Lance Fassbender
Lance Fassbender

Lance Fassbender
Burnett, WI

IRA 4.27.13 Highlights


IRA Interstate Racing Association



Balog Edges Kertscher by .009 Seconds for Win!

Beaver Dam, WI, April 27, 2013 – In motorsports they say a second can make the difference between victory and defeat. Well that margin would have been considered a runaway victory when you look at the margin of victory for the IRA Bumper to Bumper Outlaw Sprint Series Opener which took place at Beaver Dam Raceway Saturday Night.

In perhaps the closest finish in series history, five-time and defending series champion Bill Balog edged out 2012 Wilmot Raceway champion Mike Kertscher by .009 seconds to capture the season opening Jim Wipperfurth Memorial race. That margin calculated to less than six inches at the finish line as both Balog and Kertscher roared under the checkered flag on the edge of control. Transponder scoring backed up the almost unperceivable separation between first and second place in an event where Balog lead the final 50 feet of the contest stealing the victory from Kertscher.

If this is any indication of the action which lies ahead in the remaining 29 Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint series events this season, fans are going to be treated to an amazing summer of racing with the popular 410 winged sprint series.

While weather had postponed the Spring Brawl which was to have been the season opening show at Oshkosh Speedzone the week prior, conditions were ideal this evening which saw fans pouring into the stands filled with anticipation for the start of this racing season.

A field of 23 drivers accepted the green flag for the start of the 30 lap contest with Russel Borland and hometown driver Scott Neitzel making up the front row. The event would go yellow before the completion of one lap as Allen Hafford lost power on the backstretch. He was able to rejoin the field for the second attempt at a start.

When the green flag flew Neitzel lunched from his outside starting spot into the lead, while Kertscher and Balog who had made up the second row began to wage their personal war for supremacy. Neitzel’s machine showed impressive speed as he began to pull away from the field leaving Borland to fend off the challenges of Kertscher who had rumbled into the third spot.

Borland would give way to both Kertscher and Balog by lap two as Neitzel set a blistering pace around the banked third-mile clay oval.

Soon Kertscher began to pressure Neitzel for the top spot and fourth place saw the battle develop between Borland, Nick Alden and 2013 Rookie of the Year contender Jeremy Schultz who earlier demonstrated the speed of his machine taking a convincing win in his heat race.

Out front Neitzel appeared to have the speed to fend off the challenges of Kertscher when suddenly his car veered into the turn two wall ending his evening with a slap of the concrete. Neitzel was unhurt in the incident but the same could not be said of his ride as he retired to the pit area hooked to the back of a wrecker.

This left Kertscher in the lead as the race resumed. Before a lap was completed the 2012 Rookie of the Year, Robbie Pribnow got his machine upside down heading into turn three bringing out the first red flag of the season in a main event. Pribnow had been running his outside the top five however his strong run came to an end as he too had his machine hauled to the pit area.

It would be the final slowdown of the contest.

Kertscher was back in command as the race resumed pursued by Balog. Borland held fast to the third spot while Schultz sailed past Alden to claim fourth. Kertscher soon would begin to work lapped machines weaving in and out of traffic with Balog attempting to keep pace.

At the halfway point Balog managed to draw even with Kertscher with a bold move to the bottom of the raceway in turn four, however Kertscher proved adept as choosing the right line through lapped cars and quickly rebuilt a 10 car length lead.

Balog again closed the gap on Kertscher but with 10 laps to go he slapped wheels with Phillip Mock as he attempted to put him a lap down. Both drivers managed to keep their cars heading the right direction but the incident again gave Kertscher some breathing room.

At the same time Schultz roared past Borland into the third spot with Tommy Sexton the 2011 Wilmot Raceway champion in tow.

As the laps began to wind down Kertscher continued to make all the right moves in traffic but Balog was able to slice into the lead. Balog again began to challenge for the top spot with a pair of laps to go but it seemed Kertscher would have the speed to take the checkered.

