Tight battles highlight Dirt Track program

by Jeff Pederson
Special to The Review


CHARLIE SCHMIDT (22) of Oostburg and Brad Mueller compete in the Late Model feature Saturday night at the Plymouth Dirt Track. – Photo by RC Custom Design CHARLIE SCHMIDT (22) of Oostburg and Brad Mueller compete in the Late Model feature Saturday night at the Plymouth Dirt Track. – Photo by RC Custom Design PLYMOUTH – On a night which showcased numerous hotly contested battles on the track and provided an opportunity for young autograph seekers to meet their favorite drivers in the pit area, three seasoned veterans, a top candidate for breakthrough driver of the year and one of the youngest PDTR competitors captured A-main event victories Saturday in Plymouth Dirt Track Racing action at the Sheboygan County Fair Park.

Jim Melis of Glenbeulah, one of the most accomplished PDTR veterans, held off a late charge from point leader Brandon Mc- Mullen of Oshkosh to claim his first Sprint Car A-main victory of 2017.

Jim Schmidt of Cleveland notched his second Late Model A-main triumph the season while B Modified point leader Justin Green of Sheboygan Falls posted his fourth A-main triumph of the year.


JIM MELIS of Glenbeulah earned the checkered flag after winning the Sprint Car feature Saturday night at the Plymouth Dirt Track. – Photo by RC Custom Design JIM MELIS of Glenbeulah earned the checkered flag after winning the Sprint Car feature Saturday night at the Plymouth Dirt Track. – Photo by RC Custom Design Veteran Sprint Car driver Kurt Davis of South Milwaukee earned his first career Grand National triumph and 13-year-old Jack Vanderboom posted his second A-main triumph of 2017 in the Micro Sprint division.

Outside front-row starter Kenjay Fiedler of Sheboygan Falls outpowered pole-sitter Jim Melis to grab the lead in the first corner of the opening lap of the 25-lap event.

The first caution of the race appeared on lap 3 when Doug Wondra of Lomira, Nick Melis of Plymouth and Ryan Mayr of New Holstein collided in turn three, sending Wondra flipping. The resulting damage forced Wondra and Nick Melis to retire from the race while Mayr was able to continue.

After the restart, Jim Melis used the low groove to slip past Fiedler on lap four. On the next lap, sixth starter Tyler Brabant of Waupun charged up to seize second on lap five and pressure Melis for the lead along the low line.

However, Melis switched his line and moved to the bottom of the track which helped to turn back Brabant’s march to the front. Three laps later, PDTR Sprint Car point leader McMullen, who started fourth, slipped past Brabant to assume second on lap 11 and quickly began to close the gap on Melis.

As the leaders encountered lapped traffic on lap 16, McMullen cut the gap even further. On the final lap, McMullen dove under Melis and two skilled racers dueled side by side to the finish line with Melis nipping McMullen by just .06 of a second. Melis claimed his 15th career PDTR Sprint Car A-main victory and 18th Midwest Sprint Car Association A-main triumph of his career.

McMullen finished second, Brabant recorded a career-best third place, fifth starter Kurt Davis paced fourth and eighth starter Lance Fassbender of Burnett rounded out the top five.

Pole-sitter Charlie Schmidt of Cedar Grove led the first nine circuits of the 25-lap PDTR Late Model A main until Jim Schmidt powered up from his sixth starting position to pressure for the top spot.

On lap 10, Jim Schmidt bolted past Charlie Schmidt to gain the lead with a strong move along the outside groove. The second of two caution periods for debris bunched the field on lap 12.

On the restart, Jim Schmidt checked out to build up a half-lap lead over Charlie Schmidt. After dueling with Charlie Schmidt for numerous laps, three-time PDTR Late Model champ and current point leader Brad Mueller of Random Lake moved into second from his seventh-starting position on lap 13. One lap later, Luxemburg’s Jared Siefert seized third after starting 10th.

However, it was all Jim Schmidt out front as he cruised over the final 11 laps to seal to his second PDTR Late Model A-main victory of the 17 season and his 11th career PDTR Late Model A-main win.

Mueller finished second, Siefert was third, Charlie Schmidt wound up fourth and Taylor Scheffler of Waukesha rounded out the top five after starting eighth.

Davis pulled off a huge move in the first turn of the race to lead the opening lap of 25-lap Grand National A main from the inside second-row starting spot.

Pole-sitter Jeff Lammers of Plymouth refused to let Davis run away and hide as he moved in to challenge for the lead on lap four.

The lone caution of the race appeared on lap nine when Dan Sorce of West Allis collided with Jacob Muehlbauer along the frontstretch.

When the race resumed, Davis again showed his strength with Lammers in tow. The two drivers remained 1-2 in the runner order over the final 13 laps as Davis recorded his first career PDTR Grand National Amain.

Lammers finished second, fourth starter Tyler Kulow of New Holstein placed third, J.J. Pagel raced up from the ninth starting position to finish fourth and Will Sorce of West Allis finished fifth after starting 11th.


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