Block claims first PDTR B Mod A-main triumph
By Jeff Pederson – Pedal Down Promotions
(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTINS) July 31, 2017 – Jimmy Mars of Menomonie lived up to his “Iceman” moniker in the inaugural Dirt Kings Late Model 50-lap main event at The Plymouth Dirt Track Monday, July 31.
While his nearest competitors put their cars to the ultimate test working the high groove feverishly throughout the non-stop event, the cagey veteran multi-time Dirt Late Model crown jewel race winner bided his time along the inside lane, saving his tires wisely for the stretch run on the way to his first Dirt Kings Late Model A-main victory worth a cool $4,000.
The special weeknight race drew a stellar field of 34 local, regional and national level drivers to kick off a weeklong series of high-dollar Dirt Late Model races in Wisconsin featuring the national-touring World of Outlaws Late Model series.
After claiming the top qualifying time of the night, Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill. led the field to the green flag from the pole with Plymouth Dirt Track Racing regular Jim Schmidt of Cleveland on the outside of the front row.
After a flurry of action on the opening lap, which saw Shirley and Schmidt trade the lead, inside second row starter Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill. ducked low to pace the opening circuit.
The next 12 laps saw Feger ride the high groove exclusively with Shirley sticking to the low to middle line on the smooth multi-groove racing surface. The two longtime Midwestern rivals dueled side by side until lap 13 when heavy lapped traffic bottled up the track and forced the leaders to scramble for a way through the logjam.
On lap 16, Jim Letizia of Milwaukee got sideway in front of Shirley along the low groove, which forced Shirley to check up and opened the door for Jimmy Mars, who started fourth, to assume the runner-up spot.
Two laps later, Mars inched past Feger to take the lead briefly before Feger battled back to gain the top spot on lap 21. In dense lapped traffic, Mars slipped past Feger on the bottom of the track to take the lead on lap 25, but again Feger powered to the front along the high groove on lap 29, as Shirley rebounded to rejoin the highly entertaining battle for the lead.
As Feger and Shirley continued to pound the cushion and occasionally venture to the middle and low grooves to negotiate past slower cars, Mars stayed tuck down low and eventually assumed the top spot for good on lap 34 while Shirley following into second.
By lap 39, Mars had built up a half straight advantage with Shirley and Feger left to duel it out for second. Lapped traffic again made things interesting in the final seven laps as Shirley and Feger closed to within striking distance.
However, Mars was not to be denied as he went on to post his third victory of the 2017 season by a three-car length margin over Shirley. Feger came home third with Dirt Kings point leader Nick Anvelink of Navarino, who started ninth, following in in fourth. World of Outlaws series regular Tyler Erb of New Waverly, Texas, capped off an impressive charge from the 15th starting spot to finish fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 were Dirt Late Model Hall of Famer Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark. (sixth), Brent Larson of Lake Elmo, Minn. (seventh), Justin Hirt of Tigerton (eighth), Jared Siefert of Luxemburg (ninth) and Waukesha’s Mitch McGrath (10th).
“Jason and Brian both ran a good race and I just tried to keep a nice pace in lapped traffic and run a good line when those guys got to racing hard up on the top,” Mars said. “It was a chess match in traffic and luckily it worked in our favor. We’ve been close to getting wins all year and tonight luck went our way.”
In the 25-lap PDTR B Mod A main, Wyatt Block of Marion got the jump on the start with outside front row starter Travis Arenz of Sheboygan following in second and Chilton’s Travis Hansen, who started fourth, third.
Block, Arenz and Hansen stayed glued to the bottom of the track throughout the non-stop race with Arenz unable to close to within striking distance until the leader encountered lapped cars on lap 20.
Although Arenz was able to close up to Block’s bumper in the closing laps, he was unable to mount a challenge for the lead as Block held strong to post his first PDTR B Mod A-main triumph in his first appearance at Plymouth.
Arenz finished second, Hansen was third, Green Bay’s Hunter Parsons, who started fifth, placed fourth and ninth starter Joel Seegert of Sheboygan rounded out the top five.
Both A-main events were contested caution free, which accounted for 75 total laps of non-stop racing.
Chris Engels of Green Bay won the Dirt Kings Late Model C main, while Taylor Scheffler of Waukesha captured the Dirt Kings Late Model B main. Brandon Berth of Plymouth was victorious in the PDTR B Mod B main.
The next Plymouth Dirt Track racing 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.
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