By Scott Owen
Shawano,WI, April 16, 2016 — An amazing 152 cars and an absolutely packed, sold out grandstand were on hand for opening night of the 2016 season as well as to pay their respects to Shawano Speedway legend MJ McBride.
McBride, a seven-time track champion at Shawano, who passed way this winter, was honored by the track and its competitors as part of an emotional opening ceremony. McBride’s son Dean carried the checkered flag around the track one final time in honor of his father as many in attendance wiped away tears. Late Model racers Joe Reuter and Brett Swedberg each changed the side panel and car number on the grandstand side of their cars to McBride’s legendary No. 5 to resemble some of McBride’s recent car bodies. Late Model racer A.J. Diemel also changed his car number to look like McBride’s 5. Additionally, countless others carried smaller fives in honor of M.J.
On the track it was Nick Anvelink, whose father Terry was one of M.J.’s chief rivals throughout the years, winning the M.J. McBride Memorial feature. Nick Anvelink, who himself raced against M.J. many times, was dominant in victory. Marcus Yarie, Brandon Czarapata, Jordan Barkholtz, and Brad Wedde also won features on this memorable night.
Much to the chagrin of the rest of the Late Model field, perennial favorite Nick Anvelink drew the outside pole position for the M.J. McBride Memorial 30-lap Late Model feature. Through numerous donations, the race was slated to pay $2,000-to-win as well as additional money for each lap led. Anvelink scurried into the lead at the start of the race and went to work.
Jeremy Kazynski ran in second for the first four laps. A lap five caution wiped away Anvelink’s early advantage. On the restart Taylor Scheffler passed Kazynski for second, while Anvelink pulled away again. In the meantime, 12th place starter A.J. Diemel began working his way toward the front of the field. At lap 10, it was Anvelink solidly in front followed by Scheffler, with Diemel now running third. Anvelink went to work slicing through lapped traffic with the precision of a skilled surgeon.
The race stayed green until a caution flew following lap 26. This set up a four lap dash to the finish, with Anvelink restarting in the front and Scheffler and Diemel right behind him. Anvelink was unchallenged though as the race went back to green. Diemel passed Scheffler for second, but had nothing left for Anvelink. Tim Buhler and Brett Swedberg rounded out the top five. In winning the race in wire to wire fashion, Anvelink pocketed the $2,000 winners share as well as an extra $1258 for leading every lap.
Brad Lautenbach led the first two laps of the IMCA Modified feature before succumbing to the pressures of Marcus Yarie. Lautenbach continued to follow Yarie until lap seven when Eddie Muenster put his familiar number five car into second. At this point in the race the best battle was for position in the top five as Muenster, Lautenbach, Andy Kleczka, Benji LaCrosse, and Johnny Whitman were all vying for positions. At the end it was Yarie in victory lane, with LaCrosse emerging in the battle for second. Kleczka, Muenster, and Whitman completed the top five.
Gary Kasperek led lap one of the IMCA Stock Car feature before J.J. Heinz moved inside of Kasperek and took the lead on lap two. Heinz stayed in front for the next three laps before Brandon Czarapata took the lead with an outside pass on lap five. Czarapata was able to keep Heinz at bay for the rest of the race to score the win. Kyle Frederick finished third. Travis Van Straten finished fourth after starting 19th on the grid. Junior Karcz crossed the line in fifth.
Kelsey Hayes drew the pole position for the IMCA Sport Mod feature and looked early on like she would have the car to beat. Hayes was followed closely by Brianna Ambroziak, while Jeff Schmuhl settled into third. On lap six Jordan Barkholtz got past Schmuhl for third position. With Hayes holding a solid advantage out front, a yellow flag flew after lap seven that would bunch the field back up. On the ensuing lap Barkholtz got to the outside of Hayes for the lead, but the caution flag flew again, putting Hayes back in front for the restart. On the restart Barkholtz again went to the outside of Hayes and to the lead in the middle of turns three and four. A lap ten caution bunched the field up again. Barkholtz was error free on the restart and kept Hayes in his rearview. Barkholtz went on to win, with Hayes finishing in second. Lucas Lamberies took third, Jordan Bartz fourth, and Kyle Raddant came home fifth after starting eighteenth.
