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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Governor's Cup 40, Bobby Gutknecht


Matt Panure
Mid American Stock Car Series
August 25, 2007

(Milwaukee , WI ) August 25 – Bobby Gutknecht has finally found his groove. It had been more than three years since Gutknecht won his last feature when he took the checkered in the Tisler Salvage Blue Race at Wisconsin International Raceway. He would only have to wait four weeks to find victory lane again, this time it was at the historic Milwaukee Mile to take the Governer’s Cup. Gutknecht inherited the lead on lap 36 after an incident between Kyle Shear and Danny Powell and held off Lyle Nowak on the final lap of the shortened event.

“This is the biggest race I’ve ever won (and) in front of my hometown fans and sponsors,” exclaimed an excited Gutknecht in victory lane.

Dave Obermeyer and Jake Finney led the feature field of 33 cars to the start. Finney immediately seized the advantage on the outside line as he rocketed past Obermeyer out of turn two. Obermeyer then felt the heat from Maxwell Schultz and Kevin Lee. A spin on lap three by Brad Joecks which collected Becca Kasten in turn four brought out the race’s first caution.

Finney led on the restart and then opened up a five car length advantage over Obermeyer. The car on the move was Danny Powell who had advanced seven positions to third by lap five. Powell’s charge to the front would be quelled momentarily as a blown axle would cause Tim Schmitt to slam into the inside retaining wall on the front stretch bringing out the second cation on lap six.

The lap six restart saw Powell with an open line on the outside of Finney and Lee. It took Powell only one lap to swipe the lead from Finney on the outside. Though Powell was clearly faster, Finney stayed on his back bumper and the two along with Lee pulled away from the fourth place car of Schultz. An inside move on Schultz by Kyle Shear on lap eleven proved the strength of Shear’s machine as he took the fourth spot and began to reel in the top three. Shear caught the lead trio six laps later and moved around Lee.

As Shear, the leading rookie of the Mid-American Stock Car Series, was tearing his way to the front, Gutknecht and Nowak were slicing their way through the field. Their charges would be halted as a spin in turn two by Ross Zumbach which brought out another caution.

The restart put Kyle Shear on the outside of the second row with Powell alone in the front. On the restart Shear motored past Finney with Gutknecht and Nowak riding his back bumper. Shear used the inside line to pull even with Powell, but Powell was strong enough to stay side by side with Shear and kept his advantage over the rookie. When the next caution flew for a slowing Darren Woelke, Nowak had moved into third and Gutknecht to fourth behind Shear and Powell.

With a clear shot around the outside on the restart, Gutknecht powered into second around Shear and set his sights on Powell. Gutknecht and Powell engaged in an epic battle going side by side for ten laps around the historic mile oval. “It seemed like forever. Danny and I are good friends. I just couldn’t swing up to where I needed to be and he would get the run off the turn,” said Gutknecht.

While the two tussled for the top spot Shear and Nowak raced side by side for third just inches off of the back bumpers of the lead duo. Powell finally found enough bite to hold his outside line and force Gutknecht to tuck back into second. On lap 35 Shear moved to the outside of Gutknecht and pulled even with Powell. As the two raced side by side out of turn two on lap 36 contact was made sending Shear into a spin cycle. Powell was deemed responsible for the incident and was sent to the back with Shear. “Once I saw (Shear) and (Powell) make contact I knew he (Powell) was going to the back and that I just needed to keep Lyle behind me,” said Gutknecht.

Gutknecht then had to deal with his good friend Lyle Nowak on his back bumper. “He’s a good friend and good racer. He’s won sixteen track championships, I haven’t won any,” he stated in reference to Nowak. A single file restart on lap 36 landed Nowak his final opportunity. Gutknecht held strong as Finney provided the only challenge to Nowak.

The race came to a screeching halt as going into turn one, Schultz blew his engine collecting Obermeyer, Powell, Zumbach, Travis Rodewald and James Swan. Due to time constraints and a daunting clean up, track crews decided to throw the checkered flag three laps shy of the scheduled distance.

