BY MICHAEL H. BABICZ
-BALOG SWEEPS IRA WILMOT RACEWAY KENOSHA COUNTY FAIR WEEKEND/VANDERVERE TAKES WILMOT SEASON TITLE-
(Wilmot, Wisconsin, Saturday, August 19, 2017)–Hartford’s Bill Balog made a sweep of Bumper to Bumper Interstates Racing Association(IRA) Outlaw Sprint Series action at Wilmot Raceway by winning the 36-lap 8th Annual Roger Iles Tribute presented by Carriage Auto Body of Waukegan, Illinois on Saturday, August 19 before a packed Kenosha County Fair crowd.
“It’s means a lot to add my name to the list of winners of this event,” said Balog, IRA pointleader and 7-time champion, who followed up the Friday fair win by taking the Iles event for the third time, having also swept the fair events in 2016 and winning the Iles race in 2014. “Ken Iles(the late Roger Iles son) does a lot for this event, and I really sincerely thank him.”
“I have to thank my crew and all of my sponsors for their support, and these great Kenosha County Fair fans,” said Balog following his ninth IRA feature win of the season, coupled with a second straight clean sweep in as many nights having posted fast qualifying time, winning his heat race and the feature.. “We’re really got this Wilmot Raceway figured out it seems as the car ran super.”
“It’s always fun racing here at Wilmot before the fair crowd and last night(Friday) we struggled, but this time, thanks to a lot of work by the crew, the car was dialed in,” said second place finisher Mike Kertscher of Fillmore, who won the inaugural Iles event. “To be able to run with these strong IRA competitors, and move up from 10th starting position to finish second, fells great.”
“We struggled some, but the car came around at the end and it’s great to get a podium finish after a strong battle at the finish,” said third place Jeremy Schultz of Beaver Dam, defending IRA champion and three-time Wilmot regular season title holder.
“It’s been quite a year here at Wilmot Raceway,” said Matt Vandervere of Zion, Illinois who was crowned the 2017 regular season Wilmot Raceway Winged Outlaw Sprint Car Champion. “I have to thank my wife and family for their support, my crew, all of my sponsors and these great fans here. Having won my first IRA feature ever here earlier this season, and now winning the championship, my first, it is just amazing.”
Jake Blackhurst of Hanna City, Illinois jumped in front of the IRA feature, holding top spot through the initial eight laps. Balog worked in front on lap nine after the two battled wing to wing several laps while working lapped traffic.
The first of two red flags flew on lap 12 when Scott Uttech of New Berlin was uninjured despite having his car going over the berm in turn one and flipping end over end high into the air. On the restart Schultz overtook Kertscher for second as those two battled back and forth for runner-up while Balog rocketed to a straightaway lead.
With eight laps remaining a final red flag flew when Jordan Goldesberry of Springfield, Illinois rolled his car in turn four coming to rest with a engine fire. Quick work by the safety team extinguished the flames and Goldesberry actually attempted to restart after pitting, but a flat tire as it was pushed off returned him to the pits.
On the final restart, Balog pulled away again with Kertscher working past Schultz back into second. At the checkered it Balog followed by Kertscher in second. Schultz held on to third fending off a late charge from fourth place Scotty Thiel of Sheboygan.
Joe B. Miller of Millersville, Missouri came across a close fifth. Beaver Dam’s Scotty Nietzel was sixth. Pleasant Prairie’s Phillip Mock took seventh. Blackhurst ended up eighth with Blake Nimee of Aurora, Illinois ninth and Bill Wirth of Cudahy rounding out the top 10.
Ben Schmidt of Howard’s Grove won the IRA 15-lap Last Chance “B” Main after having flipped in the first heat race ending up with the car standing on end..
Cottage Grove’s Doug Schenck led wire to wire capturing his third 20-lap Wisconsin WingLess Sprint feature of the season at Wilmot, and fifth overall having won in Minnesota and the week prior at Angel Park Speedway in Sun Prairie.
“I don’t like starting up front, but we’ll take it,” said Schenck, the 2015 Wilmot WingLess season champion. “These young guys out here make me work for it, but it’s still a lot of fun. We’ve got a few weeks left here at Wilmot, so we’ll have to wait and see how it shakes out as far as the points championship.”
Schenck was challenged briefly a couple of times by first year WingLess driver Nick Petska of Spring Grove, Illinois after the initial caution flag on lap four.
One lap later, the yellow flew again when Tim Cox of Park City, Illinois snapped an axle in turn bringing the car to a stop. Cox had the Wilmot point lead going into the night, but his 17th place feature finish put Schenck on top with three scheduled nights remaining.
A final caution came with eight laps remaining but the veteran Schenck was up to the challenge. Petska scored a career best second behind Schenck at the finish. A late charge from Allen Hafford of Beach Park, Illinois resulted in a third place finish. Jimmy Sivia of Winthrop Harbor, Illinois was fourth with Milwaukee;s Jordan Mattson fifth.
Genoa City’s Nick Simons, who two weeks earlier won his first feature in two years, made sure it would not be that long between 20-lap modified feature wins, giving himself a day late birthday present.
“I have to thank my family, sponsors, everybody who works on the car, but I have to go now to grade the race track,” said Simons, who doubles as the lead person on the track preparation crew, and did jump on one of the two graders to go to work putting some finishing touches on turn one prior to the IRA sprint car feature.
Eagle’s Steve Mueller took the initial lead in the main which saw six cautions slow the pace. Mueller kept weathering the storm until the final yellow five laps from the finish. N. Simons, who initially started 11th, slowly had been working into contention shot to the inside on the final restart to take the lead and go on to the victory.
