Former PDTR champs rack up A-main triumphs

by Jeff Pederson
Special to The Review

2016 PDTR Late Model champion Tim Buhler of Greenbush. – Photo by RC Custom Design 2016 PDTR Late Model champion Tim Buhler of Greenbush. – Photo by RC Custom Design With a smooth and wide racing surface on which to showcase their skills, four former Plymouth Dirt Track Racing champions and a highly accomplished visitor tasted victory in A-main competition at The Plymouth Dirt Track at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds in Plymouth on Saturday, July 28.

Reigning PDTR 360 Sprint Car champion Brandon McMullen of Oshkosh notched his second consecutive A-main victory in the Richard’s of Dunbar PDTR 360 Sprint Car headliner. 2016 PDTR Late Model champion Tim Buhler of Greenbush turned in an impressive performance to collect his first Gasroots Project Late Model A-main victory of the 2018 campaign. Sheboygan’s Matt Yancey, who claimed the PDTR Grand National title in 2008, earned his second Klips & Tips Grand National A-main win of the season. Potent area frontrunner Travis Hansen of Brillion made the most of his first appearance of the 2018 season at Plymouth by notching his first career Cellcom B Mod A-main win. Zach Boden of Madison, who picked up the 2016 PDTR Micro Sprint championship, scored his second consecutive Kristine Hartmann Pleasant View Realty Micro Sprint A-main victory.

In the 25-lap Sprint Car A main, cousins Tony Wondra of Campbellsport and Doug Wondra of Oakfield lined up on the front row with Tony Wondra rocketing out to the lead on the opening circuit.

Tony Wondra held a solid lead over the first five circuits as the leaders raced along the preferred high groove. On lap 6, slower traffic began to come into play, which allowed 2010 PDTR Sprint Car champ Kurt Davis of South Milwaukee to close the gap significantly.

By lap 10, Davis had pulled to within striking distance with Doug Wondra and two-time PDTR Sprint Car champ Danny Schlafer of Sussex following closely in tow. However, one lap later disaster struck for Schlafer as he hit the turn three wall hard to bring out the first caution flag of the event.

Following the restart, Tony Wondra bolted out to a big full straightaway advantage over Davis until once again slower traffic began to come into play on lap 16. Davis moved into to challenge on lap 18 as slide jobs were being thrown for position throughout the field by multiple drivers on the extremely wide racing surface.

As the laps wound down, Davis powered past Tony Wondra briefly in turn two on lap 23 before Wondra turned back under Davis to maintain the lead. However, Brandon McMullen, who started eighth, worked the low groove to slip past both Wondra and Davis to take the lead exiting turn four on lap 23.

With McMullen holding a slight advantage over Tony Wondra and Davis, the caution flag flew again when Tyler Brabant of Waupun and Doug Wondra collided in turn two just as the white flag was displayed to the field, which set up a single file restart with 23 laps officially complete.

McMullen used a great restart to power away from Tony Wondra and Davis as the rest of the field jockeyed for position over the final two laps. McMullen pulled away over the final lap to notch his 14th career PDTR Sprint Car A-main triumph and 19th overall Midwest Sprint Car Association main event victory.

Tony Wondra held on to finish second, Davis took third, Paul Pokorski of West Band charged from his 10th starting spot to place fourth and PDTR Sprint Car point leader Justin Miller of Plymouth placed fifth after starting third.

Milwaukee’s Jim Letizia and four-time PDTR Late Model champion and current point leader Brad Muller of Random Lake led the 25-lap Late Model A-main to the green flag from the front row.

Mueller used the high groove to gain the early advantage before 2016 PDTR Late Model champ Tim Buhler, who started fourth, used an aggressive low move in turn three to slide past Mueller into the lead exiting turn four of the opening circuit.

On lap 4, third starter Justin Schmidt of Cleveland utilized the low groove to move past the high-riding Mueller in turn four while sixth starter Jim Schmidt of Cleveland worked the high line to pass Mueller for third on lap 13.

Schmidt chipped away at Buhler’s lead over the next 15 laps before attempting to dive under Buhler in turn two on lap 22. However, while attempting the move, Schmidt got sideways and spun in turn two to bring out the first caution flag of the race.

