From Jeremy Sachse
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (August 5, 2016) — – To say Scotty Neitzel was not to be denied a victory at the SCAG Shootout at the Dodge County Fairgrounds might be a bit of an understatement. Neither hard charging rival Jeremy Schultz, nor the Dodge County Fairgrounds walls backed up by the weight of the earth, could slow his high flying #2w R&H Enterprises machine this evening.
In front of a partisan hometown crowd Neitzel outran the field to earn his second Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint series victory of the 2016 season as he left the field in his wake blazing around the big half-mile clay oval. Schultz was the only other driver to lead the contest and his time up front was brief.
Schultz, who grew up learning about sprint car racing by helping in Neitzel’s team shop, was the only driver who could match Neitzel’s pace. When Neitzel slapped the wall coming off turn four on lap 13 of the 25 lap contest it appeared Schultz would have his opportunity to steal the victory. Neitzel slowed is pace briefly to assure the car was okay before getting back on the gas, retaking the lead and outrunning the field to capture the victory.
Neitzel elaborated on the incident from victory lane.
“I was really just trying to watch the lapped cars, a lot of them really hang the tail around here with the big corners. That was all me down there, I was looking at the 99’s (Kyle Marten) right rear tire and the next thing you know I looked up and I’m on top of the fence. Boy I got into it hard, it rattled my teeth and I slowed down for a lap or two. Jeremy (Schultz) went by and I just said well, I think it (the car) is still under me so I just kept getting on the gas”, Neitzel explained of the hair-raising incident.
Once he realized the car was still capable to continue he continued his battle out front. Neitzel obviously enjoyed his battle with Schultz whom he helped early in his racing career.
“I taught Jeremy’s everything he knows but not everything I know”, exclaimed an excited Neitzel.
Already a two-time series champion Neitzel was asked if he had started looking at the points situation.
“It’s just business as usual. We’ve been fortunate enough to win some championships. These are good guys helping me I just want to win some races. If you win some races it might come or it might not. I’d like to win it for those guys. They work hard all night and I’m just the guy that drives it into the fence”, concluded Neitzel.
Schultz was also pleased with his run as he’s taken over the series point lead.
“I’m happy for them guys (Neitzel and his crew). I should have raced him a little harder, but I wanted to race him clean. Scotty gets around this place fantastic. My guys worked hard all night getting the car better and better, and tonight it felt so good. I guess I left a little out there and it’s easy to look back at, but this was good”, noted Schultz on his performance.
Schultz was also asked about the points be he too brushed it off.
“It’s still too early. Scotty (Thiel) had a couple tough nights and there is nothing saying we can’t have a couple of them too in the next couple of weeks. If we get to late September and we’re still in this position then we’ll think about it”, indicated Schultz.
While Neitzel’s win thrust him into the thick of the season long point battle it was the misfortune of point leader Scotty Thiel that has now placed Schultz atop the standings as the final one-third of the season begins.
The 25 lap A-main came to full song with 22 drivers taking the green flag. Steve Meyer, who won the most recent Bumper to Bumper IRA Sprint series event which was held at Langlade County Speedway last Friday sat on the pole.
Meyer led briefly into turn one at the drop of the green flag, but Neitzel, who started to his outside, used the momentum of the high line to power past into the lead down the backstretch.
With Neitzel pulling away, Meyer now had his hand full with Schultz and fast qualifier Bill Balog as the trio all did battle for second.
Contact between Meyer and Balog on lap two drew the caution as both machines lost speed and the field darted around them. Both teams attended to their cars but the damage was too severe to continue with Meyer and Balog forced to retire from the contest.
Neitzel led Schultz back to the green on the restart and immediately began to pull away. 2015 Bumper to Bumper IRA Sprint series champ Bill Rose, who was making just his second start of the season with the IRA Sprints ran solidly in the third spot with Blake Nimee and Scotty Thiel contesting the fourth position.
