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REVERSAL OF FORTUNE, SCHMIDT SLIDES NEITZEL FOR VICTORY, CAUTIONS ADD DRAMA WITH GREEN, WHITE CHECKERED FINISH!
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9/7/2015

9/7/2015

IRA Interstate Racing Association


REVERSAL OF FORTUNE, SCHMIDT SLIDES NEITZEL FOR VICTORY, CAUTIONS ADD DRAMA WITH GREEN, WHITE CHECKERED FINISH!

NIMEE’S LATE RACE CHARGE NETS PODIUM FINISH, SIX DRIVERS STILL IN CONTENTION FOR 2015 CROWN!

September 6, 2015; Francis Creek, WI – Luck is an erratic commodity in racing. You can prepare all you want; the lack of good fortune can be frustrating. It takes perseverance to overcome such obstacles. Luck swings both ways and for Ben Schmidt it turned positively in his favor Sunday evening at 141 Speedway.

Last weekend multiple expired engines seemingly ended his title chase yet this weekend he stood in victory lane.

There have now been different winners in the past 14 events in Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint competition. It’s been a year with a great point battle as the season winds down, six drivers remain in contention for the championship. It’s also been a year or remarkable competition as this late season event showcased a stout field of 35 entries as the lone IRA race of the holiday weekend.

Driving the borrowed machine of Hartnell Motorsports, Schmidt took advantage of a late race caution to slide past Scotty Neitzel for the lead in the late stages of the 30 lap A-main on the quarter-mile bullring. He then was able to fend off Neitzel through several cautions, which kept setting up green, white, checkered finishes. The event, which took place before a very full grandstand, was completed just in time as rain began to fall not long after the checkered flag.

An elated Schmidt celebrated his victory with a dive into the infield pond, encouraged to do so by the cheering crowd.

The win was the second of the season for Schmidt who had won back in early May at Beaver Dam Raceway. The victory was also the second in Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint competition for Hartnell Motorsports who won an A-main with Sheldon Haudenschild at the wheel last season at Angell Park Speedway.

On each restart Schmidt had just enough to fend off a determined Neitzel to take the win by a couple car lengths. With the victory Schmidt regained the top of the point standings. Heading into the show Bill Rose of Plainfield, Indiana had a slim margin on Schmidt. Rose stayed out of trouble throughout the contest eventually finishing fifth. Rose now has a series leading 16 top ten finishes. The margin between the pair shows Schmidt leading Rose by 3 points after tonight’s victory.

Neitzel, had started on the pole, and led the first 24 laps of the contest until Schmidt pulled off a successful slider on a restart. Neitzel tried on several occasions during the late cautions to retake the lead but was unable to complete the pass. Neitzel’s performance did keep him in the thick of the title chase. The two-time champion is now 34 markers back from the lead and the next event on the schedule takes place at Amsoil Speedway in Superior, Wisconsin. Among the point contenders only Neitzel has won at the track.

Third place on the evening went to Blake Nimee, who had been running in sixth when the flurry of cautions began. On the final restart Nimee shot to the high side gaining several spots coming within a car length of stealing second from Neitzel. Nimee had has an impressive second half of the season joins Schmidt and Bill Balog as the only drivers with multiple wins this season. Nimee had recorded two victories in the past 15 races.
The 30 lap A-main rolled trackside with impending rain just an hour away.

Neitzel had earned the pole for the contest with Phillip Mock sitting to his outside. Schmidt, and Jeremy Schultz made up the second row. At the drop of the green flag Neitzel rocketed into the lead while Mock lost grip on the start falling back to fourth behind Schmidt, and Schultz.

On lap three Kris Spitz was attempting to get his ailing ride to the infield, and collected Scotty Thiel.

Thiel had an extremely frustrating night. After an engine failure in his car he borrowed the machine of Brandon Thone to make tonight’s show. Then after earning a spot through the B-main. Thiel was able to continue on from this incident from the tail of the pack only to encounter more troubles later in the race.

Neitzel was back out front under green with Schmidt, and Mike Reinke now in pursuit. A spin by Dave Uttech in the fourth turn on lap seven drew the next caution.

