By Jeff Pederson – Pedal Down Promotions
(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTIONS) June 10, 2017 – On a night which honored the memory of one of Plymouth Dirt Track Racing’s most beloved drivers, Brian Portschy, who lost his life in a non-racing accident in August 2013, repeat winners grabbed the spotlight in PDTR competition on a seasonably warm summer evening at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds Saturday, June 10.
In an extended 30-lap A main, Brandon McMullen of Appleton collected his third straight Brian Portschy Memorial Race victory. Mitch McGrath of Waukesha notched his initial triumph of the 2017 campaign in the hotly contested Late Model A main, while Dan Sorce of West Allis (Grand National), Justin Green of Sheboygan Falls (B Mod) and Chad Bogar of Sun Prairie (Micro Sprint) each posted their second A-main victories of the season.
Outside front row starter Al Schlafer of Sussex outpowered polesitter Robbie Pribnow of Lomira to take the lead on the opening lap of the Sprint Car A main, followed by outside second row starter Jim Melis of Glenbeulah.
The first of six caution flags flew on lap 5, when Josh Teunissen of Waldo spun to a stop in turn four. On the restart, Pribnow flexed his muscle with a slide job in turn three, which vaulted him from third place into the lead.
One lap later, Schlafer spun in front of the field to trigger an 8-car incident in turn two. All but one driver, Lance Fassbender of Burnett, returned to the race. Pribnow held down the top spot on the restart as Brandon McMullen, who started fifth, shot past Melis to claim the runner-up spot.
McMullen quickly reeled in Pribnow before executing a perfect slide job in turn one on lap 12 to seize the lead on the highly racy track. However, McMullen’s move was negated when Howards Grove’s Ben Schmidt spun in turn two on lap 12.
Pribnow remained in the lead on the restart as the scoring of the race went back to the previous lap before the caution. However, Pribnow’s car lost power on the restart to prompt the fourth caution flag of the race.
With Pribnow now out of the race, McMullen inherited the lead on the restart with Melis in second. On lap 13, 2010 PDTR Sprint Car champion Kurt Davis of West Allis powered up from his ninth starting spot to pressure Melis for the runner-up spot.
After the fifth caution period for the stalled car of two-time PDTR Sprint Car champ Danny Schlafer of Sussex on the backstretch on lap 15, McMullen continued to show his strength along the preferred outside groove.
The sixth and final caution flag was displayed on lap 21 for an incident in turn one involving Dannon Tessmer of Slinger and Ben Schmidt.
Despite a damaged front wing which affected the handling of his car, Davis mounted a late charge following the final restart to bolt past Melis into second and challenge McMullen for the lead with a low move on lap 23.
However, McMullen fended off Davis’ advances and pulled away over the final five laps to notch his first victory of the 2017, ninth PDTR Sprint Car win and 13th overall Midwest Sprint Car Association triumph of his career.
Davis had to settle for second, Melis was third, 12th starter Paul Pokorski of West Bend raced up to an impressive fourth-place finish after restarting 19th following the lap 6 melee and Kenjay Fiedler of Sheboygan Falls finished fifth after starting ninth.
The 25-lap Late Model A main produced plenty of close, clean competition as just one caution flag slowed the hot-and-heavy action.
Three-time PDTR Late Model champion and current points leader Brad Mueller of Random Lake took the lead on the drop of the green flag from his outside front row starting spot, while fourth starter Mitch McGrath powered around polesitter Tim Buhler of Greenbush and third starter Justin Schmidt of Cleveland to move into second place on lap 2.
The lone caution flag appeared on lap 3 when Phil Rehberg spun in turn three. Mueller stayed in the lead on the restart while Justin Schmidt and McGrath battled side by side for the runner-up spot as the leaders stayed mainly locked to the faster high groove.
By lap 5, Mueller had built up a half straightaway lead over McGrath. However, lapped traffic proved to be the difference in the race as Mueller had to deal with a dense pack of slower cars beginning on lap 9.
