Beaver Dam Raceway Report: May 17, 2014
By NICHOLAS DETTMANN BEAVER DAM, Wis. - If it was up to Phil Mock, he'd suggest racing the rest of the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series season at Beaver Dam Raceway. Mock is 2 for 2 on the season in the series' trips to Beaver Dam, which account for his lone two career victories in the series, after winning Saturday night's 30-lap "A" main. Mock won the series' visit April 26. "I thought I had a good shot at (winning), starting up front," Mock said. Mock withstood a green-white-checkered finish and challenges by Mike Reinke and six-time defending series champion Bill Balog for the victory. Balog and Reinke were also the two fastest cars in qualifying, with Balog zipping around the one-third mile clay oval in 11.695 seconds (102.505 mph). Reinke's fastest lap was 11.696 (102.497 mph). "We've just got to keep our heads on straight and got to keep the car underneath me," Mock said about how to keep up his good start to the season in which he's won two of the first three races on the schedule. Also picking up feature victories in the other divisions Saturday night were Ethan Ross (legends), Scott Riedner (street stock) and Jeff Steenbergen (grand national). For Ross, it was his first feature victory at Beaver Dam since he won six in 2012. At the end of that season, he got into a horrific crash where he injured his back, which ended his season and limited his 2013 campaign. Riedner's victory was the defending track champion's second in a row, and it was Steenbergen's first grand national feature victory since 2011. Steenbergen is the defending sport modified champion and won the 2010 grand national championship at Beaver Dam. In IRA qualifying, Travis Whittney was the first to crack the 100 mph plateau, turning a lap in 11.793 seconds (101.654 mph). Balog was out on the track three cars later. The grand national heat races were first to go trackside. Steenbergen, Aaron Streblow and Tommy Moore won those races. The IRA heat races were next with Lance Fassbender, Steve Meyer and Whittney taking the checkered flag. Meyer's victory was a bit sentimental as his daughter also graduated from college over the weekend. Chad Hummelmeier, Roger Frank and Brandon Riedner won the street stock heat races, and Ross, Brian Peterson and Eric Barth won the legends heat races. It was Peterson's first appearance at Beaver Dam since taking third in the masters division feature during the INEX national championship event last fall. Hummelmeier made a bold outside move on Riedner and Karly Stadler in Turn 2 on the last lap of the eight-lap heat. Scott Uttech won the 12-lap "B" main for the IRAs. The grand national division was the first group to hit the track for the "A" main portion of the event. Dustin Weiss and Kodiak Wirtz led the 17-car field to the green flag for the 20-lap feature. Wirtz led the opening seven laps of the race and that's when Steenbergen took over the lead and cruised to the victory. Steenbergen, who won two features in 2011, beat Wirtz to the stripe by 5.049 seconds. Roger Lee was third, Kenny Richards was fourth and Moore rounded out the top five. With Steenbergen well ahead of the field, Lee, Wirtz and Richards were locked in an exciting battle for second. Those three drivers were separated by less than a half second at the finish. In the next three divisions to go trackside, each had a green-white-checkered flag finish. In the street stock "A" main, Stadler and rookie Bradley Birzer led the 20-car field to the line for 20 laps. It didn't take long for the Riedner clan, either the Riedners or cars with SRR chassis', to be on Stadler's back bumper. She led the race's first four laps. Brandon Riedner took the lead on the fifth lap and held onto it until Birzer, a SRR chassis, took the lead at the race's halfway point. With four laps to go, Scott Riedner took the lead from Birzer, who was making just his fith career start in the division. He raced twice toward the end of last season and the first three weeks of this season. Scott Riedner held on for the victory as Derek Childs got a good run coming off Turn 4 and came just 0.076 seconds short of Riedner. The top-three cars had SRR chassis'. Scott Riedner has six victories in the division since 2010, three came last season. Cody Apfelbeck and Austin Wiese made up the front row for the legends' "A" main, but it was Jim Bucher that took the early lead in his Paws 4A Cause car. Ross took the lead on lap nine and was in a back-and-forth battle with last season's rookie of the year Jason Bongiorno. Coming off Turn 4, Bongiorno looked like he was going to take the victory as he appeared to hold off Ross going through the last two turns. However, Bongiorno got loose late off the corner and Ross won the drag race to the line for the victory. The IRAs were the last cars to hit the track to finish off the evening. Mock and Whittney were the front-row starters for the 30-lap feature. Mock got out front and stayed there, leading all 30 laps of the feature. Traffic was a struggle for the leaders with a 22-car feature lineup. With two laps to go, Ben Schmidt's car came to a stop off of Turn 4 to bring out a caution. On the plus side for Mock, it gave him a clear race track. On the other side, he had the night's two fastest cars right behind him. "I just knew I had to get a good start," Mock said. "I knew they were going to eat me up on the restart. I got a good run out of (Turn) 4 and got it pushing it real good and the car just stuck." Ready to take the green flag, Mock got the jump he desired and was able to hold off Reinke, who made a run at Mock coming off Turn 2 after the restart. Mock didn't break and outran Reinke to Turn 3 and held on for the victory from there. "I just had to pick a line where he wasn't at," Reinke said. "I tried to roll along the bottom as best I could. "Phil did a good job. He did exactly what he was supposed to do." Reinke had hoped for the victory, as did Balog, which surprisingly finally got onto the podium for the first time this season in the season's third race. That was surprising for Balog because he is the series' all-time winningest driver and could be the most decorated driver in series history once he's done. "We're just trying some stuff," Balog said. "We were off just a little bit."