By Jeff Pederson – Pedal Down Promotions
(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTIONS) July 15, 2017 – Plymouth Dirt Track Racing honored those that keep the sport of auto racing alive on Fan Appreciation Night Saturday, July 15 at the Sheboygan County Fair Grounds third-mile clay oval and considering the high level of entertainment on the track, the bulk of the healthy crowd on hand left appreciative of what they saw.
In the Sprint Car ranks, Danny Schlafer of Sussex claimed his second PDTR A-main victory of the season. Likewise, Mitch McGrath notched victory number two in the Late Model main event. First-time 2017 headline race winners were Will Sorce of Franklin (Grand National), Brad Lubach of Kiel (B Mod) and Tyler Davis of South Milwaukee (Micro Sprint).
Polesitter Paul Pokorski of West Bend jumped out to the lead on the opening lap of the 25-lap Sprint Car A main. The 25-year veteran held the top spot through the first eight laps before 2010 PDTR Sprint Car champion Kurt Davis of South Milwaukee, who started third, moved in to challenge as the leaders encountered lapped traffic.
On lap 9, Davis dove underneath the high-riding Pokorski in turn one to assume the top spot, while Schlafer, who started seventh, used the outside groove to take over third.
The next lap produced a five-car incident extending from turn three and the way through the frontstretch, involving Anthony Knierim of Franksville, Justin Miller of Plymouth, Eagle’s Scott Conger, Shane Wenninger of Kewaskum and Davis, who collided with Miller, who had spun exiting turn four.
The damage forced Davis to exit the race, giving the lead back to Pokorski. Of the five cars involved in the incident, only Conger was able to continue.
On the restart, Schlafer pulled off a slide job entering turn three. However, Pokorski turned back under him to lead lap 11. However, Schlafer was not to be denied as he again slid past Pokorski in turn three on lap 12 and made the move stick.
Schlafer road the ragged edge along the high line, jumping the cushion on a few occasions, but still managed to hold off Pokorski over the final 13 laps to notch his 18th career PDTR Sprint Car victory and the 46th overall main event triumph in Midwest Sprint Car Association competition.
Pokorski placed second, followed by 18th starter Tim Haddy of Waupun in third, Lance Fassbender of Burnett, who started 11th, fourth and fourth starter Al Schlafer of Sussex, who rounded out the top five.
Joel Bennett led the first six laps of the 25-lap Late Model A-main from the outside front row starting spot. On lap 7, after a caution flag for the stalled car of defending PDTR Late Model champion Tim Buhler of Glenbeulah in turn one, 2014 PDTR Late Model champion Mitch McGrath, who started fifth got past Bennett in turn one.
McGrath proceeded to build up a solid lead while ninth starter Justin Hirt of Tigerton and seventh starter Chris Carlson of Union Grove dueled side by side for second for several laps before Hirt claimed the spot for good.
Hirt, who was making his first PDTR appearance of the season, used a late charge to close in on McGrath in the final laps. However, McGrath held Hirt off to collect his ninth career PDTR Late Model A main victory by a five-car-length margin.
Hirt was second, sixth starter Jim Schmidt of Cleveland placed third, three-time PDTR Late Model champ and current point leader Brad Mueller of Random Lake took fourth from the 13th starting position and polesitter Randy Markwardt of Sheboygan took fifth.
After a special driver introduction ceremony, the extended 30-lap Grand National A main saw outside front row starter Justin Erickson of Plymouth grab the initial lead.
Erickson encountered lapped traffic on lap 9, which allowed third starter Jeff Lammers of Plymouth to close the gap on lap 13. Despite losing a hood pin, which left his hood flapping in the freeze, Lammers made several attempts to wrestle the lead away from Erickson before the first caution flag of the race appeared on lap 21 when Jim Rychtik of Port Washington collided with Kurt Davis and Tyler Kulow of New Holstein in turn one.
When the race resumed Lammers felt pressure from 2010 PDTR Grand National champ Brian Gilles of Plymouth, who started on the pole. However, both Gilles and Lammers left the track with mechanical issues when the second caution of the race came out on lap 23.
On the next restart, it was two-time PDTR Grand National champion Don Sorce Jr., who was driving as the No. 14 car for Dan Sorce, moved in to challenge from the 13th starting spot.
Using the high groove Sorce Jr. claimed the top spot in turn two on lap 24, as 78-year-old Dick Hed of Plymouth , who started fifth, moved into the runner-up spot.
Sorce Jr. appeared to have the race in hand, but Will Sorce, who started 15th, had other things in mind. With Sorce. Jr. running low, Sorce ventured up high to pass Hed and steal the lead away from Sorce Jr. in turn four with two laps to go.
Sorce went on to record his first PDTR Grand National A main victory of the 2017 season. Sorce Jr. was second, Hed placed third, Matt Loehr of Dotyville came from the ninth starting spot to take fourth and Erickson completed the top five.
Outside front row starter Mark Hoeppner of Hartford led the first two laps of the 25-lap B Mod A main before sixth starter J.J. Walvoord assumed the top spot on lap 3.
After the first of two caution flags for the stalled car of Tim Thrun of Horicon, three-time PDTR Grand National champion Brad Lubach, who started eighth, moved into challenge Hoeppner for second.
Driving the car normally steered by Chad Vetting, Lubach took control of second on lap 7. Two laps later, Lubach used the high groove to bolt past Walvoord into the lead in turn one.
Walvoord rallied over the final six laps to mount some pressure for the lead. However, Lubach, who holds the all-time lead with 24 PDTR Grand National A-main victories, went on to post his first career PDTR B Mod A-main triumph.
Walvoord was second, point leader Justin Green of Sheboygan Falls placed third after starting 11th, Glen Blanke of Sheboygan Falls, who started ninth, finished fourth and fourth starter Cody Eickberg of Plymouth placed fifth.
Tyler Davis of South Milwaukee won his first career PDTR Micro Sprint A main. Preston Ruh was second, followed by Dave Collins in third.
Shane Wenninger of Kewaskum won the Sprint Car B main.
The program attracted 25 Sprint Cars, 23 Grand Nationals, 23 B Mods, 13 Late Models and three Micro Sprints.
The trophy sponsor for the evening was A-1 Appliance and Repair. The next PDTR program on Saturday, July 22 will be Autograph Night. All kids in attendance will receive checkered flags courtesy of the evening’s sponsor Hopf Farms. Racing will begin at 6 p.m.
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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