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Business of the Week: State Park Speedway

By Shereen Siewert,

Photo courtesy of State Park Speedway

Wausau Pilot & Review

Editor’s note: Business of the Week is a sponsored feature that shares the stories of locally-owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and the ways they contribute to the metro area’s unique flavor. Learn how to feature your business by emailing
Ron Wimmer, co-owner of State Park Speedway

This week’s featured Wausau business is State Park Speedway in Rib Mountain, a storied track in which several racing greats have competed and gone on to enormous success. Dick Trickle and Dave Marcis are just two of the NASCAR giants who raced at State Park Speedway, and the action at the track is only continuing.

The history of the track goes back decades. The story goes like this: Marcis, who was runner-up for the NASCAR title in 1975 only to be edged out by Richard Petty, was among a group of drivers who urged landowner Otto Hotz to help build a track in the early 1950s, according to a Wausau Daily Herald report. In those days, an afternoon’s work with a bulldozer and road grader was all it took to turn a farm field into a super speedway. The speedway began as a third-mile dirt oval with a smaller, eighth-mile track inside.

The late Ed Wodalski detailed the track’s history in an article published in State Park Speedway yearbooks. In his story, he says the track was run for years as a club by the Valley Racing Association and was renamed State Park Speedway in 1970. The first stock car race that spring drew six drivers – including Dick Trickle, Marv Marzofka, Tom Reffner and Jimmy Back.

Since then, the raceway has become state of the art and a destination for racers and competitors alike, thanks to the efforts of current owners Ron and Joan Wimmer, along with co-owners Scott and Jody Wimmer, who bought the track in 2010. Ron Wimmer, a former construction company owner, and Scott, a top-tier NASCAR driver, had a vision and a dream for State Park Speedway and took the raceway from a state of decay to a solid home for six divisions of racing.

The racetrack is a true family venture, with Jana Wimmer spearheading public relations, Chris Wimmer acting as race director/assistant, Tim Wimmer handling accounting and Merry Wimmer in charge of food prep.

Together, the family transformed the speedway. They added indoor restrooms, a playground, a new section of grandstands, a VIP deck and concrete pit slabs. A former shed where a cooler once held cold beers is now a beautiful bar with a happy hour, plenty of seating, drink specials and an exciting atmosphere. The State Park Speedway Bar is a great place to grab a cold one or chat with friends while watching races streamed live to TVs inside. Hundreds of old racing pictures are laminated into the bar top, chronicling the track’s history and many stars who appeared throughout the years to compete.
The bar at State Park Speedway

Located in turn four, the State Park Speedway VIP Deck is the perfect spot for corporate events, birthday parties or even just a night out with friends. The VIP Deck can accommodate up to 250 people and can be sectioned off to offer space to as many as four small groups. The deck can be rented on a race-by-race basis and can include packages that offer food and drinks for guests. With an on-site bar and a great view of the track, the VIP Deck is a great place to create a memorable evening while watching the action.

For children, State Park Speedway now has a playground complete with a pirate ship and fun activities for kids younger than 12. Candyland is also a kids’ favorite, where special snacks, not available in the main concession area, can be found. This includes cotton candy, ice cream and other fun treats.
Playground at State Park Speedway

Racing season is now underway, with a total of 15 races planned through October.

State Park Speedway has weekly divisions of Super Late Models, Pure Stocks, mini mods and mini stocks. They added the Midwest Truck Series to the season opener, while the Bandoleros and the Legend Series will have seven races at the track.

Some of the biggest events of the year include the July 21 Big 8 Series cars and the July 22 ASA Midwest Tour cars, part of the annual Detjens Memorial Weekend, which has grown into a two-day event. The weekend of racing honors the late Larry Detjens, a widely-known U.S. stock car driver who died in 1981 after a crash at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna. Detjens, of Wausau, was the uncle of Scott Wimmer. His legacy has endured for decades.

Additional memorial races are held to honor drivers such as Flip Merwin, Dave Lashua and Wayne “Lodi” Lodholz, and SPS will hold its annual Fighting Cancer Full Throttle race on Aug. 24.
NASCAR racer Scott Wimmer’s image is featured at State Park Speedway, where he is co-owner.

The TUNDRA series is set for Aug. 13, while Sept. 23 brings the Eve of Devastation. On Oct. 28, State Park will feature its annual Creepy Classic, a 300-lap enduro race that delights fans and always draws an enthusiastic crowd.

In addition to Scott Wimmer, Larry Detjens and Dave Marcis, many other drivers who competed at State Park Speedway have gone on to major success, including Chris Wimmer, Ty Majeski, Natalie Decker, Johhny Sauter, Parker Retzloff, Derek Kraus, Kyle Petty and others.

Co-owner Ron Wimmer said the racing community is very competitive, but is always there to support and help one another. Being part of a racing family, he said, has been incredible, allowing him and his family to make many wonderful friends throughout the years.

As a huge part of central Wisconsin culture, racing endures because of its competitiveness nature, Ron said. For racers themselves, the high state of concentration, the rush of adrenaline and the excitement are hard to beat. And for fans, the love of the sport comes from the strategy and skill involved, the high-speed thrills and the technology and engineering of the cars themselves.

Ron said he’s looking forward to another great season.

“Good car counts, good weather and good crowds,” he said.

Mobile ticketing is available for the 2023 season. Buy tickets ahead of time and skip the line by downloading the Ticket Hoss app to get started.
The fan deck at State Park Speedway

Connect with State Park Speedway
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