As Mueller trying to find a way around a group of cars racing for position at the rear of the field, McGrath moved within striking distance when Mueller slid high and grazed the front stretch wall on lap 20.
On lap 22, McGrath dove low in turn one and slide up in front of Mueller in turn two to gain the top spot. With McGrath riding the high line, Mueller attempted to battle back along the low groove, but it wasn’t quite enough.
McGrath went on to notch his eighth career PDTR Late Model A-main victory and first of 2017. Mueller took second, Justin Schmidt was third followed by his father, Jim Schmidt of Cleveland in fourth and fifth starter Chris Carlson of Union Grove, who placed fifth.
In the 25-lap Grand National A main polesitter Josh Pierce of Random Lake led the first two laps with second starter J.J. Pagel of Campbellsport, third starter Will Sorce of West Allis and fourth starter Dan Sorce of West Allis battling for second.
The first of five caution flags appeared on lap 2 after Will Sorce and Pagel made contact and collected three more cars in turn three.
On the restart, 2006 PDTR Late Model champion Dan Sorce surged past Pierce into the lead on lap 5. After two more caution periods, Kurt Davis powered up from his sixth starting spot to take second on lap 11. Over the final 14 laps Davis, Will Sorce and fifth starter Matt Loehr of Dotyville battled back and forth for second.
However, out in front it was all Dan Sorce as he cruised to his sixth career PDTR Grand National A-main victory and second A-main win of the 2017 season. Loehr finished second, Will Sorce was third, Davis place fourth and 2011 PDTR Grand National champion Mark Fieber of Cascade charged from the 11th starting spot to finish fifth.
In the curfew-shortened 15-lap B Mod A main, Justin Green led nearly the entire way from the pole position.
After dueling with outside front row starter Gary Glander of Sheboygan throughout most of the opening lap, Green took the lead. On lap 3, Glander battled back to briefly gain control of the top spot.
However, Green regained the lead with the big move in turn four. Meanwhile, fourth starter Chad Vetting of Valders mounted a charge along the high groove into second place on lap four.
After the lone caution flag appeared on lap 5 for the stalled car of Brad Carman of Sheboygan, Green maintained the top spot en route to his second career B Mod A main victory and second win of the 2017 campaign.
Vetting wound up second, Glander was third, 2016 PDTR B Mod champion Brandon Berth of Plymouth was fourth after starting seventh and Rick Kretschmann of Sheboygan Falls moved up from his 10th starting spot to finish fifth.
In the 15-lap Micro Sprint A main, polesitter Dave Collins of Madison built up a big half-lap lead over the field in the first 11 laps of the race
However, Collins’ car stopped in turn two on lap 11, which handed the lead over to sixth starter Chad Bogar, who raced to his second PDTR Micro Sprint A-main victory of the 2017 season.
Jack Vanderboom of Dousman placed second after starting fifth, Tyler Davis of West Allis finished third, Tory Strauss of Waterloo took fourth after starting eighth and Preston Ruh of Elkhart Lake took fifth.
Shane Wenninger of Kewaskum won the first Sprint Car B Main and Doug Wondra of Lomira claimed the second Sprint Car B Main. J.J. Walvoord won the B Mod B main.
The trophy sponsor for the night was WES Innovations LLC of Wisconsin and Hagar Nelson offered bonus money to drivers in all divisions with his dice roll. The evening also honored all police, fire, EMS and graduates with free admission.
For the fourth time in four events this season the total car count eclipsed the century mark with 102 cars checking into the pit area, including 34 Sprint Cars, 15 Late Models, 21 Grand Nationals, 24 B Mods and 8 Micro Sprints.
Next week’s racing program will feature the first of four appearances at Plymouth by the Interstate Racing Association (IRA) Sprint Car Series. Joining the IRA regional touring drivers, will be the MSA/PDTR 360 Sprint Cars and PDTR B Mods.
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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