Buhler maintained his advantage on the ensuing restart followed by Jim Schmidt and Mueller before the second and final caution flag was displayed when Dave Jaeger of Slinger spun on the final lap.

Following the single-file restart with two laps remaining, Jim Schmidt jumped the cushion in turn two, which allowed eighth starter Kevin Baldry of Omro to assume second briefly before Mueller bolted past to gain the runner-up spot in turn four.

Meanwhile, Buhler raced on to post his 12th career PDTR Late Model A-main victory. Mueller was second, Baldry took third, Jim Schmidt place fourth and Letizia rounded out the top five.

Outside front row starter Matt Yancey out maneuvered polesitter Darryl Traubel to lead the opening lap of the 25-lap Grand National A-main. After the low yellow flag of the race appeared on lap 2 for a spin involving Brad Weiss of West Bend, Yancey maintained the top spot along the low groove.

On lap four, fourth starter Kurt Davis, Traubel and Plymouth’s Justin Erickson, who started third, dueled three wide for second place with Davis eventually gaining the runner-up spot in turn one on lap five.

Davis then gradually reeled in Yancey along the inside groove and closed to Yancey’s rear bumper on lap 22. However, Davis was unable to make a move on the leader as Yancey held on to post his sixth career PDTR Grand National A-main triumph.

Davis claimed second, point leader Matt Loehr of Dotyville placed third, after starting 10th, Traubel was fourth and Plymouth’s Steven Weber rounded out the top five after starting fifth.

Polesitter Rick Kretschmann of Sheboygan Falls led the opening lap of the 25-lap B Mod Amain before the first two of four caution flags for spins slowed the pace on lap 2.

When the race resumed, third starter Travis Hansen made his presence felt as he worked the high groove to pressure the low riding Kretschmann for the top spot. On lap 4, Hansen cleared Kretschmann and proceeded to build up a full straightaway lead by lap 10.

As Kretschmann, second starter and current point leader Gary Glander of Sheboygan Falls and 2017 PDTR B mod champ Justin Green of Sheboygan Falls, who started fifth, mounted a heated duel for second, the third caution flag flew on lap 13 for a spin involving James Rautmann of Howards Grove.

Following the restart, Glander ducked low to claim second with Green following into third. On lap 21, Green ventured high to pressure Glander for second before the fourth and final caution flag flew to set up a four-lap dash to the finish.

On the restart, Hansen again bolted away from the pack while 11th starter Tim Sheppard of Beaver Dam mounted a huge charge along the high groove to power around Glander and Green into second place on the final circuit.

Hansen held on to post his first career PDTR B Mod Amain victory, Sheppard came home second, Green wound up third, Glander was fourth and Kretschmann completed the top five.

Polesitter Jake Dohner of Milton led the opening laps of the 15-lap Micro Sprint A main as fourth starter Jack Vanderboom of Dousman pressured Dohner for the top spot.

The first of two caution flags appeared on lap six when Miles Quandt of Watertown spun in turn six. On the restart, seventh starter Zach Boden charged in to pass Vanderboom and Dohner to assume the top spot.

Boden pulled away over the final nine laps to notch his eighth career PDTR Micro Sprint A-main victory. Vanderboom finished second, Dohner was third, point leader Preston Ruh of Elkhart Lake finished fourth, after starting fifth, and Dave Collins of Madison wound up fifth, after starting ninth.

Kevin Karnitz of West Bend won the 15-lap PDTR Sprint Car B Main. The 15-lap B Mod B main went to Randy Theys of Algoma. .

The Plymouth Dirt Track Racing program, which was sponsored by Cellcom, and included 77 drivers donating backyards to youngsters, featured 97 cars, including 31 B Mods, 27 Sprint Cars, 12 Late Models, 16 Grand Nationals and 11 Micro Sprints.

The next PDTR program will take place on Saturday, Aug. 4, featuring Past Championships Night, during which all former champions at the Plymouth track will be honored at intermission. Hot laps begin at 5:30 p.m. with racing to follow at 6 p.m.

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