(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTIONS) September 1, 2023 – Fifth-year 360 Sprint Car driver Brandon Berth of Cascade added his name to the esteemed list of past winners of one of the Midwest Sprint Car Association’s most prestigious races, as he posted his second career Akright Auto Midwest Sprint Car Association A-main victory in the sixth annual edition of the 20-lap Harry Neitzel Tribute race Friday, Sept. 1 at the Dodge County Fairgrounds Speedway in Beaver Dam, Wis.
The 22nd MSA event of the 2023 season drew 19 360 Sprint Cars for the series’ second visit of the season to the sprawling “horsepower half mile” Dodge County Fairgrounds Speedway facility.
In the 20-lap A main, outside front row starter Alex Pokorski of West Bend, who captured his first career MSA A-main victory at the Dodge County Fairgrounds Speedway on June 2, outpowered polesitter Brandon Berth to grab the lead in turn two on the opening lap as five-time MSA champion Kurt Davis of South Milwaukee, who started fourth, worked his way into second in turn four before the completion of the initial lap.
On lap 5, Pokorski began to work his way through lapped traffic, which allowed Davis to cut the gap significantly. When Pokorski got bottled up in two-wide lapped traffic, Davis pounced as he powered his way into the lead in turn two on lap 7.
Five laps later, 2011 MSA champion Ben Schmidt flipped in turn three to bring out the first red flag of the race. The ensuing restart saw rookie Tristan Koenings of Van Dyne and Katelyn Krebsbach of Cascade stop along the front stretch to bring out a caution flag.
When the race resumed, Berth worked his way around Pokorski to secure second, while four-time MSA champion and current point leader Brandon McMullen of Oshkosh, who started eighth, moved into third on lap 13.
Davis maintained a solid cushion over Berth until lap 18 when the third caution flag of the race occurred on lap 18 when rookie T.J. Haddy of Waupun spun in turn two. During the caution period, Davis exited the track with an overheating engine, which allowed Berth to assume the lead.
After a single-file restart with less than five laps remaining, Berth controlled the lead with McMullen trailing before 14-year-old rookie Logan Julien of Oconomowoc hit the turn one wall to bring out the fourth and final caution flag of the race on lap 19.
On the final green-white-checkered flag single-file restart, Berth pulled away from McMullen as 14th starter Scotty Neitzel of Beaver Dam, who was driving the No. 7 Fassbender Racing car for the injured Lance Fassbender, slid past Pokorski to steal the third spot on the final lap.
Berth went on to notch his second career MSA A-main triumph and second main event win of the 2023 season.
“The motor didn’t take off on the initial start and I fell back, but we got it going again on the next restart,” Berth said. “I saw Kurt’s [Davis] motor was getting hot and I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out. The car was just so good. We’ve been fighting for these wins for a long time and we finally got our first one at Angell Park earlier this season and now this one tonight. It feels great to win this race. Scotty [Neitzel] has helped me a lot over the years. I think he has helped everyone in the pits out at some point. This is definitely a special trophy to win.”
Berth joins Kurt Davis (2017), Kevin Karnitz of West Bend (2018), Jim Melis of Glenbeulah (2019), Brandon McMullen (2020) and two-time MSA champion Travis Arenz of Sheboygan Falls (2022) as winners of the MSA 360 Sprint Car Harry Neitzel Tribute race. The event, which fell victim to rain in 2021, honors the universally respected Neitzel, who was one of the MSA’s biggest supporters.
On the strength of his second place finish, McMullen padded his MSA points lead over Ben Schmidt, who was credited with an 18th place showing. Neitzel finished third, Pokorski wound up fourth and sixth starter Tony Wondra of Campbellsport rounded out the top five.
Brandon McMullen earned the MSA 360 Sprint Car fast qualifier award with a fast lap of 19.341 seconds.
MSA heat race victories went to T.J. Haddy and Ben Schmidt.
After the MSA competes at The Plymouth Dirt Track in Plymouth, Wis. on Saturday, Sept. 2 during the 2023 Sheboygan County Fair, the 2023 MSA season is scheduled to concluded during the Wisconsin Sprint Car Championships at The Plymouth Dirt Track in Plymouth, Wis. on Saturday, Sept. 30.
The Bumper to Bumper Interstate Racing Association 410 Sprint Cars, Wisconsin wingLESS Sprint Cars and IRA Lightning Sprints will also wrap up their 2023 seasons during the event.
Spectator gates open at 4:30 p.m. with warm-ups and hot laps at 4:45 p.m.
For more information on the 2023 Midwest Sprint Car Association season, visit www.msasprints.com or check out the Midwest Sprint Car Association Facebook page.
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Akright Auto Midwest Sprint Car Association
Dodge County Fairgrounds Speedway
Beaver Dam, Wis.
September 1, 2023
A Main (20 Laps): 1. 22B-Brandon Berth ; 2. 98-Brandon McMullen ; 3. 7-Scotty Neitzel ; 4. 4-Alex Pokorski ; 5. 11-Tony Wondra ; 6. 63K-Kevin Karnitz ; 7. 53A-Paul Pokorski ; 8. 69-Bill Taylor ; 9. 69S-TJ Smith ; 10. 51-Chris Larson ; 11. 68-Josh Bilicki ; 12. 12P-JJ Pagel ; 13. 08-Katelyn Krebsbach ; 14. (DNF) 85J-Logan Julien ; 15. (DNF) 6K-Kurt Davis ; 16. (DNF) 21H-TJ Haddy ; 17. (DNF) 42-Brett Peterson ; 18. (DNF) 35-Ben Schmidt ; 19. (DNF) 66T-Tristan Koenings 
Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 21H-TJ Haddy ; 2. 98-Brandon McMullen ; 3. 69-Bill Taylor ; 4. 51-Chris Larson ; 5. 11-Tony Wondra ; 6. 85J-Logan Julien ; 7. 42-Brett Peterson ; 8. 7-Scotty Neitzel ; 9. 69S-TJ Smith ; 10. 68-Josh Bilicki 
Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 35-Ben Schmidt ; 2. 63K-Kevin Karnitz ; 3. 6K-Kurt Davis ; 4. 4-Alex Pokorski ; 5. 22B-Brandon Berth ; 6. 66T-Tristan Koenings ; 7. 53A-Paul Pokorski ; 8. 08-Katelyn Krebsbach ; 9. 12P-JJ Pagel 
Qualifying 1: 1. 98-Brandon McMullen, 19.341 ; 2. 51-Chris Larson, 19.553 ; 3. 21H-TJ Haddy, 19.631 ; 4. 69-Bill Taylor, 19.658 ; 5. 68-Josh Bilicki, 19.694 ; 6. 85J-Logan Julien, 19.723 ; 7. 69S-TJ Smith, 19.776 ; 8. 11-Tony Wondra, 19.876 ; 9. 42-Brett Peterson, 20.314 ; 10. 7-Scott Neitzel, 20.324 
Qualifying 2: 1. 35-Ben Schmidt, 19.395 ; 2. 4-Alex Pokorski, 19.406 ; 3. 63K-Kevin Karnitz, 19.638 ; 4. 6K-Kurt Davis, 19.641 ; 5. 22B-Brandon Berth, 19.649 ; 6. 66T-Tristan Koenings, 19.756 ; 7. 53A-Paul Pokorski, 19.779 ; 8. 08-Katelyn Krebsbach, 19.881 ; 9. 12P-JJ Pagel, 20.979