Glenbeulah’s Buhler wins Late Model feature

by Jeff Pederson
Pedal Down Promotions

MANITOWOC – On a night when a huge field of 106 cars packed the pit area to capacity, a pair of veterans stole the headlines as Lance Fassbender of Burnett claimed his first victory of the Eastern Wisconsin Stock Cars season in the Sprint Car A main and Tim Buhler of Glenbeulah notched his second triumph of the 2016 campaign in the Late Model main event.

First-time winners ruled the evening as four of the evening’s six Amain victors made their maiden visit to victory lane for the 2016 season.

One of those first-time winners was Jeff Steenbergen of Watertown who held off Travis Arenz of Sheboygan and Brian Bruechert of Kewaunee to win an entertaining Sport Mod A-main in his first appearance of the season at Manitowoc Speedway.

Eric Scribner of Kiel collected his first 2016 triumph in the Modified A-main. Kevin Naidl of Reedsville outdueled Brad Lubach of Kiel to capture his initial 2016 win in the Grand National A-main. Shaun Bangart of Chilton posted his fifth Sport 4 main event victory of the season while Walker Bergene of Whitelaw was again the Thunder Truck victor.

After a false start for a spin involving Derek Siegel of Milwaukee on the initial green flag, Lance Fassbender charged into the lead from his inside second-row starting spot with a bold move in the first turn on the opening lap of the 20-lap Sprint Car main event.

The former Midwest Sprint Car Association (MSA) champion wasted no time building up a huge half lap lead over fifth starter Justin Miller of Plymouth. Fassbender caught lapped traffic on lap 10 but even that didn’t slow him down as he skillfully negotiated the cars at the back of the pack on the tricky dry, slick racing surface.

On lap 14, Anthony Knierim of Franksville worked up from his seventh starting spot to pass second starter Danny Schlafer of Sussex for second place. However, Schlafer regained the third position on the next lap as the two drivers dueled for the spot for several laps.

As the laps wound down, Fassbender retained a sizable advantage while Paul Pokorski of West Bend made a late charge to the front, passing Knierim for fourth on lap 16 and then Schlafer for third with a low move in turn four on lap 18.

Fassbender cruised to his 18th career MSA A-main victory in the nonstop race, followed by Miller in second and Pokorski in third. Knierim posted a career-best fourth-place finish and Schlafer rounded out the top five.

Pole-sitter Derek Janke of New London gained the initial lead in the 20-lap Late Model A-main as sixth starter Buhler worked his way into second place on lap three, followed closely by the fifth starting machine of Cleveland’s Justin Schmidt.

On lap four, Buhler overtook Janke along the high groove in turn two to gain the top spot for good. After the lone caution flag flew on lap six for the spinning car of Cleveland’s Eric Michaels, Buhler again showed his strength, pulling out to a big lead.

Three laps later, seventh starter Jim Schmidt of Cleveland cleared his son Justin for second place and began to run down Buhler. Jim Schmidt, who pulled off a last-lap pass to score the A-main victory last week, charged to within striking distance in the closing laps. However, it was not quite enough as Buhler claimed his second Late Model A main victory of the season.

Jim Schmidt had to settle for second,

Justin Schmidt wound up third, Kyle Odekirk of Plymouth came up from his 10th starting spot to finish fourth in his 2016 racing debut and Janke rounded out the top five.

Outside front-row starter Eric Scribner grabbed the lead on the drop of the green flag in the 20-lap Modified main event. Two laps later, Scribner had built up a half-lap cushion over the second- place car of third starter Matt Jackson of Sheboygan.

While Scribner raced all by himself at the front of the field, Jackson, Randy Markwardt Jr. of Sheboygan Falls, Kyle Kudick of Two Rivers and Mark Joski of Denmark waged an epic battle for the runner-up spot starting on lap eight.

After a restart following a caution involving Scott Mommaerts of Eagle, Markwardt Jr. bolted around Jackson for second before another caution slowed the pace for the stalled car of Jamie Schmidt of Seymour on the backstretch on lap 13.

In the closing laps it was Mukwanago’s Mark Knurr who put on a show using the high line to move from his ninth-starting spot into fourth place on lap 19.

Scribner went on to claim his first Modified A-main victory of the season at Manitowoc, followed by Markwardt Jr. in second, eighth starter Kyle Kudick in third, Knurr in fourth and Schmidt who came from the rear of the field to finish fifth.

Jeff Steenbergen gained his first Sport Mod A-main win of the EWSC season in his first Manitowoc Speedway appearance this year. Travis Arenz of Sheboygan finished second.

Kevin Naidl earned his first Grand National feature victory of the season. Brad Lubach placed second.

Shaun Bangart won his fifth Sport 4 main event this year at the Manitowoc Speedway. Mitch Meier of Chilton took second.

Walker Bergene of Whitelaw was the Thunder Truck winner.

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