Wilmot, WI, May 25, 2013 – It may not go down in the victory books as one of the most popular victories in Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series history but it will be one talked about for some time. Mike Kertscher would collect his second straight victory in IRA competition by capturing the Wayne Daun / Al & Marie Winkler Memorial race at Wilmot Raceway following up his win at Beaver Dam one week ago. However it was not without a bit of drama.
On lap 11 of the 30 lap A-main event, race leader Scott Neitzel and Kertscher were attempting to work lapped traffic has the pair headed for turn three. Neitzel who had had set the pace since the opening lap would move up the track in effort to clear back markers which provided Kertscher with a brief window of opportunity to take the lead. The attempt however went awry with Kertscher making contact with Neitzel. The contact resulted in Neitzel taking a hard flip entering turn four producing the only red flag of the contest.
Neitzel would emerge from his battered machine unhurt but obviously displeased with the incident. Since Kertscher had not broken his momentum nor had any damage to his car and additionally since there is no contact rule in effect in sprint car racing Kertscher inherited the lead while Neitzel was sidelined for the event.
Kertscher would go on to pace the final 19 circuits fending off a late charge by Lucas Wolfe a former regular on the World of Outlaws tour who took over the #82 Buffalo Wild Wings entry owned by Todd and Susan LaHaise. Last year the team has picked up an IRA victory at the Dodge County Fairgrounds with Justin Henderson behind the wheel.
Third place proved the 2013 Rookie of the Year battle in the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series is going to be one to watch as rookies Jeremy Schultz and Lance Fassbender spent a fair portion of the race doing battle. Both drivers are former champions in area 360 sprints and have showcased their talent so far in 2013 with strong performances in the more powerful 410 machines. At the checkered Schultz edged Fassbender for the final podium spot marking the third consecutive third place run for Schultz. For Fassbender his finishes have improved with each start in the series this year with tonight’s fourth place run a career high with the series.
The 30 lap A-main event started with Neitzel sitting on the pole and Schultz to his outside. Kertscher the 2012 Wilmot Raceway champion lined up inside the second row next to Wolfe.
At the drop of green flag Neitzel blasted into the lead with Schultz dropping in behind Neitzel leaving Kertscher to do battle with Wolfe for the third spot. Kertscher would gain the upper hand on the third position and soon began to pressure Schultz for runner-up honors. Kertscher wasted little time in securing the second spot by lap three.
Neitzel meanwhile had begun to extend his lead sailing around the third-mile clay oval. By lap eight Neitzel began to reach lapped traffic which slowed his pace slightly allowing Kertscher to close within a few car lengths. Neitzel opted for the lower groove around the raceway while Kertscher would power off the turns on the high line attempting to use the momentum to make a pass.
On lap 11, Neitzel encountered a pair of lapped cars racing side by side taking a moment to size up a way to make a quick pass. Kertscher opted to dive to the bottom in turn three in an attempt to clear Neitzel and the lapped cars but the maneuver didn’t go as planned resulting in contact between himself and Neitzel whose machine began to tumble down the track resulting in the red flag.
Neitzel would retire from the contest and Kertscher inherited the lead. Schultz would line back up in second followed by Fassbender, Wolfe and visiting racer Bret Triplett from Lincoln, Illinois who competes in both winged and non-winged sprint events in his home state.
Action resumed with Kertscher charging away from the field leaving the focus of the battle on second place. Schultz, Wolfe and Fassbender swapped positions with Wolfe eventually working his way past Schultz with less than ten laps remaining.The task at hand for Wolfe was to slice into Kertscher’s straight away lead. With each passing lap Wolfe would narrow the gap closing within six car lengths as the white flag flew. Kertscher however had a clear track ahead of him and making no errors on the final lap crossed the finish line with a four car length advantage on Wolfe. Schultz would earn the third spot.Fassbender earned his career high fourth place run by turning back the challenges of Triplett who completed the top five.
In Mini-Sprint action defending division champion Nick Petska pulled off a clean sweep of the nights action. Petska would charge through the pack from his sixth place starting spot in the main event taking the lead before the halfway point and motoring away from the field for a convincing win. The contest was red flagged just prior to the halfway point for a double flip as John Kirk and John Garlock tumbled down the front stretch after contact. Garlock needed assistance from his machine but waved to the crowd after he emerged from his battered ride.
Once racing resumed Petska was in a league of his own easily outdistancing Scott Johnson. Mark Heinart would pass several cars in the closing laps to reach third position. Polesitter Ron Brannam who paced the early portions of the contest would finish fourth while Mike Neau completed the top five finishers.
The Street Stock main event saw plenty of door to door, wheel to wheel action with a minimum of cautions. A great battle for the lead would develop between John Janssen and Charles Pinkalla but a slight nudge between the pair resulted in Pinkalla spinning into the infield. Janssen elected to start at the rear of the field and both drivers spent the balance of the race attempting to return to the front of the pack.
This left 2011 division champ Pat Rossman out front as he inherited the lead which he would hold to the checkered flag. Dustin Richards would finish in second a couple car lengths behind while Vince Heywood, Jeremy Olson and David Jones completed the top five runners.
Next Saturday Night is the first of several “Family Night” events to be held at Wilmot Raceway this summer. Affordable racing entertainment for the entire family will feature action in Modified, Street Stock, Mini-Sprint and 4 cylinder divisions.
The grandstands will open at 5:00pm and racing is set to start at 6:45pm. Adult admission is $10 and members of the military with an active ID receive a discount of $5. Young fans ages 11 and under are admitted FREE.
The Kenosha County Fairgrounds where the track resides is located just north of the intersection of county roads C and W in Wilmot, WI. Wilmot is located just 8 miles west of I-43 taking county highway C which is exit 345. For those seeking additional information please check out the track website at www.wilmotraceway.com or call the track on race day at 262-862-2090.