Final race ever at Manitowoc Speedway set next Saturday
By Jeff Pederson, Pedal Down Promotions
(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTIONS) August 24, 2016 – The auto racing community is as close-knit, resilient and strong as any group of people you will come across anywhere.
Local racers, pit crew members, family members, fans, sponsors and track workers have been leaning heavily on those traits since Manitowoc’s Matt Schuh passed away while competing in the third Grand National division heat race during the Eastern Wisconsin Stock Car racing program, which was held as part of the Manitowoc County Fair Wednesday, Aug. 24.
Schuh suffered a medical problem while running in the race and lost consciousness before colliding with the infield guardrail. He was 27 years old.
The race was red flagged for approximately 45-minutes while safety and emergency service personnel worked to free Schuh from the car.
The EWSC Board of Directors released the following statement the day after Schuh’s passing.
“On behalf of the Eastern Wisconsin Stock Cars Board of Directors and its staff, we would like to extend our deepest heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Matt Schuh, one of our drivers who passed away last night, Wednesday Aug. 24, while competing in our Grand National division at Manitowoc Speedway.”
In racing action, Brandon McMullen of Plymouth collected his first EWSC Sprint Car A main victory of the season at Manitowoc and fourth overall main event triumph of the 2016 campaign.
In the Late Model division, Taylor Scheffler of Waukesha notched his initial triumph at Manitowoc this year in the 25-lap A main. Kodiak Wirtz of Menomonee Falls collected his second Manitowoc Speedway victory of the season in the 20-lap A main event, while Travis Hansen of Brillion earned his first win of 2016 in the 20-lap Sport Mod main event.
Outside front row starter Doug Wondra of Oakfield grabbed the lead at the drop of the green flag of the time-shortened 21 lap Sprint Mar main event. Wondra held the top spot as a pair of caution flags slowed the action in the early, one for an infield cone the track on lap 2 and another shortly after when Lance Fassbender of Burnett lost a front tire on the frontstretch.
When the race resumed, eighth starter Jim Melis of Glenbeulah, who was making his first Manitowoc Speedway appearance of the year, moved into second on lap 5, while seventh starter Brandon McMullen and 12th starter Danny Schlafer of Sussex slipped into third and fourth place respectively.
On lap 14, McMullen worked past Melis to assume second place briefly before the high-riding Schlafer powered past Melis and McMullen using the outside groove to grab second place. One lap later, Schlafer bolted around Wondra to take over the top spot as the leaders worked their way through dense lapped traffic.
The third caution of the race appeared on lap 16 for the stalled car of Alex Bliesner of Plymouth along the backstretch. Another yellow flag flew when Chris Clayton of Waldo and Tony Wondra of Campbellsport each spun in turn two.
When the green flag appeared again, Schlafer moved high again in an attempt to pull away from the field. However, Schlafer’s machine suffered mechanical problems on lap 17 when found him stopped up against the turn four wall.
Schlafer’s exit allowed McMullen to take over the top position. McMullen dashed away from his rivals on the restart and quickly built up a solid cushion over the second-place car of Jim Melis.
The race was declared official when Josh Teunissen of Waldo stopped in the infield and the time limit expired on lap 21.
McMullen collected is 12th career Midwest Sprint Car Association (MSA) A main victory, followed by Jim Melis of Glenbeulah, Wondra in third. Tim Haddy of Waupun came from 10th to place fourth and 15th starter Justin Miller of Plymouth completed the top five.
In the 25-lap Late Model A main, outside front row starter Bill Rezutek of Big Bend grabbed the initial lead on lap 1, while Taylor Schleffer of Waukesha moved into the runner-up spot from his fifth starting spot.
Scheffler closed quickly on Rezutek before executing a low pass for the lead in turn three on lap 4.
The lone caution flag of the race appeared on lap 5 for a spin involving point leader Tim Buhler of Greenbush, who started eighth and seventh starter Jim Schmidt of Cleveland.
Buhler battled back from the incident quickly to battle his way into second place on lap 8. Buhler then mounted a charge to cut the gap against Scheffler, Buhler attempted a low move on the high riding Scheffler on lap 12, but the young Waukesha driver was up the challenge.
Scheffler pulled away from Buhler on lap 15 and never looked back en route to his first victory at Manitowoc this season. Buhler was second, Tom Naeyaert of Shawano took third after starting 12th and sixth starter Kyle Odekirk of Plymouth was fourth.
