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MARS wins Punky Late Model
September 24th 2007 - Mars, Thatcher and Anderson Winners in Punky Manor Challenge of Champions

By Ed Reichert

Menomonie WI, September 22 – On a glorious Autumn evening, the Red Cedar Speedway wrapped up the 2007 racing season with feature racing action in the twenty eighth annual Pumky Manor Challenge of Champions. Topping the main events were Jimmy Mars, Craig Thatcher and Mike Anderson. Mars and Thatcher added to their win totals with their Punky wins while Anderson won his first Fall title.

Twenty four cars took the green flag from starter Rick Cook in the fourty lap Late Model headliner with outside pole sitter John Kaanta getting the jump on Mike Goodremote for the early lead with Mars slipping into third ahead of Jake Redetzke and Pat Doar. Only one lap was completed when the yellow flew for debris.

On the restart, Mars dove to the low side of the track under Goodremote and the leaders raced three wide down the back chute. Mars edged into the lead but Kaanta was strong on the high side and they continued to race side by side for the lead. They continued to trade the lead until the yellow flew again on lap seven when Nick Anvelink rolled to a halt. On the green, Doar spun in turn two with Chad Mahder going over his hood. Doar was eliminated from the event with front end damage while Mahder was able to restart.

Mars and Kaanta continued to jockey for the lead with Redetzke and Mahder running close behind. Mars was able to edge ahead as the race neared the quarter mark. The final yellow waved on lap ten as Mark Mitchell stalled on the front chute. Under the yellow, an inspection revealed that fourth running Mahder was leaking fuel , possibly from his earlier tangle and he retired to the pits.

The last thirty one laps went nonstop and Mars gradually pulled away from Kaanta. Keith Foss was starting to make some progress after starting eleventh but all eyes were on A.J. Diemel. Diemel started fourteenth on the grid, and once continuous racing took place, Diemel began to make a concerted charge to the front. Using the extreme low line on the track, he began to pick off cars in rapid order and soon moved into the top five. Continuing to move to the head of the pack, he picked off Foss and Joel Cryderman and then quickly moved in on Kaanta.

Mars was starting to get into traffic and he carefully picked his way through the backmarkers as Diemel drove under Kaanta for second and closed on Mars. Diemel was reeling in Mars at a rapid pace as Mars got hung up behind two cars running side by side. Diemel was able to drive to within a car length of Mars before Jimmy made a key pass as he split two slower cars and put a little distance on Diemel. At the same time, Diemel began to experience some steering problems as his right front seemed to be binding up. Mars was able to stretch his lead to about six car lengths as Diemel was forced to move to the high side to get past traffic.

Diemel pushed hard on the cushion but Mars was in the groove and the laps ran out with Jimmy flashing under the checkered for his fourth Punky title, tying him with Rick Egersdorf for the most Late Model wins in this event. Mars earned $4,000 for his win. Kaanta finished a consistent third with Cryderman and Foss completing the top five.

Thatcher and Dave Cain engaged in another classic battle between the two in the Modified feature with the decision in doubt until the final lap. Thatcher started on the outside pole and edged past Robby Bunkelman early to take the lead. Brent Prochnow and Paul Knauf battled for third while Cain got very high in the first lap and lost several positions. An early yellow for a Mike Goodremote spin slowed the action, but as racing sesumed, Thatcher began to pull away from the field as he stretched his lead to nearly a straightaway. Bunkelman continued to run second with Knauf challenging him until he went high and nearly took the wall in turn three.

Meanwhile, Cain had picked up the pace and he started to march back up through the field as the race remained under the green for an extended stretch. Cain got by Knauf and then Bunkelman as he appeared to be the fastest car on the track at this point. Once he moved into second, he began to cut into Thatcher’s lead dramatically as within a few laps he was ready to make a move on Thatcher. Just as Thatcher caught the back of the pack, Cain was ready to make a move to the high side. As they charged through turn four, Cain went to the high side in an attempt to pass just as Duane Dale spun and slid right down across the track in front of the leader. Thatcher hit the brake just in time to avoid the spinning car and the yellow flag flew.

There were only three laps remaining in the event, and Cain was tight on Thatcher’s bumper on the green. After following for one lap, Cain made a bold dive going into turn one and slid up in front of Thatcher to take over the lead. However, Thatcher was ready to counter and he quickly cut down low under Cain and was able to regain the lead down the back chute. Cain fell back about two car lengths as the white came out as at about this point, Cain had a suspension failure although it wasn’t noticeable. Thatcher maintained his lead on the final circuit, and drove home for his seventh Punky title, a record for the event as well as the $2,000 top prize. Cain settled for second with his front end collapsing as he pulled into the infield at the races conclusion. Knauf made a strong comeback late in the event to take third ahead of Darrell Nelson and Bunkelman.

