By Jeff Pederson – Pedal Down Promotions
(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTIONS, Plymouth, Wis.) August 4, 2018 – On a night when previous track champions were honored for their past title-winning accomplishments, five present-day drivers turned in impressive performances to notch A-main victories in Plymouth Dirt Track Racing competition at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds in Plymouth, Wis. on Saturday, Aug. 4.
Former PDTR Sprint Car champion Kurt Davis of South Milwaukee claimed his second A-main victory of the 2018 season in the 25-lap Richard’s of Dunbar Sprint Car A main. Jim Schmidt of Cleveland earned his second 25-lap Gasroots Project Late Model A-main triumph of the year. Two-time PDTR Grand National champ Don Sorce Jr. of West Allis claimed his second 25-lap Klips & Tips Grand National A-main win of the season. Plymouth’s Travis Schmidt racked up his first career 25-lap Cellcom B Mod A-main triumph and Andy Rein of West Bend notched his first 15-lap Kristine Hartmann Pleasant View Realty A-main win of 2018.
Two-time PDTR Sprint Car champion Danny Schlafer of Sussex led the opening lap of the 25-lap Sprint Car A main from his outside front row starting spot followed closely by Campbellsport’s Jason Johnson, who started on the pole.
On lap 3, fifth starter Justin Miller of Plymouth moved in to challenge Johnson for second along the low groove as the two veterans traded the position several times in the ensuing laps before Johnson secured the position and proceeded to track down Schlafer.
Six laps later, Schlafer encountered slower traffic, which allowed Johnson to cut the gap significantly. Eighth starter Bill Taylor of Boltonville made his presence known starting on lap 16 when he wrestled third place away from Miller and two laps later he worked past Johnson along the extreme inside groove to seize second.
However, on lap 19, Johnson and third starter Kurt Davis powered past Taylor in heavy lapped traffic to work their way into the top three. On lap 20, Davis slipped under Johnson for second and one lap later Davis ducked under Schlafer, who was hung up behind a slower car, to gain the lead exiting turn four.
On the following lap, Schlafer spun his machine in turn two to bring out the lone caution flag of the race and set up a four-lap dash to the finish. As Davis bolted away to a solid lead on the restart, Miller took second from Johnson, while a heated battle brewed just behind the top three cars.
Davis went on to post his 19th career PDTR Sprint Car A-main victory and Midwest Sprint Car Association leading 55th overall A-main triumph. Miller secured second, Johnson wound up third, 12th starter Josh Walter of Plymouth charged up to finish fourth and ninth starter Jim Melis of Glenbeulah rounded out the top five.
The opening lap of the 25-lap Late Model A main saw third starter Jim Schmidt power under front row starters Eric Michaels of Cleveland and Milwaukee’s Jim Letizia to seize the lead in turn two.
Schmidt held the lead throughout the non-stop event with Michaels giving away to Justin Schmidt of Cleveland, who started fifth, for second on lap 2.
By lap 8, Jim Schmidt had built up a full straightaway cushion over his son, Justin. As Jim led Justin by a comfortable margin, four-time PDTR Late Model champion and current point leader Brad Mueller of Random Lake dueled with Michaels for third for several laps until finally securing the position on lap 19.
Jim Schmidt skillfully weaved his way through lapped traffic over the final circuits to collect his 13th career PDTR Late Model A-main triumph. Justin Schmidt placed second, Mueller was third, Michaels notched a solid fourth-place showing and 2016 PDTR Late Model champion Tim Buhler of Greenbush finished fifth after starting sixth.
Polesitter Don Sorce Jr. outpowered outside front row starter Steven Weber of Plymouth to lead the opening lap of the 25-lap Grand National A main.
Two successive caution flags slowed the pace on lap 8 for an infield tire moved onto the track in turn three and a multi-car spin in turn four on lap 10. Sorce Jr. maintained the top spot after both restarts with Weber in tow.
By lap 13, Sorce Jr. had built up a full straightaway cushion over Weber. In the closing laps, 13th starter Chad Espen of West Bend charged in to pass seventh starter Justin Erickson of Plymouth for sixth and 2008 PDTR Grand National champ Matt Yancey of Sheboygan, who started third, for fourth on lap 23.
Sorce Jr. cruised to his 12th career PDTR Grand National A-main triumph, Weber had to settle for second, fifth starter Kurt Davis placed third, Espen was fourth and Yancey completed the top five.
Polesitter Travis Schmidt paced the opening lap of the 25-lap B Mod A main followed by outside front row starter Tim Sheppard of Beaver Dam. As Schmidt held down the top spot along the preferred low groove, third starter Barry Maas of Cascade moved to seize second from Sheppard on lap 12.
As Schmidt encountered dense lapped traffic on lap 14, 2017 PDTR B Mod champion Justin Green of Sheboygan Falls, who started seventh, worked his way into fourth with a nifty move past fourth starter Sawyer Haese on lap 14.
On lap 22, Maas closed in to Schmidt’s rear bumper as the leaders worked through heavy lapped traffic, while Green dove under Sheppard to seize third on lap 24. Although within striking distance, Maas was unable to make a move in the closing laps as Schmidt held on to post his first career PDTR B Mod A-main victory in the caution-free race.
Maas was second, Green placed third, Sheppard wound up fourth and Haese rounded out the top five.
Andy Rein jumped into the lead of the 15-lap Micro Sprint A main from his outside front row starting spot and never looked back. Rein paced the field throughout en route to his third career PDTR B Mod A main triumph in the non-stop event.
Dave Collins of Madison placed second, 2017 PDTR Micro Sprint Champ Preston Ruh of Elkhart Lake was third, Emily Portschy of Plymouth placed fourth and Jake Dohner of Milton finished fifth.
Donny Singer of Waldo won the B Mod B Main. In the third Sprint Car heat race, Plymouth’s Adam Miller made hard contact with the turn four wall before flipping. He emerged uninjured, but his car suffered significant damage and did not to return to competition.
The evening also featured an appearance by the Vintage Modifieds and introduction of many past champions from the rich history of racing at the Plymouth facility during a special intermission program.
The PDTR program, who was sponsored by Pit Stop Pizza, featured 89 cars, including 22 Sprint Cars, 27 B Mods, 22 Grand Nationals, 11 Late Models and seven Micro Sprints.
The next PDTR program will take place on Saturday, Aug. 11 with extra purse money added to the A-main events in each division. Hot laps begin at 5:30 p.m. with racing to follow at 6 p.m.
The Plymouth Dirt Track at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds in Plymouth is located at 229 Fairview Drive in Plymouth. For more information, visit www.plymouthdtr.com or check out Plymouth Dirt Track Racing on Facebook.
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