On the final lap Balog quickly closed the gap and less than a car length separated the pair entering the final two turns. With Kertscher on the high side and Balog on the bottom the pair drew dead even coming off the final turn with both drivers on the edge of control trying to avoid locking wheels or tagging the wall.

In the final feet before the checkered Balog the momentum which would allow him to reach the finish line first in what visually appeared to be almost a dead heat. Kertscher would settle for second.

Both drivers would receive thunderous applause as they were introduced in post- race ceremonies. Not to be overlooked was the fine performance of 2013 rookie of the year title contender Jeremy Schultz who had notched a podium finish taking third in the first event of the year. Sexton and Borland comprised the top five.

Alden, Todd King, Mock, Kris Spitz and rookie of the year contender Lance Fassbender comprised the top 10 at the finish. 17 drivers were still on the track at the checkered flag.

In earlier action heat race victories were captured by Schultz, King and Pribnow, while Balog turned in the fastest qualifying lap of the evening with a 13.166 tour of the track edging Kertscher who turned the same trip in 13.208 seconds.

Dave Uttech had the unfortunate honor of becoming the first driver of the season to get upside down with a violent flip in the third heat race. While Uttech would emerge unhurt the same could not be said of his car which suffered significant damage.

The Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints now have a week off before they return to action on May 11th at Wilmot Raceway the series then makes a return trip back to Beaver Dam Raceway on May 18th.

For more information on the IRA Outlaw Sprints check out the tour website at or our Facebook page at

The IRA Outlaw Sprint Series is proudly supported by Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts & Service Centers, Hoosier Tire, Osborn & Son Trucking, TW Metals, Onan, Carriage Auto Body, Global Vision Eyewear, Polaris DEFENSE, and Mother's Polishes and Waxes. The office of the IRA Sprints can be reached at 815-759-9269 or by e-mail at


Event: #1 Beaver Dam Raceway – Jim Wipperfurth Memorial – April 27, 2013

30 Lap A-main: 1. # 17b Bill Balog [4]; 2. #80k Mike Kertscher [3]; 3. #5j Jeremy Schultz [8]; 4. #83s Tommy Sexton [15]; 5. #23 Russel Borland [1]; 6. #8a Nick Alden [7]; 7. #97k Todd King [9]; 8. #1m Phillip Mock [11]; 9. #4k Kris Spitz [6]; 10. #7 Lance Fassbender [17]; 11. #53w Bill Wirth [12]; 12. #7 Scott Uttech [10]; 13. #14aj Wayne Modjeski [13]; 14. #85 Steve Meyer [14]; 15. #41 Dennis Spitz [16]; 15. #43 Jereme Schroeder [18]; 16. #94t Brandon Thone [22]; 19. #5w Bryon Walters – dnf [20]; 20. #2w Scott Neitzel - dnf [2]; 21. #20r Robbie Pribnow –dnf [5]; 22. #95 Ken Jay Fiedler – dnf [21]; 23. Michael Decker – dnf [23] 24. #68 Dave Uttech [DNS]

First Heat: 1. Schultz; 2. Wirth; 3. Balog; 4. Meyer; 5. Borland; 6. D. Spitz; 7. Schroeder; 8. Thone

Second Heat: 1. King; 2. Kertscher; 3. Alden; 4. Mock; 5. Walters; 6. Hafford; 7. Decker; 8. Sexton

Third Heat: 1. Pribnow; 2. Modjeski; 3. Neitzel; 4. K. Spitz; 5. S. Uttech; 6. Fiedler; 7. Fassbender; 8. D. Uttech

Qualifying (Top 10) 1. Balog 13.166 Seconds; 2. Kertscher 13.208; 3. Neitzel 13.453; 4. Borland 13.522; 5. Sexton 13.654; 6. S. Uttech 13.669; 7. D. Spitz 13.693; 8. King 13.737; 9. Fassbender 13.741; 10. Schultz 13.793.

Next Event: Wilmot Raceway – Saturday Night, May 11, 2013

Article Credit: Jeffrey Sachse

Submitted By: Kim Tennyson

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