34th Annual Larry Detjen’s Memorial This Saturday Night at State Park Speedway

by Jana Wimmer

This weekend marks the 34th running of the Larry Detjens Memorial Race. Over the past three decades the event has changed locations and formats, moving from State Park Speedway to Golden Sands Speedway and then back to State Park Speedway. It’s also evolved from a one day event to a two day weekend event chalk full of racing and other activities. But no matter where it is or when it is, one thing that is certain is it is an event drivers’ circle on their calendar and want desperately to win.

“To win this race is huge,” says 2012 winner, Mark Mackesy, “So many drivers have raced in it and tried to win it because of their respect for Larry. This race for me is like Daytona for other drivers, there’s so much history in it.”

“I’ve been fortunate enough to race at some pretty high levels,” says two time winner Scott Wimmer, “But winning the Detjens Memorial still stands out as one of the most important wins of my career. The race has so much meaning and so much history; to win it is truly special.”

The list of past Detjens Memorial Race winners reads like a who’s who in Midwest racing. It includes names like Scott Wimmer, Chris Wimmer, Tom Reffner and Charlie Menard.

“I think I’ve raced the Detjens Memorial more than ten times in my life,” says Chris Wimmer, “And I’ve only been able to win it once. I know I’ve been at the last seven and have come up short. To win this race is difficult, it is definitely one I want to win every year and I know a lot of other drivers do too. Everyone seems to dig a little deeper on this night, which makes it even more special to win.”

Only a few drivers have been able to win this event on more than one occasion; Mark Mackesy, Chris Weinkauf and legendary short track racer Dick Trickle, are the only three to win it three times.

“To be in the company of a guy like Dick Trickle is something pretty amazing,” says Mackesy, “Each time I’ve won this race was exciting, but I’d say the last one is the most special. Trickle was there, it was his last visit to SPS, and he’s in the victory lane picture. I told him I drove that race like him, saving my stuff until the end.”

Twenty two cars will take the green flag for the Auto Select Detjens Memorial 125 on Saturday night with one driver etching his or her name into Detjens Memorial history with a win.

Miller Lite Detjens Memorial Weekend presented by Newsline Nine kicks off Friday with the Big 8 Series and support divisions. Fan gates open at 4:30pm with Fred Mueller qualifying at 6:00pm and racing at 7:00pm.

Saturday there will be breakfast served in the Speedway Bar and a bean bag toss tournament in the morning. The evening is full of racing action with five support divisions before the Auto Select Detjens Memorial 125 headlines the night. Fan gates open at 3:00pm, Fred Mueller qualifying is at 5:00pm and racing begins at 6:00pm.

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