BEAVER DAM REPORT: June 6, 2015
By NICHOLAS DETTMANN BEAVER DAM - Dustin Smits won his second Weld Specialty Supply Modified "A" main of the season and in a row Saturday night, while perfection still lingers at Beaver Dam Raceway. Kenny Richards won the Taco Bell Grand National "A" main. He's won each of the division's six main events so far this season. At Beaver Dam, this kind of streak isn't new, especially in the last five years. In 2011, Zeke Bishofberger won the first 11 sport modified features. He added one more before the end of the season to give him 12 victories in 13 races for the track championship. Then in 2013, Jeff Steenbergen won the first five sport modified features, lost to Bishofberger to end the streak, then won the next seven on his way to a track-record 14 wins in 16 starts and a track championship. Richards, the 2011 and 2013 grand national track champion, has also now won more races in the last five years than anybody in the division (16). He was tied with Roger Lee in that span before the races. For Smith, it was his third career victory. He got his first Sept. 6 of last season. Also picking up feature victories were Brian Peterson (Choice Insurance Legends), Nick Schultz (Ultimateracecars.com Sport Modifieds) and Brandon Riedner (NAPA Auto Parts Street Stocks). It was an emotional moment before the races as Bill "Schwartz" Johnson, who died May 28 after a two-year battle with thyroid cancer, was honored. His son, 2013 legends track champion Joe Johnson, donning the No. 66 Schwartz drove during his career, carried the black flag during the national anthem. At pit entrance in Turn 3, the drivers of the legends division stood shoulder-to-shoulder to pay respect to Schwartz. Joe Johnson said it meant a lot to him and his family to see the drivers pay their respect like that. He said he will race with the No. 66 the rest of the season. The last feature Joe won with his father at the track was at Angell Park in September 2013. A few days later, the family learned Schwartz had thyroid cancer. Three sport mod heat races began the night of racing. Keith Schmitt, Adam Peschek and Jeff Schmuhl won those heat races. In the third heat race, Jeremy Schwoch was in the lead coming out of Turn 4 as he was about to get the white flag. Then he began to slow and relinquish the lead to Schmuhl. Schwoch wound up being a scratch for the "A" main. Three heats for the legends were next, with the top five qualifying for the "A" main. Jason Moser, Brian Peterson and Chris Flick took the checkered flag in those races. Peterson passed Johnny Kringas in Turn 4 of the final lap to steal the victory. Justin Brown won the first grand national heat, while Nick Schumacher did some impressive driving, holding off Richards for most of the eight-lap race, to win the second heat. It was only the second time Richards had been beaten this season - both in heat races. Alex Crapser, Doug Engelking and Mark Baker won the street stock heat races, while Noah Schepp, Andrew Araco and Nick Firari won the modified heat races. With five places still to be determined for the starting grid of the legends "A" main, a 15-lap "B" main was run to settle the field. With five laps to go, Anthony Jagoditsch spun while running in the top five. That left Dave Eberle, Bucher, Scott Wiegele, Tim Franz and Jeff Lechnir in the transfer spots. A few laps later, Lechnir spun in Turn 2. With two laps to go, Bucher, Eberle, Weigele, Franz and Jagoditsch held the transfer spots and that's the way the race ended. It was Bucher's second straight "B" main victory of the season. With all the "A" mains set, 19 sport modifieds went track side with Jack Jones and Gary Bauer pacing the field from the front row. At the drop of the green flag, Schultz surged to the front from his fourth-place starting position. Four cautions slowed the pace and ultimately ended the race three laps shy of the 20 that were scheduled. Schultz was the victor, leading all 17 laps. Riedner was second, followed by Schmuhl, Brandon Schmitt, in his first appearance of the season, and Peschek. In the grand national "A" main, Jay Schaalma and Brian Vinney Jr. were on the front row. Vinney led the first seven laps before Richards, who started 10th, made his way through the field, took the lead and continue to make a chapter for himself in the track's history books. Tommy Moore, the defending track champion, was second, followed by Vinney, Aaron Streblow and Brown. The street stock "A" main followed with Sam Wood and James Fletcher starting on the front row. Just like in the sport mod feature, a driver from the second row made quick work to get to the front. That was Mark Baker. Three cautions slowed the field, including a multi-car crash on the back straight on lap 8. Baker was rarely challenged, led all 20 laps and cruised to the victory. After the race, however, he, along with two other top-five finishers were disqualified. For Baker, it was his second straight DQ. So Riedner got the victory, followed by Scott Riedner, Cody Potter, Alex Crapser and Russ Davison. The legend "A" main offered the most lead changes among the features (four). First, Moser, who along with Chris Hoedel started on the front row, led the first two circuits. Hoedel led the next two. Mike Mueller led the next five laps before Peterson took the lead from Mueller and led the rest of the way. The race also flirted with the time limit as there were four cautions, but they got it in. Ryan Mech was a second-best second, followed by Cody Apfelbeck, Mueller and Tim Vargo. The finale for the evening was the 20-lap modified feature with Scott Magsamen and Noah Schepp on the front row. Schepp led the first 18 laps and looked like he was going to get the victory. But with two laps to go, Smits, who started 12th, drove the car in hard through turns 3 and 4 and did a slide job in front of Schepp as they took the white flag. Smits held off Schepp on the final lap for the victory. Schepp finished second, Matt Rechek was third, Dave Schoenberger was fourth and Kevin Tillema was fifth.