Regarding history Aristotle wrote - "If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development." When it comes to American racing history few names are anymore observable, have undergone more development, or are more synonymous with creating it, then the Wilke family name. Jerry Coons driving the K&N sponsored Wilke-Pak Motorsports Spike/Toyota recently inked yet another new entry into the books by winning the 75th Anniversary Badger Midget Race. Badger's 75-years of sanctioning midget auto racing positions it as the oldest active open wheel sanctioning organization in the country.
The win was the 92nd victory for Wilke at the track, ranking them number one for car owners over the track's 65-year history.
Jerry Coons led nearly the entire last half of the 75th Anniversary Badger Midget Race. The victory moved him into eighth on the all time win list at Angell Park Speedway.
Coons qualified sixth quick, won his heat race, then took the lead on lap 18 of the 30-lap feature at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, and led for the remainder of the race. The win marked the 92nd victory for Wilke at the track, ranking them number one for car owners over the track's 65-year history.
"Having 92 wins at Angell Park Speedway is one of our family's greatest accomplishments," Chris Wilke told K&N Race News. "But the neat part about it is that it spans four generations of racing in the family, so it's not really just one person's record, it's shared in the family across all four generations, and that's what makes it very special to our family."
"It was great to win the Badger 75th Anniversary, our family has been racing at that track since the early 50's; we actually won the 50th Anniversary as well. It's really neat to be part of such a long rich history as the Badger Midgets."
Listing the entire Wilke family historic racing past would require a separate story as it dates back to the 1930's. The family's involvement in Indy Car racing alone includes three Indianapolis 500 wins and six Indy Car Series Car Owner Championships. Combine that with their Silver Crown and Midget racing success and the Wilke family tally is at over 275 feature wins throughout five decades of racing. This doesn't even include feature wins from 1939-1948. Little record keeping and statistics were recorded during this time of the sport, an exact victory count is unavailable, but sources estimate it's in the hundreds.
"Jerry being eighth on the all time win list at the Angell is another great accomplishment for us," continues Wilke. "His name will be forever remembered at that track, I don't really know of a driver who has more experience at Angell Park then Jerry Coon's. I don't think it will be to long before he breaks into the top-five all time winners."
"2011 Has been one of the toughest seasons in midget racing we have had, we lost our primary driver, Kody Swanson, to a early year injury, and we scrambled throughout the year looking for replacement drivers. It's very hard in midget racing to quickly adapt to new drivers and find success. But just like any sport you are going to have your down years or your slumps, we have been here before and we know the steps necessary to regain focus and get back on track. We are excited for the opportunity to work with Kody and hope to get him back on his feet and comfortable once again. We are confident that he will be just as fast, heck maybe even faster than before!"
Prophetic words indeed, as we reported only one week ago, Swanson won his first race back to racing, the USAC Silver Crown race at Lucas Oil Raceway. Stay tuned for more observable history making from Wilke-Pak Motorsports.
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