Final night of racing for the season


Scott Owen, Leader Columnist

It all comes down to this. One final night of racing awaits before the curtain falls on the 2017 Shawano Speedway racing season.

One track champion has already been crowned, as Clintonville’s Calvin Stueck raced to his first career point title at the historic half-mile in the Mighty Fours division.

The Mighty Fours class has yet to have a repeat winner in its six years at Shawano. The Mighty Fours will not race Saturday, but they will race for big money on Sunday. Five hundred dollars will go the victor of Sunday afternoon’s special event.

Hortonville’s Travis VanStraten just needs to start the IMCA Stock Cars feature to win an unprecedented fourth straight title. Only Roger Regeth and MJ McBride have accomplished this feat so far, with McBride tallying five in a row in the 1980s.

A similar situation exists in the IMCA Sport Mods class, as Hortonville’s Jordan Barkholtz also needs only to start the feature to secure his second consecutive title.

The other two divisions are up in the air in terms of track champion. Abrams pilot Ron “The Rocket” Berna is looking to make history with his eighth Late Models title. Currently Berna is tied with Hall of Fame racers MJ McBride and Terry
Anvelink with seven titles for the most all-time in the prestigious class. Berna is already in a class of his own as a 10-time track champion between the Late Models and the IMCA Modifieds class.

Shawano’s Brett Swedberg, defending track champion and driver from the McBride racing tree, is just two markers behind Berna. Both have been impressive all year, making it no surprise that the point battle comes down to the final night.

The IMCA Modifieds class will also come down to the wire. Seymour’s Jerry Wilinski enters the night with a three-point advantage over Pulaski’s Mark Weisnicht and a five point edge over New London’s Tony Wedelstadt.

Wilinski is a two-time champion, having won titles in 2010 and 2013. Weisnicht and Wedelstadt are both looking for their first career titles.

Racing starts at 5:30 p.m. during the Shawano County Fair. Pick your favorites and root them on to victory for the final time this year.

Scott Owen is the track announcer at Shawano Speedway.