BEAVER DAM REPORT: May 2, 2015
By NICHOLAS DETTMANN
BEAVER DAM, Wis. – Don Scheffler is back in victory lane in the modified division at Beaver Dam Raceway.
The 2013 track champion won for the first time since July 27, 2013 – a span of 18 races – on Saturday night on a near perfect evening for racing.
Also picking up “A” main victories were Mike Mueller (legends), Kenny Richards (grand national), Jeff Steenbergen (sport modified) and Jason White (street stock).
For Steenbergen, he continues to show off his versatility as last week he became the first driver in track history to pick up a feature victory in each of the five divisions, doing so in a street stock. On Saturday, he led 19 of 20 laps in the sport modified feature.
But for Scheffler, it was sweet redemption to be back in victory lane.
In the 2014 season opener, Scheffler got into a scary crash in Turn 1 of the “A” main. He missed the next four races. When he came back, he struggled for a good finish, finishing as high as sixth twice in nine races and only had one additional top-10 finish.
On Saturday, the Milwaukee native led all 20 of the modified “A” main laps to score the victory.
There were 86 cars that checked into race – 23 legends, 13 grand nationals, 19 modifieds, 13 sport modifieds and 18 street stocks.
The first race of the night was the three heat races for the legends. The winners were Johnny Kringas, Frankie Hoch and Ryan Mech.
The grand nationals heats were next with Justin Brown and Richards. Pat Kinjerski, Karly Stadler and Scott Riedner followed with heat-race victory in the street stocks. Brandon Riedner and Adam Peschek won the sport modified heat races. Zeke Bishofberger, Scheffler and Andrew Araco won the modified heat races.
With some spots on the “A” main grid still left to be decided, eight legends car took to the track for a 12-lap dash in the “B” main, with the top five advancing to the “A” main.
Nathan Chitko moved up through the field from his sixth-place starting spot and won the “B” main, with Warren Ropp, Tim Franz, Scott Wiegele and Gary Green in tow.
The grand nationals were the first to take the track for the “A” main portion of the program, with Nick Schumacher and Troy Weich bringing the field of cars to the green flag.
Schumacher led the first four laps of the race, then Weich took his turn for the next two circuits. On lap 7, Richards threaded the needle between two cars to surge into the lead. Once he was there, he wasn’t going to be caught, winning the race by more than a full straightaway.
Richards, the 2011 and 2013 track champion, has yet to lose a race while on the track this season. He’s 2 for 2 in heat races and 2 for 2 in “A” mains. Richards won a division-leading seven heat races last season.
Brian Gilles, the grand nationals champion last season at Manitowoc, finished second, followed by Tommy Moore, Weich and Jeff Tondryk to round out the top five.
The 20-lap street stock “A” main was next on the program, with Stadler and Kyle Neumann pacing the field to the green flag.
In one lap, White went from fifth to first and stayed there to lead all 20 laps. White fought off two restarts in the final five laps, with challenges by Doug Engelking and Charles Hummelmeier, to preserve the victory.
Hummelmeier finished second, followed by Brandon Riedner, Engelking and Scott Riedner.
The sport modifieds were next, with a new look to the front row: Jack Jones and Shaun Johnston.
Johnston held the early edge, leading the first lap. But that was Steenbergen moved quickly from his fourth-place starting position into the lead, leading the remaining 19 circuits for the victory.
It was a wild “A” main for Peschek, the season-opener feature winner. Twice he spun on his own while running in the top three. The first came while challenging Steenbergen for the lead at the halfway point. He dropped out of the top 10 and four laps later worked his way back into third place before he spun again, which ended his night.
Brandon Riedner got his second top-five finish of the night, finishing second, followed by Jeff Schmuhl, Nick Schultz and Mike Plate Sr.
The legends got back on track for its “A” main. Dan Mech and Hoch led the field of 20 cars to the green flag.
Mech led the first four circuits before Justin Pearson took over the top spot for the next five laps. Pearson, who was dominant but unsuccessful in getting a feature win last week, relinquished the lead to a hard-charging Mueller at the halfway point.
On lap 8, Brian Peterson moved past Pearson for the top spot as the field crossed the start-finish line, but he spun in Turn 2.
Just past the halfway point, Nelson Stewart lost control of his car and spun right into the path of Chris Flick, making hard contact into the right-side of Stewart’s car, sending his tire flying off and onto the track.
Both drivers were OK as they walked to the ambulance.
Once back green, Mueller went on to the victory. Pearson was second, followed by Austin Wiese, Chitko and Kringas. Wiese started the feature 15th, Chitko 16th.
To put a cap on the evening, the modifieds rolled out of the chute and onto the track with Dave Jaeger and Bart Sievert leading the field to the final green flag.
Scheffler picked his way through the field and beat the field to the stripe to complete lap 1 after starting the feature in fifth. He and Bishofberger were locked into a good battle throughout the race, and Matt Rechek stormed from his 10th-place starting point to pull off a good finish.
Bishofberger was second, Rechek was third, Noah Schepp was fourth and Araco was fifth, giving him back-to-back top-five finishes.
On Saturday, the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series returns to the track for its second stop to the facility of the season. Last time out April 26, Bill Balog held off Knoxville champ Ian Madsen for the checkered flag. The Badger 600 Micro Sprints, grand nationals and legends will also be in house.
Qualifying for the sprint cars will be at 6 p.m. Main gates open at 4:30 p.m.