By Jeffrey Sachse
August 19, 2012; LaSalle, IL – The Bill Waite Jr., Memorial program at LaSalle Speedway was a true festival of speed as the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints made their annual appearance at the high banked quarter-mile oval. Fans in attendance not only witnessed the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints blistering the track in under 11 seconds per lap, but they also had a chance to feel the speed first hand as former World of Outlaws star Jack Hewitt was at the show with his 2-seat Sprint Car giving rides to lucky fans.
For defending event champion Bill Balog his chances to repeat seemed to suffer a setback early on has an oil fire erupted in his machine during hot laps. After being pushed to the pit area his crew was able to make repairs to his ride and he was able to continue the night without further incident.
In the main event Balog would work past All-Star Circuit of Champions regular Danny Smith and show the way to the checkered flag earning his 12th victory of the 2012 season and successfully defending the Bill Waite Jr. Memorial title. Smith who had lead the first 20 laps of the 30 lap contest would settle for second four car lengths behind the high flying Balog. Mike Reinke made a late race charge up to the third position pressuring Smith in the closing laps coming up just short with a third place performance.
With weather threatening in the area official at LaSalle Speedway clicked off a fast paced program which would see the final checkered flag fall just after 9:30pm.
The Bumper to Bumper IRA Sprints would highlight the evenings show with a 30-lap A-main contest. 22 starters would accept the green flag on the racy bullring where real estate was at a premium for the drivers of the 900 horsepower machines. Only three cautions for minor incidents would slow the event.
Bill Warren would sit on the pole for the feature event as Smith lined up to his outside. Ben Wagoner a top competitor on the Midwest Open Wheeled Association tour and Ian Madsen who calls Australia his home country and a top competitor at Knoxville Raceway making up the second row.
At the drop of the green flag Smith, who recently won the Midwest Open Wheel Association Sprint Week title, would blast into the lead leaving the field in his wake. Madsen would work into the third spot, while Balog charged from his third row starting spot into fourth before the first caution appeared on lap three when Jim Moughan came to a stop against the wall in turn four.
The race resumed with Smith again showing the way while Warren gave chase. Third place was the focus of attention as Balog swept past Madsen to secure the position on lap five. The second caution of the contest would appear on lap six when Jordan Goldsberry looped his ride in turn four.
Underway again Smith set the pace with Balog getting the jump on Warren to advance into the second spot. Warren would drop another position on lap seven when Madsen found room to his inside to complete a pass for third.
The final caution of the show would appear on lap eight when Robbie Pribnow, leading rookie contender in the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series spun in turn four on the eighth circuit.
It would be the final slowdown of the event as the final 22 laps would click off without further incident.
Smith would get a good jump at the drop of the green flag setting the pace with Balog, Madsen, Mike Reinke and Warren following.
On lap ten Reinke made a spectacular pass on Madsen. After working to Madsen’s inside coming off turn four Reinke pulled a wheelie while motoring ahead of Madsen down the front stretch grabbing the third spot in the process.
Out front Smith and Balog began to catch back markers as Balog closed in to challenge Smith for the lead. The pair would weave through traffic. Smith opting for the high line would repel several challenges by Balog who worked the low line. Balog’s efforts to catch the leader finally paid off as on lap twenty heading into turns one and two he managed to work to Smith’s inside carrying the speed through the turn and coming away with the top spot.
Balog built a small cushion but Smith stayed within striking distance as lapped traffic made the battle especially exciting. Balog got stuck behind lapped machines with three laps to go allowing both Smith and Reinke to close however once clear of traffic Balog quickly clicked off the final laps of the contest taking the victory by four car lengths over Smith. Over the final laps Reinke began to reel in Smith but time ran out with Reinke having to settle for third. Madsen and Wagoner would comprise the top five finishers.
Greg Wilson the evening’s fast qualifier would cross the stripe in sixth followed by Scott Neitzel and Robby Standridge who finished seventh and eighth respectively. Paul May who had topped the Roger Iles Memorial race at Wilmot Raceway the night before would settle for ninth this evening. Phillip Mock completed the top ten.