Mueller settled for second with Rob Maule of Hebron, Illinois third. Andrew Kiedrowski of Waupala took fourth with Sheboygan’s Joel Seegert fifth.
In the third modified heat race, Lee Tibbitts of Hebron, Illinois walked away despite flipping hard in turn two barrel rolling several times.
Wilmot Raceway has four scheduled nights remaining on its 2017 schedule at the Kenosha County Fairgrounds. Next up is Family Night on Saturday, August 26 featuring the Wisconsin WingLess Sprints, Wisconsin-Illinois Mini-Sprints, Modifieds, Street Stocks and Bandit 4-Cylinder Stock Cars.
Grandstands open at 5 p.m. with racing slated at 6:45. Grandstand admission is $12.00 for everyone ages 12 and older, with free admission for anyone age 11 and under.
For the latest Raceway updates phone the trackside raceline 262-862-2090 or check the official Raceway website www.wilmotraceway.com or Facebook page.
SUMMARY – WILMOT RACEWAY, WILMOT, WISCONSIN – SATURDAY, AUGUST 19, 2017 – KENOSHA COUNTY FAIR NIGHT TWO
BUMPER TO BUMPER INTERSTATE RACING ASSOCIATION(IRA) OUTLAW SPRINT SERIES:
8TH ANNUAL ROGER ILES TRIBUTE PRESENTED BY CARRIAGE AUTO BODY OF WAUKEGAN, IL 36-LAP FEATURE: 1. Bill Balog, Hartford; 2. Mike Kertscher, Fillmore; 3. Jeremy Schultz, Beaver Dam; 4. Scotty Thiel, Sheboygan; 5. Joe B. Miller, Millersville, MO; 6. Scotty Nietzel, Beaver 7. Phillip Mock, Pleasant Prairie; 8. Jake Blackhurst, Hanna City, IL; 9. Blake Nimee, Aurora, IL; 10. Bill Wirth, Cudahy; 11. Parker Price-Miller, Kokomo, IN; 12. Kris Spitz, Salem; 13. Matt Vandervere, Zion, IL; 14. Todd Daun, Pleasant Prairie; 15. Kyle Marten, Sheboygan Falls; 16. Raymond Hensley, Trevor; 17. Ben Schmidt, Howards Grove; 18. Wayne Modjeski, Oak Creek; 19. Dave Uttech, Kenosha; 20. Dennis Spitz, Lewisburg, KY; 21. Jordan Goldesberry, Springfield, IL; 22. Jereme Schroeder, Lake Villa, IL; 23. Mike Decker, Silver Lake; 24. Scott Uttech, New Berlin.
15-LAP “B” MAIN: 1. Schmidt; 2. Schroeder; 3. Decker; 4. D. Spitz; 5. Andy Rein, Kewauskum; 6. Keith Fellner, Racine; 7. Jim Fifield, Newark, IL; 8. Nick Matuszewski, Green Bay; 9. Kevin Eltz, Lake Zurich, IL; 10. Austin Deblauw, McHenry, IL; 11. Johnny Fahl, Brown Deer; 12. Russel Borland, Kewaskum; 13. Chris Dodd, Trevor(Did Not Start); 14. Brian Kristan, Zion(DNS).
10-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Balog; S. Uttech; Wirth; Nietzel.
FAST QUALIFIER: Balog(:12.845 seconds).
WISCONSIN WINGLESS SPRINTS PRESENTED BY IRA: 20-LAP FEATURE: 1. Doug Schenck, Cottage Grove; 2. Nick Petska, Spring Grove, IL; 3. Allen Hafford, Beach Park, IL; 4. Jimmy Sivia, Winthrop Harbor, IL; 5. Jordan Mattson, Milwaukee; 6. Chris Klemko, Bristol; 7. Derek Crane, Waukegan, IL; 8. Scott Grissom, Winthrop Harbor; 9. James Walldan, Winthrop Harbor; 10. Randy Stanford, Kenosha; 11. George Gaertner III, Salem; 12. Dan Wade, Kenosha; 13. Natalie Klemko, Northbrook, IL; 14. Shawn Swim, Winthrop Harbor; 15. Rod Colburn, New Berlin; 16. George Gaertner, Salem; 17. Tim Cox, Park City, IL; 18. Tom Eller, Zion, IL; 19. Nathan Crane, Waukegan(DNS).
8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Sivia; Schenck.
FAST QUALIFIER: Mattson(:14.954 seconds).
MODIFIEDS: 20-LAP FEATURE: 1. Nick Simons, Genoa City; 2. Steve Mueller, Eagle; 3. Rob Maule, Hebron, IL; 4. Andrew Kiedrowski, Waupala; 5. Joel Seegert, Sheboygan; 6. Joel Crowbridge, Union Grove; 7. Mike Wittenburg, Waterford; 8. Terry Hilgendorf, McHenry, IL; 9. Josh Heinze, Waterford; 10. John Dost, Bristol; 11. Jason Hyerdall, Lake Villa; 12. David Wirth, Milwaukee; 13. Will Sorce, Franksville; 14. Dustin Jackson, New Berlin; 15. Danny Walter, Burlington; 16. Mike Simons II, Genoa City; 17. Tony Izzo, Capron, IL; 18. Brad McGuire, New Berlin; 19. Jeff Larson, Freeport, IL; 20. Mike Knurr, Mukwonago
10-LAP “B” MAIN: 1. Hilgendorf; 2. Hyerdall; 3. Dost; 4. Walter; 5. Sorce; 6. Scott Barnharst, Franklin; 7. Mike Sullivan, Racine; 8. Jack Williams, Rockford, IL; 9. Lee Tibbitts, Hebron(DNS).
8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: M. Simons; Kiedrowski; Izzo.
FAST QUALIFIER: Maule(:17.031 seconds).