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Prietzel Survives Sweltering 'Return to Rapids'

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Bill Prietzel

Prietzel Survives Sweltering 'Return to Rapids'

Matt Panure
Mid American Stock Car Series
August 8, 2009


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (August 8, 2009) – With heat indices topping the 100 degree mark at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the look on Bill Preitzel’s face in victory lane said it all. A fatigued Prietzel, who won for the first time in his stock car at Hawkeye Downs, slowly climbed from his victorious mount and solemnly posed for pictures after winning the Mid-American Stock Car Series’ “Return to Rapids.”

“For me it was tough,” said the three-time MASCS champion. Prietzel then recalled his trip to Cedar Rapids in 2003 when he ran three features between his MASCS car and his Midwest Super Truck. “It was 90 degrees that day, but I still didn’t feel like this.”

The winning move was performed by Prietzel on lap 26. After a lap 22 restart, in which Prietzel utilized the outside line to swipe the second spot from Jeremy Spoonmore, Justin Neisius’ race-long lead was soon in danger.

The leading rookie contender of Mid-American gave a valiant effort to hold off the current point leader, but Prietzel worked the inside line to perfection and did not look back after wrestling the lead away from Neisius exiting turn two.

All the while, Prietzel and the other Mid-American Stock Car Series competitors literally had to sweat out 40 laps of caution-plagued competition.

The first caution took its toll on the afternoon’s fastest qualifier. Louie Goss entered a spin cycle entering turn one to slow the field. As the cars began to speed up for the lap five restart, Brian Back fell off the pace. When he revealed the right side of his car to the crowd, the rear tire was flat. Back pulled into the infield and saved a caution, but ended his day with a 23rd place finish.

Goss later lost control of his ride and slid heavily into the soft wall suffering damage to the right side of his machine. He was awarded the Wehrs Machine Hard Luck Award.

The final of five cautions set up a 13-lap showdown after Hawkeye local Mike Weber tangled with Jake Finney entering turn one. With no space to evade the scrum, three others were involved. Fellow Hawkeye locals Kevin Franks and Travis Thompson along with Nick Crawford sustained enough damage to end their afternoons.

In all, it was a tough day for the Hawkeye regulars. Current point leader Dave McCalla struggled to a 19th place finish while trying to wheel an ill-handling race car. Weber recorded the best finish amongst them by placing 14th.

With the amount of heat and excess time in the race car due to caution laps, MASCS officials paused during the lap 27 cleanup to bring water to the competitors on the track. Although the event was taxing, and the attrition rate high, 12 MASCS competitors finished on the lead lap.

However, due to heat exhaustion, several drivers were forced to an early retirement in the feature event. No serious symptoms were reported, and all drivers were able to leave Hawkeye Downs on their own terms.

As for Prietzel, he heard all he needed to keep inspired in the waning laps. “The lady in my ear told me to keep going,” said Prietzel in reference to his wife Jan who also serves as his spotter and crew chief.

After the green flag was dropped on the final restart, Prietzel dashed out ahead of the field and won by a margin of 0.864 seconds over Jeremy Spoonmore. Justin Neisius held on to a podium finish, Kyle Shear recorded his best finish of the season in fourth and Troy Shear, Jr. recovered from an earlier altercation to round out the top five.

The next event for the Mid-American Stock Car Series is scheduled on Saturday, August 29 at Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wis. Mid-American will run a 50-lap feature in conjunction with twin 50-lap features for the Madison Late Models with special guest Matt Kenseth.

Madison International Speedway is located a half mile off of WI Hwy 138 on Sunrise Rd in Oregon, WI. For more information visit www.madisoninternationalspeedway.com

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

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