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Finney Repeats at WIR in Tisler Salvage Vercauteren Memorial Blue

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Jake Finney

Finney Repeats at WIR in Tisler Salvage Vercauteren Memorial Blue

Matt Panure
Mid American Stock Car Series
August 16, 2008

(Kaukauna, WI) August 16, 2008 – Eddie Hoffman, Bill Prietzel, James Swan, and Peter “Speedy” Hernandez are considered to be Mid-American Stock Car Series royalty. Now Jake Finney is among them as he added his name to the Vercauteren Memorial Trophy Saturday night by topping a fast field in the Tisler Salvage Blue Race at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna, WI. Finney stole the lead from Kenny Smart at the start/finish line on lap 14 and ran away from the field to pick up his second career MASCS feature win at the same venue where he picked up his first this past June.

“It feels unbelievable to pick up the Vercauteren Memorial Trophy,” said Finney, who recognizes Hoffman as his racing hero. “I love coming to Kaukauna. I wish it was on the schedule more than three times a year,” he said.

Finney enjoyed a front row outside starting spot, but needed to scratch and claw to secure the lead in the early laps. He won the drag race to the stripe on lap one only to relinquish the lead on lap two to pole sitter Scott Null. On lap three, with the two racing side by side on the back stretch, Kenny Smart joined the mix by working the outside line. The three-wide pass put Smart to the front and Finney to second.

The two raced furiously from that point until a lap ten caution. As the field came out of turn four the field bunched together. Null spun after receiving contact from the next car in line, James Swan, and both relegated to the tail of the field. Swan recovered and paced his Taurus back to a respectable sixth place finish.

Swan was not the only top point getter to face troubles in the feature. After a lap fourteen restart, Finney and Smart were still side by side. Behind them Bill Prietzel raced door to door with Lyle Nowak as the two waited for the leaders to get in line.

Disaster struck for Nowak and Prietzel when Nowak broke loose entering turn one. His momentum carried him into Prietzel which sent the current point leader sailing toward the outside retaining wall and into the styrofoam softwall. With nowhere to go, fast qualifier Bobby Gutkencht attempted to spin to avoid. His right rear made contact with the left front of Prietzel’s machine. All three were unable to continue.

The caution, however, may have been the ticket which admitted Finney to victory lane. The field went back to the last completed lap and Finney was awarded the lead over Smart. He restarted in the front row all alone while Smart was trapped to the inside of the second row.

It was check out time for Finney as Smart and Kyle Shear battled for second. Shear took the spot on lap 17 but the White Race winner was unable to catch the Red Race winner. “I think I might have had something for [Finney] but the car went away when I got into second,” said Shear,

In fact, Shear tailed off enough in the waning laps for Smart to catch and slide past him in the outside groove on the final lap. “Kyle’s car was starting to get loose and my car was set up for the high groove. We knew that we wanted to run that line and the car worked really well tonight,” Smart commented on sending Shear back to the third spot.

The second place finish for Smart was a career best Mid-American finish. Career best finishes were also recorded by fourth place Tom McClintock and fifth place Troy Shear Jr.

Due to Prietzel’s first DNF of 2008 and top six finishes by Swan and Kyle Shear, the championship point race tightened up significantly. Prietzel’s lead shrunk from 34 to eight over Swan and from 69 to 26 over third place Shear.

That tight Mid-American point battle will make its next stop at the Milwaukee Mile next weekend for the Governor’s Cup. For the first time in several years, points will be awarded at the Mile adding even more excitement to the premier event of the MASCS season. There will be an open practice for Mid-American on Friday with a complete race program on Saturday morning.

For more information, including a preliminary schedule for next weekend’s Governor’s Cup, please visit www.milwaukeemile.com . The Milwaukee Mile is located off Greenfield Avenue in West Allis, WI.

For more information about the Mid-American Series including results, current 2008 standings, the remaining 2008 schedule and driver info please visit www.midamericanracing.com

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