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Sommers and Kraus finish in top five at New Smyrna Speedweeks

Four young Wisconsin racers got their seasons off to an early start, taking part in the World Series of Asphalt Car Racing series during Speedweeks in Florida in mid-February.

Two of them, 14-year-old Gabe Sommers from Plover and 17-year-old Derek Kraus from Stratford, took part in all six races held while two others – Brent Strelka from Freedom and East Troy’s Jeff

Holmgren Jr, entered the first two races of the Super Late Model series.

Sommers finished as the series runner up with 276 points over the nine-days, behind only Bubba Pollard a veteran racer from Georgia who collected 320 points.

Kraus was close behind in fourth with 268 total points.

The series was originally scheduled to run eight events, but the second and third nights were rained out.

On Feb. 8, Kraus picked up his best result of the series, starting fourth on the grid and

finishing third while Sommers started the race ninth and moved up to seventh. Strelka was 13th at the start and fell a bit to 19th while Holmgren Jr. began 19th and finished 21st.

The next two nights were both rained out and Sommers led the Wisconsin charge when they returned on Feb. 11, starting and finishing third.

Kraus started 13th and carved his way through to a sixth place finish while Strelka started 18th and improved to 17th and Holmgren Jr. began 22nd and finished 19th.

The following night Kraus started on pole and slipped a bit, matching his sixth place showing of the previous night while Sommers began 10th and finished ninth.

On Feb. 13 Sommers began ninth and crossed the line eighth, Kraus starting 14th and finishing 13th. On Valentines Day, Sommers enjoyed his best start and finish of the series, starting second on the front row and finishing in the same position. Kraus began the race sixth and slipped a bit to 9th in the race.

On the final night, Kraus begin 15th and moved to 10th before checkers while Sommers started 11th and slipped a bit, back to 14th.

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