By Jeff Pederson – Pedal Down Promotions
(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTIONS, Plymouth, Wis.) July 7, 2018 – A thrilling last lap pass and a pair of first-time A-main winners highlighted the evening as Plymouth Dirt Track Racing staged its annual Mid-Season Championship Night of racing at The Plymouth Dirt Track on the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds in Plymouth, Wis. on Saturday, July 7.
In the extended 30-lap Richard’s of Dunbar 360 Sprint Car A main, Plymouth’s Justin Miller stole the lead from Sprint Car rookie Travis Arenz of Sheboygan on the final lap to post an exciting victory. Gasroots Project Late Model rookie Kevin Baldry of Omro notched his first career PDTR Late Model A-main victory in the 30-lap main event. Luke Scholten of Oostburg claimed the 30-lap Klips & Tips Grand National A-main victory in the Bender Racing entry, while Gary Glander of Sheboygan Falls collected his first career Cellcom B Mod A-main triumph. Defending Micro Sprint champion Preston Ruh of Elkhart Lake was victorious in the 15-lap Kristine Hartmann Pleasant View Realty Micro Sprint A main.
The Sprint Car A-main headliner began with Tyler Brabant of Waupun and Tony Wondra of Campbellsport lined up on the front row. Despite dry and slick track conditions, the race featured three different leaders and plenty of jockeying for position throughout the field.
Wondra got the jump on the drop of the green flag from his outside front row starting spot as point leader Josh Walter of Plymouth used the outside groove to jump from fourth at the start into second on the opening lap.
The first of two caution flags appeared on lap 5 when Scott Conger of Eagle spun in turn three. On the restart, Wondra continued to lead while Travis Arenz, who started third, bolted past Brabant and Walter to secure second on lap 8.
The second caution flag slowed the pace on lap 10 when two-time PDTR Sprint Car champion Danny Schlafer of Sussex spun in turn three and was collected by Chris Clayton of Waldo.
On the restart, Arenz flexed his muscle utilizing the extreme low groove to gain ground on Wondra, while Justin Miller, who started 10th, charged into third on lap 11.
After hounding Wondra for several laps, Arenz made his move on lap 16, taking the lead in turn one. Justin Miller followed suit in getting past Wondra to set up an exciting duel to the finish.
On lap 18, Arenz encountered slower traffic, which allowed Miller to close the gap considerably. The two dueled side-by-side briefly on lap 20 before Arenz pulled away after clearing the lapped car.
Miller worked the low line to perfection in the final five circuits to close within striking range. On the final lap, Miller shot underneath Arenz in turn one to seize the top spot. Miller then held on to claim his second career PDTR Sprint Car and fourth overall Midwest Sprint Car Association A-main triumph.
Arenz, who captured the 2013 PDTR Outlaw Compact championship, posted a career-best runner-up finish in his first season behind the wheel of a Sprint Car. Walter was third, Brabant finished fourth and Wondra rounded out the top five.
Kevin Baldry grabbed the lead on the opening lap of the 30-lap Late Model A main from the pole position with four-time PDTR Late Model champion and current point leader Brad Mueller of Random Lake, who started second, sliding into the runner-up spot.
Just as Mueller closed the gap along the prevailing inside groove on lap 9 the first of four caution flags appeared for an infield tire on the track surface. On the restart, seventh starter Charlie Schmidt of Cedar Grove moved past 2016 PDTR Late Model champ Tim Buhler of Greenbush, who started third, to assume third.
After two more caution periods for spins involving Eric Michaels of Cleveland and Jim Letizia of Milwaukee, fourth starter Justin Schmidt of Cleveland showed some strength, moving into third place and pressuring Mueller for second.
The final caution flag appeared on lap 17 when Late Model rookie Chad Vetting of Valders, Charlie Schmidt and Eric Michaels collided in turn one.
Over the final 13 laps, Baldry clung tight to the inside lane to successfully hold off Mueller and Justin Schmidt en route to his first career PDTR Late Model A-main triumph. Mueller was second, Justin Schmidt finished third, Buhler took fourth and sixth starter Jim Schmidt of Cleveland rounded out the top five.
Polesitter Chad Espen of West Bend jumped into the lead of the 30-lap Grand National A main followed by third starter Steven Weber of Plymouth. Four caution flags over the first two laps ground the race to a halt in the early going.
When the race returned to green flag action, Luke Scholten, who was behind the wheel of the Bender Racing No. 89 machine, moved into third on lap 3 after starting ninth. After the fifth and final caution flag of the race appeared on lap 12 for an infield tire in turn four, Espen continued to lead with Scholten hot on his heels.
On lap 19, Espen lost control of his car and spun into the infield in turn four. Espen’s misfortune turned the lead over to Scholten, who held off fifth starter Tyler Kulow of Plymouth over the final 11 circuits to claim his 10th career PDTR Grand National A-main victory.
Kulow was second, fourth starter Kurt Davis of South Milwaukee recovered from a trip to the pits to repair a flat tire on lap 1 to finish third, Espen battled back from his spin to place fourth and 10th starter Donny Kulow of Elkhart Lake placed fifth.
Outside front row starter Gary Glander outpowered polesitter Patrick Hanson of Sheboygan Falls to gain the lead of the 30-lap B Mod A main on the opening circuit with third starter Rick Kretschmann of Sheboygan Falls and seventh starter Tim Warner of Malone in tow.
On lap 9, Travis Schmidt of Plymouth, who started ninth, worked his way into third and three laps later Schmidt passed Kretschmann in turn one to assume second.
After a pair of caution flags for spins, Schmidt continued to pressure Glander for the top spot, pulling even with Glander on a few occasions with some contact made between the two on lap 26.
After the fourth and final caution flag appeared on lap 27 for a spin involving Jesse Cullen of Chilton, Glander closed out the race in impressive fashion to post his first career PDTR B Mod A-main victory.
A slight bobble from Schmidt on the final lap allowed 2016 PDTR B Mod champion Brandon Berth of Cascade to steak into second after starting sixth, Schmidt wound up third, Derek Fehling of Beaver Dam charged up from the 17th starting spot to finish fourth and 16th starter J.J. Walvoord of Oostburg placed fifth.
Polesitter Jake Dohner of Milton paced the first five laps of the 15-lap Micro Sprint A main before fourth starter Preston Ruh assumed the top spot on lap 6.
Dave Collins of Madison, who started second, closed the gap on Ruh on lap 10 before fifth starter Jack Vanderboom of Dousman slipped past Collins to gain the runner-up spot.
After two caution flags on lap 13 and lap 14 for spins, Ruh maintained the top spot over the final two laps to collect his fourth career PDTR Micro Sprint A main victory. Vanderboom was second, Collins took third and Dohner placed fourth.
The Plymouth Dirt Track Racing program, which was sponsored by Dale’s Pale Ale and Oskar Blues Brewery, featured 81 cars, including 28 B Mods, 20 Sprint Cars, 11 Late Models, 16 Grand Nationals and six Micro Sprints.
The next PDTR program will take place on Saturday, July 14, topped off by autograph night following the races. The racing program, which begins at 6 p.m., will be sponsored by Hopf Farms.
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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