Monday, August 28, 2023

1983 – Weltmeyer Victorious in Milwaukee Sentinel 200

Dave Weltmeyer accepts his trophy after winning the Milwaukee Sentinel 200 at Wisconsin State Fair Park Speedway. Robert H. Wills, editor of the newspaper, make the presentation while announcer Jack Baker looks on. – Russ Lake Photo

West Allis, Wis. (August 28, 1983) – Despite having to drive the last 134 laps in fourth gear, Dave Weltmeyer scored the biggest win of his career in Sunday’s Milwaukee Sentinel 200-mile late model stock car race co-sanctioned by USAC and ARCA at Wisconsin State Fair Park Speedway.

Weltmeyer took the lead from Bill Venturini on the 163rd trip around the one-mile paved oval, then survived a pair of late restarts to cross the finish line 5.6-seconds ahead of Venturini to pick up the victory.

Bob Dotter came in third and was followed by Davey Allison and Ken Kotowicz, who rounded out the list of lead lap finishers.

Duane Pierson and Bob Brevak completed 199 miles each to give ARCA drivers a sweep of the top seven positions, with USAC stock car points leader Dean Roper coming in eighth.

Bob Schact, who broke his own year-old track record with a 31.311-second clocking Saturday, started Sunday’s contest on the pole and led the first 66 miles. Bill Venturini advanced to second on lap 2 and held the runner-up spot during the remainder of Schact’s reign.

A caution on lap 65 began a five-lap slowdown and a series of pit stops under caution resulted in Bobby Dotter leading laps 67 and 68, and Rick O’Brien in the top spot on lap 69.

It was then that Weltmeyer took on right-side tires but lost the linkage in his 1981 LeMans when he attempted to down shift. As a result, he was forced to drive the remainder of the race in fourth gear.

Weltmeyer had considerably good luck on the new tires, however, and ran the rest of the way on them.

“We ran 145 laps on those tires and never once got loose,” Weltmeyer said.

Back under the green, Venturini took the lead from O’Brien on the 70th circuit and Schact dropped out when his LeMans suffered a blown engine on lap 71.

Weltmeyer took second at O’Brien’s expense on lap 74 but had to wait until Venturini pitted during a yellow on lap 86 before taking the lead for the first time. The caution encompassed laps 77 through 94. Another yellow, when Roger Drake lost his driveshaft in turn one, slowed laps 97 through 101.

Weltmeyer was unable to open as big advantage as he would have liked because he found himself positioned behind Alan Kulwicki, whose Grand Prix was spewing oil onto the racing surface.

“Kulwicki was dropping oil on me,” Weltmeyer said. “It was all over my windshield. I signaled the flagman what was happening and 20 laps later he finally gave him (Kulwicki) the black flag.”

Another caution on lap 135 allowed Weltmeyer to clean his windshield and change left-side tires. Davey Allison assumed the top spot.

Green flag action resumed on lap 141 and nine miles later, Weltmeyer was back up to third behind Allison and Venturini. Venturini overhauled Allison to gain thee upper hand on lap 153, two miles before Weltmeyer pulled into the runner-up spot. Weltmeyer then accounted for the final lead change by passing Venturini coming out of turn four on lap 163.

Venturini’s hopes of catching Weltmeyer were hampered when his LeMans developed brake problems in the late stages of the race.

Weltmeyer’s winning speed was 82.223 miles per hour with 11 caution periods encompassing 66 miles. His win was worth $4,300 from a purse of $42,400. A crowd of 11,000 viewed the event on a hot, humid day.

Results –

1. Dave Weltmeyer
2. Bill Venturini
3. Bob Dotter
4. Davey Allison
5. Ken Kotowicz
6. Duane Pierson
7. Bob Brevak
8. Dean Roper
9. Rick O’Brien
10.Butch Garner
11.Larry Nau
12.Mike Marden
13.Don White
14.Bill Hartwig
15.Gordon Blankenship

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