Miller posts first career PDTR Sprint Car A-main win
By Jeff Pederson, Pedal Down Promotions
(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTIONS) September 9, 2017 – On a night when four of the five regular Plymouth Dirt Track Racing divisions crowned 2017 champions at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds third-mile clay oval, one of the biggest turnouts of cars and fans of the season gathered to join in the festivities Saturday, Sept. 9.
In the Late Model division, 30-year veteran Brad Mueller of Random Lake claimed his third A-main victory of the 2017 campaign and his fourth career PDTR Late Model title. Cascade’s Mark Fieber racked up his second career title in the Grand National division. Justin Green of Sheboygan Falls collected his first career B Mod championship and rookie Preston Ruh of Elkhart Lake secured the Micro Sprint crown.
In main event action, Plymouth’s Justin Miller held off a hard charge from two-time PDTR Sprint Car champion Danny Schlafer of Sussex to earn his first career 25-lap Sprint Car A-main victory at Plymouth. Tyler Kulow of Plymouth notched his first PDTR Grand National A-main victory of the 2017 season in the 25-lap A main. Jared Siefert of Luxemburg raced to his first PDTR B Mod triumph of the season, while Zach Boden of Cambridge captured his third 15-lap Micro Sprint A-main victory of the 20017 PDTR campaign.
Polesitter Justin Miller grabbed the lead on the opening lap of the 25-lap Sprint Car A main with 2010 PDTR Sprint Car champ Kurt Davis of South Milwaukee, who started on the outside of the front row, following in second.
On lap 4, Davis closed in to challenge Miller along the high groove. Two laps later, 2008 PDTR Sprint Car champ Lance Fassbender spun in turn two while running third, which brought out the first caution flag of the race.
With Miller running the high groove, Davis worked the middle to low lanes in an attempt to oust the lead from Miller when green flag action resumed. On lap 12, Davis attempted to slide past Miller in turn two, but Miller held strong to retain the lead.
The action really heated up two laps later when seventh starter Danny Schlafer joined the duel for the lead. With Miller sticking to the top, Davis running the middle and Schlafer working the low line, the three drivers raced three-wide on lap 17 with Miller holding the slightest of advantages over the two most successful drivers in the history of the Midwest Sprint Car Association.
On lap 18, Davis worked past Miller exiting turn two to seize the lead. However, Davis got very high in turn three and clipped the wall in turn four to bring out the second caution of the race and end his chance at victory.
Miller regained the lead on the restart with Schlafer trailing in second. Miller got a good job on the restart to pull out to a quarter straightaway cushion before Schlafer battled back to mount a late charge. The hard-charging Schlafer slipped past Miller along the inside lane to seize the lead on lap 24.
However, Miller pulled off a big power move on the cushion in turns one and two to regain the lead on the final lap and nip Schlafer by one car length at the finish line to register his first career PDTR Sprint Car main event victory and his second overall MSA A-main triumph.
Schlafer had to settle for second, eighth starter Jim Melis of Glenbeulah finished third, fifth starter Ben Schmidt of Howards Grove placed fourth and Kevin Karnitz of West Bend, who started sixth, placed fifth.
With extra money added to the Late Model A-main purse for the evening, courtesy of an effort led by Late Model supporters Chad Marquardt and Greg Wester, a strong field of 28 Late Models checked into the pit area with 22 lining up for the main event.
Outside front row starter Billy Rezutek of Big Bend grabbed the lead on the drop of the green flag ahead of polesitter Joe Reuter of Green Bay. On lap 3, Brad Mueller, who started fourth, worked around Reuter to take over second while sixth starter Chris Carlson of Union Grove gained third on lap 5.
With Rezutek running the extreme high groove, Mueller found grip in the middle of the wide, slick track surface to pull even with Rezutek on lap 8. After a brief side-by-side duel, Mueller assumed the top spot on lap 9.
Carlson then moved in to battle Rezutek for second place on lap 14 before taking over the runner-up position one lap later. However, Mueller was not to be denied at the head of the field as he rolled to his third A-main victory of the season and 19th career PDTR Late Model A-main triumph by five car lengths over Carlson to secure his fourth career PDTR Late Model championship.
