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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Sonny Schoffen


Keith Vercauteren
Mid American Stock Car Series
June 17, 2006

(Lake Geneva, WI) June 17, 2006 -- Sonny Schoffen of Crystal Lake, IL used a borrowed car and home track experience to win the Lynch GM Superstore 40-lap Mid-American Stock Car Series feature at Lake Geneva Raceway Saturday night. Schoffen, a weekly competitor in the limited late model division and a former super stock champion at the track, drove the Mid-Am machine which Kenny Joosten claimed the track championship with in 2005.

Several competitors saw their chances for victory eliminated in an opening lap crash, which brought out a red flag. As the pack headed through turn two, Danny Powell spun and collected the cars of Josh Higgins, John Fischer, Jim Thorson, Ken Smart, Scott Null and James Swan. Powell, Higgins, Fischer and Thorson were unable to continue. Swan, the evening's fastest qualifier and a pre-race favorite, headed to the pits to make hasty repairs to his damaged mount. Coming back out just in time for the green flag, Swan had to start in the back of the pack.

When the race was finally underway, Gary Norton jumped from the inside of the front row to lead the opening laps with Lyle Nowak following in second. By lap 2, Schoffen had charged from a sixth place starting spot to dive under Nowak for second. Schoffen began to challenge Norton on lap 7 and scooted into the lead on the following circuit.

Schoffen instantly built up a big lead as George Schultz moved into third on lap 10. 16-year old rookie driver Maxwell Schultz then spun in turn four on lap 11, bringing out the caution. After the restart George Schultz, charged into second on lap 13 while Bobby Gutknecht followed through into the third position.

With Schoffen pulling away from the field again, Gutknecht began to challenge Schultz for the second spot, but was unable to make the pass stick. On lap 23, a fire was noticed underneath the hood of a Clifford Adee's car and a caution flag flew to get the car into the pits safely.

On the restart, Schoffen jumped ahead to a comfortable lead, with Schultz and Gutknecht still battling for second. Swan, meanwhile had charged through the pack, moving into sixth on lap 29 and up to fifth on lap 32. Schoffen held a straightaway lead over Schultz and Gutknecht at the finish. Jeremy Spoonmore finished fourth, with Swan and Nowak rounding out the top six.

"It was honor to race with these guys in the Mid-American Series," Schoffen said after his win. "I wish I could get my late model to run like this!"

10-lap heat races were won by Maxwell Schultz, Jim Thorson and Danny Powell. Dave Obermeyer was the winner of 15-lap qualifying race. James Swan ran the quickest lap in qualifying, touring the 1/3 mile oval with a time of 17.350 seconds.

Next weekend features a doubleheader for the Mid-American Stock Car Series, as they head to Madison International Speedway on Friday, June 23rd and then to 141 Speedway on Saturday, June 24th.

Series Chaplain, Tom Pirkel, ended his late model career at LGR in 1982. Tom felt the need and announced at the driver meeting that he was putting a respectable addition to the feature position that matched his finishing position in that 1982 race. After the feature, third place finisher, Bobby Gutknecht, was blessed with his best finish of the season plus the Chaplians bonus.

40-Lap Feature: 1. Sonny Schoffen (Island Lake, IL) 2. George Schultz (Bristol, WI) 3. Bobby Gutknecht (Oak Creek, WI) 4. Jeremy Spoonmore (Somonauk, IL) 5. James Swan (Lake Geneva, WI) 6. Lyle Nowak (Wausau, WI) 7. Eric Pierce (Lake in the Hills, IL) 8. Jake Finney (Sycamore, IL) 9. Ken Smart (Oconomowoc, WI) 10. Ryan Finley (Shabbona, IL) 11. Gary Norton (Hebron, IL) 12. John Fiorita (Bartlett, IL) 13. Scott Null (Lake Mills, WI) 14. Dave Obermeyer (Allenton, WI) 15. Cliff Adee (Gilberts, IL) 16. Maxwell Schultz (Reedsville, WI) 17. Jim Thorson (Sugar Grove, IL) 18. Danny Powell (Polo, IL) 19. John Fischer (Burlington, WI) 20. Josh Higgins

Last Chance: 1. Obermeyer-transfer 2. Thorson-transfer 3. M. Schultz-transfer 4. Foirita-transfer 5. Fred Boal (Woodstock, IL) 6. Tony Habeck (Black Creek, WI) 7. Hank Tews (Batavia, IL) 8. Greg Marks (Maribel, WI) 9. Jack Clark (Waukesha, WI) 10. Andrew Kulka (Deerfield, WI) 11. Elliot Marquardt (Merrill, WI)

Heat1: 1. M. Schultz 2. Obermeyer 3. Marquardt 4. Boal 5. Kulka 6. Tews 7. Marks 8. Clark 9. Habeck

Heat 2: 1. Thorson 2. Higgins 3. Null 4. Finney 5. Finley 6. Nowak 7. Foirita 8. Norton 9. Fischer

Heat 3: 1. Powell 2. Spoonmore 3. Schoffen 4. Smart 5. Swan 6. Pierce 7. G, Schultz 8. Adee 9. Gutknecht

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