posted April 29, 2001 04:34 PM
Local driver Neitzel takes IRA Sprint feature win
The Speedway held its season opener this past Saturday by hosting the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints Rick Schmidt Memorial race. The IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Stocks also saw their first night of action. An excellent crowd was on hand to witness Beaver Dam native Scotty Neitzel set fast time at 17.340sec. The Modified racing was very reminiscent to last year’s stiff competition as many drivers showed they had the ability to win. Dennis Schultz held on to win and looked a lot like the driver he was when he won the track championship a couple of years ago. IMCA Stock driver Jeremy Christians had little trouble getting to the front and went on to take the win.
The IMCA Modifieds ran the first feature of the night and saw Dennis Haldemann jump out to an early lead over Schultz and Tim Lemirande. Schultz would close up on Haldemann by lap 5 but could not make the pass for the lead. Schultz tried inside and outside passes but each time Haldemann would power out of the corner to retain the lead. The first caution came out on lap 10 and on the restart Lemirande used the high side to go around both Schultz and Haldemann.
It became apparent that Rick Strommen had his car dialed in and was moving up through the field. Strommen made the transfer from the b-main and started the feature in the back. Strommen was running much higher than anyone was and went two and three wide passing cars. By lap 12 he was battling Ed Devall and Scott Lewis for fifth and sixth. A spin on lap 12 brought out the last caution and tightened the field. Lemirande retained the lead over Schultz and Haldemann but by lap 15 Strommen moved into second and one lap later moved into the lead. On lap 17 Strommen and Lemirande both jumped the cushion and allowed Schultz to take the lead. For three laps Schultz and Strommen ran side by side. On the last lap they went into turn three together but Strommen bobbled slightly allowing Shultz to take the win. Lemirande edged Lewis by inches for third.
Raymond Hensley would start on the front row of the IRA Sprint feature and looked to be in the perfect spot to run away with the feature but ended up spinning on the second lap. After the caution Hensley was refired and joined the back of the field. Neitzel started sixth but found a sweet spot coming out of turn four and launched down the huge staightaway picking up positions each lap. The leaders quickly ran into lap traffic and Neitzel used it to his advantage and took the lead at halfway. Eight-time IRA champion Joe Roe hounded Neitzel in second and also used lap traffic to take the lead. After a restart for a spin Neitzel powered around Roe and started pulling away. Another late caution for a spin that nearly took out Neitzel closed the field. On the restart though, Neitzel powered away for his first win of the season to a packed house of delighted fans.
The IMCA Stock feature saw defending track champion Jeremy Christians take the lead on lap 2 over Jeff Owens. Christians would not be challenged for the lead during the race. A late caution allowed the field to catch up but it had little impact on the outcome. Christians motored to the win over Owens as Roger Johnson and Elroy Thrun crossed the line side by side with third place going to Johnson.
Next week the regular season kicks off at the Speedway with the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Stocks and the DCRA Pure Stocks starting their first race of the season.
Feature: 1) Dennis Schultz, Oshkosh; 2) Rick Strommen, Beaver Dam; 3) Tim Lemirande, Verona; 4) Scott Lewis, Waukau; 5) Dan Musbach, Grafton; 6) Dennis Haldemann, Janesville; 7) Dale Boerschinger, Green Bay; 8) Jay Schraufnagel, Beaver Dam; 9) Kurt TerBeest, Markesan; 10) Todd Ascherien, Beaver Dam
B-Main: 1) Dave Schoenberger, Beaver Dam; 2) Rick Strommen; 3) Kurt TerBeest; 4) Casey Koch, Beaver Dam; 5) Tim Gardiner, Escanaba, MI
First Heat: 1) Dennis Schultz; 2) Kelly Brown, Randolph; 3) Dale Boerschinger; 4) Todd Ascherien; 5) Keith Schmitt, Beaver Dam
Second Heat: 1) Lee Tibbits, Hebron, Ill; 2) Tim Lemirande; 3) Dennis Haldemann; 4) Scott Lewis; 5) Andy Voigt, Beaver Dam
Third Heat: 1) Jay Schraufnagel; 2) Dan Musbach; 3) Ed Devall, Waukegan, Ill; 4) Scott Magsamen, DeForest; 5) John Schultz, Oshkosh
Feature: 1) Jeremy Christians, Horicon; 2) Jeff Owens, Randolph; 3) Roger Johnson, Saukville; 4) Elroy Thrun, Horicon; 5) Rob Schmid, Burnett
First Heat: 1) Jeremy Christians; 2) Jeff Owens