Jim Melis of Glenbeulah earned his 17th career Plymouth Dirt Track Racing 360 Sprint Car A-main victory

 

The front row of the PDTR 360 Sprint Car A main featured one of the most experienced drivers in the pit area, 38-year veteran Jim Melis, on the pole and teenage rookie Jack Vanderboon of Dousman on the outside of the front row.

The race got off to a rough start when Josh Teunissen of Waldo spun in turn two on the opening lap, which collected Bill Taylor of Boltonville, Ben Schmidt of Howards Grove and Chris Clayton of Waldo to bring out a red flag. Of the four cars that were involved in the incident, only Clayton was unable to continue in the race after turning his car over on its side.

After a complete restart, Melis and Vanderboom dueled side by side throughout the opening lap before Melis used the high groove to inch ahead of the young rookie to lead the opening lap.

Melis, who notched a Midwest Sprint Car Association victory at the Dodge County Fairgrounds in Beaver Dam on July 3, continued to ride the cushion in the early stages of the race, while Vanderboom stayed glued to the inside lane to stay within striking distance. On lap 12, Melis began to encounter some heavy lapped traffic, which allowed Vanderboom to close the gap considerably.

On lap 13, 2018 PDTR 360 Sprint Car champion Justin Miller of Plymouth, who started eighth, moved in to pressure third starter Will Gerrits of Waupun for third. On the next lap, Miller powered past Gerrit into third.

Meanwhile, Vanderboom was giving Melis all he could handle at the front of the field as he pulled in to challenge for the lead on lap 15. One lap later, Vanderboom ducked low to seize the top spot from Melis in turn four. Miller then surged underneath Melis to gain second place and mounted a brief challenge for the lead on lap 16 before the second and final caution flag of the race was displayed on lap 17 when rookie Tyler Davis South Milwaukee spun exiting turn four.

Following the restart, Melis and Vanderboom continued to wage war for the lead, as Melis pounded the cushion harder and harder teach lap before regaining the top spot for good in turn in on lap 21.

Vanderboom refused to back down in the closing laps as he stayed within reach along the low groove. However, Melis was not to be denied as he held off the talented rookie to secure his 16th career PDTR 360 Sprint Car A-main victory and 21st overall Midwest Sprint Car Association main event triumph of his career.

Vanderboom posted a career-best runner-up showing, Miller finished third, 2017 PDTR 360 Sprint Car champion Brandon McMullen of Oshkosh finished fourth after starting 13th and Gerrits rounded out the top five.

 

HEAT 1

1, Kurt Davis 2, Shane Wenninger 3, Jim Melis 4, Ben Schmidt 5, Travis Arenz 6, Brandon Berth 7, Scott Conger 8, Sean Rayhall.

HEAT 2

1, Justin Miller 2, Will Gerrits 3, Adam Miller 5, Anthony Knierim 6, Doug Wondra 7, Justin Erickson.

HEAT 3

1, Tyler Brabant 2, Josh Teunissen 3, Jack Vanderboom 4, Chris Clayton 5, Tim Haddy 6, Preston Ruh 7, Tyler Nelson.

HEAT 4

1, Tyler Davis 2, Paul Pokorski 3, Kevin Karnitz 4, Brandon McMullen 5, Bill Taylor 6, Blake Wondra 7, Tony Wondra (DNS).

B MAIN

1, Anthony Knierim 2, Lance Fassbender 3, Justin Erickson 4, Tim Haddy 5, Bill Taylor 6, Tony Wondra 7, Doug Wondra 8, Scott Conger 9, Brandon Berth 10, Tyler Nelson 11, Blake Wondra 12, Preston Ruh 13, Sean Rayhall.

A MAIN

1, Jim Melis 2, Jack Vanderboom 3, Justin Miller 4, Brandon McMullen 5, Will Gerrits 6, Kurt Davis 7, Kevin Karnitz 8, Paul Pokorski 9, Lance Fassbender 10, Ben Schmidt 11, Travis Arenz 12, Adam Miller 13, Shane Wenninger 14, Justin Erickson 15, Tim Haddy 16, Bill Taylor 17, Anthony Knierim 18, Tony Wondra 19, Tyler Brabant 20, Tyler Davis 21, Josh Teunissen 22, Chris Clayton.

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