After a five-year absence, the Midwest Sprint Car Association made its highly anticipated return to Beaver Dam Raceway in Beaver Dam, Wis. on Saturday, Aug. 24, and when the final checkered flag flew, it was former series champion Ben Schmidt of Howards Grove standing tall as the A-main winner.
The 22nd MSA event of the 2019 season drew a strong field of 31 entries to the track where the Winged 360 Sprint Car division originated on a weekly basis in 1996 before evolving into the MSA Winged 360 Sprint Car touring series in 2000.
On the opening lap of the 25-lap main event, 2005 MSA champion Lance Fassbender of Burnett grabbed the lead from his outside front row starting position with Schmidt, who started fourth, sliding into second and polesitter Shane Wenninger of Kewaskum third in the running order.
On lap 4, the first of two caution flags was displayed for debris on the frontstrech. Wenninger flexed his muscle on the restart, diving low to take second from Schmidt on lap 5. On lap 6, Schmidt moved up to the high groove of the ultra-fast and tricky third-mile clay oval to regain second from Wenninger.
Schmidt quickly closed the gap quickly on Wenninger along the thick cushion before powering into the lead exiting turn four on lap 9. One lap later, the leaders encountered heavily lapped traffic, which Schmidt negotiated expertly to build up a full straightaway lead over Fassbender
On lap 17, eighth starter Travis Arenz of Sheboygan slipped past Fassbender with a nifty low move in turn two to seize second. Four laps later, the second and final caution flag was displayed when flames began to shoot out from under the hood of Fassbender’s car, which forced him to stop his ailing machine in turn two.
Wenninger used a strong restart to move past Arenz into second. However, Schmidt was long gone in an instant as he extended his lead steadily over the final four laps en route to his first MSA A-main victory of the 2019 season and 25th career MSA main event victory.
The win vaulted the 2011 MSA champion into a tie for third with Plymouth’s T.J. Luedke on the all-time MSA A-main victory list.
Schmidt is the 11th different driver to claim an MSA A-main victory this season.
Wenninger placed second, Arenz finished third, two-time MSA champion Danny Schlafer of Sussex placed fourth after starting seventh and sixth starter Anthony Knierim of Franksville rounded out the top five.
Kevin Karnitz of West Bend captured the 15-lap MSA B main, while Travis Arenz earned fast qualifier honors in the MSA grand prix-style qualifying with a lap of 13.175 seconds.
Heat race victories went to Travis Arenz, Shane Wenninger, Tim Haddy of Waupun and Brandon Berth of Cascade.
Just four MSA events remain on the 2019 schedule with the next race set for Saturday, Aug. 31 at The Plymouth Dirt Track at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds in Plymouth, Wis. during the Sheboygan County Fair with engine warm ups set to begin at 5 p.m.
The MSA will then return to The Plymouth Dirt Track on Saturday, Sept. 14 before closing out the season with a doubleheader weekend at the Dodge County Fairgrounds in Beaver Dam, Wis. on Friday, Sept. 27 and The Plymouth Dirt Track on Saturday, Sept. 28.
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Midwest Sprint Car Association
Beaver Dam Raceway
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
August 24, 2019
1, Travis Arenz 13.175; 2, Danny Schlafer 13.249; 3, Anthony Knierim 13.335; 4, Tyler Davis 13.338; 5, Kurt Davis 13.493; 6, Ben Schmidt 13.527; 7, Kevin Karnitz 13.561; 8, Lance Fassbender 13.619; 9, Wayne Modjeski 13.624; 10, Shane Wenninger 13.638; 11, Tony Wondra 13.640; 12, Jack Vanderboom 13.658; 13, Tyler Tischendorf 13.685; 14, Doug Wondra 13.708; 15, Adam Miller 13.803; 16, Paul Pokorski 13.835; 17, Will Gerrits 13.855; 18, Justin Miller 13.859; 19, Tim Haddy 13.883; 20, Brandon Berth 13.905; 21, Chris Clayton 13.935; 22, Sean Rayhall 13.938; 23, Tyler Brabant 13.981; 24, Scott Conger 13.986; 25, Justin Erickson 14.005; 26, Nick Daywalt 14.053; 27, Preston Ruh 14.092; 28, Bill Taylor 14.133; 29, Chris Larson 14.276; 30, Blake Wondra 14.312; 31, Josh Teunissen 14.478.
1, Travis Arenz 2, Will Gerrits 3, Chris Clayton 4, Kurt Davis 5, Tyler Tischendorf 6, Wayne Modjeski 7, Chris Larson 8, Justin Erickson.
1, Shane Wenninger 2, Justin Miller 3, Danny Schlafer 4, Ben Schmidt 5, Sean Rayhall 6, Nick Daywalt 7, Blake Wondra 8, Doug Wondra.
1, Tim Haddy 2, Tyler Brabant 3, Tony Wondra 4, Anthony Knierim 5, Adam Miller 6, Kevin Karnitz 7, Josh Teunissen 8, Preston Ruh.
1, Brandon Berth 2, Lance Fassbender 3, Paul Pokorski 4, Jack Vanderboom 5, Tyler Davis 6, Scott Conger 7, Bill Taylor.
1, Kevin Karnitz 2, Adam Miller 3, Tyler Davis 4, Doug Wondra 5, Tyler Tischendorf 6, Wayne Modjeski 7, Sean Rayhall 8, Bill Taylor 9, Scott Conger 10, Josh Teunissen 11, Nick Daywalt 12, Chris Larson 13, Preston Ruh 14, Blake Wondra 15, Justin Erickson.
1, Ben Schmidt 2, Shane Wenninger 3, Travis Arenz 4, Danny Schlafer 5, Anthony Knierim 6, Adam Miller 7, Will Gerrits 8, Justin Miller 9, Kurt Davis 10, Kevin Karnitz 11, Paul Pokorski, 12, Tony Wondra 13, Brandon Berth 14, Tyler Brabant 15, Tim Haddy 16, Jack Vanderboom 17, Tyler Davis 18, Tyler Tischendorf 19, Chris Clayton 20, Doug Wondra 21, Wayne Modjeski 22, Lance Fassbender.