Outside front row starter Matt Jackson of Sheboygan jumped into the lead on the drop of the green flag of the 20-lap Grand National main event with third starter Brian Gilles of Plymouth following close behind in second.
On lap later, Gilles moved in to challenge Jackson for the top spot before taking over the position on lap 3. Meanwhile, Kodiak Wirtz was slicing his to the front of the field from his 10th starting position.
After dueling side by side with Gilles for several laps, Wirtz surged ahead on lap 12 along the high groove. However, Gilles refused to back down as he moved in to race side-by-side with Wirtz starting again on lap 17.
Despite Gilles’ attempts to retake the lead, Wirtz rolled on to his second Grand National A main victory of the season at Manitowoc. Gilles was second, Dan Sorce of Franklin roared up from his 18th starting spot to take third, Brad Lubach of Kiel finished fourth after starting 14th and Jackson completed the top five.
The 20-lap Sport Mod A main featured action galore at the front of the field. Polesitter Justin Green of Sheboygan Falls grabbed the early lead followed by third starter Kyle Raddant of Shawano.
Following two cautions for multi-car incidents on lap 4, Travis Hansen, who started eighth, began to make his presence felt using the extreme high line to seize third place in turn one on lap 7.
For the remainder of the race, Hansen, Raddant and sixth starter Wyatt Block of Tigerton mounted an epic three-way battle for the top spot, with Hansen working high, Raddant racing low and Block lurking in the middle of the highly racy and smooth track surface.
After Raddant surged ahead briefly on lap 15, Hansen powered his way back into the lead before the lap was completed. Following another caution flag on lap 16, Hansen, Block of Raddant went at it again for the final four laps, but it was Hansen who prevailed at the finish line to earn his first Manitowoc triumph of the 2016 campaign.
Block placed second, Raddant was third, Bill Edler of Howards Grove charged up from the 12th starting spot to finish fourth and ninth starter Tom Schneider of Chilton rounded out the top five.
The evening drew a strong field of 96 cars in four divisions for a race night presented by the Manitowoc County Fair.
After 12 years of competing at the Manitowoc Speedway, EWSC will draw the curtain on racing competition the Manitowoc track with its 2016 season finale event Saturday, Sept. 3, It will be the last racing program ever to be held at the track.
The special racing program will feature all seven regular EWSC divisions, including Sprint Cars, Late Models, Grand Nationals, Modifieds, Sport Mods, Sport Fours and Thunder Trucks, with action to begin one hour earlier than normal at 6 p.m.
EWSC invites all race fans to come out to bid farewell to the Manitowoc Speedway, which has become well known in recent years for top-notch racing conditions and highly competitive action in each of its divisions.
The track and grandstands will be removed in the offseason to make way for a Meijer store.
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1, Paul Pokorski. 2, Kurt Davis. 3, Al Schlafer. 4, KenJay Fiedler. 5, Tony
Wondra. 6, Randy Walter. 7, Samantha Portschy.
1, Lance Fassbender. 2, Josh Teunissen. 3, Tim Haddy. 4, Douglas Pietz. 5,
Will Gerrits. 6, Mitchell Yurmanovich. 7, Andy Rein.
1, Jim Melis. 2, Danny Schlafer. 3, Nich Melis. 4, Chris Clayton. 5, Dick
Kaiser. 6, Don Kiel.
1, Brandon McMullen. 2, Alex Bliesner. 3, Doug Wondra. 4, Justin Miller. 5,
Tyler Brabant. 6, Anthony Knierim.
1, Douglas Pietz. 2, Will Gerrits. 3, Tyler Brabant. 4, Mitchell Yurmanovich.
5, Andy Rein. 6, Dick Kaiser. 7, Randy Walter. 8, Don Kiel. 9, Anthony
Knierim. 10, Samantha Portschy.
1, Brandon McMullen. 2, Jim Melis. 3, Doug Wondra. 4, Tim Haddy. 5,
Justin Miller. 6, Paul Pokorski. 7, Mitchell Yurmanovich. 8, KenJay Fiedler.
9, Douglas Pietz. 10, Al Schlafer. 11, Will Gerrits. 12, Tony Wondra. 13,
Tyler Brabant. 14, Josh Teunissen. 15, Dick Kaiser. 16, Chris Clayton. 17,
Andy Rein. 18, Danny Schlafer. 19, Nich Melis. 20, Alex Bliesner. 21, Lance
Fassbender. 22, Kurt Davis.
1, Bill Rezutek. 2, Tim Buhler. 3, Turk Letizia. 4, Kyle Odekirk. 5, Justin
Schmidt. 6, Joe Bongiorno. 7, Eric Michaels.
