By Jeff Pederson – Pedal Down Promotions
(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTIONS) July 29, 2017 – On a picture-perfect evening for racing, Plymouth Dirt Track Racing competitors, crews, staff and fans gathered to share in a program which provided a little bit of everything – from the joy of first-time A-main winners, to the spectacle of thrilling finishes, to the heartbreak of mechanical misfortune, to the excitement of the popular Kids’ Backpack Night giveaway at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds in Plymouth Saturday, July 29.
It was certainly a night West Bend’s Kevin Karnitz will never forget as he picked up his first career PDTR Sprint Car A main victory. Three-time PDTR Late Model champion and current point leader Brad Mueller of Random lake notched his second A-main win of the season, while Dan Sorce of West Allis registered his third Grand National A-main triumph of the season. Point leader Justin Green of Sheboygan Falls continued his stranglehold on the competition by notching his fifth PDTR B Mod A-main victory of the 2017 campaign and Dave Collins of Madison notched his first career PDTR Micro Sprint main event win.
Polesitter Tim Haddy of Waupun and outside front row starter Dick Kaiser of Milwaukee led the 22-car Sprint Car field to the green flag in the 25-lap A-main with Haddy grabbing the early lead.
Two-time PDTR Sprint Car champ Danny Schlafer of Sussex used the outside line to power his way from his eighth starting spot to third on the opening lap. On lap 3, fourth starter Kevin Karnitz worked his way past Haddy into the lead.
While Karnitz gradually built up a solid eight-car advantage, Haddy and Schlafer battled back and forth for the runner-up spot as the two veteran racers exchanged slide jobs over the span of several laps.
On lap 8, Karnitz began to encounter lapped traffic and shortly after Schlafer cleared Haddy for second and quickly closed in on Karnitz for the lead. By lap 11, Schlafer worked both the high and low grooves to pressure Karnitz for the top spot.
Two laps later, Schlafer swept past Karnitz with a big slide job. However, a caution flag shortly after negated the both and kept Karnitz in the lead.
Karnitz pulled out to a solid lead on the ensuing restart as Schlafer found himself again engaged with Haddy in a battle for second. Shortly after, Schlafer and Haddy collided in turn one and collected 2008 PDTR Sprint Car champion Lance Fassbender of Burnett to trigger a caution period.
Schlafer managed to make repairs in the work area and return to the rear of the field, but Haddy and Fassbender were done for the night.
When the race resumed, Karnitz remained entrenched in the lead with fifth starter Doug Wondra of Oakfield second and Paul Pokorski of West Bend, who started sixth, in third and seventh starter Justin Miller of Plymouth fourth.
Pokorski and Miller each showed their strength in the closing laps to challenge Karnitz for the top spot. However, Karnitz was not to be denied as he hung on to post his first career PDTR Sprint Car A-main victory in his eighth season wheeling a Sprint Car.
Pokorski placed second, Miller was third, PDTR Sprint Car point leader Brandon McMullen charged with up the 15th starting spot to finish fourth and Kenjay Fiedler of Sheboygan Falls moved all the way up from 19th at the start to place fifth.
Former PDTR Late Model champion Billy Rezutek of Big Bend outpowered polesitter Taylor Scheffler of Waukesha along the high line to take the lead on the drop of the green flag of the 25-lap Late Model A main.
On lap 2, Union Grove’s Chris Carlson, who started third, snuck under Rezutek to grab the lead. However, Rezutek used the cushion to reclaim the lead on lap 7. Behind Rezutek and Carlson, fifth starter Brad Mueller and Cleveland’s Justin Schmidt, who started sixth, mounted their own side-by-side duel for third.
As the laps wound down, Rezutek found himself approaching lapped traffic on lap 19 with Mueller and Schmidt still mounting an epic duel for third close behind Carlson.
With the top four cars bunched tightly in slower traffic, Mueller dove to the bottom of the track on lap 22 to clear a lapped car in the middle of the track, as well as Rezutek, who was running the extremely high. The thrilling move gave Mueller the lead, which he maintained over the final three laps en route to his 18th career Late Model A main victory.
Carlson was second, Rezutek finished third, Schmidt took fourth and defending PDTR Late Model champion Tim Buhler of Glenbeulah placed fifth after starting ninth.
In the 25-lap Grand National A main, 2008 PDTR Grand National champion Matt Yancey of Sheboygan held the early lead before former PDTR Late Model champ Dan Sorce, who started fourth, used a strong outside move to seize the lead in turn four on lap 7.
Sorce endured a pair of caution periods over the final 18 laps to post his seventh career PDTR Grand National A main victory. Outside front row starter Matt Loehr of Dotyville placed second, followed by sixth starter Tyler Kulow of New Holstein in third, 2011 PDTR Grand National champion Mark Fieber of Cascade, who charged from the 14th starting spot to place fourth, and Yancey, who wound up fifth.
Polesitter Brandon Knepprath of Kewaskum, who won his first career heat race earlier in the evening, and Mark Hoeppner lead the 25-lap B Mod A main to the green flag from the front row.
Hoeppner gained the early advantage over 2016 PDTR B Mod champ Brandon Berth of Plymouth, who started fourth in second. Meanwhile, Justin Green was the man on the move as he worked his way into the top five from his 11th starting spot on lap 3.
Point leader Justin Green, who started 11th, entered the top five by lap three and wasted little time in challenging for the lead. After a pair of caution periods, Green swept past Hoeppner into the lead following a restart on lap 6.
Green would not be headed the rest of the way as he bolted away to notch his fifth B Mod A main victory of the season and his career. Travis Hansen of Chilton of charged from the 17th starting spot to finish second, Berth was third, third starter Rick Kretschmann of Sheboygan Falls finished fourth and seventh starter Brian Konitzer of Sheboygan placed fifth.
Fourth starter Dave Collins picked up his first career PDTR Micro Sprint A main victory in the 15-lap main event, followed by Tory Strauss of Waterloo (second), Preston Ruh of Elkhart Lake (third), Emily Portschy of Plymouth (fourth) and Tyler Davis of South Milwaukee (fifth).
B main victories went to Tony Wondra of Campbellsport (Sprint Car) and Travis Hansen (B Mod).
Over 75 youngsters received special backpacks from a driver as part of the second annual PDTR Kids Backpack Night giveaway and Buffalo Wild Wings served as the evening’s trophy sponsor.
Former Plymouth flagman and track prep worker Bob Mertes who passed away earlier in the day, was remembered for his contributions to racing at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds track before the start of the Sprint Car A-main.
The next Plymouth Dirt Track racings program on Saturday, Aug. 5 will feature the second appearance of the season of the Interstate Racing Association 410 Sprint Car Series. PDTR 360 Sprint Cars and Micro Sprints will also be on the all-open-wheel card. The trophy sponsor will be JDL Automotive and Detailing. Hot laps will begin at 6 p.m. with IRA qualifying and racing to follow.
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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For more information on Pedal Down Promotions, email email@example.com, visit www.pedaldownpromotions.com or call 920-323-7970.