Neitzel continued to stretch his advantage as Thiel saw his night go awry with mechanical ills dropping into the infield and falling from the contest while running in the top five. He would be credited with a 17th place finish.
Neitzel’s lead stabilized at a full straightaway as he negotiated back markers.
While attempting to put a lap on Kyle Marten who was running just outside the top ten, Neitzel went wide off of turn four, slapping the wall. Running well over 100 mph at the time Neitzel briefly slowed his pace to assure the car would be able to continue and this allowed Schultz to close rapidly.
While sorting out the car Neitzel ran conservatively the next couple circuits as Schultz reeled him in. On lap 15 going down the backstretch Schultz roared by with an inside move, but Neitzel, now confident the car would stay in one piece fought back on the outside.
Neitzel was able to regain the top spot with Schultz in tow, while Rose held onto third some distance back fending off Mike Reinke for the position.
A major shakeup occurred as the race reached five laps to go. On the backstretch, Nimee had a mechanical issue while running fifth which caused him to slide off the racing surface and into some water barrels protecting a light pole.
Meanwhile up in turn four Ben Schmidt came to a halt after contact with the wall forcing the yellow flag to fly. Rose also dropped from the contest with mechanical ills at this time.
The major rash of attrition changed the running order.
Once the field was sorted out Neitzel and Schultz led the way Reinke was now in the third spot with several lapped cars between himself and the leaders.
Underway the final time Neitzel was able to keep Schultz behind him and made his way to the finish with the lead in hand. Schultz crossed the line in second becoming the new point leader in the process. Reinke earned the final podium position in third.
Scott Uttech who earlier in the night was victorious in his heat race patiently picked his way forward throughout the contest avoiding other’s misfortune to finish fourth, matching his best run of the year. Mike Kertscher completed the top five finishers.
Russel Borland would be the final car on the lead lap finishing sixth narrowly missing back to back top five finishes.
Matt Vandervere finished in seventh followed by Todd King, Kyle Marten and Dennis Spitz.
The high attrition rate reduced the starting field from 22 starters down to 12 cars running at the finish.
A trio of drivers made their first start of the year including the first ever start from a driver from South Africa. Kenny Gouws, who lives in Alberton Gauteng, South Africa, competes in asphalt sprint competition in his home country. Tonight he drove a spare car owned by Bill Rose but he dropped from the contest in the early going being credited with finishing 19th.
Dan Wade and Ryan Bowers also made their first runs of the 2016 season but neither were able to finish.
In heat race action Uttech outran Bowers to earn the victory in the first heat. Kertscher captured the win in heat two fending off a fast closing Schmidt. Heat three went to Nimee who took the win by a huge margin over Todd King.
Balog turned in the fastest lap of the evening with a lap of 17.049 Seconds. Reinke was second quick at 17.209, while Schultz was third with at 17.258 seconds.
Then the teams will make a short trip over to the Plymouth Dirt Track on Saturday Night, August 6th for the running of the 20th annual Frank Filskov Memorial race.
Located at the Sheboygan County Fairpark in Plymouth, Wisconsin the track there is a sharp contrast to Dodge County. The tight third-mile bullring isn’t about raw speed, but rather nerves of steal while making daring moves to get to the front of the field and the ability of the leader to work lapped machines where racing space is a premium.
All three title contenders have had their success at the track.
Thiel and Schultz are graduates of the tough weekly 360 sprint ranks. Drivers who have graduated from weekly competition at Plymouth have brought an influx of talent to the IRA series in recent years. It would be appropriate to say Thiel and Schultz have a home field advantage. Thiel was, in fact, the winner of the last IRA contest held at the track back in June.
That doesn’t leave Neitzel out of the mix however. Neitzel’s name is officially etched into the record book having won the first sprint car race held on the track after it’s most recent revamp a couple years ago. When the track debuted it’s new shape it was Neitzel who was first to find the fast way around the track.
