IRA Interstate Racing Association
BALOG TAKES ADVANTAGE OF LATE RACE RESTART TO KEEP ABC RACEWAY WIN STREAK ALIVE!
MECHANICAL ILLS HALT WHITNEY’S EFFORTS, THIEL TAKES CAREER BEST FINISH!
July 26, 2014; Ashland, WI – Day two of the Bumper to Bumper IRA Sprints “Northwoods Tour” was another example of how sometimes it’s not about the most laps lead, it’s a matter of which one. Bill Balog would pace the final one this evening, and as a result he continued his stronghold on victory lane at ABC Raceway. A track where he has now captured wins in all three contests held at the facility.
In tonight’s show Mother’s nature put forth occasional sprinkles during the 30 lap A-main contest as officials and drivers hustled to complete the program.
Travis Whitney of Coon River, MN appeared to have a tight grip on the lead, and was only 4 laps away from streaking under the checker flag. Four laps however, is a long distance when being chased by six-time IRA champion Bill Balog.
Still, Whitney’s speed seemed enough as the laps wound down, the field had clicked off 26 of the first 30 laps without interruption, and then the contest became an entirely new race.
On lap 26 heading into turn three, Jordan Goldesberry slipped in turn three taking a spin. The field skillfully avoided him, but the caution had to appear, and now the field was bunched up on Whitney’s read nerf bar, Perhaps most frustratingly for Whitney, Balog was right behind him was the green flag flew.
When Whitney’s car stumbling to gain speed, Balog whipped past taking over the top spot, that’s when Whitney’s night got even worse. As he headed into turns three his machine locked wheels with Blake Nimee who was attempting to pass, when the pair disconnected, Whitney wound up spinning to the bottom of turn four, resulting in a final slowdown. Whitney retired from a race where he had gone from first to a DNF, in less than a lap. Nimee, who was also on the verge of his first podium finish saw his efforts erased.
Balog on the other hand was able to pace the final circuits. The end result was his seventh win of the 2014 season.
The battle for second waged down to the final two laps when Rookie of the Year contender, Scotty Thiel, muscled his was past Scott Uttech. Thiel had a frustrating weekend to this point, having had additional engine issues with his 410 engine the prior evening at Langlade County Speedway in Antigo. He unloaded his ASCS powered 360 machine for tonight’s race at ABC Raceway, a car which was a near perfect match for a somewhat slick racing surface. The second place performance was his best of the 2014 racing season, improving upon his third place run at 141 Speedway back in May.
Uttech’s third place podium earning performance matched his best effort of the 2014 season. He had previously reached the podium with a third place effort at Oshkosh in early May.
A nearly picture perfect afternoon turned into a surprisingly weather challenged night. Officials, knowing rain was in the area hustled to get the starting field for the A-main trackside as light precipitation began to fall.
The 30 lap contest on the banked third-mile clay oval was to have seen Scott Biertzer begin the contest on the pole, but his machine refused to fire, elevating Uttech to the position. 2012 Wilmot Raceway champion, Tommy Sexton, opened the contest from outside the front row becoming the initial leader of the event.
Whitney, who had started fourth, powered his way to the front on lap three while second place became a the focus of the fans attention, as Uttech, Sexton, Balog, and Blake Nimee all maneuvered to various grooves on the track to find a way to hold that position.
Balog got a grasp on the second spot by the fifth lap, but by now Whitney had motored away from the field with a full straightway lead. Uttech meanwhile, held fast to the inner groove placing a hold on the third spot, with Nimee driving a backup machine owned by Wayne Modjeski having laid claim to fourth.
Whitney, a former two-time series champion, was showing the speed and skill he had utilized to win his two titles several seasons ago. He was able to maintain his lead on Balog as the pair started working back markers and the race quickly past the halfway point.
With the field strung all the way around the track, Whitney carefully picked off lapped cars with Balog continuing to apply the pressure. Whitney appeared to have the race in hand when the caution flew on lap 26 for Goldesberry’s spin.
Whitney’s engine stumbled on the restart and Balog taking advantage of the situation flying into the lead. Before the end of the lap the tangle between Whitney and Nimee forced a second caution, and ended what would have been a solid evening for both drivers.
This setup a four lap dash to the checker with Balog showing the way, followed by Uttech. Thiel, suddenly found himself in third, with Sexton and Neitzel now in the top five.
The race resumed with Balog clearly in command. Thiel meanwhile muscled his way past Uttech to grab the second spot as the pair engaged in battle for runner-up honors. This left Balog free to pace the final circuits taking the victory. Thiel managed to reach the finish line just ahead of Uttech for second, with Uttech having to settle for third.
Sexton had rim rode his way to a fourth place finish followed by Scotty Neitzel who completed the top five finishers. Last evening’s runner-up finisher, Steve Meyer earned sixth. Mike Reinke, Bill Rose, Ben Schmidt and Lance Fassbender completed the top ten finishers.