The Super Stock feature saw Anderson win out in a three battle for the top spot. Steve Thomas and Cory Davis raced for the lead on the opening lap with Anderson right behind and looking for an opening. The yellow waved twice in the opening laps before the Supers settled down and once they did, Anderson moved to the outside and the race for the lead turned into a three wide battle for the point. Anderson was strong on the outside and was able to edge past the other two drivers and take over the top spot. While they continued to battle, Anderson was able to put three car lengths on the field. Behind them, another battle saw Scott Lawrence, Brad Banitt and Jake Redetzke swapping positions on nearly every lap. Thomas was able to edge past Davis for second and the top three ran in formation with none of them able to gain much on each other.

Anderson continued to run strong up front and no matter what Thomas tried , he wasn’t able to gain ground on the leader. As the laps ran down, they continued to run in the same order while the battle for fourth remained intense. On the final tour, Banitt spun in turn one and was nailed by Mark Stender. While most of the field were able to continue on, the raced was checkered along with the yellow and the race was scored back to the white flag lap. For Anderson, it was his first Punky title as he recently jumped back into the Bryan Nayes Super which has been sitting idle most of the summer after Nayes moved up to Modifieds this year. Thomas and Davis followed with Eric Olson making a late charge into fourth ahead of Lawrence after fifth finishing Redetzke was disqualified in post race inspection.

This event completed the 2007 racing season at the Red Cedar Speedway with the 2008 season expected to begin in mid April. Log on to the speedway webisite,, over the winter for updates.


Punky Manor Challenge of Champions

Red Cedar Speedway

Menomonie WI

September 22, 2007

WISSOTA Late Models

40 lap Feature – Jimmy Mars, A.J. Diemel, John Kaanta, Joel Cryderman, Keith Foss, Jake Redetzke, Rick Egersdorf, Mike Goodremote, Harry Hanson, Lance Matthees, Steve Laursen, Todd Flannery, Ron Schreiner, Brent Larson, Marshall Fegers, Randy Gullixson, Gary Baxter, Steve Isenberg, Mike Prochnow, Darrell Nelson, Chad Mahder, Mark Mitchell, Pat Doar, Nick Anvelink.

15 lap B Feature 1.- Laursen, N. Anvelink, Rick Hanestad, Jeff Aikey, Tom Nesbitt, M.J. McBride, Adam Hensel, Terry Anvelink, Gordie Seegert Jr, John Massingill, John Meeds.

B Feature 2 – Schreiner, Prochnow, Scott Gilberts, Ron Berna, Duane Mahder, David McDonald, Chuckie DeSmith, Nick Herrick, Chris Oertel, Cory Mahder, Roger Paolo.

WISSOTA Modifieds

30 lap Feature – Craig Thatcher, Dave Cain, Paul Knauf, Darrell Nelson, Robby Bunkelman, Kelly Estey, Scott Duval, Brent Prochnow, Mike Anderson, Jamie Lautigar, Steve Wik, Jerry Hartman, Al Uotinen, Jake Hartung, Dean Yrjanainen, Bryan Nayes, Rick Friendt, Duane Dale, Steve Lavasseur, Don Brightbill, Ross Prochnow, Mark Baxter, Mike Goodremote, Kent Baxter.

12 lap B Feature 1 - Dale, Hartung, Jeff Netzer, Kevin Rogers, Brian Crapser, Aric Lindberg, Mark Hessler, Adam Hensel.

B Feature 2 – Yrjanainen, R, Prochnow, Jay Richardson, Jerry Weigel, Aaron Wilson, Bill Stettner, Tim Shackleton, Darrel Hazelton, Scott Hudack.

WISSOTA Super Stocks

25 lap Feature – Mike Anderson, Steve Thomas, Cory Davis, Eric Olson, Scott Lawrence, Mike Keller, Ben Hillman, Rich Bishop, Mark Stender, Rick Przybylski, Steve Hallquist, Tom Karis, Dave Emerfall, Steve Zurek, Charley Obermueller, Bernie Christianson, John Hunker, Destin Lorimor, Brad Banitt, Aaron Wilson, Tony Gates, Chad Johnson, Wyatt Wolfe Jr, Jake Redetzke(DQ).

15 lap B Feature 1 – Wilson, Hunker, Jeff Bush, Rick Hallquist, Gary Wiersgalla, Pat Jungerberg, Greg Alling, Greg Nippoldt, Donnie Talmage, Kori Richter, Brian Mikkonen, Joe Rhead, Kevin Salin.

B Feature 2 – Stender, Obermueller, Kevin Eder, Steve Burns, Shawn Huse, Rod Dregney, Paul Erikson, Brad Johnson, Mike Hince, Karl Dicks, Kenny Davis, Ryan Olson, Jim Harris.