Balog wins IRA and Badger midget feature at Angell Park

IRA Interstate Racing Association Top Story

From IRA and BMARA

Sun Prarie, WI — (May 31, 2015) — Bill Balog captured his second and third victories of the weekend after sweeping the Bumper to Bumper Interstate Racing Association and Badger Midget Auto Racing Association feature Sunday night at Angell Park Speedway.

Balog notched his fourth victory of the 2015 season to maintain his perfect record in IRA action. Balog now has four wins in four starts in IRA action this year.

To do so Balog had to fend off a hard charging Ian Madsen and a fast closing Mike Reinke. Madsen, the 2014 Knoxville Raceway champ, was attempting to surpass Balog for the lead when he slipped, and slapped the front stretch wall. The incident knocked his right rear tire off its bead and Balog sailed away for the win.

Less than an hour earlier Balog captured a feature win in the companion Badger Midget feature contest, his first behind the wheel of a midget car. With those victories Balog became the first driver in the history of the raceway to have won main events in three different classes. He had also previously captured a win in Micro Sprints at the facility.

“I have to thank Hans (Lein – car owner) and the crew for an awesome night. The car is powered by an older Dodge motor, but it runs which is pretty good. I had a pretty deep slider thrown on me down in one and two ( by Madsen ) so I had to work for it”, Balog said of the nights victory.

Additionally the win for team owner Hans Lein was the first at the facility in 410 sprints. The prolific midget owner had several wins in the Badger Midgets with multiple drivers at the track over the years.

Mike Reinke making his first appearance since a flip at Beaver Dam several weeks ago put on a late race charge to finish with runner-up honors after starting tenth. It was his first podium finish of the 2015 season.

“I was surprised to finish second after starting tenth. The track had been pretty narrow. The work they did before the race made a good bottom groove and top groove. The guys were able to run all over the place”, noted Reinke. “I was able to capitalize on a few mistakes, and didn’t make many tonight”, stated Reinke. “We were giving away a little speed at the end I’m not sure we could have caught Bill (Balog)”, concluded Reinke.

Bill Rose also placed his name in the record books, as he out qualified a field of 30 drivers in setting quick time, and establishing a new track record for 410 outlaw sprints with a lap of 12.334 seconds. Rose set the standard in dramatic fashion as he was the final car out to qualify, and he established the time on his final qualifying lap. His effort bettered the old record that had been set by last year’s event winner Sheldon Haudenschild who had turned in a time of 12.388 seconds.

The 24 car-starting grid pushed off acknowledging the solid showing of fans with a traditional four wide salute before action got underway. Pole sitter Jason Johnson, and seasoned veteran Steve Meyer, who is celebrating his 26th year in racing made up the front row. At the drop of the green flag the pair when wheel-to-wheel for the entire opening lap before Meyer established himself in the top spot. Balog meanwhile motored into the third position while fending off the challenges of Madsen, and Rose.

Meyer was able to open up a small lead while Johnson came under pressure from Balog. On lap 6 Balog surged into the second spot. Johnson’s strong performance came to a halt on lap eight when he spun in turn four while running in the third position behind Meyer, and Balog. He restarted from the tail of the field.

Only two more laps went in the record books before a grinding three-car incident in turn four. Jordan Goldesberry got upside down going for a tumble, and the cars of Kris Spitz, and rookie of the year contender Josh Walter also made contact behind him. None of the drivers were hurt but all three were done for the evening.

The green flag waved again with Meyer setting the pace and holding off the challenges of Balog, and Madsen. The leaders quickly began to work lapped traffic with Meyer temporarily getting caught behind a slower car. Balog was quick to react, and surged into the lead on lap 16. Meyer was able to reestablish his pace in time to keep Madsen behind him to hold onto second.

As Balog motored away, Meyer’s shot at a victory went astray when he executed multiple 360-degree spins in turn four drawing the caution on lap 21. He rejoined the field at the back of the pack.

This left Balog with Madsen on his tail tank for the restart with Rose and Reinke behind them. Balog stayed in the high line while Madsen aggressively sought a way to the front. With five laps to go Madsen drove deep into turn one briefly taking the lead with a well timed slide job, but Balog simply drove back around him down the backstretch.

Behind the lead pair Reinke, and Rose fought tooth and nail for the third spot.

Madsen’s efforts to retake the lead went awry on lap 28 as he slapped the front stretch wall knocking his right rear tire off his bead slowing his pace dramatically. At the same time Reinke surged ahead of Rose, and seconds later roared past the limping machine of Madsen to take second. There was not time however to mount a challenge on Balog who scored his first career 410 sprint victory at the track by six car lengths.

Reinke earned the second spot followed by Rose to make up the podium finishers.

The third place performance by Rose was his fifth top five finish in six events so far this season. Scott Uttech quietly worked his way into the fourth spot by the finish, clinging tenaciously to the lower groove of the raceway. Scotty Neitzel laid claim to the final top five position taking over the fifth spot from Madsen on the final circuit.

Madsen was able to sneak past the checkered well off pace due to his flat tire salvaging a sixth place finish. Blake Nimee edged out Scotty Thiel for seventh, while Phillip Mock, and Jeremy Schultz completed the top ten finishers.

19 cars were still running as the checkered flag fell.

In earlier action Neitzel was able to capture the B-main event ahead of Thiel, Brian Kristan, Kris Spitz, Walter and Dennis Spitz. The top six drivers all transferred to the main event.

Jereme Schroeder who had finished seventh in the B-main also made the cut as an alternate when Dave Uttech encountered mechanical issues during the warm up laps for the a-main.

Heat race victories were captured by Schmidt, Nimee and Reinke.

The new track qualifying mark set by Rose of 12.334 seconds set the bar for the evening. Madsen turned in the second fastest time with a lap of 12.370 seconds. Balog was third quick with an orbit of the third-mile clay oval 12.470 seconds.

Aaron Schuck led the 16-car field to the start in the feature, before David Budres took over the top position on the second lap. One lap later Balog moved into second place. The pair began to move away from the rest of the field. Budres began lapping slower cars on Lap 8. Budres held a one-car length lead over Balog at the mid-way point.

Budres increased his lead over Balog, however heavy lapped traffic allowed Balog to close back on the rear bumper of Budres on Lap 17. Balog almost drew event with Budres at the start/finish line as the pair took the white flag.

Budres drifted high entering Turn 3, allowing Balog to take the lead. Balog driving the RAB Racing owned No.57 Spike/Fontana finished 0.370 seconds ahead of Budres at the finish. Ray Seach, Kurt Mayhew, and Schuck completed the top five.

“It’s great to finally win a midget feature and especially here at Angell Park” said Balog, who’s previous best feature finish was second at the track.

Will Gerrits took the lead on a Lap 10, passing his brother Jake Gerrits to win his second straight 15-lap Badger 600 Micro Series presented by My Race Pass feature. Chad Bogar, Norm Ehrke, Tyler Brabant, and defending series champion Brandon Sletten completed the top five.

30-lap feature: 1. Billy Balog; 2. David Budres; 3. Ray Seach; 4. Kurt Mayhew; 5. Aaron Schuck; 6. Buddy Luebke; 7. Patrick Bruns; 8. Brad Greenup; 9. Mike Stroik; 10. Johnny Murdock; 11. Derek Childs; 12. Denny Smith; 13. Tommy Bigelow; 14. Neil Weigen;15. Bryce Dunn; 16. Don Bigelow.

8-lap Heat Race Winners: Budres, Balog.
Cars Present: 16 Feature Lap leaders: Schuck 1, Budres 2-29, Balog 30.