The MSA/PDTR 360 sprints will again joined the IRA Sprints in the action, with Micro Sprints added as a third class to give fans an all-open wheel showdown.
Pit gates will open at 2:30pm, spectator gates at 4:30pm. Driver’s meeting is scheduled for 5:00pm with warm ups slated for 5:30pm, and IRA qualifying to follow.
Opening ceremonies are slated for 6:30pm. Adult tickets are just $20, children 6-12 years are $5, and kids 5 & under are FREE.
The track is located on the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds just off Fairview Drive (CTY O ) in Plymouth, Wisconsin. The track website can be found at www.plymouthdtr.com
For more information on the IRA Outlaw Sprints check out the tour website at www.irasprints.com or by logging onto the series Facebook page at www.facebook.com/irasprints the series is also on twitter at #IRA_sprints.
The IRA Sprints are presented by its long time supporting series partners. The series support is led by title sponsor Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts & Service Centers, and associate series partners Hoosier Tire, Osborn & Son Trucking, TW Metals, Cummins Onan, and Twin Lakes Marine.
Bumper to Bumper Interstate Racing Association
Dodge County Fair Speedway
Beaver Dam, WI
Friday August 5, 2016
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 2W-Scott Neitzel; 2. 5J-Jeremy Schultz; 3. 02-Mike Reinke; 4. 7-Scott Uttech; 5. 80K-Mike Kertscher; 6. 23-Russel Borland; 7. 10V-Matt Vandevere; 8. 22-Todd King; 9. 99-Kyle Marten; 10. 41-Dennis Spitz; 11. 95A-Ken Jay Fiedler; 12. 12-Michael Decker; 13. 94B-Ben Schmidt; 14. 6-Bill Rose; 15. 79-Blake Nimee; 16. 14AJ-Wayne Modjeski; 17. 64-Scotty Thiel; 18. 7V-Dan Wade; 19. 6X-Kenny Gouws; 20. 85M-Steve Meyer; 21. 17B-Bill Balog; 22. 14X-Alex Bleisner; 23. 73-Ryan Bowers
DMI Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 80K-Mike Kertscher; 2. 94B-Ben Schmidt; 3. 99-Kyle Marten; 4. 23-Russel Borland; 5. 02-Mike Reinke; 6. 2W-Scott Neitzel; 7. 12-Michael Decker; 8. 7V-Dan Wade
All Star Performance Products Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 79-Blake Nimee; 2. 22-Todd King; 3. 5J-Jeremy Schultz; 4. 85M-Steve Meyer; 5. 95A-Ken Jay Fiedler; 6. 14AJ-Wayne Modjeski; 7. (DNF) 14X-Alex Bleisner
Osborn & Son Qualifying: 1. 17B-Bill Balog, 17.049; 2. 02-Mike Reinke, 17.209; 3. 5J-Jeremy Schultz, 17.258; 4. 6-Bill Rose, 17.304; 5. 2W-Scott Neitzel, 17.330; 6. 85M-Steve Meyer, 17.385; 7. 64-Scotty Thiel, 17.486; 8. 94B-Ben Schmidt, 17.489; 9. 14AJ-Wayne Modjeski, 17.639; 10. 73-Ryan Bowers, 17.663; 11. 23-Russel Borland, 17.814; 12. 22-Todd King, 17.836; 13. 7-Scott Uttech, 17.901; 14. 99-Kyle Marten, 17.911; 15. 79-Blake Nimee, 18.014; 16. 41-Dennis Spitz, 18.208; 17. 80K-Mike Kertscher, 18.351; 18. 95A-Ken Jay Fiedler, 18.440; 19. 10V-Matt Vandevere, 18.534; 20. 12-Michael Decker, 19.257; 21. 14X-Alex Bleisner, 20.541; 22. 6X-Kenny Gouws, 20.817; 23. 7V-Dan Wade, 20.965