Simpson not the only winner at George Scheffler Memorial
By Bert Lehman
Editor, Full Throttle Magazine
On Friday, Aug. 22 I attended the 5th annual George Scheffler Memorial at Oshkosh Speedzone in Oshkosh. I attended last year’s event, also at the Speedzone, and was impressed with the number of local Late Models on hand, as well as the show itself.
The show in 2013 was sanctioned by WDLMA. This year’s program was sanctioned by the Corn Belt Clash Series, based out of Iowa. I will admit, when I first heard that the 2014 George Scheffler Memorial was going to be a Corn Belt Clash Series race, I wasn’t thrilled. My thought was why change something when there was a good group of Late Models on hand the prior year. I was afraid the Corn Belt Clash sanction would keep some of the local Late Model drivers away, while not drawing enough out-of-state drivers to fill that void.
Now that the show is over, I have to say, I was wrong. In my opinion, the 2014 George Scheffler Memorial was better than the 2013 edition. There were 50 Late Model on hand, with several of them from Iowa. In addition, there were 52 IMCA Modified drivers on hand, as well as 21 Grand National drivers.
Not only was there a good number of race cars on hand, but the racing action was competitive and fun to watch.
The Late Model portion was split into five heat races. Heat race winners included: Doug Blashe, Spencer Diercks (Davenport, Iowa), Jordan Yaggy (Rochester, Minnesota), Chad Simpson (Mount Vernon, Iowa, and A.J. Diemel.
The fifth heat, the one that Diemel won, was absolutely stacked. That heat race included Russ Scheffler, Diemel, Mitch McGrath, Pete Parker, Tim Buhler, T.J. Dolhun, Nick Anvelink, Jimmy Mars, Jared Siefert, and Jason Raun.
Siefert, a standout Modifed driver in northeast Wisconsin, plans on switching to the Late Model division in 2015. He was racing Tom Naeyaert’s Late Model at the George Scheffler Memorial. He started ninth in his heat race and finished fifth. He led a good portion of his B-main, before falling back to fourth. All in all, Siefert had a good showing for himself in a Late Model.
Simpson came out the big winner on the night, winning his heat race, the dash and the 30-lap feature.
It was the first time Simpson ever raced at Oshkosh Speedzone.
“I always seem to have pretty good luck coming to these race tracks that I’ve never been to before,” Simpson said.
Simpson was racing a Victory Circle chassis, one he has raced only a handful of nights.
“We didn’t do a whole lot to the car. My hats off to the Diercks family, they have one heck of a race car for me. We just keep tweaking on it a little bit. I probably should have been in this car a lot earlier this year. It seems to be running real good for us, and we’ll just keep running it,” Simpson said.
From the get go, Simpson said he knew he had a good car.
“I knew right away when we unloaded, when we ran hot laps it was pretty decent on the clock,” Simpson said. “And in the heat race to come up to the front like that, I knew we had a pretty good car. I know A.J. (Diemel) has run up here before, and Jimmy (Mars) has run up here before, and I was a little bit worried about them guys because I knew they probably knew this place a little bit better than I did. We just did our usually things and tweaked on the car and put us up front.
“We got into lapped traffic about 10 laps in and I got high one time coming off of (corner) two and I looked down and I seen there was a white car down there so I knew it was either Jimmy or A.J. I got rolling there and then the caution came out. My crew guys up here on the top told me where I needed to be in one and two on the race track to make ourselves better. Once I moved down there, then they said we just checked out.”
Raun was the hard charger on the night, starting last in the feature and finishing fifth.