Flying Dutchman" Vanden Heuvel, of nearby Appleton, Wisc., thrilled the area fans with back-to-back weekend wins in the PRO 2WD class. In Saturday's Round VIII race, Vanden Heuvel started in the back of the field in his Maxxis Chevrolet while the early battle up front was between Dave Waldvogel in the Bendix Toyo Chevrolet, Ross Hoek in the Skyjacker Goodyear Ford and crowd favorite Rhonda Konitzer in the Konitzer Racing Chevy. With the leaders banging fender-to-fender on the tight, technical Oshkosh track, Vanden Heuvel drove patiently and finally slipped by all of them on lap 9. He was followed in his march through the pack by his son, Dan, Jr., in the Potawatomi BFG Chevy owned by Evan Evans, and Keith Steele who had a strong showing in his Monster Energy Goodyear Super Truck and joined them on the podium for third. Vanden Heuvel told the cheering crowd in victory circle that it was "one of the biggest highlights of my 30-year career to be on the winner's podium two nights in a row alongside Junior."
Things were much easier for Randy Eller in the Maxxis Ford during the PRO Light Pickup Round VIII race. Eller, of Taylorville, Ill., jumped out to a quick lead in turn one and was never seriously challenged all the way to the end. There was a great battle for second though, as teammates Steve Federico and Lee O'Donnell, both in Invisible Glass P F Changs Sticker Dude Hankook Toyota's, picked up right where they left off in Round VII. They drove fender-to-fender and nose-to-tail for the entire race before Federico managed to slip out ahead of his teammate for second, which was a reversal of Friday night's race when O'Donnell claimed the win. Federico has narrowed the gap to only five points behind Jeff Kincaid's Potawatomi Traxxas BFG Toyota, driven this weekend by teammate Matt Gerald, who managed a fifth and a seventh place finish. It was Eller's first World Series win and leaves him fifth in the points.
Defending PRO Super Buggy racer Gary Nierop, of Aldergrove, British Columbia, pulled off his second win of World Series Tour 2008 in a hotly contested battle with this year's current points leaders. Nierop first had to get by early leader Scott Schwalbe and then Tim Lemons, both in BFG Toyotas. At the same time he was busy holding off Round VII winner John Mason, who was on a three race win streak in his Mendeola Goodyear Honda. When the Oshkosh dust settled it was Nierop, Mason and Lemons on the podium. Mason comes out of the weekend with a 12-point lead over Lemons with Nierop in third.
In the World Series SRT (Sportsman) Division, Keith Steele, of Madison, Wisc., continues to steal the headlines in his Monster Energy Goodyear Chevy with his third win in a row and fifth in eight rounds of racing. Ron Schreiner in the 9 Inch Floater.com UWeld truck led the first couple of laps but then gave way to Ben Wandahsega in the Potawatomi Toyo Chevrolet who held the top spot for the next five. Steele came charging by and held the spot for the final eight laps to take the checkered flag first. Dan Baudoux's Mole Lake Casino BFG Ford was second followed by Schreiner in third. Steele has now stretched his lead to 19 points over Baudoux for the season points chase.
Dan Beauchamp grabbed the early Stock Truck class lead in Round VIII and it first appeared as if he might run away with things in his Amsoil Goodyear Ford. Two of the pre-race favorites, Scott Beauchamp in a Goodyear Chevy and Eric Ruppel in the Phil's Inc. BFG Ford, were running back in the pack in eighth and ninth. It took a full eight laps for Scott to reach his cousin's back bumper and two more until he could find a spot to get around him. The two raced hard to the finish line followed by Ruppel who had made his way to third. It was the second win in a row for the defending class champion and Beauchamp, of Bark River, Mich., now has a 12-point lead over Ruppel in the points.
Jeff Villemure, of Westland, Mich., led flag-to-flag in his BFG buggy to claim the 1600 Buggy race on Saturday night and his first World Series win. Mike Seefeldt was second in his BFG buggy and following the two rounds of Oshkosh racing he is the new leader of the 1600 Buggy points chase. Brad Erickson, in a Goodyear machine was third in Round VIII and is also third in the points behind Seefeldt and Mark Steinhardt. Mike Vanden Heuvel, of Appleton, Wisc., has now won four 1600 Light Buggy class races in a row in his Toyo buggy. He grabbed the lead on the third lap and never looked back. Vanden Heuvel lost the bolts out of his steering wheel just as he crossed the finish line but there wasn't enough time for Matt Gerald, in the Potawatomi Goodyear buggy to catch him. Bryan Holtger, also in a Goodyear buggy was third.
The Formula 4x4 race was dominated by Chris Kaiko in a Maxxis Ford who grabbed the lead in lap one and never gave it up. Defending Formula 4x4 class champion Dave DeMaegd, kept his streak of eight straight podium finishes intact by finishing second in his Goodyear Jeep and Tim Moeller brought his Goodyear Ford home in third. Justin Keehner was the Round VIII Classix winner with Rob Weiland in his Goodyear Chevy second and Dale Chestnut in a Goodyear Ford third. Jim Van Rixel won his fourth straight Enduro Truck race, followed by Matt Ives in a Goodyear GMC and Marc Rogaczewski in a Goodyear Ford.
WSORR action now moves to Bark River, Mich., for Rounds IX & X and the Island Resort and Casino Boss Snowplow Off-Road Shootout on August 9-10. More information about that event is available at www.barkriveroffroad.com and info on the World Series is available at www.wsorr.com.