It was a case of being in the right place at the right time for three-time Midwest Sprint Car Association champion Brandon McMullen of Oshkosh as he capitalized on Scotty Neitzel’s late-race misfortune to claim his first 25-lap MSA 360 Sprint Car victory of the 2020 season at Beaver Dam Raceway in Beaver Dam, Wis. on Saturday, June 27.
The third MSA event of the 2020 season attracted a stellar field of 42 entries to the third-mile clay oval where the Southeastern Wisconsin-based Winged 360 Sprint Car division originated on a weekly basis in 1996 before morphing into the MSA Winged 360 Sprint Car touring series in 2000.
Outside front row starter Preston Ruh of Elkhart Lake got the jump on polesitter Robbie Pribnow of Lomira to lead the opening lap of the 25-lap MSA A main, while third starter Brandon Berth of Cascade ducked low to steal second from Pribnow.
On lap 5, two-time Interstate Racing Association Series champion Scotty Neitzel of Beaver Dam, who was making a guest appearance behind the wheel of a second U2 Vanderboom Motorsports entry, worked the middle groove of the ultra dry slick track surface to take second in turn two.
Neitzel was closing on Ruh when 2011 MSA champion Ben Schmidt of Howards Grove and Plymouth’s Adam Miller made contact along the backstretch, which sent Schmidt on a series of hard flips and brought out a red flag on lap 8. Schmidt emerged from the violent accident uninjured, as did Miller. However, both drivers were done for the evening.
On the restart, Berth spun in turn two while running third to bring out a caution flag. On the ensuing restart, Neitzel worked his way past Ruh to gain the top spot in turn one on lap 9, while fifth starter Brandon McMullen cleared Pribnow to secure the third spot.
By lap 12, Neitzel had built up a full straightaway lead over Ruh. However, the leaders encountered lapped traffic on lap 15, which allowed Ruh to close the gap as Neitzel attempted tip toe his way around a large group of slower cars racing for position in the preferred rubber-down low groove.
On lap 20, McMullen ducked under Ruh to seize second, while Pribnow also worked his away past Ruh on lap 22 to take over third.
As the laps wound down, Neitzel appeared to be in control. However, slower traffic proved to play a big role in the outcome. As the leaders were about to take the white flag, Neitzel collided with Tony Wondra of Campbellsport exiting turn four on lap 24, which caused him to spin into the infield with Pribnow also spinning to a stop in turn four.
With a green-white-checkered finish on tap, McMullen inherited the lead with Ruh regaining second and 2005 MSA champ Lance Fassbender of Burnett, who started seventh, in third.
McMullen skillfully stuck to the low line on the restart and held off Ruh to secure his 24th career MSA A-main victory. Ruh claimed his career-best MSA A-main finish with a strong runner-up showing, five-time MSA champion Kurt Davis of South Milwaukee came up from the ninth starting spot to take fourth and fast qualifier Travis Arenz of Sheboygan placed fifth after starting 10th.
Justin Miller of Plymouth captured the first 12-lap MSA B main and Robby Wirth of Milwaukee won the second 12-lap MSA B main. Travis Arenz earned fast qualifier honors in the MSA grand prix group-style qualifying with a lap of seconds.
Heat race victories went to Travis Arenz, Kurt Davis, Scotty Neitzel and Ben Schmidt.
The next MSA event is set to take place Saturday, July 4 when the series makes its debut at Gravity Park Speedway in Chilton. The originally scheduled MSA event in conjunction with the Interstate Racing Association 410 Sprint Car Series at the Dodge County Fairgrounds in Beaver Dam on Thursday, July 3 has been rescheduled until Thursday, July 10.
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Midwest Sprint Car Association
Beaver Dam Raceway
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
June 27, 2020
1, Travis Arenz 2, Kurt Davis, 3, Adam Miller 4, Lance Fassbender 5, Tyler Davis 6, Brandon McMullen 7, Scotty Neitzel 8, Justin Miller 9, Robby Wirth 10, Al Schlafer 11, Brandon Berth 12, Preston Ruh 13, Robbie Pribnow 14, Bill Taylor 15, Tyler Tischendorf 16, Sean Rayhall 17, Nich Melis 18, Kevin Karnitz 19, Nick Daywalt 20, Josh Teunissen 21, Ben Schmidt 22, Tony Wondra 23, Scott Conger 24, Austin Hartmann 25, Justin Erickson 26, Anthony Knierim 27, Tim Haddy 28, Jack Vanderboom 29, Alex Pokorski 30, Scott Armstrong 31, Chris Larson 32, Will Gerrits 33, Chris Clayton 34, Blake Wondra 35, Danny Schlafer 36, Tyler Brabant 37, Mike Decker 38, Shane Wenninger 39, Doug Wondra 40, Mike MacFarlane 41, Ken Schmick 42, Kevin Seidler (DNS).
1, Travis Arenz 2, Tony Wondra, 3, Bill Taylor 4, Kevin Karnitz 5, Tyler Davis 6, Blake Wondra 7, Robby Wirth 8, Scott Armstrong 9, Anthony Knierim (DNS) 10, Doug Wondra (DNS).
1, Kurt Davis 2, Brandon McMullen 3, Tim Haddy 4, Brandon Berth 5, Scott Conger 6, Tyler Tischendorf 7, Tyler Brabant 8, Nick Daywalt 9, Chris Larson 10, Mike MacFarlane 11, Danny Schlafer (DNS).
1, Scotty Neitzel 2, Sean Rayhall 3, Adam Miller 4, Preston Ruh 5, Josh Teunissen 6, Jack Vanderboom 7, Will Gerrits 8, Mike Decker 9, Austin Hartmann 10, Ken Schmick.
1, Ben Schmidt 2, Justin Erickson 3, Lance Fassbender 4, Robbie Pribnow 5, Justin Miller 6, Nich Melis 7, Chris Clayton 8, Shane Wenninger 9, Alex Pokorski 10, Danny Schlafer (substitute for Al Schlafer).
B MAIN 1
1, Justin Miller 2, Jack Vanderboom 3, Blake Wondra 4, Nick Daywalt 5, Mike Decker 6, Scott Conger 7, Alex Pokorski 8, Will Gerrits 9, Tyler Tischendorf 10, Mike MacFarlane 11, Doug Wondra (DNS).
B MAIN 2
1, Robby Wirth 2, Anthony Knierim 3, Chris Clayton 4, Shane Wenninger 5, Nich Melis 6, Josh Teunissen 7, Tyler Brabant 8, Chris Larson 9, Austin Hartmann 10, Scott Armstrong 11, Ken Schmick.
1, Brandon McMullen 2, Preston Ruh 3, Kurt Davis 4, Lance Fassbender 5, Travis Arenz 6, Kevin Karnitz 7, Justin Erickson 8, Sean Rayhall 9, Tyler Davis 10, Justin Miller 11, Chris Clayton 12, Jack Vanderboom 13, Brandon Berth 14, Tim Haddy 15, Tony Wondra 16, Anthony Knierim 17, Blake Wondra 18, Scotty Neitzel 19, Robbie Pribnow 20, Robby Wirth 21, Adam Miller 22, Ben Schmidt.