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Weekly Notebook presented by JRi Shocks

Notes: Wisconsin driver hits highs, lows in return

June 6, 2013, 12:11 am
By Joshua Joiner
DirtonDirt.com staff writer
Todd Jensema won his first race in five seasons last month. (danlewisphoto.net)
Todd Jensema won his first race in five seasons last month. (danlewisphoto.net)

It didn’t take long for Todd Jensema to be reminded of the extremes of Dirt Late Model racing.

Returning to full-time racing for the first time since 2008, Jensema, 34, of Sheboygan Falls, Wis., made his first trip back to victory lane on May 24 at Manitowoc (Wis.) County Expo Speedway. A week later he destroyed his race car in a rollover wreck.

“I remember how frustrating it can be now,” said Jensema, who took over the Schueffner Racing ride after Craig Schueffner retired from driving. “You can definitely go from hero to zero real quick. But it’s amazing how all your fans are excited to see ya back out there and they’re right there with you for the highs and lows, too. That makes it a better.”

While the wreck was certainly a disappointing setback, Jensema is still happy to be back racing. After stepping away in 2008 to focus on his family farm, Jensema has found a perfect fit with his new car owners, father and son Cale and Leslie Schueffner.

“I always missed racing, but it was to the point where I didn’t have time or money to do it on my own,” Jensema said of his decision to take a break from racing in 2008. “I still go over there and help with the work, but at least if I’m busy on the farm they get the work done. It just makes everything a lot easier when you have someone helping with that and footing the bill.”

Putting together a new MB Customs Race Car will keep Jensema off the track for at least a week, possibly two, but he’s excited about the remainder of the season. While the missed races will likely take him out of the running for Manitowoc County’s track title, he’s looking forward to challenging for the weekly racing championship on the Wisconsin Dirt Late Model Association.

“It’s not gonna slow me down a bit. I’m still enjoying it and ready to get at it again,” Jensema said. “With us missing a couple nights now, I probably don’t have much of a chance at a tracks points, but we’ll shoot for the WDLMA deal and see how that works out. I’m pretty excited about what we have going.”

Weekly highlights

• Taking the lead June 1 after brothers Chad and Chris Simpson were sideline, Mark Burgtorf of Quincy, Ill., outdueled two-time World 100 winner Brian Birkhofer for a victory at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa. "Racing with Brian and beating him makes this the race of the year for me," Burgtorf said.

• With Russ Scheffler’s victory May 31 at Manitowoc County Expo Speedway, the first six Wisconsin Dirt Late Model Association events of the season had six winners.

• Unbeaten in regular-season action at Delaware International Speedway, Ricky Elliott of Seaford, Del., won his sixth race of 2013 at the Delmar, Del., track on June 1.

• Although Luke Pestka led the first 23 laps, Tyler Bruening of Decorah, Iowa, won his third of the year at Independence (Iowa) Motor Speedway on June 1 after taking control on a restart with two laps remaining.

• On June 1 at Hartwell (Ga.) Speedway, David McCoy of Franklin, N.C., swept Limited Late Model and Crate Late Model action.

Noel Tucker of Pilot Mountain, N.C., swept June 1 Fastrak Crate Late Model features at Friendship Motor Speedway in Elkin, N.C.

• With his June 1 Super Late Model victory at Columbus (Miss.) Speedway, Eric Cooley of Fulton, Miss., notched his fourth feature victory in three weekends in two divisions.

First things first

First-time occurrences at the dirt track:

• Leading every lap, Glenn Elliott of Finksburg, Md., won his first career Super Late Model feature June 1 at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway.

• On a night with first-time winners in all six divisions, Rance Garlock of Three Springs, Pa., captured the May 31 Super Late Model feature at Bedford (Pa.) Speedway. Curtis Heath won the Limited Late Model feature.

• On June 1 at Virginia Motor Speedway, twin Late Model features were captured by first-time winners: Stephen Childress of St. Stephens Church, Va., and Joe Enders of Glen Allen, Va.

Weekly points chases

UMP DIRTcar (Super Late Models): Rusty Schlenk of Weston, Ohio, is on top through Memorial Day weekend with 944 points. He’s leading Brandon Sheppard (908) of New Berlin, Ill., and Mike Hammerle (849) of St. Charles, Mo.

