Greenbush’s Buhler wins Late Model feature

by Jeff Pederson
Special to The Review


JOHN FLEURY (3c) of Sheboygan, Glen Blanke (middle) of Sheboygan Falls and Travis Schmidt, Plymouth, battle during the B Modified feature at the Plymouth Dirt Track Saturday night. – Photo by RC Custom Design JOHN FLEURY (3c) of Sheboygan, Glen Blanke (middle) of Sheboygan Falls and Travis Schmidt, Plymouth, battle during the B Modified feature at the Plymouth Dirt Track Saturday night. – Photo by RC Custom Design PLYMOUTH – Beautiful summer weather, hot on-track action, extended A-main events and impressive performances from former champions highlighted the 13th annual Plymouth Dirt Track Racing Mid-Season Championship Night of racing Saturday at the Sheboygan County Fair Park.

Four of the five PDTR Mid- Season Championship A-main winners visited victory lane for the first time this season, each of who have a coveted PDTR season championship under their belt. The drivers who earned their first feature wins this season included Lance Fassbender of Burnett (Sprint Car), Tim Buhler of Greenbush (Late Model), Don Sorce. Jr. of West Allis (Grand National) and Zach Boden of Cambridge (Micro Sprint).

In the B Modified A-main, point leader Justin Green of Sheboygan Falls kept his strong season going by notching his third main event win of the 2017 season.

In the 30-lap Late Model Amain, former champions Brad Mueller of Random Lake and Buhler dueled side by side on the opening lap before the secondstarting Buhler surged ahead along the outside groove in turn four.

For nearly the entire race, Mueller hounded the defending PDTR Late Model champion Buhler along the preferred high line, pulling alongside Mueller briefly on several occasions. On lap three, 2014 PDTR Late Model champion Mitch McGrath of Waukesha worked his way up from his sixth starting spot to pass Jim Letizia of Milwaukee to seize third.

McGrath tracked down the lead duo with 10 laps to go and dove low on lap 23 to power past Mueller into second on lap 23. Mueller refused to back down as he held strong along the high groove as McGrath hugged the bottom, eventually retaking second on lap 25.

The only caution of the event appeared on lap 26 for the stalled car of Sheboygan’s Randy Markwardt in turn four which set up a four-lap dash to the finish. Buhler could not be denied though as he held off the spirited efforts of McGrath and Mueller to score his 10th career PDTR A-main victory.

McGrath regained second at the finish line, Mueller was third, fifth starter Taylor Scheffler of Waukesha took fourth and Justin Schmidt of Cleveland placed fifth after starting seventh.

Pole-sitter Will Sorce of West Allis led the first four laps before Sorce Jr., a two-time PDTR Grand National champ, charged up from his fifth-starting spot to take command along the low groove on lap five of the 30-lap Grand National main event.

Sorce Jr. wasted no time in building up a huge half-lap lead over third starter Jim Rychtik of Port Washington who was filling in for Brad Weiss.

Although passing was at a premium throughout most of the Grand Nationals headline race, 2011 PDTR Grand National champion Mark Fieber of Cascade, who started second, and 2006 PDTR Late model champ Dan Sorce of West Allis, who started fourth, mounted a spirited side-by-side duel for third place in the final five laps.

Sorce Jr. cruised over the final 10 laps to notch his ninth career PDTR Grand National A-main victory in the nonstop event. Rychtik was second, Fieber finished third, Dan Sorce placed fourth and Justin Erickson of Plymouth ended up fifth after starting ninth.

Pole-sitter Tim Thrun of Horicon led the opening three circuits of the extended 30-lap B Mod A-main, despite heavy pressure from outside front-row starter J.J. Walvoord.

On lap three, defending PDTR B Mod champion Brandon Berth of Plymouth, who started third, advanced to briefly make it a three-wide battle for the top spot just before the first of five caution flags came out on lap three for dislodged infield tires on the track surface.

Berth used the high groove to sweep into the top spot on lap four before another caution appeared on lap six when Glen Blanke of Sheboygan Falls spun in turn two.

Green, who started seventh, became a serious player on the restart – passing Thrun for second on lap seven and tracking down the high-riding Berth quickly along the low groove.

Green, who came into the night as the PDTR B Mod point leader, was poised to take the lead from Berth on lap 10 but a caution flag for a spin involving Craig Gessner in turn four erased the pass.

Not to be denied, Green bolted into the lead along the low line on lap 13. Eight laps later, Green had built up a full straightaway cushion over Berth.

After two move caution flags, 11th starter Chad Vetting of Valders passed Berth to gain the runner-up spot on lap 26.

Green held on to become the first PDTR driver in any division to earn three A-main victories this season. Vetting took second, Berth was third, Gary Glander of Sheboygan Falls placed fourth from the fifth starting spot and Spencer Long of Sheboygan Falls charged from the 18th starting spot to finish fifth.

This Friday will mark the first appearance of the United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) and Cow Bell Street Stock Tour for the inaugural Cheese Capital Checkered Chase at the Plymouth Dirt Track. The PDTR Grand Nationals will also be on the card for a nonpoints race. Hot laps are scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m.

Saturday will be PDTR’s Fan Appreciation Night, including Grand National driver introductions. Racing will begin at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit www.plymouthdtr.com or check out Plymouth Dirt Track Racing on Facebook.


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