By Jeff Pederson – Pedal Down Promotions
(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTIONS) July 8, 2017 – Beautiful summer weather, hot on-track action, extended A-main events and impressive performances from former champions highlighted the 13th annual Plymouth Dirt Track Racing Mid-Season Championship Night of racing at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds in Plymouth Saturday, July 8.
Four of the five PDTR Mid-Season Championship A-main winners visited victory lane for the first time this season, each of which have a coveted PDTR season championship under their belt, including Lance Fassbender of Burnett (Sprint Car), Tim Buhler of Greenbush (Late Model), Don Sorce. Jr. of West Allis (Grand National) and Zach Boden of Cambridge (Micro Sprint). In the B Mod A-main, point leader Justin Green of Sheboygan Falls kept his strong season going by notching his third main event win of the 2017 season.
The 21-car Sprint Car A-main rolled off with polesitter Nich Melis of Plymouth grabbing the lead at the drop of the green flag. By lap four, Fassbender was starting to show his strength as he moved into second place after starting fourth.
Fassbender then reeled in Melis along the high groove of the third-mile clay oval over the next four laps before pulling off a successful slide job in turn one on lap 8 to secure the top spot bringing third starter John Krebsbach of Cascade along with him into second place.
The first of three caution flags appeared on lap 10, which allowed the field to bunch up behind the 2008 PDTR Sprint Car champion. On lap 12, Fassbender got sideways in turn three, but managed to maintain the top spot as the battle for second began to heat up between sixth starter Brandon McMullen of Oshkosh, fifth starter Tim Haddy of Waupun and Plymouth’s Justin Miller, who started eighth.
McMullen advanced to second on lap 13 with Haddy following in third. At the half-way point of the extended 30-lap race, Fassbender held a comfortable full straightaway advantage over McMullen.
On lap 18, the race slowed again for debris. The ensuing restart produced the final caution of the event when Josh Teunissen of Waldo, Anthony Knierim of Franksville, Bill Taylor of Random Lake and Chris Clayton of Waldo collided exiting turn four. Knierim, Taylor and Clayton returned to the race, but Teunissen was done for the night.
On the final restart, 2010 PDTR Sprint Car champion Kurt Davis pulled off a big slide job in turn two to vault past Haddy into third place. At the front of the field, Fassbender ran away and hid over the final 12 laps, working his way through lapped traffic with ease en route to his sixth career PDTR A-main victory and 19th overall Midwest Sprint Car Association main event triumph.
McMullen maintained his PDTR Sprint Car point lead with a solid second-place finish, Davis wound up third, Haddy was fourth and Krebsbach posted a strong five-place finish.
In the 30-lap Mid-Season Championship Late Model A main, former champions Brad Mueller of Random Lake and Tim Buhler dueled side by side on the opening lap before the second starting Buhler surged ahead along the outside groove in turn four.
For nearly the entire race, Mueller hounded the defending PDTR Late Model champion along the preferred high line, pulling alongside Mueller briefly on several occasions. On lap three, 2014 PDTR Late Model champion Mitch McGrath of Waukesha worked his way up from his sixth starting spot to pass Jim Letizia of Milwaukee to seize third.
McGrath tracked down the lead duo with 10 laps to go and dove low on lap 23 to power past Mueller into second on lap 23. Mueller refused to back down as he held strong along the high groove as McGrath hugged the bottom eventually retaking second on lap 25.
The only caution of the event appeared on lap 26 for the stalled car of Sheboygan’s Randy Markwardt in turn four, which set up a four-lap dash to the finish. Buhler could not be denied though as he held off the spirited efforts of McGrath and Mueller to score his 10th career PDTR A main victory.
McGrath regained second at the finish line, Mueller was third, fifth starter Taylor Scheffler of Waukesha took fourth and Justin Schmidt of Cleveland placed fifth after starting seventh.
Polesitter Will Sorce of West Allis led the first four laps before two-time PDTR Grand National champ Don Sorce Jr. charged up from his fifth starting spot to take command along the low groove on lap 5 of the 30-lap Grand National main event.
Sorce Jr. wasted no time in building up a huge half-lap lead over third starter Jim Rychtik of Port Washington, who was filling in for Brad Weiss.
Although passing was at a premium throughout most of the Grand Nationals headline race, 2011 PDTR Grand National champion Mark Fieber of Cascade, who started second, and 2006 PDTR Late model champ Dan Sorce of West Allis, who started fourth, mounted a spirited side-by-side duel for third place in the final five laps.
Sorce Jr. cruised over the final 10 laps to notch his ninth career PDTR Grand National A-main victory in the non-stop event. Rychtik was second, Fieber finished third, Dan Sorce placed fourth and Justin Erickson of Plymouth ended up fifth, after starting ninth.
Polesitter Tim Thrun of Horicon led the opening three circuits of the extended 30-lap B Mod A main, despite heavy pressure from outside front row starter J.J. Walvoord.
On lap 3, defending PDTR B Mod champion Brandon Berth of Plymouth, who started third, advanced to briefly make it a three-wide battle for the top spot just before the first of five caution flags came out on lap 3 for dislodged infield tires on the track surface.
Berth used the high groove to sweep into the top spot on lap 4 before another caution appeared on lap 6 when Glen Blanke of Sheboygan Falls spun in turn two.
Justin Green, who started seventh, became a serious player on the restart passing Thrun for second on lap 7 and tracking down the high-riding Berth quickly along the low groove.
Green, who came into the night as the PDTR B Mod point leader, was poised to take the lead from Berth on lap 10, but a caution flag for a spin involving Craig Gessner in turn four erased the pass.
Not to be denied, Green bolted into the lead along the low line on lap 13. Eight laps later, Green had built up a full straightaway cushion over Berth. After two move caution flags, 11th starter Chad Vetting of Valders passed Berth to gain the runner-up spot on lap 26.
Green held on to become the first PDTR driver in any division to earn three A-main victories this season. Vetting took second, Berth was third, Gary Glander of Sheboygan Falls placed fourth from the fifth starting spot and Spencer Long of Sheboygan Falls charged from the 18th starting spot to finish fifth.
Outside front row starter Zach Boden post a flag-to-flag victory in the caution-free 15-lap Micro Sprint A main.
It was Boden’s division-leading fourth career PDTR Micro Sprint A-maim victory. Chad Bogar of Sun Prairie was second, followed by Tory Strauss of Waterloo (third), Jack Vanderboom of Dousman (fourth) and Preston Ruh of Elkhart Lake (fifth).
Dick Hed of Plymouth won the Grand National B main.
This Friday, July 14 will mark the first-ever appearance of the United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) and Cow Bell Street Stock Tour for the inaugural Cheese Capital Checkered Chase at the Plymouth Dirt Track. PDTR Grand Nationals will also be on the card for a non-points race. Hot laps are scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m.
The following night, Saturday, July 15, will be PDTR’s Fan Appreciation Night, including Grand National driver introductions. The trophy sponsor will be A-1 Appliance. Racing will begin 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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