Oshkosh, WI – Give Scott Uttech a track that’s beginning to slick off, and he’ll show you how to harness 900 horsepower, and still get it to the ground. As has been witnessed multiple times over the past couple years when a racing surface begins to require throttle control Uttech has found a way to drive forward. Tonight’s non-stop 30 lap main event showcased Uttech’s proficiency with those conditions.
Uttech became the ninth different winner in IRA Sprint competition this season. This evening Uttech broke a dry spell dating back to the 2008 racing season when he captured the “King of Wisconsin” event at Wilmot Raceway. Tonight’s win at Oshkosh Speedzone was the third career win for the New Berlin, Wisconsin native as he also captured the Frank Filskov Memorial race at the Sheboygan County Fairpark in 2007.
“That was a lot of fun,” exclaimed Uttech with a wide grin in victory lane. “The track was slick, and that usually plays in my favor,” Uttech noted of his performance this evening. Though he had a solid lead at the finish Uttech never felt comfortable leading. “I tried to get away but kept hearing engines behind me, I thought the 5j (Schultz) and 2w (Neitzel) would be breathing down my neck,” he stated. On Saturday Night the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints travels to Uttech’s home track for a showdown with Tony Stewart’s All-Star Circuit of Champions. “This does build my confidence. Tomorrow night we have a lot of guys coming from Ohio it’s going to be a tough field,” Uttech concluded. Uttech’s chief rivals were still nearly a straightaway behind at the checker. Scotty Neitzel already a winner this year having topped an event at Angell Park Speedway went toe to toe with the evening’s fast qualifier Jeremy Schultz who had also win in 2015 taking a victory at Wilmot Raceway. “I don’t think we had anything for him without a yellow,” Neitzel stated after finishing with runner-up honors. “But with a yellow anything can happen. We had a pretty good car at the end,” Neitzel noted. Neitzel had come from behind the invert, which made it a bigger challenge to reach the front. “We gave up some track position, I just made too many mistakes throughout the course of the night,” Neitzel noted on the extra effort it took to get in contention for the win. “I want to thank the fans for coming out and congratulations to Mr. Uttech,” Neitzel concluded.
Fast qualifier Jeremy Schultz challenged Neitzel for the second spot in the closing laps but ultimately had to settle for third. Still if was a solid performance for Schultz who had earned fast time and took second in his heat race. The 30 lap A-main saluted the fans four wide before getting down to business. Disaster was narrowly averted when polesitter Mike Reinke clipped a tire coming for the opening green flag. His car veered a crossed traffic and the field expertly avoided his errant ride. Those several cars made minor contact everyone continued and Reinke was able to rejoin the field from the tail after his crew made repairs. When action got underway series point leader Ben Schmidt and Jason Johnson squared off. The duo ran wing-to-wing tossing the lead back and forth before Schmidt finally secured the position. Johnson continued to hound Schmidt throughout the opening circuits while Uttech started to march forward reaching third with Neitzel not far behind him. On lap seven Uttech worked past Johnson and soon ran down Schmidt. Hugging the low line Uttech managed to claw his way ahead of Schmidt on lap nine. Once out front Uttech began to steadily pull away. Johnson continued to pressure Schmidt for the second spot until getting trapped behind lapped cars and he in turn lost third to Neitzel on lap 11. Johnson had his night go awry moments later after a near tangle with a lapped car resulted in a spin into the infield ending his night. By the hallway point of the contest Uttech was quickly dispatching lapped cars while extending his lead. Schmidt held fast to the second spot until Neitzel sailed past on lap 19. Schmidt soon began to lose forward bite giving up third to Schultz two laps later. Schultz had made an impressive charge through the past after having fallen back as far as 12th during the opening rounds. He managed to get under Neitzel on a couple occasions just after lap 20, but Neitzel was able to rally and soon opened up a gap on Schultz.
Uttech began to have a more difficult time with lapped cars in the closing laps allowing Neitzel to close within a dozen car lengths as the final five laps were reached. Neitzel was unable to make any further gains however and Uttech took the win in convincing fashion. Neitzel was second still 10 car lengths behind at the finish. Schultz earned the final podium spot another four car lengths behind. Tyler Thomas of Collinsville, Oklahoma drove the Hans Lein owend #2 machine typically piloted by seven-time series champion Bill Balog. Thomas, who competes in ASCS Sprints out west and in POWRi Midgets adapted quickly to the 410 machine earning a solid fourth place performance. Title contenders Schmidt and Bill Rose did battle over the final circuits for position with Rose gaining the upper hand to take the final top five spot. Schmidt faded on the final lap falling to seventh behind Scotty Theil. Dave Uttech and Blake Nimee finished eighth and ninth respectively. Tenth went to Reinke who rebounded from his first lap incident with a tenth place run. Rookie of the Year contender Josh Walter was the last car on the lead lap in 14th, he was also the highest finishing rookie. 22 of the 24 starters were still on the track at the finish. Earlier in the program Steve Meyer outdistanced the field to capture the B-main. Scott Biertzer, Dennis Spitz and Michael Decker also transferred. Russel Borland finished fifth and was first alternate for the main event. Heat race victories went to Scott Uttech, Schmidt, Neitzel and Todd Daun. Schultz was the evening’s fast qualifier with a lap of 14.349 seconds.
Nick Alden was second quick with a lap of 14.474 seconds and Thomas was third fast with a 14.673 second effort. Tomorrow night the best of the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints will take on the top drivers from the UNOH All-Star Circuit of Champions in a showdown at Wilmot Raceway. All-Star series regulars such as Dale Blaney, Cody Darrah, Chad Kemenah, Greg Wilson, Sheldon Haudenschild, Parker Price Miller, Tim Shaffer, Danny Holtgraver, Ryan Smith and Caleb Helms will be on hand. Toss in the best of the Bumper to Bumper IRA Sprints and several of Wilmot Raceway’s own hometown heroes and a field approaching 40 cars will be in attendance for the showdown. For more information on the IRA Outlaw Sprints check out the tour website at www.irasprints.com or by logging onto the series Facebook page at www.facebook.com/irasprints the series is also on twitter at #IRA_sprints.
The IRA Sprints are presented by its long time supporting series partners. The series support is led by title sponsor Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts & Service Centers, and associate series partners Osborn & Son Trucking, TW Metals, Hoosier Tire, Cedar Creek Motorsports, Cummins Onan, and Carriage Auto Body. 2015 Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints
7/25/2015 Wilmot Raceway – Wilmot, WI
7/31/2015 Langlande County Speedway – Antigo, WI
8/1/2015 Sheboygan County Fairgrounds – Plymouth, WI
8/2/2015 Seymour Speedway – Seymour, WI