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DAMROW GRABS 1ST MID-AM VICTORY IN VERCAUTEREN MEMORIAL

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Kevin Damrow, Vercauteren Memorial

DAMROW GRABS 1ST MID-AM VICTORY IN VERCAUTEREN MEMORIAL

Matt Panure
Mid American Stock Car Series
September 1, 2007


(Francis Creek, WI), September 1 -- On a night that honored series founder Gary Vercauteren, who was also instrumental in helping refurbish the 141 Speedway, Kevin Damrow secured his first Mid-American Stock Car Series victory. It was a fitting tribute as Damrow began his Mid-American career at 141 and became a full time driver of the series this season. “The whole family was here. It was nice to show off in front of them and get a win finally,” exclaimed Damrow. Although he led every lap from the pole position, his victory was not easy. Defending series champion James Swan harassed Damrow each and every lap of the shortened event but was unable to make a move around the first time winner.

The inside line was the preferred way around the 141 Speedway on Saturday night. Honorary starter John Vercauteren threw the green flag and Damrow took the jump from the pole position. Ryan Manthei took advantage of the inside line to follow Damrow into second. A lap two spin by Don Wood brought out the first caution of the race event. On the restart Swan tucked in line behind Manthei and darted around him on the inside line to secure second.

The second caution came after a bottle up involving two of the top Mid-American point getters. Bill Prietzel, who started ninth, swept around Bobby Gutknecht into the fourth spot using the inside line on lap 7. Gutknecht tried to tuck back in line in front of Travis Groelle but was not clear. The contact sent Gutknecht spinning and the two cars were placed at the tail end of the field for the restart.

Photos of this event have been posted.

On lap 17, the wildest caution of the race occurred when Travis Rodewald had the rear of his machine snap loose. Rodewald went off of turn two and into the tire barrier which caused him to roll one and a quarter times. Rodewald’s car ended its tumbling act on the driver’s side door. He was unharmed but went off on the hook for the second straight week after a hard impact at the Milwaukee Mile last Saturday.

When the green flag flew for the lap 17 restart, the show had been stolen by the top three cars. The green stayed out for only five laps but it was clear that the top three of Damrow, Swan and Prietzel would be the three cars in contention as they broke away from the fourth place driver and night’s quickest qualifier Jimbo Schleis. Prietzel stayed even with Swan on the outside for a lap an a half after the restart but was forced to file back in third. Schleis was busy holding off the challenges of Brett Piontek who was one of the few drivers trying to work to the front using the outside line.

The caution flew once again on lap 22 as Gutknecht was caught up in his second incident, this time Mike Oswald was the other driver involved. It was a tough night for the point leader after two consecutive wins. Gutknecht, who entered the event with an eleven point lead over both Swan and Prietzel finished eleventh after his two incidents.

With time winding down in the event Swan showed that he had a faster machine by nosing under Damrow several times. Prietzel settled back in third after restarting on the outside and watched the battle rage on in front of him. Again the run would be short lived as another caution came out on lap 31 as Jeff Tisler and Oswald tangled just out of turn four. Tisler recovered well and worked his way back up to the sixth spot by the end of the race.

Swan again had to deal with Prietzel on the outside of him on the restart. Prietzel could not find the grip to make a pass on Swan for the third consecutive restart and again Swan went to work on Damrow. Damrow ran his line to perfection and slammed the door on Swan several times as the two raced down the tiny straightaways and into the tight turns. “It was pretty nerve racking,” said Damrow of the defending champion in his mirror. “He was all over me and racing me clean. Hopefully I do the same for him in the future,” he added.

For the second straight race a battle between the leaders was cut short as the speedway reached its curfew. A wreck on lap 39 which involved Prietzel and Schleis, which sent Prietzel into the front stretch wall, ended the race eleven laps shy of its scheduled distance.

The cautions and shortened race were unfortunate breaks for Swan. “I definitely had something for Kevin. I think his car was getting worse (on the long runs) and mine was getting better,” said Swan. “I was trying to get under him. He’s been good to me and I didn’t want to shove him out of the way. I wanted to show him the same respect he’s shown me.”

The second place effort was the fourth time in 2007 that Swan was the runner-up. “If we don’t wreck or blow up we finish second,” explained Swan. “I can’t complain. I’m still happy to be here at the race track and with my friends in the Mid-Am series,” he added.

A short break is in order for the Mid-American Stock Car Series before the three week run to end the 2007 season. The next event is scheduled for Saturday, September 22nd at the Marshfield Super Speedway for the Faith Spa and Billiards Fall 40. Following Marshfield the series will make its final two regular season stops at Rockford Speedway on September 30th and the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway on October 6th. An exhibition race at Road America in collaboration with the annual Cancer Run will mark the end of the Mid-American Stock Car Series season on Saturday, October 27th. For more information about the Mid-American Stock Car Series including results, standings, the remaining 2007 schedule and driver info visit www.midamericanracing.com.

Wed, 9-5-07****A correction was made to the official finish of the Vercauteren Memorial at the 141 Speedway on September 1st. An incident which involved Jimbo Schleis and Bill Prietzel brought out a yellow flag after curfew had passed and the checkered was thrown.

According to Mid-American Stock Car Series Policies and Procedures Rule II.B -- "If the event is ended by a red flag before the advertised distance is completed the positions will be paid and points given according to the order the cars would have been restarted." Therefore Prietzel and Schleis were placed at the tail end of the lead lap.****

OFFICIAL FINISH

Vercauteren Memorial Feature
1. Kevin Damrow, Manitowoc, WI; 2. James Swan, Genoa City, WI; 3. Kyle Shear, Roscoe, IL; 4. Jeff Tisler, Reedsville, WI; 5. Jeremy Spoonmore, Somonauk, IL; 6. Lyle Nowak, Wausau, WI; 7. Jake Finney, Sycamore, IL; 8. Travis Groelle, Manitowoc, WI; 9. Bobby Gutknecht, Oak Creek, WI; 10. Ryan Manthei, Maribel, WI; 11. Bill Prietzel, Richfield, WI; 12. Jimbo Schleis, Manitowoc, WI; 13. Monte Strouf, Menchalville, WI; 14. Mike Oswald, Manitowoc, WI; 15. Brett Piontek, Green Bay, WI; 16. Travis Rodewald, Manitowoc, WI; 17. Randy Rahn, Forest Junction, WI; 18. Crystal Koenig, Mischicot, WI; 19. Don Wood, Maribel, WI

15 lap Semi-Feature
1. Rahn (transfer); 2. Rodewald (transfer); 3. Oswald (transfer); 4. Josh Sand, Mischicot, WI; 5. Andy Casavant, Two Rivers, WI; 6. Tom Melichar, Mischicot, WI; 7. Andrew Kulka, Deerfield, WI; 8. Danny Powell, Polo, IL; 9. Dennis Rabas, Maribel, WI; 10. Dave Obermeyer, Slinger, WI; 11. Scott Null, Lake Mills, WI; 12. Troy Shear, Jr., Roscoe, IL; 13. Dave Marshall, Plymouth, WI; 14. Tony Habeck, Black Creek, WI; 15. Jesse Fuller, Cato, WI; DNS - Jimmy Wilson, Appleton, WI

10 Lap Heats
Heat 1: Oswald; Rahn; Null
Heat 2: Wood; Rabas; Powell
Heat 3: Tisler; Melichar; Spoonmore
Heat 4: Casavant; Nowak; Koenig

Fast Time: Schleis - 12.382 seconds

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