UMP DIRTcar (Crate Late Models): Aaron Heck of Mount Vernon, Ill., has 958 points to lead Nick Lyons (831) of Centralia, Ill., and Jeff Walston (746) of Paducah, Ky.

IMCA: Nick Marolf of Moscow, Iowa, is on top with 336 points over fellow Iowans Tyler Bruening (306) of Decorah and former champ Darrel DeFrance (304) of Marshalltown.

WISSOTA: Through June 1, Lance Matthees of Winona, Minn., is out front with 288 points over Chad Becker (284) of Aberdeen, S.D., and Jeff Wildung (243) of Nassau, Minn.

WDLMA: Justin Hirt of Tigerton, Wis., leads with 109 points of Russ Scheffler (99) of Waukesha, Wis., and Jim Schmidt (90) of Cleveland, Wis.

AMRA: Reigning champ Chris Garnes of Evans, W.Va., has 634 points to lead Andy Bond (600) of Coolville, Ohio, and K.C. Burdette (562) of Parkersburg, W.Va.

ULMA: Justin Russell of Henley, Mo., leads the Missouri-based Limited Late Model organization with 542 points over Chris Cox (508) and Jason Russell (482).

NeSmith Chevrolet Series: The Old Man’s Garage Weekly Series points leader is Michael Arnold of Hattiesburg, Miss., with 435 points. He leads Noah Daspit (427) of Kiln, Miss., and Derrick Mackmer (398) of Purvis, Miss.

RUSH: Joe Martin of Mayport, Pa., is out front on the first-year Sweeney Chevrolet-Buick-GMC points chase with 1,061 points. He’s leading Uniontown, Pa., drivers Michael Lake (1,031) and John Over (1,022).

SECA: Michael Brown of Pageland, S.C., moved into the lead of the first-year Southeastern Crate Association presented by City Chevrolet. He has 212 points to lead Trent Ivey (206) of Union, S.C., and Mac Owens (203) of Woodruff, S.C.

Upcoming weekly specials

Among non-touring and independent special events at dirt tracks around the country for the upcoming weekend:

Little Valley (N.Y.) Speedway (June 7): The Super Spring Special includes three Late Model divisions. Super Late Models battle for $3,000-to-win, BRP Can Am Series Late Models battle for $1,000-to-win and Crate Late Models battle $750-to-win.

Lucky 7 Speedway, Colson, Ky. (June 8): The inaugural Millard Combs Memorial pays $3,000-to-win for Super Late Models.

Winchester (Tenn.) Speedway (June 8): Summerfest includes a $3,000-to-win event for Super Late Models. The track’s Limited Late Model division is also in action.

North Georgia Speedway, Chatsworth, Ga. (June 8): Super Late Models return with a $2,000-to-win event. The division will run every three weeks.

Deep South Speedway, Loxley, Ala. (June 8): The track hosts a $1,500-to-win Super Late Model event along with the track’s four regular divisions. General admission is $10.

Clayhill Motorsports Park, Atwood, Tenn. (June 8): The rain-postponed King of the Clayhill finale is set for the track’s Crate Late Model division.

Coos Bay (Ore.) Speedway (June 8): The Late Model Showdown has had additional sponsorship to boost the purse to $600-to-win. South Coast Construction and West End Performance helped with the increased purse.

Todd Jensema file

Age: 34 (born Sept. 5, 1978)
Hometown: Sheboygan Falls, Wis.
Family: Wife Christy; sons Parker, Cole and Lucas; daughter Aldora
Home track: Manitowoc County Expo Speedway
Occupation: Farmer
Car owners: Cale and Leslie Schueffner
Chassis/engine: MB Customs/Tims Automotive
Sponsors: Steve Tenpas Drywall, Waldo Oil, Todd Thone Carpentry, Bob's Custom Restoration and Auto Body, Meyer Electric, Complete Water, Mark Diener Electric, Meyer Motors, Gary Jensema Farms, Maueser Farms, Schueffner Signs, Redline Manufacturing, Schueffner Farms, Walker Hot Rods, Mars Racing, CMD Shock
Crew members: Derrick Walker, Gary Jensema, Leslie Schueffner, Cale Schueffner
Career highlights: Raced for four years in WISSOTA and FASTRAK Late Models before stepping away from full-time racing in 2008. Back racing with Schueffner Racing this season, he won May 24 at Manitowoc County Expo Speedway.
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