(Plymouth, Wis.) June 23, 2018 – For one of the few times during the 2018 season, racers gathered for an evening of racing competition at The Plymouth Dirt Track at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds in Plymouth without the possibility of rain in the forecast on Saturday, June 23.
The Plymouth Dirt Track Racing program featured 105 cars, including 37 B Mods, 25 Sprint Cars, 19 Late models, 19 Grand Nationals and five Micro Sprints, competing on a very tacky, wide and fast track for a program sponsored by Mayer Automotive.
The first A-main to take to the track was the Richard’s of Dunbar 360 Sprint Car event. 2010 PDTR Sprint Car champion Kurt Davis of South Milwaukee took the lead as the green flag waved and would not be passed during the 25-lap race.
Davis who has won more A-mains in this highly competitive Midwest Sprint Car Association 360 Sprint Car division than any other driver would taste victory for the 18th time with PDTR and 54th occasion with the Midwest Sprint Car Association.
Hometown driver Justin Miller of Plymouth quickly moved into second on lap four and chased Davis the rest of the distance. The leaders caught the back of the field on lap nine with Davis finding the outside groove to his liking. A caution flag on lap 10 tightened the field as Miller, Sprint Car rookie Travis Arenz of Sheboygan, Jim Melis of Glenbeulah and Kewaskum’s Shane Wenninger trailed Davis on the restart.
Melis showed the experience he has gained during his 37-year racing career and grabbed the second spot immediately. Soon Davis would enjoy a five-car length lead over Melis. However, that advantage disappeared when PDTR Sprint Car point leader and two-time PDTR Sprint Car champ Danny Schlafer of Sussex jumped the cushion in turn two and stopped against the wall.
On the restart, two cars touched in turn two setting off a scramble that included at least six cars. Several would need a tow to the pits before the race could resume.
Wenninger slipped past Miller into second following the restart. Meanwhile, Davis maintained his lead on the way to victory lane for the first time in A-main competition in 2018, followed by Wenninger, Miller, Plymouth’s Josh Walter and Tyler Brabant of Waupun.
In victory lane, Davis reminded everyone that he is racing this season in memory of his father, who passed away last year.
The Gasroots Project Late Model main event was won by part-time driver Dan Schlieper of Milwaukee, who started on the front row alongside Glenbuelah’s Tim Buhler. Cleveland’s Jim Schmidt jumped from his second row starting spot to challenge the leader.
A caution flag flew and slowed the very fast pace on a restart early in the race. Buhler restarted in third with Mitch McGrath of Waukesha and “top-gun” Taylor Scheffler of Waukesha in tow.
Soon McGrath moved into third with four-time and defending PDTR Late Model champion Brad Mueller of Random Lake fourth ahead of Scheffler. Drivers used every bit of the racing surface to set a blistering pace lap after lap.
On lap 19, McGrath and Schmidt dueled side by side, not far behind Schlieper and they battled that way to the checkered flag.
Schlieper held the lead the rest of the way to post his first career PDTR Late Model A-main triumph. Jim Schmidt placed second, followed by McGrath, Buhler and Justin Schmidt of Cleveland.
In victory lane Schlieper, after catching his breath, said he hadn’t driven since last season.
The Cellcom B-Mods would take to the track next featuring the 20 drivers, who made the cut from the strong field of 37 entrants
Tim Sheppard of Beaver Dam and Shane Long of Sheboygan Falls lead the field to the start. Sheppard was first to turn one with Long and Bill Edler of Howards Grove side by side for second.
As Sheppard built a six-car length lead, the racers behind him were staging a fierce battle for position using every bit of the third-mile surface.
Third row starters Tim Warner from Malone and Tom Stark from Egg Harbor would stay right behind the leaders until former champion Justin Green of Sheboygan Falls passed Warner to move into fourth.
By the midway point in the race, Sheppard held the top spot with Long and Edler racing hard for position and several times making contact.
A yellow flag slowed the pace down on lap 16 and on the restart, Edler passed Sheppard on the inside in turn three with Stark following. Stark challenged Edler for the top spot in the closing laps, but Edler would not be denied.A short time later, Green would make a nifty low-side pass of Sheppard only to see him relinquish the spot when Sheppard came back on the outside.
Edler held on to post first PDTR B Mod A-main victory. Stark placed second with Sheppard third, Green fourth and Warner rounding out the top five.
The Klips & Tips sponsored Grand National A-main would be as exciting the previous events. Front row starters were Nick Schumacher of Eagle and Kurt Davis, still on a high from his Sprint Car victory.
Schumacher held the lead throughout in a race that never saw much distance between any of the competitors. Former PDTR Grand National champion Matt Yancey of Sheboygan again used the outside groove to gather a lot of speed and make his way into the top-five.
A lap nine caution would tighten the field with Schumacher ahead of Davis, Josh Pierce of Fredonia, Yancey and Plymouth driver Steven Weber.
Pierce moved outside the leader on lap 13, but the veteran Schumacher would not yield the point after a side-by-side battle. Tyler Kulow of Plymouth found his way into the top five a lap later as three-wide racing was featured.
Davis continued to challenge the leader with Pierce after him. after fading a bit, Yancey would mount another charge and move into second on lap 20 coming off turn four. Several late cautions slowed the pace, but under green the racing would be tight until Schumacher parked in victory lane with his first PDTR Grand National A-main win.
Yancey placed second, Davis was third, Pierce took fourth and Kulow rounded out the top five.
In the Kristine Hartman-Pleasant View Realty A-main, 2017 champion Preston Ruh of Elkhart Lake would best the small field and posted his third career PDTR Micro Sprint A-main victory. Emily Portschy of Plymouth took second and Andy Rein of West Bend was third.
The Sprint Car B-main saw Bill Taylor from Kewaskum take the checkers in a race that saw rookie Chris Larson from Franksville flip in turn three on the final lap.
The large B Mod field featured two B-main events. Brandon Knepprath of Kewaskum and past track champion Brandon Berth of Cascade posted B Mod B-main victories.
In the third B Mod heat race, Brad Mueller driving for Travis Schmidt who was standing up in a wedding, went for a wild ride after it appeared something in the rear suspension failed. after turning over numerous times, the car came to a rest upside down with extensive damage, but Mueller would emerge uninjured.
The next PDTR program will take place on Saturday, June 30, featuring a salute to police, fire and EMS personnel. The racing program, which begins at 6 p.m., will be sponsored by the city of Sheboygan Falls Fire Department and include Late Model driver introductions.
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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