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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  James Swan


Keith Vercauteren
Mid American Stock Car Series
August 19, 2006

(Kaukauna, WI) August 19, 2006 – In a race run in memory of series founder Gary Vercauteren, current point leader and former series champion James Swan from Lake Geneva, WI emerged victorious in the 35-lap Mid-American Stock Car Series feature at Wisconsin International Raceway Saturday night. A mechanical failure in the car of early leader and fast qualifier Bill Prietzel from Richfield, WI handed Swan the lead on lap 23 of the race, which was the Blue Race of the 35th Annual Red, White and Blue State Championships.

George Schultz from Bristol, WI jumped in front of pole sitter Andrew Kulka of Deerfield, WI to take the lead on the opening lap. Kulka slowed slightly as the pack roared out of the fourth turn, with the faster cars of Prietzel, Bobby Gutknecht of Oak Creek, WI and Lyle Nowak of Wausau, WI bunching up behind him and going three-wide as the cars headed down the front straightaway. On the second lap, the yellow flag dropped when the hood flew off the car driven by Brett Bauer of Kimberly, WI on the backstretch.

When the green flag flew again, Schultz continued to set the pace followed by Prietzel, Swan and Nowak. Prietzel put the pressure on Schultz for the lead, looking to the outside groove on lap 5. Staying on the high side, Prietzel shot by Schultz as they headed into turn three on lap 6. By lap 10, Prietzel held a four-car length lead over Schultz, Swan, Nowak and Gutknecht.

As the leaders began encountering lapped traffic on lap 13, Swan began a battle with Schultz for second place. Swan nearly got the job done when Bauer and Mark Kissinger of West Bend, WI both looped their cars coming out of turn three on lap 20, bringing out the caution. On the restart, Swan wasted no time in getting past Schultz and set his sights on Prietzel, who continued to maintain a healthy lead.

Looking to cruise to victory lane, Prietzel instead experienced heartache as mechanical issues caused his car to slow dramatically exiting turn four on lap 23. Prietzel, the three-time and defending series champion, retired to the pits as Swan inherited the lead. Meanwhile, the battle for second heated up as Gutknecht began looking for a way around Schultz. Scott Null of Lake Mills, WI spun in turn one on lap 24, slowing the action.

Gutknecht pulled to the high side of Schultz on the restart to take away the second position on the restart. Schultz didn’t give up easily, however, and stayed glued to Gutknecht’s bumper. On lap 28, Schultz attempted to reclaim the position by diving inside Gutknecht in turn 2, but the two cars collided which sent Gutknecht spinning and the caution flag flying. Due to a contact rule, both cars were sent to the back of the pack for the restart.

Swan then drove smoothly to the finish to pick up his second series win in a row, followed by Nowak, Ron Weyer of Richfield, WI, and Jeff Tisler of Reedsville, WI. Gutknecht and Null both battled back from their earlier spins to finish fifth and sixth respectively. With the win, Swan was able to claim the overall Red, White and Blue points title and padded his Mid-American Stock Car Series points lead.

After the race, Swan was presented with the Vercauteren Memorial Traveling Trophy by members of the Vercauteren family in honor of series founder Gary Vercauteren, who passed away suddenly in October of 2005. The trophy will be presented annually to the winner of the event.

8-lap heat races were won by Bauer and Swan. Prietzel toured the half-mile, D-shaped oval in 20.934 seconds to set fast time.

The next event for the Mid-American Stock Car Series will be a big one as the series heads to the Milwaukee Mile for the Governor’s Cup Weekend. A 40-lap feature is planned for Saturday, August 26th and a 16 car, 16 lap $2,000-to-win “Dash For Cash” is scheduled for Sunday, August 27th. For more information, visit the series website at www.midamericanracing.com.

35-lap feature: 1. James Swan, Lake Geneva, WI 2. Lyle Nowak, Wausau, WI 3. Ron Weyer, Richfield, WI 4. Jeff Tisler, Reedsville, WI 5. Bobby Gutknecht, Oak Creek, WI 6. Scott Null, Lake Mills, WI 7. Mark Kissinger, West Bend, WI 8. Tim Schmitt, Muskego, WI 9. George Schultz, Bristol, WI 10. Travis Rodewald, Manitowoc, WI 11. David Verhagen, Green Bay, WI 12. Joe Kerkhoff, Greenleaf, WI 13. Jim Thorson, Sugar Grove, IL 14. Andrew Kulka, Deerfield, WI 15. Brett Bauer, Kimberly, WI 16. Bill Prietzel, Richfield, WI 17. Tony Habeck, Black Creek, WI 18. Andy Casavant, Two Rivers, WI 19. Greg Marks, Maribel, WI 20. Jake Finney, Sycamore, IL

8-lap heats: First: 1. Bauer 2.Gutknecht 3. Kerkhoff 4. Null 5. Tisler 6. Schultz 7. Marks 8. Kissinger 9. Verhagen 10. Prietzel
Second: 1. Swan 2. Nowak 3. Rodewald 4. Weyer 5. Thorson 6. Kulka 7. Schmitt 8. Casavant 9. Habeck

Fast time: Preitzel (20.934)

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