Nowak settled for runner up spot and Finney took third. “The most I could have hoped for was for him to slip and I would drag race him to the line on the last lap,” said Nowak. And yet, Nowak expressed no disappointment in finishing second to his good friend. “If I would have won I think I would have retired,” Nowak joked, “but now we have to keep going for a while.”

Finney was also ecstatic after his run. “We’ll take a third at Milwaukee , this is our Daytona,” he said. Andrew Kulka finished fourth and Lee rounded out the top five.

The event saw a season high 49 entrants. Fast time was set by Swan and the fifteen lap last chance race was won by Joecks.

The next event for the Mid-American Stock Car Series is scheduled for next Saturday, September 1st at the 141 Speedway in Francis Creek, WI. The event will honor series founder Gary Vercauteren. For more information on the Mid-American Stock Car Series including results, standings, the remaining 2007 schedule and driver information please visit www.midamericanracing.com

Governor’s Cup 40 (shortened to 37 laps)
1. Bobby Gutknecht, Oak Creek , WI ; 2. Lyle Nowak, Wausau , WI ; 3. Jake Finney, Sycamore, IL; 4. Andrew Kulka, Deerfield , WI ; 5. Kevin Lee, Cedar Rapids , IA ; 6. Ryan Finley, Shabbona , IL ; 7. Bill Prietzel, Richfield , WI ; 8. Kenny Smart, Oconomowoc , WI ; 9. Ron Weyer, Richfield , WI ; 10. Don Wood, Maribel , WI ; 11. Jeff Holtz, Muskego , WI ; 12. Justin Neisius, Eagan , MN ; 13. Max Schultz, Reedsville , WI ; 14. Dave Obermeyer, Slinger, WI; 15. Tom McClintock, Onalaska , WI ; 16. Ross Zumbach, Racine , MN ; 17. Kyle Shear, Roscoe , IL ; 18. Travis Rodewald, Manitowoc , WI ; 19. Danny Powell, Polo, IL; 20. James Swan, Genoa City , WI ; 21. Jimmy Becker, Burlington , IL ; 22. Jeremy Spoonmore, Somonauk , IL ; 23. Troy Shear Jr., Roscoe , IL ; 24. Mark Kissinger, West Bend , WI ; 25. Darren Woelke, Bell Plaine , MN ; 26. Scott Null, Lake Mills , WI ; 27. Shawn Upthall, Caledonia , WI ; 28. Tony Habeck, Black Creek , WI ; 29. David Verhagen, Green Bay , WI ; 30. Tim Schmitt, New Berlin , WI ; 31. Becca Kasten, Mequon , WI ; 32. Brad Joecks, Lannon , WI ; 33. Butch Mierendorf, Waterloo , WI

Lap Leaders:
Finney 1-6; Powell 7-35; Gutknecht 36-37

15 Lap Semi-Feature (top 10 transfer)
1. Joecks; 2. Smart; 3. Kissinger; 4. McClintock; 5. Verhagen; 6. Zumbach; 7. Finley; 8. Rodewald; 9. Weyer, 10. Mierendorf; 11. Greg Marks, Maribel; 12. Hank Tews, Batavia , IL ; 13. Dick Behrendt, Ingleside , IL ; 14. Mike Graczkowski, Jackson , WI ; 15. Cliff Adee, Big Lake , MN ; 16. Alan Keppert, West Bend , WI ; 17. Jeremy Tess, East Troy , WI ; 18. Tim Warner, Malone , WI ; 19. Louie Goss, Green Bay , WI ; 20. Andy Casavant, Two Rivers , WI ; 21. Dennis Vinohradsky, West Bend , WI ; 22. Jesse Fuller, Manitowoc , WI ; 23. Scott Lawver, Roscoe, IL; (DNS) Travis Stanley, Prior Lake, MN; Kevin Damrow, Manitowoc, WI
Fast Time: Swan – 32.048 seconds

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