Balog Captures Wipperfurth Memorial at Beaver Dam Pads Single Season Win Record With Victory Number 18
By Jeffrey Sachse
September 22, 2012; Beaver Dam, WI – Delayed from the beginning of the season, the Wipperfurth Memorial race would took place at Beaver Dam Raceway with fall-like weather conditions. It was the hot on track action of the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints removing the chill from the air as 29 contestants were on hand to do battle on the third-mile clay oval.
When the final checkered flag of the evening fell Bill Balog stood in victory lane having captured his 45th career main event win in Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series action.
It was one week ago that Balog, the four-time and defending IRA champion set a new single season win mark having captured 17 A-main event victories. Tonight, Balog would take advantage of a late race restart to power past race leader Mike Reinke on lap 21 of the 30 lap main event and then keep Reinke in his tire tracks to further pad his single season win record, raising the mark to 18. For Reinke, the runner-up finish was bittersweet as he has made the podium at all three Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint series events held at the track this season with a pair of runner-up showings in the past two races at the track. For the 2012 season Reinke has recorded more top ten A-main finishes than any other driver reaching that mark in 25 of the 27 races held so far.
A feature field of 22 drivers would accept the green flag for the 30 lap Wipperfurth Memorial main event. The initial start of the event was waved off with the first caution which occurred when the cars of Scott Neitzel and John Haeni made contact resulting in Haeni executing a 360 spin on the front stretch. The rest of the feature starters skillfully avoided his spinning machine and the race resumed with Haeni dropping to the tail of the field.
On the restart polesitter Dave Uttech got the jump on fellow front row starter Bill Wirth to take the opening lead. Before the field could settle in, the second caution of the contest appeared on lap two when Dave Uttech and Kris Spitz made contact with Uttech jumping the infield berm between turns one and two resulting in front end damage to his machine. Spitz was able to continue while Uttech would retire from the contest.
The race again resumed with Uttech in the lead, hugging the low line. He began to pull away from the pack while Wirth began to lose positions. Reinke, leading the charge from near mid-pack was slicing through traffic dragging Balog and Tommy Sexton with him. Reinke would reach the runner-up spot on lap five with Balog reaching third before the conclusion of the lap. Sexton meanwhile engaged Phillip Mock in a wheel to wheel battle for the fifth position.
Uttech had established a solid lead when the third caution appeared on lap seven when officials noticed the machine of Haeni dragging a cone underneath. The cone represented a possible hazard should it dislodge at speed and the yellow flag was through to remove it from Haeni's ride.
Underway again Uttech would set the pace for two more laps hugging the low line around the track while Reinke opted for a high line in effort to reach the lead. Reinke confirmed he had the faster line sailing into the lead before lap ten began. Balog looking to keep pace with Reinke was next to work past Uttech with Balog reaching the second spot on lap 12.
Reinke would catch lapped traffic at the halfway point of the contest still showing the way as the lead duo navigated past slower machinery. Sexton meanwhile was looking to join the battle for the lead dropping Uttech another notch on lap 15 to reach third. Sexton appeared to have the fastest car on the track as he slowly began to reel in the lead pair. As the race continue Reinke had his hands full fending off the challenges of Balog who had closed in to challenge for the top spot.
A wild flip would occur on lap 19 when Scott Neitzel would get upside down just off turn four ending a solid showing for the hometown driver and bringing out the only red flag of the contest. Neitzel was able to emerge from his battered ride unhurt walking dejectedly back to the pit area. Neitzel ran double-duty this evening having earlier finished with runner-up honors in the supporting MSA 360 Sprint event. Mike Kertscher the evening's fastest qualifier and most recent winner in IRA action at Beaver Dam also received minor damage in the incident which resulted in a visit to the work area. Kertscher would return at the tail of the field missing his nose wing.
The race saw the final eleven laps without further incident. On the restart Reinke went back to setting the pace now coming under heavy pressure from Balog. After a brief wheel to wheel battle Balog would take the upper hand taking the lead from Reinke.
In the final laps to the checkered Balog was able to keep lapped cars between himself and Reinke preventing any chance Reinke had for retaking the top spot. Balog would flash under the checkered flag with a six car length cushion over Reinke. Sexton remained solid over the final laps reaching the finish line in third having passed the most cars in the event. Mock worked past Dave Uttech in the closing laps to reach fourth with Uttech earning his second top five finish of the season after pacing the first third of the contest.
