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Schmidt secures eighth 2023 MSA A-main score in Eagle River Speedway debut

(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTIONS) July 29, 2023 – A dream season filled with a flurry of victory lane visits rolled on for 2011 Midwest Sprint Car Association champion Ben Schmidt of Plymouth as he cruised to his eighth Akright Auto MSA A-main victory of the 2023 campaign before a packed house of enthusiastic fans in the first-ever full-sized Sprint Car race in the history of Eagle River Speedway in Eagle River, Wis. on Saturday, July 29.

The 16th MSA event of the 2023 season produced a swift 25-lap headliner completed in non-stop flag-to-flag fashion with one of the series’ most successful drivers assuming the top step of the podium.

Four-time MSA champion and current point leader Brandon McMullen of Oshkosh jumped into the initial lead of the 25-lap main event from the pole position as Ben Schmidt used the preferred outside groove to blast his way from the sixth starting spot into second by turn three of the opening lap.

Over the next five laps, Schmidt gradually reeled in McMullen along the cushion of the well-manicured D-shaped third-mile clay oval. Schmidt moved to within striking distance on lap 6 just before the leaders caught up to slower traffic one lap later.

After sizing up McMullen by testing the middle groove over the next two laps, Schmidt fired off a slide job to power past McMullen into the lead in turn four on lap 9.

McMullen stayed in sight of the top spot for the remainder of the event as the leaders wound their way through voluminous lapped traffic during the final 16 circuits.

Over the final two laps McMullen moved down to the low line in an attempt to mount a late challenge. However, Schmidt held strong on the cushion to edge McMullen by three car lengths at the finish line to claim the $1,000 first place check courtesy of race sponsor Rob Eisentraut of RC Custom Design.

The win marked Schmidt’s 40th career MSA A-main triumph, which moves him one behind Brandon McMullen for third place on the all-time MSA A-main victory list.

“With Brandon McMullen starting on the pole, I knew I had to get a good start to have a chance at tracking him down,” Schmidt said. “I tried some different lines around the middle of the track to try to get by him before deciding to pull the trigger on a slider. This is the first time I’ve raced here. It’s an awesome facility.”

After starting on the pole and leading the first eight laps of the race, McMullen was disappointed with finishing one spot short of victory.

“I was too cautious and should have been more aggressive in traffic,” McMullen said. “It sucks being second, but it was a hell of a crowd that came out tonight. I hope they enjoyed that race.”

MSA rookie T.J. Smith of Greenville, who started third, turned in an MSA 360 Sprint Car career-best third place showing.

“This is the best finish I’ve had so far in a Sprint Car,” Smith said. “I’m just happy to be on the podium with Ben Schmidt and Brandon McMullen. Those guys are great Sprint Car racers.”

Alex Pokorski of West Bend started and finished fourth and rookie Logan Julien of Oconomowoc, who is a former regular Micro Sprint competitor at Eagle River Speedway, placed fifth after starting fifth.

MSA heat race victories went to Logan Julien, Ben Schmidt and T.J. Smith.

Brandon McMullen earned fast qualifier honors by topping the 17-car field with a fast lap of 12.538 seconds.

The next race for the MSA 360 Sprint Cars is this Saturday, Aug. 5 at The Plymouth Dirt Track in Plymouth, Wis., which will also feature the PDTR Grand Nationals and B Mods, along with the IRA Lightning Sprints.

In addition, the event will include a kids’ coin and candy drop courtesy of VanDerVaart Concrete.

Grandstand gates open at 4:30 p.m. with qualifying set at 5:30 p.m. and racing at 6 p.m.

For more information on the 2023 Midwest Sprint Car Association season, visit or check out the Midwest Sprint Car Association Facebook page.

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Akright Auto Midwest Sprint Car Association

Eagle River Speedway

Eagle River, Wis.

July 29, 2023

A Main (25 Laps): 1. 35-Ben Schmidt [6]; 2. 98-Brandon McMullen [1]; 3. 69S-TJ Smith [3]; 4. 4-Alex Pokorski [4]; 5. 85J-Logan Julien [5]; 6. 51-Chris Larson [2]; 7. 63K-Kevin Karnitz [8]; 8. 7-Lance Fassbender [7]; 9. 6K-Kurt Davis [11]; 10. 20-Robbie Pribnow [12]; 11. 7R-Devan Myers [10]; 12. 69-Bill Taylor [9]; 13. 53-Shane Wenninger [16]; 14. 66T-Tristan Koenings [15]; 15. 11-Tony Wondra [13]; 16. 38-Jeff Neubert [17]; 17. 21H-TJ Haddy [14]

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 85J-Logan Julien[ 2]; 2. 7-Lance Fassbender [1]; 3. 98-Brandon McMullen [4]; 4. 6K-Kurt Davis [3]; 5. 11-Tony Wondra [5]; 6. 53-Shane Wenninger [6]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 35-Ben Schmidt [4]; 2. 51-Chris Larson [2]; 3. 69-Bill Taylor [1]; 4. 20-Robbie Pribnow [3]; 5. 7R-Devan Myers [6]; 6. 38-Jeff Neubert [5]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 69S-TJ Smith [1]; 2. 4-Alex Pokorski [4]; 3. 63K-Kevin Karnitz [3]; 4. 66T-Tristan Koenings [2]; 5. 21H-TJ Haddy [5]

Qualifying 1: 1. 98-Brandon McMullen, 12.538 [3]; 2. 6K-Kurt Davis, 12.565 [6]; 3. 85J-Logan Julien, 12.576 [2]; 4. 7-Lance Fassbender, 12.846 [5]; 5. 11-Tony Wondra, 12.906 [1]; 6. 53-Shane Wenninger, 12.974 [4]

Qualifying 2: 1. 35-Ben Schmidt, 12.584 [3]; 2. 20-Rob Pribnow, 13.191 [2]; 3. 51-Chris Larson, 13.231 [4]; 4. 69-Bill Taylor, 13.329 [1]; 5. 38-Jeff Neubert, 13.854 [6]; 6. 7R-Devan Myers [5]

Qualifying 3: 1. 4-Alex Pokorski, 12.547 [4]; 2. 63K-Kevin Karnitz, 12.962 [2]; 3. 66T-Tristan Koenings, 13.380 [5]; 4. 69S-TJ Smith, 13.462 [1]; 5. 21H-TJ Haddy, 13.790 [3]



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