By Jeff Pederson
(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTIONS) April 24, 2021 – On a night when misfortune hounded him in both qualifying and heat race action, Travis Arenz of Sheboygan turned it on when it mattered most as he charged from the second-to-last-row of the main event field to capture his first 25-lap Akright Auto Parts of Sheboygan Falls Midwest Sprint Car Association A-main victory of the 2021 season at Gravity Park Speedway in Chilton, Wis. on Saturday, April 24.
On a cold and blustery late April evening, which was preceded by rain showers in the afternoon, a total of 29 360 Sprint Car competitors checked in for the second MSA event of the 2021 campaign.
In the 25-lap MSA headliner, five-time MSA champion Kurt Davis of South Milwaukee bolted into the lead on the drop of the green flag from the pole position, as third starter Justin Erickson of Plymouth slipped past MSA rookie outside front row starter Matt Rechek of Beaver Dam to assume second in the running order.
The race was slowed for the first of three occasions on lap 2 when Brandon Berth of Cascade spun in turn two. Davis again commanded the top spot on the restart before Oshkosh’s Ken Schmick flipped in turn three after contact with 2014 MSA Masters Series champion Paul Pokorski of West Bend to bring out the red flag.
Following the restart, Erickson started to flex his muscle as he closed the gap on Davis on lap 8, before four-time MSA champion Brandon McMullen of Oshkosh, who started eighth, used the high groove to pass 2005 MSA champion Lance Fassbender of Burnett, who started fifth, for third place.
Two laps later, McMullen, who is racing a part-time MSA schedule this season, swept around Erickson to take over second as Arenz, who started 18th after transferring through the B main, worked the high line to seize fourth on lap 13.
McMullen quickly reeled in Davis on lap 15 and used a daring move entering turn one to work his way into the lead with Arenz in tow as the leaders began to encounter slower traffic.
One lap later, Davis lost control and made hard head-on contact with the turn one wall after racing in dense traffic, which brought out another red flag. Davis was able to emerge from the grinding impact under his own power.
During the red flag clean-up, McMullen retreated to the work area to change a flat tire, which relinquished the lead to Arenz.
After the restart, Arenz darted away from Erickson to build up a full-straightway cushion by lap 20. Arenz, who failed to register a qualifying lap after making contact with the turn two wall and dropped out of his heat race with an apparent mechanical issue, cruised over the final five laps en route to his 12th career MSA A-main win and first main event victory of the 2021 season.
Erickson held on to finish an MSA A-main career-best second, Rechek, who is a Modified and Midget racing veteran, continued his impressive rookie MSA season by recording an MSA 360 Sprint Car career-best third-place showing, Fassbender finished fourth and ninth starter Tyler Brabant of Waupun rounded out the top five.
Justin Erickson was the overall fastest qualifier for the event with a top lap of 12.034 seconds around the tight, well-prepared quarter-mile clay oval.
Heat race victories went to Justin Miller of Plymouth, Brandon McMullen, Brandon Berth and Lance Fassbender. Paul Pokorski was victorious in the 15-lap B Main.
The next Akright Auto Parts of Sheboygan Falls Midwest Sprint Car Association 360 Sprint Car Series returns to action on Saturday, May 1 for the Plymouth Dirt Track Racing 2021 season opener at The Plymouth Dirt Track at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds in Plymouth, Wis.
Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. with racing to commence at 5 p.m.
The next Akright Auto Parts of Sheboygan Falls MSA traveling race is set for Friday, May 7 at Beaver Dam Raceway in Beaver Dam, Wis. in conjunction with the Wisconsin Wingless Sprint Car Series and Legends.
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Midwest Sprint Car Association
Gravity Park Speedway
April 24, 2021
Overall Fast Qualifier – Justin Erickson 12.034 seconds.
Qualifying Heat 1 – 1, Ben Schmidt 13.015 2, Scott Conger 13.164 3, Justin Miller 13.388 4, Tim Haddy 13.402 5, Adam Miller 13.559 6, Tommy Colburn 13.805 7, Katelyn Krebsbach 14.897 8, Preston Ruh no time.
Qualifying Heat 2 – 1, Brandon McMullen 12.433 2, Paul Pokorski 12.500 3, Tyler Brabant 12.934 4, Blake Wondra 13.196 5, Tom Kreutz 13.235 6, Chris Larson 13.340 7, Travis Arenz no time.
Qualifying Heat 3 – 1, Tony Wondra 12.362 2, Tyler Tischendorf 12.419 3, Brandon Berth 12.568 4, Nick Daywalt 12.655 5, Tyler Davis 12,926 6, Matt Rechek 13.019 7, Ken Schmick 14.065.
Qualifying Heat 4 – 1, Justin Erickson 12.034 2, Will Gerrits 12.125 3, Lance Fassbender 12.126 4, Bill Taylor 12.129 5, Kurt Davis 12.347 6, Jack Vanderboom 12.381 7, Austin Hartmann 12.599.
1, Justin Miller 2, Ben Schmidt 3, Tim Haddy 4, Scott Conger 5, Adam Miller 6, Tommy Colburn 7, Katelyn Krebsbach 8, Preston Ruh (DNS).
1, Brandon McMullen 2, Tyler Brabant 3, Blake Wondra 4, Paul Pokorski 5, Chris Larson 6, Tom Kreutz 7, Travis Arenz.
1, Brandon Berth 2, Nick Daywalt 3, Matt Rechek 4, Tyler Tischendorf 5, Ken Schmick 6, Tyler Davis 7, Tony Wondra.
1, Lance Fassbender 2, Justin Erickson 3, Kurt Davis 4, Bill Taylor 5, Jack Vanderboom 6, Austin Hartmann 7, Will Gerrits.
1, Paul Pokorski 2, Travis Arenz 3, Adam Miller 4, Bill Taylor 5, Will Gerrits 6, Tony Wondra 7, Austin Hartmann 8, Katelyn Krebsbach 9, Tyler Davis 10, Tyler Tischendorf 11, Tom Kreutz 12, Tommy Colburn (DNS), 13, Preston Ruh (DNS).
1, Travis Arenz 2, Justin Erickson 3, Matt Rechek 4, Lance Fassbender 5, Tyler Brabant 6, Tim Haddy 7, Jack Vanderboom 8, Justin Miller 9, Bill Taylor 10, Scott Conger 11, Brandon Berth 12, Brandon McMullen 13, Chris Larson 14, Nick Daywalt 15, Paul Pokorski 16, Adam Miller 17, Ben Schmidt 18, Blake Wondra 19, Kurt Davis 20, Ken Schmick.