Leading series rookie Robbie Pribnow ran an excellent race claiming sixth the highest finisher of the drivers whp transferred in from the B-main, an event, which Pribnow won. Scott Young, Bill Warren, Kertscher and Steve Meyer completed the top ten. Kertscher was the final driver on the lead lap at the finish with 18 of the 22 starters were able to accept the checkered flag.
In earlier action Pribnow was able to fend off a hard charging Young in the closing laps of the B-main taking his third win of the season in B-main action. Young, Kris Spitz, Andy Hunt and Darrell Dodd completed the top five.
Heat victories were captured by Kertscher, Dave Uttech and Bill Wirth.
The evening started out with Kertscher collecting fast qualifying honors of the 29 drivers on hand with a 12.953 second tour of the third-mile clay oval. Kertscher was the only driver to get into the 12 second bracket for tonight's program. Balog turned in the second quickest time with a 13.124 second tour of the raceway and Travis Whitney was third quick with a 13.161 second lap.
The 2012 season for the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint series will draw to its conclusion next Saturday Night, September 29th, with the running of the Dick Witt Memorial race at the Dodge County Fairgrounds.
The IRA Sprints will be joined by the MSA 360 Sprints and area Modifieds on the big-half mile clay oval. Known as the "Horsepower Half-Mile" the 900 horsepower Winged 410 Sprints will reach speeds of 140 mph. In the last event contested by the series at the track back in July, former World of Outlaws regular Justin Henderson made a last lap pass of Scott Neitzel for the victory.
Pit gates will open at 2:00pm for the event. The grandstands opening at 4:30pm. Warm-ups are scheduled to take place at 5:30pm. IRA sprint car hot laps take place at 6 p.m. with qualifying and racing to follow.
Admission for the event is for $20 adults, kids age 6-12 are admitted for $5, and children 5 and under are FREE. The Dodge County Fairgrounds is located on highway 33, just 2 miles east of Beaver Dam and just west of highway 26.
For more information on the IRA Outlaw Sprints check out the tour website at www.irasprints.com The Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints can also be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/irasprints and the series is also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ira_sprints
The IRA Outlaw Sprint Series is proudly supported by Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts & Service Centers, Osborn & Son Trucking, Goodyear, TW Metals, Cummins Onan, DNA Energy Drink& Snacks, MPT Industries, UltraLube, Big Game Treestands, Carriage Auto Body, Otis Gun, Mother's Polishes and Waxes and Polaris DEFENSE. The office of the IRA Sprints can be reached at 815-759-9269 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints:
A-Main: 30 Laps: 1.) Bill Balog; 2.) Mike Reinke; 3.) Tommy Sexton; 4.) Phillip Mock; 5.) Dave Uttech; 6.) Robbie Pribnow; 7.) Scott Young; 8.) Bill Warren; 9.) Mike Kertscher; 10.) Steve Meyer; 11.) Travis Whitney; 12.) Kris Spitz; 13.) Bill Wirth; 14.) Darrell Dodd; 15.) Andy Hunt; 16.) Jereme Schroeder; 17.) Michael Decker; 18.) Dennis Spitz; 19.) Brandon Thone; 20.) John Haeni; 21.) Scott Neitzel; 22.) Scott Uttech
B-Main: 15 Laps: (Top 10): 1.) Pribnow; 2.) Young; 2.) K. Spitz; 4.) Hunt; 5.) Dodd; 6.) D. Spitz; 7.) Thone; 8.) Jeremy Schultz; 9.) Chad Tessman; 10.) Russel Borland
First Heat: 1.) Kertscher; 2.) Meyer; 3.) S. Uttech; 4.) Schroeder
Second Heat: 1.) D. Uttech; 2.) Sexton; 3.) Neitzel; 4.) Balog
Third Heat: 1.) Wirth; 2.) Warren; 3.) Reinke; 4.) Whitney
Qualifying (Top 10): 1.) Kertscher, 12.953 Seconds; 2.) Balog, 13.124 secs; 3.) Whitney, 13.161; 4.) Meyer, 13.259; 5.) Neitzel, 13.260; 6.) Reinke, 13.305; 7.) Pribnow, 13.384; 8.) Haeni, 13.385; 9.) Mock, 13.395; 10.) K. Spitz, 13.458