1, Taylor Scheffler. 2, Randy Markwardt. 3, Jim Schmidt. 4, Ron Stroika. 5,
Rick Scheffler. 6, Tom Naeyaert. 7, James Letizia.
1, Taylor Scheffler. 2, Tim Buhler. 3, Tom Naeyaert. 4, Kyle Odekirk. 5, Bill
Rezutek (DQ). 6, Justin Schmidt. 7, Randy Markwardt. 8, Jim Schmidt. 9, Ron
Stroika. 10, Eric Michaels. 11, James Letizia. 12, Turk Letizia. 13, Rick
Scheffler. 14, Joe Bongiorno
1, Jason Dyer. 2, Kodiak Wirtz. 3, Matt Jackson. 4, Ryan Minster. 5, Kevin
Lubach. 6, Dan Sorce. 7, Jeffery Krizan.
1, Brian Gilles. 2, Nick Schumacher. 3, Steven Weber. 4, Noah Wachowiacz.
5, Don Schumacher. 6, Charlie Sancinati. 7, Shane Long.
1, Josh Pierce. 2, Donny Kulow. 3, Justin Erickson. 4, Kevin Naidl. 5, Brett
Wachowiacz. 6, Matt Schuh.
1, Tim Simon. 2, Jesse James Cullen. 3, Daniel Schumacher. 4, Tyler
Kulow. 5, Brad Lubach. 6, Jerry Winkler
1, Ryan Minster. 2, Brad Lubach. 3, Tyler Kulow. 4, Charlie Sancinati. 5,
Noah Wachowiacz. 6, Dan Sorce. 7, Kevin Naidl. 8, Jerry Winkler. 9, Jeffery
Krizan. 10, Kevin Lubach. 11, Shane Long. 12, Brett Wachowiacz. 13, Don
1, Kodiak Wirtz. 2, Brian Gilles. 3, Dan Sorce. 4, Brad Lubach. 5, Matt
Jackson. 6, Justin Erickson. 7, Tim Simon. 8, Ryan Minster. 9, Nick
Schumacher. 10, Donny Kulow. 11, Tyler Kulow. 12, Charlie Sancinati. 13,
Steven Weber. 14, Jason Dyer. 15, Josh Pierce. 16, Jerry Winkler. 17, Noah
Wachowiacz. 18, Daniel Schumacher. 19, Jesse James Cullen. 20, Kevin
Calibre Coatings Unlimited Sport Mods
1, Wyatt Block. 2, Brian Bruechert. 3, Justin Green. 4, Conor Iverson. 5,
Chad Vetting. 6, Spencer Long. 7, Scott Besaw. 8, Shaun Bangart.
1, Travis Arenz. 2, Cody Schroeder. 3, Hunter Parsons. 4, Adam Peschek. 5,
Jayden Schmidt. 6, Andrew Meyerhofer. 7, Tim Warner. 8, Craig Gessner.
1, Travis Hansen. 2, Bill Edler. 3, Russ Franks. 4, Colten VanHierden. 5,
John Rothmund. 6, Seth Hoeffner. 7, Brandon Knepprath.
1, Tom Schneider. 2, Kyle Raddant. 3, Brandon Berth. 4, Glen Blanke. 5,
Aaron Butterbrodt. 6, Brian Konitzer. 7, Patrick Hanson.
1, Colten VanHierden. 2, John Rothmund. 3, Chad Vetting. 4, Conor
Iverson. 5, Brandon Knepprath. 6, Scott Besaw. 7, Seth Hoeffner. 8, Spencer
Long. 9, Shaun Bangart.
1, Jayden Schmidt. 2, Aaron Butterbrodt. 3, Adam Peschek. 4, Andrew
Meyerhofer. 5, Kyle Raddant. 6, Brian Konitzer. 7, Glen Blanke. 8, Patrick
Hanson. 9, Craig Gessner.
1, Travis Hansen. 2, Wyatt Block. 3, Kyle Raddant. 4, Bill Edler. 5, Tom
Schneider. 6, Brian Bruechert. 7, Colten VanHierden. 8, John Rothmund. 9,
Brandon Berth. 10, Russ Franks. 11, Adam Peschek. 12, Chad Vetting. 13,
Justin Green. 14, Hunter Parsons. 15, Andrew Meyerhofer. 16, Jayden
Schmidt. 17, Aaron Butterbrodt. 18, Travis Arenz. 19, Cody Schroeder. 20,