By Jeff Pederson – Pedal Down Promotions
(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTIONS) May 13, 2017 – With spring-like temperatures yielding pleasant spectating conditions and another impressive collection of 108 competitors in the pit area, the second Plymouth Dirt Track racing program of the 2017 season took to the third-mile Sheboygan County Fairground track Saturday, May 13.
The evening’s A main events featured plenty of green-flag action, including some good battles at the front of field. On top of that, two of the five A main events were contested in impressive, caution-free fashion.
In the 25-lap Sprint Car A main, Kewaskum’s Shane Wenninger completed his comeback from a serious back injury last June by capturing his second career PDTR A-main triumph.
Also claiming A-main hardware courtesy of trophy sponsor Cellcom were Jim Schmidt of Cleveland (Late Model), Matt Loehr of Dotyville (Grand National), Justin Green of Sheboygan Falls (B Mod) and Chad Bogar of Sun Prairie (Micro Sprint).
Lance Fassbender of Burnett led the Sprint Car A main to the green flag from the pole position flanked by outside front row starter Paul Pokorski of West Bend. Fassbender bolted out to a solid cushion in the early stages of the race, building up a half straightaway lead over Wenninger by lap 5 on the predominately one-groove racing surface.
As the track began to take rubber, passing came at a very high premium. Fassbender caught up to the rear of the field on lap 8, which made things quite interesting for several laps as the leaders attempted to find a way by the lapped cars.
With Fassbender boxed in behind slower cars, Wenninger was able to close the gap considerably by lap 10. One lap later, Wenninger managed to dive past Fassbender entering turn one before powering into the lead exiting turn two.
Wenninger, who was steering his own 53 machine after wheeling the 51M Mayer Automotive car normally driven my Jim Melis on opening night, maintained control as he worked through heavy lapped traffic. On lap 14, the first caution of the race came out when Cascade’s Mitchell Yurmanovich and Robbie Pribnow of Lomira made contact in turn three.
After the restart, Wenninger maintained control and was just about to enter lapped traffic again when the second caution flag appeared on lap 18 for Fassbender, who slowed to a stop on the backstretch. After exiting to make repairs in the pits, Fassbender was able to rejoin the race at the rear of the field.
Wenninger, who missed most of the 2016 racing season after breaking two vertebrae in his back in an accident on June 11, held on over the final seven laps to record his second career PDTR Sprint Car A main victory over Brandon McMullen of Appleton, who placed second after starting sixth.
Pokorski wound up third, opening night A-main winner Tim Haddy of Waupun charged from the 11th starting spot to take fourth and 14th starter Kurt Davis of West Allis placed fifth.
Outside front row starter Chris Carlson of North Cape grabbed the lead on the opening lap of the 25-lap Late Model A main followed by polesitter Randy Markwardt of Sheboygan, who is marking his 40th year of racing in 2017.
Carlson wasted no time building up a solid lead over Markwardt by lap 4. On lap 7, Jim Schmidt, who started third, moved in to take second place from Markwardt.
Three laps later, Schmidt closed in on Carlson and began to apply heavy pressure for the top spot. Schmidt worked the high side of the track to pull off the winning move in turn four on lap 13.
Once ahead, Schmidt would not be denied as he sliced his way skillfully through lapped traffic en route to his 10th career PDTR Late Model A main victory in the caution-free race.
Defending PDTR Late Model champion Tim Buhler placed second after starting fifth, 2014 PDTR Late Model champ Mitch McGrath came up from his eighth starting position to take third, Carlson wound up fourth and after capturing the opening night A-main victory and three-time PDTR Late Model champion Brad Mueller placed fifth after starting 11th.
Outside front row starter Matt Loehr seized the lead on the opening lap of the 25-lap Grand National A main with third starter and 2011 PDTR Grand National champion Mark Fieber of Cascade falling in line in second.
The first caution of the race appeared on lap 7 when polesitter Steven Weber of Plymouth suffered a flat right rear tire. When the race returned to green flag action, Loehr held a solid lead over Fieber as 2010 PDTR Grand National champ Brian Gilles of Plymouth moved in from his sixth starting spot to pressure Fieber for the runner-up position.
The second and final caution of the race appeared on lap 13 when Justin Erickson of Plymouth spun in turn three. On lap 15, Fieber pulled in to pressure Loehr and remained within striking distance, but was unable to wrestle the lead away from Loehr in the closing laps.
Loehr rolled on to his fourth career PDTR Grand National A-main triumph. Fieber had to settle for second, Gilles placed third, Tyler Kulow of Plymouth moved up from the eighth starting spot to finish fourth and fourth starter Jeff Lammers of Plymouth finished fifth.
Polesitter Rick Kretschmann of Sheboygan Falls grabbed the lead at the drop of the green flag of the B Mod A main. On lap 2, third starter Cody Eickberg of Plymouth slipped past Mark Hoeppnar to take second.
Eickberg quickly reeled in Kretschmann and appeared ready to strike when the first of four caution flags appeared on lap 5 for a spin in turn two involving Jonathan Singer. On the restart, Kretschmann spun in turn two while leading, which gave the top spot over to Eickberg on the ensuing restart.
When the race returned to green flag action, Green, who started seventh, began to make his presence felt in a big way. Green started to pressure fifth starter Brandon Berth of Cascade for second place beginning on lap 7. Green and Berth battled side by side until the third caution appeared on lap 8 when Brad Carman spun in turn two.
The duel between Green and Berth raged on until Green finally inched ahead in turn one on lap 12. Green then set his sights on Eickberg, ducking low in turn one on lap 14 and emerging with the lead later in the lap in turn four. However, Eickberg would not back down and held tough on the high line as the two dueled side by side over the next two laps.
Green finally surged ahead for good on lap 16 before the final caution flag flew on lap 17 for a spin involving Glen Blanke of Sheboygan Falls and opening night A-main winner Chad Vetting of Valders exiting turn four. Blahnke accepted responsibility for causing the accident, which placed him at the rear of the field and allowed Vetting to keep his spot in the top five.
Green held on over the final eight laps to secure his first career B Mod A main victory. Eickberg held on for second, Berth took third, Vetting placed fourth after starting 11th and Elijah Koenig of Beaver Dam finished fifth after starting sixth.
Outside front row starter Chad Bogar of Sun Prairie cruised to a flag-to-flag victory in the non-stop 15-lap Micro Sprint A Main.
Defending PDTR Micro Sprint Champion Zach Boden of Madison took second, followed by fourth starter Tory Strauss of Waterloo in third, polesitter Denver Larsen of Shiocton in fourth and seventh starter Dylan Larsen of Shiocton in fifth.
Butch Hafemann of Cambpellsport won the special Wingless Super Modified A main. B main victories went to Justin Miller of Plymouth (Sprint Car), Will Sorce of Franklin (Grand National) and Craig Gessner of Beechwood (B Mod
PDTR racing action will continue next Saturday, May 20, with racing schedule to begin at 6 p.m. The evening will honor all police, fire and EMT personnel with free admission to all personnel showing a credential.
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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