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THE TOP 10 SUB-PLOTS OF 2009 (PART 2)

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing

THE TOP 10 SUB-PLOTS OF 2009 (PART 2)

Matt Panure
Mid American Stock Car Series
November 19, 2009


FORT ATKINSON, Wis. (November 19, 2009) – This week the Mid-American Stock Car Series presents moments seven through five of the top ten sub-plots of 2009.

7. MASCS alumni shine in returns

Several former Mid-American standouts made cameo appearances during the 2009 season. Wisconsin International Raceway Red, White and Blue state champion Gregg Haese, two-time Marshfield Motor Speedway late model champion Eugene Gregorich Jr. and four-time MASCS champion James Swan all made brief return appearances.

Haese, the 1998 MASCS Rookie of the Year, made his return at the track where he began his asphalt career, 141 Speedway. The three-time champion of the Mid-American division at the speedway and proved early in the event that he remembered the quick way around the quarter-mile.

After qualifying seventh, Haese dashed to an early lead. He pulled away from the competition and went on to win his second Vercauteren Memorial, the first of which came at WIR in 1999. He became the first Vercauteren Memorial champion to secure the trophy at two different venues.

With the bar set high by Haese, Gregorich, who also began his asphalt career in the Mid-American division at 141, took his turn by subbing for Matt Pyburn. The Split 50 at Madison International Speedway and the Dells Duel Part III gave the youngest feature winner in MASCS history a chance to return to victory lane.

Gregorich struggled in the early portions of the Split 50 at Madison, failing to qualify for the feature. He was able to transfer into the main, but Gregorich and the Pyburn racing team were unable to return the following day after the feature was postponed due to rain.

The Dells Duel Part III gave Gregorich a chance at redemption. A chance he took full advantage of. Gregorich qualified fifth and made a late race chare into the top four.

After seeing two successful returning alumni, Swan, a more recent graduate of Mid-American took his chance to mix it up with his former foes. Swan was scheduled to return at Madison but was forced to wait until Oktoberfest due to the cancellation at MIS.

Running in the top five in the late stages of the race, it seemed as though Swan was poised for a second consecutive Oktoberfest win. The story changed however, when Swan lost the tail end of the Brian Holtz owned Ford Taurus. Fighting downforce issues for the remaining laps, Swan fell back into traffic and was caught up in a late race five-car incident.

6. Prietzel survives Norway qualifying scare

Oktoberfest turned out to be a forgettable event also for the driver Swan had battled his last two MASCS crowns. Bill Prietzel rode a consistent season including a hard-earned win at Hawkeye Downs to a slim point lead at La Crosse.

The story could have been different after a late-June event in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

As he exited turn four for his second qualifying lap at Norway Speedway, Prietzel ran out of space and found his right side tires in the dust outlining the third-mile. Prietzel skated sideways and had his right rear directed at the flag stand. Unable to control his racer, Prietzel smashed the soft wall guarding the concrete barrier which protects the flag stand at Norway.

Those on hand held their breath after a hard hit by the three-time MASCS champion. After a sigh of relief knowing that Prietzel was not harmed, the crowd’s collective attention shifted focus as to whether or not Prietzel would be able to race, especially after a fourth-place qualifying time on his first lap.

Prietzel surprisingly drove back to the pit area. He, his team and several other teams (including rival Paul Neisius’ crew) went to work to ensure the Monte Carlo could compete in the 40-lap main event.

The damage was mostly cosmetic and Prietzel was able to put forth a competitive effort. So competitive, in fact, he made several late challenges to eventual winner Lyle Nowak and settled for a second place finish. He then went on to secure four top fives in the remaining seven races, giving him a shot at yet another title.

5. Spoonmore caps incredible streak of top 5s at Fest

Prietzel’s consistency in 2009 was topped by only one driver, Jeremy Spoonmore. That consistency looked in jeopardy, however, at Oktoberfest when Spoonmore suffered a flat tire and was forced to the pit area. He also dodged a late race wreck and recovered and secured a top five late in the 40-lap feature.

While racing from the back to the front with more than half the race already in the books was a feat in itself, it is only a small part of Spoonmore’s body of work in 2009. Spoonmore rejoined Mid-American halfway through the season and raced his way to six top fives in six starts.

The streak began with a fourth place finish at Dells Racway Park in July and included a second place at Hawkeye Downs and a fifth place finish at DRP in September.

Along the way, Spoonmore also snatched two wins. Spoonmore was the overall winner of the Split 50 at Madison with a win in the first segment and second-place finish in the second segment. He also dominated the National Short Track championships for the second year in a row at Rockford Speedway. His average finish of 2.83 was best of any MASCS competitor who made more than one start in 2009.

Sub-plots four through two will be released next week.

For more information about the Mid-American Stock Car Series, including results, the final 2009 standings, and driver information please visit www.midamericanracing.com

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