The Mighty Four feature saw Mike Meier lead the early stages of the race before defending track champion Brad Wedde powered into the lead. Wedde was chased for the duration of the race by Lucas Hacker and Hollie Welch who had to settle for second and third at the end as Wedde won the race. Matt Brehmer and Kasey Gross rounded out the top five.
Feature: 1)Nick Anvelink, 2)AJ Diemel, 3)Taylor Scheffler, 4)Tim Buhler, 5)Brett Swedberg, 6)Doug Blashe, 7)Ron Berna, 8)Joe Reuter, 9)Jeremy Kazynski, 10)David Fieber.
Heat 1: 1)Scheffler, 2)Mike Mullen, 3)Diemel.
Heat 2: 1) Anvelink, 2)Berna, 3)Buhler.
Heat 3: 1)Tom Naeyaert, 2)Swedberg, 3)Blashe.
Feature: 1)Marcus Yarie, 2)Benji LaCrosse, 3)Andy Kleczka, 4)Eddie Muenster, 5)Johnny Whitman, 6)Matt Oreskovich, 7)Brad Lautenbach, 8)Mike Wedelstadt, 9)Jerry Wilinski, 10)Mark Weisnicht.
Consi 1: 1)Cole Petit, 2)Beetle Bailey, 3)Chris Engels.
Consi 2: 1)Jay Matthias, 2)Brian Joski, 3)Lance Arneson.
Heat 1: 1)LaCrosse, 2)Kleczka, 3)Shawn Frelich.
Heat 2: 1)Wedelstadt, 2)Whitman, 3)Oreskovich.
Heat 3: 1)Jeremie Hedrick, 2)Weisnicht, 3)Lautenbach.
Heat 4: 1)Wilinsk, 2)Yarie, 3)Muenster.
IMCA Stock Car
Feature: 1)Brandon Czarapata, 2)JJ Heinz, 3)Kyle Frederick, 4)Travis VanStraten, 5)Junior Karcz, 6)Dan Michonski, 7)Rod Snellenberger, 8)Gary Kasperek, 9)Mike Schmidt, 10)Harley Simon.
Consi 1: 1)Tom Riehl, 2)VanStraten, 3)Trent Nolan.
Consi 2: 1)Chris Lowenhagen, 2)Billy LeMieux, 3)Cody Scray.
Heat 1: 1)Kasperek, 2)Aaron Stolp, 3)Heinz
Heat 2: 1)Karcz, 2)Schmidt, 3)Scott Blanke.
Heat 3: 1)Frederick, 2)Jerry Winkler, 3)Snellenberger.
Heat 4: 1)Czarapata, 2)Simon, 3)Michonski.
IMCA Sport Mod
Feature: 1)Jordan Barkholtz, 2)Kelsey Hayes, 3)Lucas Lamberies, 4)Jordan Bartz, 5)Kyle Raddant, 6)Chris Budzban, 7)Wyatt Block, 8)Todd Wiese, 9)Matt Valiquette, 10)Kevin Bethke.
Consi 1: 1)Sawyer Haese, 2)Raddant, 3)Jason Vandenberg.
Consi 2: 1)Kevin Behke, 2)Travis Arenz, 3)Brock Saunders.
Heat 1: 1)Lamberies, 2)Brianna Ambroziak, 3)Dustin Fraaza.
Heat 2: 1)Wiese, 2)Block, 3)Valiquette.
Heat 3: 1)Barkholtz, 2)Ron Besaw, 3)Budzban
Feature: 1)Brad Wedde, 2)Lucas Hacker, 3)Hollie Welch, 4)Matt Brehmer, 5)Kasey Gross, 6)Grant Kastning, 7)Josh Slewinski, 8)Dalton Nelson, 9)Taylor Becher, 10)Jason Hopinka.
Consi: 1)Hopinka, 2)Nick Everard, 3)Matt DeWilde.
Heat 1: 1)Hacker, 2)Nelson, 3)Wedde.
Heat 2: 1)Welch, 2)Kastning, 3)Becher.