BEAVER DAM RACEWAY REPORT: July 19, 2014
By NICHOLAS DETTMANN
BEAVER DAM, Wis. - Colten Van Hierden has proven he can win, doing so three straight weeks in Manitowoc.
He can win at Beaver Dam Raceway, too.
In his first start at Beaver Dam since the season opener, the Beaver Dam driver won the 20-lap sport modified "A" main Saturday night.
Also picking up "A" main feature victories were Joel Wyttenbach (legends), Tommy Moore (grand national), Daniel Roedl (modified) and Roger Frank (street stock).
It was a busy night on the track as 106 cars checked in for the evening's action. Among them was a season-high turnout in the legends (26) and street stocks divisions (25), and there were a season-high three "B" mains competed, legends, modifieds and street stocks.
It was also a wild night as the lead changed with less than three laps to go in the grand national and street stock "A" mains.
One of those divisions to see a late-race lead change was the night's main event, the 20-lap street stock feature.
Jason White and Mark Baker were locked in an intense battle for the lead with three laps to go. With Baker holding the edge going into Turn 3, White drove deep and on the bottom of Turn 3, making contact with Baker and a caution sooner followed.
The beneficiary was Frank, who was running third at the time.
Frank led Brandon Riedner and Scott Riedner to the green flag for a three-lap shootout. Frank held off a late push by Brandon Riedner through the last two corners and powered his way off Turn 4 and won the drag race to the finish line to score his second feature victory in three races. Sandwiched in between those triumphs is a second-place effort July 5.
"I saw they were racing hard," Frank said in victory lane, appearing to try to catch his breath. "I didn't know what was going to happen."
Brandon Riedner was second, Scott Riedner was third, David Kinjerski was fourth and Brad Birzer, the rookie, was fifth, his second top-five finish of the season, but first since May 17.
The first division to take the green flag was the legends for four heat races.
Mike Mueller, Wyttenbach, Vince Bartolotta and Nelson Stewart won the heat races, which saw the top four advance to the "A" main and the rest having to race through the "B" main to make the show.
Up next was three heat races for the sport modifieds. The winners were James Berkevich Jr., Brandon Schmitt and Jeremy Schwoch.
The grand nationals had two heat races and those were won by Don Schumacher and Kenny Richards.
Roedl, Kelly Brown and Eddie Lemay Jr. won the modified heat races, which had the top five advance to the "A" main.
Brandon Riedner, Chad Hummelmeier and Scott Riedner won the last set of heat races in the street stock division.
The legends went out first for the "B" main portion of the evening as an "A" main starting field was yet to be completed.
Scott Wiegele and Frankie Hoch started the 12-lap race on the front row. The top four from the "B" advanced to the "A" main.
Hoch got the early advantage, leading the first three laps. Justin Pearson led the next two before Tim Vargo took over at the halfway point and led the entire second half of the race to take the checkered flag, but more importantly advance to the "A" main. Also advancing to the "A" was Pearson, Hoch and Ryan Mech, who squeezed into the "A" with two laps to go as the then-fourth-place driver, Austin Wiese, pulled off the track.
Ben Godlewski and James Rhode led the modifieds onto the track and to the green flag for the next "B" main. The race was scheduled for 12 laps, but only lasted nine laps as the field dwindled down to five, which was what was needed to complete the "A" main field. Godlewski led all nine laps to advance. Rhode, Kevin Baldry, Raymond Keyser and Jeff Schepp also advanced to the "A" main.
The last "B" main was the street stocks.
Karly Stadler and Doug Draheim started on the front row and quickly Stadler took over the race. Stadler led wire-to-wire to score the victory. Also advancing to the "A" was Doug Engelking, Chris Prust, Kyle Neuman and Draheim.
After the intermission, it was time for the five divisions' "A" mains.
Up first was the legends, and Stewart and Cody Apfelbeck started on the front row for the 20-lap event.
Stewart led the first five laps. Wyttenbach took over the top spot on lap six and cruised to the finish and the victory, his first of the season in three starts in 2014. Joe Bongiorno, who entered the evening second in points, five behind Mueller, took second, followed by Kim Clover, Bartolotta and Brian Peterson. It was Clover's first top-five finish since May 17, a span of five feature starts.
In the sport modified "A" main, Schmitt and Adam Peschek were the front-row starters and this was an intriguing 20-lap showdown.
Schmitt had the upper hand on the field for 14 laps. At one point, he appeared he was going to cruise to the victory. Instead, he got hung up in slower traffic, which allowed a hard-charging Van Hierden to erase a once commanding lead. Then a caution with six laps to go bunched up the field and gave Van Hierden a clear shot at Schmitt, a former track champion in the legends division.
When the field came back around, Van Hierden took over the lead and led the remaining five laps for the victory. It was Van Hierden's first victory since Sept. 1, 2012. He won two features that season.
Peschek finished a career-best second. It was only the former asphalt late model driver's fourth career start. Schmitt went on to take third. Keith Schmitt was fourth and Berkevich was fifth.
The grand national division was next, with Dustin Weiss and Schumacher leading the field to the green flag for 20 laps.
Weiss led the first eight laps. Just shy of the halfway point, Richards made a daring move, splitting two cars for position and then went on to take the lead, moving up from fourth to first in less than one lap.
A caution with four laps to go bunched up the field, but Richards shrugged it off.
Then just moments after taking the white flag for the last lap, Richards slightly dropped off the pace, surrendering the lead to Moore who went on for the victory, his second of the season.
Aaron Streblow was second and Richards went on to take third. Todd Ascherien was fourth and Nick Schmacher was fifth.
The modifieds were next, with Roedl and Kelly Brown pacing the field to the green.
Don Scheffler moved from third to first on the first lap to lead the opening lap of the 20-lap feature. Roedl took over the lead on the second lap and led the rest of the race, despite having to fight off four restarts.
Matt Rechek was second, followed by Jeremy Christian, Andrew Araco and Eddie Lemay Jr. to complete the top five.
The evening was capped with the street stock "A" main.
The only change at the top of the points standings in any of the five divisions was in the legends. Bongiorno took over the top spot and holds a four-point advantage over Mueller. Chris Flick is third, 40 points behind Bongiorno, last season's rookie of the year.
Otherwise, the other divisions didn't see much changes.
Moore leads Streblow by 13 points in the grand national division. Nick Schumacher is 33 points out of the lead.
Christians has a 13-point edge on Rechek in the modified division. Scott Riedner leads Brandon Riedner by 13 points in the street stock division. Scott Riedner is the defending track champion, while Brandon Riedner is the 2011 and 2012 champion.
Jeff Schmuhl lost a couple points of his lead in the sport modified division. He went into the evening with a nine-point edge over Berkevich. But a rough night for Schmuhl saw his lead dwindle to just four points.
Up next for the track is a five-division doubleheader Friday and Saturday. For Friday, which is also Bud Night at the Races, grandstand gates open at 5 p.m., racing starts at 7 p.m. For Saturday, which is Monster Sticker Night, grandstands open at 5 p.m., racing starts at 6:30 p.m. It's $20 per car load.