11 drivers were still on the lead lap at the finish with 17 of the 22 starters able to take the checkered flag.
With a total of 29 drivers checked in for competition for the event the B-main would be especially important to several standout drivers in their efforts of making the feature event. In fact two of the podium finishers from the IRA event the night prior had to run the event to make the big show. Paul May the winner at Wilmot would fend off Moughan to collect the checkered and advance to the feature. Pribnow and Goldsberry finished third and fourth, while Bill Wirth who finished third in Wilmot Raceway’s big show finished fifth in tonight’s B-main to advance.
Heat victories were captured by Smith, Warren and Wagoner.
Wilson was the evening’s fastest qualifier turning in a lap of 10.720 seconds to edge out Joey Moughan whose 10.835 second effort was good for the second quickest lap of the evening. Reinke clocked in third fast with a 10.882 second effort. Seven drivers broke into the 10 second bracket.
The Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints now head to Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway to headline a Friday Night program on August 24th. The extremely wide third-mile clay oval is known for its high speeds and wheel to wheel action where the 410 sprints reach speeds of nearly 120 mph entering the turns.
Joining the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints will be three weekly of the track weekly fendered classes as Miller Lite Grand Nationals, Total Power Sales Street Stocks and Lynn’s Service Center Dirt Devils are also a part of the program with a full points show.
The first green flag of the evening is set to drop at 7:00pm.
Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway is a 1/3 mile semi-banked clay oval located at the Sunnyview Expo Center which resides near the intersection of Highways 76 and County Trunk Y in Oshkosh.
Fans and drivers are encouraged to visit the track website at www.oshkoshspeedzone.net for additional information on upcoming racing events. Fans can also friend the raceway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thespeedzone and you can receive all the latest updates from the track on twitter as www.twitter.com/thespeedzone.
For more information on the IRA Outlaw Sprints check out the tour website at www.irasprints.com The Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints can also be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/irasprints and the series is also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ira_sprints
The IRA Outlaw Sprint Series is proudly supported by Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts & Service Centers, Osborn & Son Trucking, Goodyear, TW Metals, Cummins Onan, DNA Energy Drink& Snacks, MPT Industries, UltraLube, Big Game Treestands, Carriage Auto Body, Otis Gun, Mother's Polishes and Waxes and Polaris DEFENSE. The office of the IRA Sprints can be reached at 815-759-9269 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints:
A-Main: 1.) Bill Balog; 2.) Danny Smith; 3.) Mike Reinke; 4.) Ian Madsen; 5.) Ben Wagoner; 6.) Greg Wilson; 7.) Scott Neitzel; 8.) Robbie Standridge; 9.) Paul May; 10.) Phillip Mock; 11.) Joey Moughan; 12.) Bill Warren; 13.) Dave Uttech; 14.) Scott Uttech; 15.) Robbie Pribnow; 16.) Kris Spitz; 17.) Bill Wirth; 18.) Wayne Modjeski; 19.) Brandon Thone; 20.) Russel Borland; 21.) Jordan Goldsberry; 22.) Jim Moughan
B-Main (Top 10): 1.) May; 2.) Moughan; 3.) Pribnow; 4.) Goldsberry; 5.) Wirth; 6.) K. Spitz; 7.) Thone; 8.) Cody Hewitt; 9.) Dennis Spitz; 10.) Patrick Hayes
Heat 1: 1.) Smith; 2.) Neitzel; 3.) Wilson; 4.) Madsen
Heat 2: 1.) Warren; 2.) Balog; 3.) D. Uttech; 4.) S. Uttech
Heat 3: 1.) Wagoner; 2.) Standridge; 3.) Jim Moughan; 4.) Reinke
Qualifying: (Top 10) 1.) Wilson, 10.720 Seconds; 2.) Joey Moughan, 10.835 secs; 3.) Reinke, 10.882secs; 4.) Neitzel, 10.920; 5.) May, 10.948; 6.) Jim Moughan, 10.958; 7.) Goldsberry, 10.993; 8.) Balog, 11.038; 9.) Mock, 11.043; 10.) Madsen, 11.083.