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MID-AMERICAN 2007 SEASON REWIND

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing

MID-AMERICAN 2007 SEASON REWIND

Matt Panure
Mid American Stock Car Series
December 20, 2007


(Fort Atkinson, WI) December 20 -- The fifteenth campaign of the Mid-American Stock Car Series was perhaps the most competitive of any. In the twelve events of 2007, the series saw ten different winners, including three first time winners. Of the 88 drivers who entered a Mid-American event, 24 drivers recorded a top five and 33 recorded a top ten finish. At several points during the season, the top four drivers in Mid-American points were separated by less than 50 markers.

The 2007 season kicked off at the Rockford Speedway in Love’s Park, IL where Dave Obermeyer held off the charges of defending Mid-American champion James Swan to pick up his first ever feature win. It was the only time Obermeyer reached victory lane in the feature, but he ended the season winning the most heat races, with four wins. A pattern arose from Swan’s second place finish as well, as he ended the 2007 season with four second place finishes in feature events.

The second event of the season saw a classic duel between two drivers who have had their share of time in the limelight of Midwestern stock car racing in Bill Prietzel and Lyle Nowak. Nowak’s left front tire began to lose air pressure with just a few laps remaining at the Golden Sand Speedway and Prietzel closed in to give a last lap challenge. However, Nowak held on to win in front of his hometown crowd. That event proved to be Nowak’s only victory of the 2007 season, but with five top fives and ten top tens, Nowak ended the season fifth in Series standings.

Prietzel improved on his second place finish a little over a month later at the Wisconsin International Raceway with a win the Red Race. He and Jeremy Spoonmoore battled their way to the front, but in the end Spoonmoore could not muster a challenge to Prietzel.

Spoonmoore followed in Prietzel’s footsteps in more ways than one as he also improved on his second place finish to take the feature win at the Madison International Speedway. It looked as though Swan was on his way to a clean sweep of that event as he had taken the lead halfway through the forty lap event. However, Swan, who had suffered engine problems in three consecutive races, blew his engine again and backed into the turn three wall. With the win Spoonmoore found himself atop the standings and Swan had fallen back to fourth.

With a new point leader, the Mid-American Stock Car Series headed to a new destination at the Dells Raceway Park. Appropriately, a first time winner was crowned at DRP in eventual Mid-American rookie of the year Kyle Shear. Shear, as Obermeyer did at Rockford, had to fend off the advances of Swan. Though his second place finish brought him closer to the points lead, the consistency of long time Mid-American veteran Bobby Gutknecht placed him atop the Mid-American standings. Prietzel was two points behind, Swan five behind, and Spoonmoore with a seventh place finish fell to fourth, eight points back.

Gutknecht stretched out his point lead as he won the next event at WIR in the White Race. Earlier in the race day, Swan again experienced engine problems and it looked as though he was ready to load up and head back to Genoa City with what would have been a detrimental blow to his chances to defend the Mid-American Stock Car Series championship. However, as Mid-American competitors tend to do, several drivers huddled around Swan’s machine trying to get the Hankscraft Chevy Impala on the track at WIR. One of those drivers was Gutknecht. Swan qualified for the event and made a late charge to the front, almost taking the win away from Gutknecht. With his third second place finish, Swan stayed in the hunt for the Mid-American championship heading into the mid-season break.

Gutknecht became the first repeat winner of the Mid-American season when he took home the non-points event at the Milwaukee Mile. The event, easily the most competitive of the year, saw drivers jockeying for position in the top five, with side by side battles for the lead lap after lap. When Danny Powell and K. Shear tangled coming out of turn two with only four laps remaining, Gutknecht maneuvered around the spinning Shear to claim the lead. He would have to hold off one last advance of his good friend Lyle Nowak until a caution on the lap after the restart cut the event short.

The second half of the season began in the same manner as the first when Kevin Damrow picked up his first ever Mid-American win over Swan in the Vercauteren Memorial at the 141 Speedway. Although Swan remained winless and frustrated, he took the point lead back as Gutknecht and Prietzel were involved in on-track incidents. The race at 141 was the beginning of a run of bad luck for Gutknecht who ended the season fourth in Mid-American standings behind Spoonmoore.

Swan began to cement his place atop the standings a few weeks later when Mid-American made its first ever trip to the Marshfield Super Speedway. Swan held off and upstart Brett Piontek and 2002 Series champion Rod Brewe. Nowak, who was heavily favored as he was the only driver with appreciable experience at Marshfield, won his heat race in dominating fashion but could only work his way up to fourth in the feature event.

The final two points events at Rockford and the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway were won by visiting Mid-American drivers. Kenny Joosten dominated the National Short Track Championships at Rockford while Doug Brown picked up his second consecutive Oktoberfest win at La Crosse a week later. With finishes of fourth and seventh place in the final two events, Swan locked up his second straight championship over Prietzel. Swan joined Prietzel and Eddie Hoffman as the only drivers to win three championships.

The season ended with a return trip to Road America in the first ever “Fight For the Cure Fall Classic.” Mid-American opened the rules to allow several vintage racing series to join in on the fun at Road America. The event was won by Swan who was relieved that he had recorded two wins in his championship season instead of only one.

The Mid-American Stock Car Series would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year. The 2007 season’s awards banquet will be held on Saturday, January 19, 2008 at the Wintergreen Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI. For more information please visit our contact page at www.midamericanracing.com.

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