IRA Interstate Racing Association
BALOG ASCENDS TO TOP OF ALL-TIME IRA WIN LIST WITH BEAVER DAM VICTORY!
Second Straight Green to Checkered A-main for Series Stars!
Beaver Dam, WI, September 21, 2013 – The scene was familiar, it’s late in the race, and the “North Pole Nightmare”, Bill Balog is reeling in the race leader. He now applies the pressure, showing a wing here and there, testing both the high and low lines while waiting for an opportunity to strike. Then it happens, the slightest bobble by the leader and Balog charges, and in an instant Balog has the point. The chase is now on, the checkered flag lies ahead, and Balog reached the finish line … first.
That scene has played over and over the past several seasons as Balog and the #17b machine fielded by Buesser Concrete has held firmly to victory lane.
There was a time when another man dominated as Balog has.
Turn back the clock a decade and Joe Roe was racking up the wins. His prowess to win titles earned him nine championship trophies thanks mostly to his 61 trips to the winners circle in IRA competition. While Roe has significantly more feature victories than the 61 gathered while running under the IRA banner it has been that win total that everyone has been trying to reach.
One week ago Balog racked up his 16th victory of the season taking top honors in a hotly contested battle at the Plymouth Dirt Track, that win placed Balog in a tie with Roe on the all-time win list.
Balog’s journey to the top of that list began in August of 2006 when he earned his first career A-main checkered in IRA competition at Red Cedar Speedway in Menomonee, WI. I’m sure no one at the time knew what would lie ahead and when the next one would come.
Forward just over seven years from that inaugural victory and you see Roe passing the torch from one champion to another. The bar is now at 62 victories.
As Balog stood in victory lane at Beaver Dam Raceway celebrating his 62nd career Bumper to Bumper IRA Sprint series victory I’m sure many fans and fellow competitors wonder how many more lie ahead.
The 22 car main event had additional heavy hitters this evening as the field took to the well groomed racing surface on a cool crisp evening.
The stars of the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints were joined by Ian Madsen who had scored his first career World of Outlaws feature win one week ago at Deer Creek Speedway and Lucas Wolfe who has also tasted victory with the Outlaws as both were in the starting lineup for tonight’s show. Travis Whitney, a two-time IRA champion who had captured his first All-Star Circuit of Champions win earlier this year was on hand as well.
Add in recent IRA winners Scott Neitzel, also a two-time series champ, and standout Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Rookie competitor Jeremy Schultz and you have the makings a field set to deny Balog the victory.
Balog sat in the 10th spot as the field accepted the green flag. Only the white flag separated the green from the checker as the non-stop event was completed in six minutes and 47 seconds. It was the second straight A-main with no slowdowns as last week’s show at Plymouth Dirt Track was also caution free.
Polesitter Tommy Sexton had returned to action after a grinding crash at Wilmot Raceway three weeks ago. The wreck destroyed his car and Sexton borrowed a machine normally driven by Matt Vandervere to prove the incident didn’t deter his competitive spirit promptly winning his heat race earlier in the night.
Sexton fought to pace the opening lap of the A-main contest but it was fellow front row starter Steve Meyer who grabber the upper hand as the first lap went in the books.
Sexton found himself drifting backwards in the field as Whitney and Schultz powered into second and third by the second circuit. Balog had already shot to the outside whipping past several cars on the opening lap to run in the fifth spot by lap two.
Out front Meyer began to encounter lapped traffic on the fifth circuit as he began to outdistance Whitney.
Further back Sexton yielded the fourth spot to Balog by lap nine and Balog continued to close on the leaders.
In short order Balog managed to slice under Schultz for third and on the next lap drove past Whitney on the high side on lap 11 to claim second.
Meyer was confidently working lapped cars while keeping Balog in check as the race moved past the halfway point. Balog made several attempts to remove Meyer from the lead but Meyer proved up to the task of pacing the field.
It was lap 20 that would be Meyer’s undoing. Balog managed to work to Meyer’s inside coming off turn two and won the drag race down the backstretch heading into turn three moving Meyer back to second.
Balog was now setting the pace as the battle for second began to heat up with Meyer, Whitney, Madsen and Schultz all attempting to secure the spot to have a shot at running down Balog.
Meyer’s turn in the spot came to an end when he jumped the cushion in turn two giving the second position to Whitney as Schultz also took advantage of the situation to reach third.
On lap 24 Balog went wide in turn three allowing Whitney to significantly close the gap. The final six laps didn’t provide Whitney with any additional opportunity to strike and Balog made his way to the finish with an eight car length advantage on Whitney.
Schultz would come out on top of a torrid battle with Madsen over the final laps with the rookie fending off the World of Outlaws star for the final podium position. Madsen would settle for fourth.