Carlson was second, Reuter placed third, third starter Jared Siefert of Luxemburg placed fourth and eighth starter Taylor Scheffler of Waukesha rounded out the top five in the caution-free race.
Polesitter Tyler Kulow assumed the lead on the drop of the green flag in the Grand National main event with 2008 PDTR Grand National champ Matt Yancey trailing in second. The first of four caution flags appeared on lap 2 for a spin involving Matt Jackson of Sheboygan in turn two.
On lap 3, fourth starter Mark Fieber moved past Yancey into second with Dotyville’s Matt Loehr, who started fifth, following into third. With the top three cars running in nose-to-tail fashion along the low groove, Loehr began to apply heavy pressure to Fieber on lap 15 before diving under Fieber to take second on lap 18.
Three consecutive caution periods slowed the race starting on lap 21. When the race resumed, Fieber outpowered Loehr to regain second on lap 22, while seventh starter Jeff Lammers of Plymouth slipped past Loehr to take third.
Meanwhile, Kulow pulled away to claim his second career PDTR Grand National A-main triumph. Fieber secured his second Grand National title by placing second, Lammers was third, Loehr took fourth and Kurt Davis came up for his 10th starting spot to finish fifth.
After two aborted starts, Jared Siefert gained the lead on the opening lap of the 25-lap B Mod A main from his outside front row starting position. On lap 4, third starter Chad Vetting of Valders worked past polesitter Gary Glander of Sheboygan Falls to take over second, while Travis Schmidt of Plymouth moved up from the fifth starting position to take over third on lap 8.
Siefert was strong out front as he built up a full straightaway lead over Vetting by lap 12. The third and final caution flag of the event was displayed on lap 18 when John Singer spun in turn four.
Four laps later Schmidt used the high groove to work past Vetting into second place. However, it was all Siefert at the head of the field en route to his first career PDTR B Mod A-main victory.
Schmidt placed second, Vetting was third, Randy Lemieux placed fourth after starting 10th and Glander rounded out the top five.
Chad Bogar of Sun Prairie took the lead in the early going of the 15-lap Micro Sprint A main from the third starting spot. On lap 8, Zach Boden, who started sixth, moved into to challenge Bogar for the lead.
On lap later, Boden executive a low move in turn one to take the lead for good. The 2016 PDTR Micro Sprint champion cruised the rest of the way to a full straightaway victory over Bogar. Jack Vanderboom of Dousman placed third after starting seventh, fifth starting Dave Collins of Madison was fourth and second starter Preston Ruh wrapped up the 2017 PDTR Micro Sprint title with a fifth place showing.
Prior to the racing program, Randy Markwardt of Sheboygan was presented with the PDTR Dedication to Dirt Award for his efforts during a long and successful racing career, which began with Eastern Wisconsin Stock Cars at Plymouth in 1977.
During his career, Markwardt racked up two track championships at Plymouth in the Sportsman (1993) and Limited Late Model (1999) divisions and was one of the most popular drivers with fans. Markwardt, who was inducted into the Southeastern Wisconsin Short Track Racing Hall of Fame in 2014, announced his retirement from racing earlier this year with Saturday’s PDTR program serving as his final race.
Shane Wenninger of Kewaskum won the Sprint Car B main, Dave Fieber of Neenah captured the Late Model B main and Steve Lorier of Sheboygan won the B Mod B main.
A total of 111 cars check into the pit area for the evening, including 29 Sprint Cars, 28 Late Models, 24 B Mods, 22 Grand Nationals and 8 Micro Sprints.
After two weekends off, the final race of the season at The Plymouth Dirt Track is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 30. The program will feature the final points night for the PDTR 360 Sprint Car division, along with the Interstate Racing Association 410 Sprint Car, Wisconsin Wingless Sprint Cars and Wisconsin-Illinois Mini Sprints.
Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. with IRA qualifying and racing to follow.
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