Sixth Annual Jim Meske Memorial Hosts Great Racing for a Great Cause
Perfect weather and exciting racing were both in store for fans at Sands Speedway Sunday afternoon for the Sixth Annual Jim Meske Memorial Race, with proceeds benefitting Cancer Care of Marquette County. Throughout the first half of the day, fans had the chance to enter into one, or several, of the over 60 bucket raffles. Many racing fans went home with prizes, all while donating to a great cause.
Modified Four Cylinders
The first feature race of the day belonged to the Modified Four Cylinder field, a race that ran green flag the whole way until a late race yellow halted action with four laps remaining. Up until the caution flag, racing was pretty wild in this feature, with the field running in a tight pack for the first several laps.
The green flag dropped again for a four lap shootout to end the Mod Four Feature after clean up in turn was completed. On the restart, Todd Maki jumped back to the lead. Despite having Reece Cavin and Ryan Proctor right on his tail, Maki was able to get the job done to win the 20 lap feature.
An elated Todd Maki climbed from his car in victory lane, holding the Jim Meske Memorial trophy for the Modified Four Cylinder Class high into the air. As Maki celebrated his win, Ryan Proctor and Reece Cavin went back to the pits after finishing in second and third respectively.
Stock Four Cylinders
In the Stock Four Cylinder division, it was the Waseleskys of Tom and Kathie putting on a show as the diced their way through the field from row three.
As Tom and Kathie made their way through traffic, an early race battle between Dustin Livingston and Wyatt Soeltner kept the fans on their feet. Eventually, Soeltner’s car would start to fade and by the end of the race, Soeltner took the car to the pits with mechanical issues, a disappointing ending to a great run.
Before long, Dustin Livingston had the Waselesky’s knocking on his back door. Tom Waselesky grabbed the lead soon after, with Kathie following through to the second spot. Unfortunately, for Livingston, he would soon fall into the clutches of Bill Hammond, who would take the third spot.
When the checkered flag dropped on the feature, it was a Waselesky one-two finish, with Tom and Kathie Waselesky taking the top two positions in that order. Bill Hammond finished in third, working his way through the field after starting in the seventh position.
Auto Value Super Stock & Experimental Division
The day’s biggest race, both in car count and amount of laps, was up next with the mixed class racing action of the Auto Value Super Stocks and Experimental division. Fourteen cars in total made their way out of the pits for a 30 lap feature that would prove to be a wild one.
Victoria Hawley led the early laps, but it wouldn’t be long before she had company up front. Ryan Longtine made a move to the inside of Hawley exiting turn two. As the two drivers made their way down the backstretch, it looked like the lead would go to Longtine. By the time turn three came, neither Hawley nor Longtine would be leading. Parker Cain, a regular at the Norway Speedway making his first appearance at Sands in 2019, made it three wide on the outside and slid his way into the lead with the dramatic pass.
The caution would soon fly for a tangle between Gary Stanaway and Ross Olsen Jr. Olsen Jr., running the 29 car this week, made contact with the rear of Stanaway’s car entering turn three, spinning Stanaway around. The two drivers would stop their cars next to each other the next lap in turn three. The reason was soon evident as Olsen Jr. tapped his roof as he came by the start/finish line, signaling he was taking blame for the spin. Post-race, Olsen Jr. confirmed that the two had a simple discussion about who was at fault and that everything was ok between them.
It wouldn’t take long before the next caution would fly following the restart. Parker Cain and Ray Keskimaki would make contact on the backstretch, sending Keskimaki into a wild spin through the infield (Pictured Below). Under the caution, Keskimaki and Cain would butt heads again, stopping on the backstretch to have a conversation before rejoining the race at the back of the pack. Cain, however, would pull into the pits before the restart with some kind of issue, ending his day early.
Following another brief yellow after the restart, racing resumed with Keskimaki leading the way. Right behind in the second position was Ross Olsen Jr., who had worked his way back through the field following his incident with Gary Stanaway. Olsen Jr. and Keskimaki battled hard for the lead over the remaining laps while Gary Stanaway clawed his way to the third position.
Ray Keskimaki would hold off Ross Olsen Jr. for the win in the 30 lap feature race, despite Olsen Jr.’s multiple attempts at grabbing the lead. Olsen Jr., crossed the line in a close second. Recovering from his early race spin, Gary Stanaway finished in third in another strong showing at Sands for the driver of the 111.
In the Experimental Division, Darrell Britton took the class win with Victoria Hawley in second. The two finished fifth and sixth in the overall classification.
The final race of the day belonged to the Late Models. For the first few laps, Derek Gauthier and Doug Larson battled side by side for the lead. Soon, Larson grabbed the lead while Rob Goodwin made his way from third to second, following Larson around Gauthier.
Gauthier then found himself in a battle for third with Charlie Bell, a battle that Bell would eventually get the better of. Bell then set his sights on the top two of Goodwin and Larson. After pestering Larson for several laps, Goodwin eventually grabbed the lead with Bell tagging along to also get by Larson.
As the laps wound down, the field sorted themselves out and finished the feature with zero cautions. Rob Goodwin held on for the win while Charlie Bell took home a second place finish. In third was Doug Larson.
Overall, the Sixth Annual Jim Meske Memorial was everything is should have been, a beautiful day with great racing all supporting a great cause. Next week, Sands Speedway takes a break from its weekly program but will be back in action on August 18, with racing at 2 p.m. EST.
By Todd Rose