Neitzel again set the pace on the restart, with Schmidt fading back to fourth. This elevated Reinke into the second spot, and Steve Meyer advanced to third at Schmidt’s expense on lap 11.

The race was slowed again briefly on lap 14, and then again on lap 17 Roger Crockett slowed and the fourth caution of the event appeared.
With the race under green, and back up to speed Neitzel led Reinke around the track with Reinke briefly making his was under Neitzel only to have Neitzel power away. Meyer meanwhile tagged the wall while running in the third spot, and Schmidt was able to take advantage of it to take the position on lap 22.

Reinke soon developed handling problems losing speed. Schmidt took advantage of the situation to advance to second on lap 23. As Reinke fell back Russel Borland was making a late race charge finding a very fast groove around the track on the low side. Borland captured third at Reinke’s expense moments later.

Reinke’s machine suffered a flat tire on the next lap coming to a stop drawing another yellow with just six laps to go. Reinke made his way to the pits and returned in time for the green flag. He would eventually charge from 20th back to 11th in just six laps.

The restart would be dramatic. As the green flag flew Schmidt dove to the bottom of the track in turn one. He moved ahead of Neitzel, and threw a slider into turn two. Neitzel tried to get back underneath Schmidt but was unable to make the crossover move. Schmidt now had the top spot.

Borland took advantage of the situation hugging the bottom of the raceway, and slipping past Neitzel for second briefly. Neitzel soon recovered, and rallied past Borland for the second position on the next circuit. Schmidt was out front of Neitzel by five car lengths as the white flag was about to appear. It was at that point Thiel’s machine came to a halt in turn two drawing a caution.

The first attempt at a green, white checkered was halted by a caution, and a second attempt moments later was negated by a 360 spin by Schultz who had been running fourth at the time. This moved Nimee into the fourth slot and placed Schultz at the tail of the field.

The third try to complete the race did the trick. Schmidt again got a good restart with Neitzel unable to wrestle away the top spot. As the white flag flew Nimee began a wheel-to-wheel battle with Borland for the final podium position.

Schmidt was able to negotiate the last lap without serious pressure to take the win by a couple car lengths. Nimee edged out Borland coming off the final turn for third. Borland capped off a strong win with a fourth place effort. Rose completed the top five.

Meyer earned the sixth spot followed by Wayne Modjeski, Bill Wirth, Jason Johnson and Mock in the top ten spots. 20 of the 24 starters completed the race and none of the cars were a lap down though the machines of Nick Alden and Dave Uttech collided at the finish as the race completed with both cars sliding past the line.

In earlier action Nimee and Thiel battled to the wire in the B-main. Both drivers were on the edge of control the final circuit with Nimee fending off Thiel for the win. Todd King and Scott Uttech finished third and fourth respectively and were the final transfer cars to the main event. Raymond Hensley was fifth and was the first alternate.

Heat race wins were captured by Rick Kelsey, Meyer, Matt Vandervere, and Jereme Schroeder.

Nimee was the fastest of the 35 cars on hand turning in a lap of 11.360 seconds. Reinke was second quick with an 11.378 second qualifying effort. King was third quick at 11.400 seconds.

Two races are planned for next weekend. On Friday Night, September 11th, the IRA Sprints will take part in Amsoil Speedway’s Northern Nationals. On Saturday, September 12th, Cedar Lake Speedway will be hosting the prestigious Jerry Richert Memorial race. The contest will be the second event co-sanctioned event between the Bumper to Bumper IRA Sprints, and the National Sprint League. The first time the two series joined was one week ago an impressive field of 42 was in attendance for the event.

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.

The IRA Sprints are presented by its long time supporting series partners. The series support is 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.

Remaining 2015 Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series Events:
9/11/2015 Amsoil Speedway – Superior, WI
9/12/2015 Cedar Lake Speedway – Cedar Lake, WI
9/19/2015 Beaver Dam Raceway – Beaver Dam, WI
9/25/2015 Luxemburg Speedway – Luxemburg, WI
9/26/2015 Dodge County Fairgrounds – Beaver Dam, WI
10/3/2014 Sheboygan County Fairpark – Plymouth, WI


Article Credit: Jeffrey Sachse

Submitted By: Jeffrey Sachse

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