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Racing season inching closer — Notes from a Racing Geek

By Jim den Hollander



While local tracks took some small steps toward opening for the new season, Wisconsin racers had some mixed results at other events around the country this past weekend.

Perhaps the biggest weekends – both good and bad, took place at Bristol Motor Speedway where five local racers reached both ends of the emotional spectrum.

It just doesn’t get better than the weekend Sam Meyer, 15, from Franklin enjoyed. The Bristol bullring can be intimidating but it sure didn’t scare this teenager who enjoyed a dominating weekend in the K&N East Series, topping the sheet in practice and qualifying before leading 147 of 150 laps with other the mandatory 50-Lap breaks bringing him back to the pack.

Meanwhile Derek Kraus, 17, from Stratford engaged in a 150-Lap street fight, battling from the opening lap to checkers moving as high as fourth and as far back as eighth but ultimately finishing sixth in the same race.

Also enjoying a big weekend at Bristol was Paul Menard of Eau Claire in the Monster Energy Cup Series. His sixth place finish at Bristol was his best result of the season and coming on the heels of the Texas race where he also collected playoff points, this could be a turning point in a long season.

At the opposite end, Natalie Decker, 21, from Eagle River and Josh Bilicki from Menomonee Falls both saw early race mishaps they had no control over make them spectators at Bristol – Decker in the K&N Race and Bilicki in the NASCAR Xfinity series.

Also, at Road Atlanta, Ray Hofman, from  started the AMA MotoAmerica season with a pair of 11th place finishes in the Twin Division.

Locally, Ray Orr did what he does best once again, the South Milwaukee racer finishing second at a season opening Enduro at Rockford Speedway. Dells Raceway Park would have had the weekend spotlight, but unfortunately Mother Nature wouldn’t cooperate and the Ice Breaker 100, opening event of the Alive For 5 Season was forced to be pushed a few weeks deeper into the season.

Several other tracks, asphalt and dirt as well as karting tracks were either showcasing themselves at shows or hosting test and tune/cleanup type weekends.

This coming weekend is supposed to be a breakout with stock car, karting and AMA events scheduled, but as of press time for this article, those events are up in the air as once again, Mother Nature has been difficult, throwing one last reminder of the winter season at us.

Check out this site for updates and confirmations of all the upcoming weekend’s events.

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