BEAVER DAM RACEWAY REPORT: July 25, 2014
By NICHOLAS DETTMANN
BEAVER DAM, Wis. - Coming off a strong 2013 season, Kim Clover had high hopes for the 2014 season.
Things haven't gone well for her this season in the legends division.
But in one night, things finally right for her.
Clover won the 20-lap legends "A" main Friday night for her first victory of the season, the second of her career, and helped kickoff a doubleheader weekend at Beaver Dam Raceway.
She got out of her car, jumped up and down and exclaimed, "Oh my God!"
Her feature victory last season is believed to be the only feature triumph by a woman in track history.
Also picking up feature victories Friday were Tommy Moore (grand national), Dave Schoenberger (modified), Nick Schultz (sport modified) and Mark Baker (street stock)
Brekken Kleinschmidt initially won the sport modified feature in just his seventh career start ... ever. But he was disqualified for failing post-race inspection.
Each driver who won a feature Friday were eligible for bonus prize money if they are able to repeat in their respective division Saturday night.
Daizy Sweeps, a chimney sweeping business out of Columbus, would chip $100 into the prize money pot for the modified driver able to sweep the weekend. It'll also be $100 for the grand nationals. It'd be $75 for sport modifieds and legends, and $50 for street stocks.
In 2013, Clover had 14 top-10 finishes, 10 top-five finishes, six heat-race victories and a historic feature triumph June 8 on her way to a third-place finish in the points standings in just her third year of racing.
After Friday night, she's fourth in the points, but has come on strong in recent weeks, posting three straight top-eight finishes. Before that however, she had three finishes outside the top ten in the first seven races of the season.
Eight-one cars were on-hand for the night's festivities.
Three heat races for the street stocks were up first. The winners were Brandon Riedner, Baker and Roger Frank.
Clover won the first of three heat races for the legends. Ethan Ross won the second heat race, and Austin Wiese picked up his first career checkered flag in the final heat race, edging Cody Apfelbeck by half-a-car length.
Ben Godlewski and Matt Rechek won the modified heat races.
Aaron Streblow and John Stanton won the grand national heat races.
Jeremy Schwoch and Jeff Schmuhl won the sport modified heat races.
With no "B" mains, the street stock "A" main went track side after the intermission.
Jason White and Stuart White led the 22-car field to the green flag.
Jason White led the opening five laps of the race. Derek Childs was next to take over the point, leading the next five laps. Baker took over the lead at halfway.
It was Baker, Childs, White, Scott Riedner and Karly Stadler in the top five at the halfway point.
Baker led the rest of the race. Frank was on the cusp of a fifth straight top-five finish, but pulled off the course with four laps to go.
Riedner went on to finish second, followed by Brandon Riedner, White and Childs to round out the top five.
The legends were up next, with Wiese and Jason Moser pacing the field of 19 cars to the green flag.
Justin Pearson led the first four laps of the 20-lap "A" main feature. Apfelbeck held onto the point for the next three circuits. Joe Bongiorno was next to assume control of the field on Lap 8.
At the halfway mark, Bongiorno led Ross, Clover, Apfelbeck and Mike Mueller.
On Lap 11, a scary crash took Moser out of the race as his car flipped over coming off Turn 2. He was OK.
On Lap 13, Bongiorno relieved the lead to Clover as he pulled off the course for his first DNF of the season. Moments later, Mueller and Apfelbeck made contact while battling for fourth place and brought out a caution.
Clover paced the field for the next handful of laps. And as the field came off of Turn 4 on the final lap, Joel Wyttenbach got a strong run through turns 3 and 4 and was able to get low on Clover. But Clover won the drag race to the checkered flag by 0.022 seconds.
Ross was third, followed by Johnny Kringas and Chris Flick to round out the top five.
The grand nationals were next, with Scott Hermersmann and Jeff Tondryk leading the field of 12 cars to green. This one was almost over barely after it started.
In one move, Moore, who started 10th, took advantage of the field in front of him stacking up and powered his No. 2 car around the outside and went to 2nd place in one swift move. Then he surged into the lead just before crossing the line to complete the first circuit.
Once he was there, he stayed there, leading all 20 laps.
With four laps to go, Todd Ascherien had a mechanical issue which brought out a caution. At that moment, Moore was out front by almost half of the one-third mile track. But he held off a charge by Aaron Streblow and Dan Schumacher to coast to the victory. It was Moore's third victory of the season and 12th since start of 2010 season, second-most in the division in that span to Roger Lee's 15.
Streblow went on to take second for his fifth straight top-three finish. Schumacher was third, followed by Nick Schumacher and Matt Bedker.
Modifieds were next with Godlewski and Jaeger getting the start on the front row for a field of 15 cars.
Cautions came early and often in this one. The biggest one came on Lap 4 when Jeff Steenbergern, Nick Firari, Rechek, Andrew Araco and Don Scheffler were all collected in a crash going into Turn 1. All drivers appeared to be OK.
Jaeger led the first two laps of the 20-lap "A" main. Schoenberger took over from there and led the rest of the way for his second victory of the season.
Sport modifieds were next to finish off the wild evening.
Dustin Smits and Jeff Tillema led the field of 13 cars to the green flag.
Kleinschmidt led the first seven laps and Schmuhl led the next lap. With 10 laps to go, Kleinschmidt led Schmuhl, Jim Berkevich Jr., Schultz and Tillema. With four laps to go, Schmuhl, the division's points leader, fell off the pace while running in second and brought out a caution. He went on to take 10th.
Kleinschmidt led the rest of the race, but lost the victory in the tech area for a spoiler violation, thus handing the victory over to Schultz, his second of the season.
Berkevich was second, followed by Brandon Schmitt, Keith Schmitt and Tillema.
The points were shuffled up after the evening.
In the modified division, Rechek took over the lead, with the help of points leader Jeremy Christians no in attendance Friday. The modifieds are shaping up to be quite a battle for the second half of the season. Schoenberger moved from fourth to second and trails Rechek by eight points. Araco is third, 13 points back. Noah Schepp is fourth and Brian Crapser is fifth. The top five are separated by just 20 points.
In the grand national division, it is beginning to like a two-driver race, but it's still early. Moore leads Streblow by 13 points. Nick Schumacher is third, 37 points behind Moore.
In the sport modified division, it's tight at the top. Berkevich leads Schmuhl by two points. Schultz is 15 points behind Berkevich. But don't count out Smits and rookie Tim Sheppard as both are within 33 points of Berkevich.
In the street stock division, it is also looking it's going to be a two-driver race. In addition, it looks like it's going to be a family battle. Defending track champion Scott Riedner leads his son, Brandon Riedner, by 13 points. Frank is 35 points out of the top spot in third place.
And last but not least, Mueller took over the points lead in the legends divison. Mueller rallied from a late-race incident to finish seventh, while Bongiorno, the points leader going into Friday's action had his first DNF. Mueller leads Bongiorno by 12 points. Flick is in third 33 points back. Clover is in fourth, 67 points back.
On Saturday, it's the second night of the doubleheader. Racing starts at 6:30 p.m. Look to see if Baker, Clover, Moore, Schoenberger and/or Schultz can bring in the bonus paycheck for sweeping the weekend.