Phillip Mock made his way into the top five with a pass on Meyer with two laps to go in the contest as Meyer faded to sixth by the finish after pacing the first 20 laps.
Blake Nimee, 2012 rookie of the year Robbie Pribnow, Sexton and Dave Uttech comprised the top ten finishers.
Sexton, in ninth, was the final car on the lead lap at the finish.
18 cars were still trackside when the checker flag fell.
In earlier action Neitzel outran Scott Uttech for the victory in the B-main. Rick Kelsey, Chris Dodd, Jeremy Schroeder, Wayne Modjeski and Brandon Thone made up the top seven cars which transferred to the main event.
Heat wins went to Meyer, Sexton and Whitney.
28 machines had checked into the pit area for competition with Balog’s 11.969 second lap showing the way in qualifying. Mock was second quick with a lap of 12.197 seconds and Pribnow clocked third fast with an orbit of 12.206 seconds around the third-mile banked oval.
The top 24 cars all clocked in within one second.
The final race of the 2013 racing season for the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints is set to take place next Saturday night, September 28th at the Dodge County Fairgrounds. Put gates are set to open at 3:30pm, with the grandstand opening at 4:30pm. Hot laps are set for 5:30pm with qualifying for the Sprints and racing to follow.
The Dodge County half-mile event was initially proposed as a 2-day (Fri/Sat) event, however everyone involved believes it is now best to go with a Saturday night only show utilizing a Sunday rain date (earlier start) if needed, as the Green Bay Packers are not scheduled to conflict as they have a scheduled bye week. The Dodge Co finale will feature a Sprint Car Championship Doubleheader as its championship night for both the IRA 410's, and the MSA 360's, plus Modifieds and a great field of Vintage Cars are also part of the show.
The IRA Outlaw Sprint Series is proudly supported by Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts & Service Centers, Hoosier Tire, Osborn & Son Trucking, TW Metals, Onan, Carriage Auto Body, Polaris DEFENSE, and Mother’s Polishes and Waxes. The office of the IRA Sprints can be reached at 815-759-9269 or by e-mail at email@example.com
Event: #25 – Beaver Dam Raceway – Beaver Dam, WI – September 21, 2013
Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Cars
A Feature (30 Laps): 1. 17B-Bill Balog; 2. 16-Travis Whitney; 3. 5J-Jeremy Schultz; 4. 18-Ian Madsen; 5. 1M-Phillip Mock; 6. 85M-Steve Meyer; 7. 79-Blake Nimee; 8. 20R-Robbie Pribnow; 9. 83-Tommy Sexton; 10. 68-Dave Uttech; 11. 2W-Scott Neitzel; 12. 9-Lucas Wolfe; 13. 11K-Rick Kelsey; 14. 23-Russell Borland; 15. 7-Scott Uttech; 16. 4K-Kris Spitz; 17. 43-Jereme Schroeder; 18. 53W-Bill Wirth; 19. 94-Bandon Thone; 20. 8A-Nick Alden; 21. 14AJ-Wayne Modjeski; 22. 01-Chris Dodd
B Feature (12 Laps): 1. Scott Neitzel; 2. Scott Uttech; 3. Rick Kelsey; 4. Chris Dodd; 5. Jereme Schroeder; 6. Wayne Modjeski; 7. Brandon Thone; 8. Michael Decker; 9. Allen Hafford; 10. Joe Probst; 11. Robby Wirth; 12. Chad Tessman; 13. Andrew Kierdrowski
Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1. Steve Meyer; 2. Bill Balog; 3. Jeremy Schultz; 4. Blake Nimee; 5. Kris Spitz; 6. Jereme Schroeder; 7. Chris Dodd; 8. Joe Probst; 9. Robby Wirth; 10. Brandon Thone
Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1. Tommy Sexton; 2. Ian Madsen; 3. Phillip Mock; 4. Bill Wirth; 5. Lucas Wolfe; 6. Scott Neitzel; 7. Michael Decker; 8. Allen Hafford; 9. Andrew Kierdrowski
Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1. Travis Whitney; 2. Nick Alden; 3. Russell Borland; 4. Robbie Pribnow; 5. Dave Uttech; 6. Wayne Modjeski; 7. Scott Uttech; 8. Rick Kelsey; 9. Chad Tessman
Qualifying: (Top 10) 1. Bill Balog; 2. Phillip Mock; 3. Robbie Pribnow; 4. Blake Nimee; 5. Lucas Wolfe; 6. Scott Uttech; 7. Jeremy Schultz; 8. Scott Neitzel; 9. Dave Uttech; 10. Kris Spitz
Article Credit: Jeffrey Sachse
Submitted By: Jeffrey Sachse