Paul Pokorski picks up opening night win at PDTR
In season-opening A-main action, 28th-year driver Paul Pokorski of West Bend broke a three-year main event winless drought while holding off the furious advances of Tyler Brabant of Waupun and Sheboygan’s Travis Arenz to claim the Kristine Hartmann Pleasant View Realty 25-lap 360 Sprint Car main event triumph.
Pokorski led the field to the green flag of the 360 Sprint Car A main from the pole flanked by Brabant. On the opening circuit, disaster struck, as Brabant and 2017 PDTR 360 Sprint Car champion Brandon McMullen of Oshkosh made contact in turn two, which triggered a five-car red flag incident involving Plymouth’s Adam Miller, who flipped his machine, two-time PDTR 360 Sprint Car champion Kurt Davis of South Milwaukee, Will Gerrits of Waupun and West Bend’s Kevin Karnitz.
Miller was forced to retire from the race, while Davis, McMullen, Karnitz and Gerrits restarted the race from the rear of the field.
Following a complete restart, Pokorski bolted out the lead with Brabant settling into second followed by sixth starter Arenz in third. By lap 6, Pokorski built a half-straightaway cushion over Brabant by sticking to the extreme inside line of the dry slick racing surface.
On lap 8, Brabant began to close and six laps later Brabant dove low in turn one, only to have Pokorski shut the door. However, Brabant battled back to wrestle the lead away from Pokorski with a nifty low move in turn three on lap 17.
Two laps later, Brabant made contact with the slowing car of Josh Teunissen of Waldo, which caused his car to twitch exiting turn four and gave Pokorski an opening to regain the lead in turn one on lap 20.
On lap 22, Arenz worked the outside groove to pull past Brabant and draw even with Pokorski. However, the 2014 Midwest Sprint Car Association Masters Series champion and three-time Winged Super Modified champion held strong to maintain the lead as both Brabant and Arenz continued to dig for the victory.
Pokorski, who is planning to share the driver’s seat of the No. 4 Pokorski Motorsports car with his 21-year-old son Alex this season, stayed precise along the low groove in the closing laps to fend off both challengers en route to his fourth career PDTR 360 Sprint Car A-main triumph, 11th overall 360 Sprint Car main event win and 46th career A-main victory in Sprint Car and Winged Super Modified competition.
Brabant worked back underneath Arenz to take second on the final lap, Arenz wound up third, 2018 PDTR 360 Sprint Car champ Justin Miller of Plymouth, who started fourth, finished fourth and Davis, who originally started 20th, rallied from the rear of the field following the first lap accident to round out the top five.
“I really figured they had me there,” Pokorski said. “I’m not a guy that likes to run the bottom, but if your leading on a track like this you kind of have to stay there and make everyone else work the outside to beat you. When Tyler got by me, I was thinking what I needed to do and I had a thought about going up high to try to get back by him at the end. I’m happy I got back by him. Then I saw Travis Arenz on the outside with a couple laps to go, but luckily we were able to hold on. The plan is to have Alex get in the car next week and I will be on the sidelines biting my fingernails watching him. This was definitely a good start to the season and a nice way to end my long run in the seat of this car before I hand the keys over to the rookie.”
Date of Race: June 6, 2020
1, Justin Miller 2, Brandon Berth 3, Paul Pokorski 4, Sean Rayhall 5, Nick Daywalt 6, Tony Wondra 7, Tim Haddy 8, Tom Kreutz.
1, Nich Melis 2, Tyler Brabant 3, Preston Ruh 4, Justin Erickson 5, Anthony Knierim 6, Jack Vanderboom 7, Johnny Fahl 8, Blake Wondra.
1, Scott Conger 2, Will Gerrits 3, Shane Wenninger 4, Mike Decker 5, Scott Armstrong 6, Josh Teunissen 7, Kurt Davis.
1, Brandon McMullen 2, Travis Arenz 3, Chris Clayton 4, Doug Wondra 5, Tyler Tischendorf 6, Spyder Akright 7, Austin Hartmann
1, Adam Miller 2, Bill Taylor 3, Lance Fassbender 4, Kevin Karnitz 5, Tyler Davis 6, Mike MacFarlane 7, Ben Schmidt
B MAIN 1
1, Preston Ruh 2, Sean Rayhall 3, Josh Teunissen 4, Jack Vanderboom 5, Tyler Tischendorf 6, Spyder Akright 7, Tom Kreutz 8, Tyler Davis 9, Scott Armstrong 10, Mike MacFarlane 11, Ben Schmidt (DNS).
B MAIN 2
1, Chris Clayton 2, Kurt Davis 3, Tim Haddy 4, Doug Wondra 5, Tony Wondra 6, Blake Wondra 7, Johnny Fahl 8, Nick Daywalt 9, Austin Hartmann 10, Anthony Knierim (DNS).
1, Paul Pokorski 2, Tyler Brabant 3, Travis Arenz 4, Justin Miller 5, Kurt Davis 6, Brandon McMullen 7, Nich Melis 8, Scott Conger 9, Justin Erickson 10, Brandon Berth 11, Lance Fassbender 12, Shane Wenninger 13, Chris Clayton 14, Will Gerrits 15, Tim Haddy 16, Kevin Karnitz 17, Mike Decker 18, Preston Ruh 19, Sean Rayhall 20, Josh Teunissen 21, Bill Taylor 22, Adam Miller.