Earlier in the night Rose, Reinke and Neitzel collected heat races. The planned B-main was not needed after Dave Uttech had the misfortune of expiring a motor.
The other notable event of the evening was Hayley Reinke, daughter of Mike Reinke who made her debut in sprint car racing. She took qualifying laps behind the wheel of a machine normally piloted by Russel Borland who had to miss the this event due to other commitments. She qualified the car with a respectable time but opted out of further competition in the program.
A total of 25 drivers had signed in for the race program this evening. Balog had topped the qualifying efforts tonight but times were well off the track record. Schmidt turned in the second quickest lap of the evening while Rose turned in the third best qualifying performance.
The three event weekend now wraps up as the teams head south to Eagle Valley Speedway in Jim Falls, Wisconsin on Sunday evening July 27th. The track is a large three-eights mile oval with a unique layout. The high-banked turns are ideal for the Winged Outlaw sprints, which barely have to use the brakes in the corners. The raceway is also unique in the fact that the front stretch goes slightly downhill, while the backstretch is slightly uphill.
Balog has captured the last three contests held at the track including last year’s show where he made a late race pass on Brooke Tatnell for the victory.
Midwest Modifieds, Street Stocks and Pure Stocks will be joining the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw sprints providing fans with a variety of high speed action.
Pit gates are to open at 4:00pm for this year’s show with the spectator gates opening at 4:30pm. Hot laps are to get underway at 5:30pm with racing set to begin at 6:00pm.
For ticket pricing information please call the raceway at: 715-382-5367 or consult the track website at www.eaglevalleyspeedway.net
Eagle Valley Speedway is located just north of Jim Falls, WI just off Highway 178. Head north out of town of Highway 178 and turn west (left) onto 150th Avenue.
IRA proudly moves continues it’s 2014 season backed by its long time supporting series partners led by title sponsor Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts & Service Centers, and associate series partners Osborn & Son Trucking, TW Metals, Hoosier Tire, Cedar Creek Motorsports, Cummins Onan, and Carriage Auto Body.
The Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints are a featured member of Racetext.net a website dedicated to bringing fans the best possible coverage of local short track racing.
For more information on the IRA Outlaw Sprints check out the tour website at www.irasprints.com or by logging onto the series Facebook page at www.facebook.com/irasprints the series is also on twitter at #IRA_sprints.
IRA Sprint Cars - IRA Interstate Racing Association
Event #12 – ABC Raceway – Ashland, WI – July 26, 2014
IRA Sprint Cars | IRA Interstate Racing Association
Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts A Feature (30 Laps): 1. 17b-Bill Balog; 2. 64-Scotty Thiel; 3. 7-Scott Uttech; 4. 83-Tommy Sexton; 5. 2w-Scotty Neitzel; 6. 85-Steve Meyer; 7. 02-Mike Reinke; 8. 6r-Bill Rose; 9. 35-Ben Schmidt; 10. 7f-Lance Fassbender; 11. 4k-Kris Spitz; 12. 65-Jordan Goldesberry; 13. 41-Dennis Spitz; 14. 95-Ken Jay Fiedler; 15. 19-Ryan Wilson; 16. Byron Walters; 17. Brandon Thone; 18. Ty Bartz; 19. Dennis Weisner; 20. Travis Whitney; 21. Blake Nimee; 22. Chad Tessman; 23. Scott Biertzer
Weld Racing Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1. 2w-Scotty Neitzel; 2. 17b-Bill Balog; 3. 7f-Lance Fassbender; 4. 16-Travis Whitney; 5. 4b-Scott Biertzer; 6. 19-Ryan Wilson; 7. 73-Dennis Weisner; 8. 95b-Ty Bartz; 9. 68-Dave Uttech - DNS
Diversified Machine Inc. Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1. 02-Mike Reinke; 2. 79-Blake Nimee; 3. 4k-Kris Spitz; 4. 7-Scott Uttech; 5. 95a-Ken Jay Fiedler; 6. 41-Dennis Spitz; 7. 35-Ben Schmidt; 8. 71-Chad Tessman
All Star Performance Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1. 6r-Bill Rose; 2. 85m-Steve Meyer; 3. 65-Jordan Goldesberry; 4. 83-Tommy Sexton; 5. 64-Scotty Thiel; 6. 94-Brandon Thone; 7. 5w-Bryon Walters; 8. 23-Hayley Reinke-DNS
Osborn & Son Qualifying (Top 12) 1. 17b-Bill Balog; 2. 35-Ben Schmidt; 3. 6r-Bill Rose; 4. 16-Travis Whitney; 5. 7-Scott Uttech; 6. 83-Tommy Sextob; 7. 4b-Scott Biertzer; 8. 79-Blake Nimee; 9. 5w-Bryon Walters; 10. 73-Dennis Weisner; 11. 02-Mike Reinke; 12. 64-Scott Thiel
Submitted By: Kim Tennyson