IRA Interstate Racing Association



Balog Nets Fourth Straight Win In IRA Sprint Action!

Beaver Dam, WI; June 8, 2013 – It would come down to a five lap dash to the checkered flag during Saturday Night’s A-main event for the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints. The series was in the house at Beaver Dam Raceway presenting its third race of the season at the banked third-mile clay oval.

In the previous two events, defending series champion Bill Balog and 2012 Wilmot Raceway title holder Mike Kertscher had split victories, each having made their way to victory lane.

It was almost destiny then that the tie in the win column would come down to a five lap shoot-out between the pair as a result of a red flag due to Tommy Sexton getting upside down with just five laps to go in the 30 lap contest.

When the final green flag waved fans were treated to an impressive duel between the pair, each performing perfect sliders to toss the lead back and forth. The top spot exchanged hands several times before Balog got the upper hand with a pair of laps remaining to score a thrilling victory. Kertscher would cross the finish line in second two car lengths back while Todd King turned in his strongest run of the young season with a third place performance.

The victory marked Balog’s 50th career A-main win in Bumper to Bumper IRA Sprint competition. The five time and defending champion sits 11 wins shy of the “modern era” all-time win mark of 61 set by area racing legend Joe Roe

A field of 22 starters would accept starter Jim Barr’s green flag for the main event with polesitter Russell Borland getting the jump on Springfield, Illinois native Jordan Goldesberry setting to set the opening pace. Before the completion of the first lap Kertscher was able to work past Goldesberry for the second spot with Balog, who had started seventh following in Kertscher’s tire tracks.

The first slowdown of the contest occurred on lap four as Mike Reinke who was making his first appearance of the 2013 season slowed coming off turn four while running in the top five. Reinke was able to head to the pit area to work on the car but he would soon drop from the contest. Earlier in the night Reinke proved that he’ll continue to be a force to be reckoned with yet this season taking a convincing win in his heat race.

The green flag returned briefly with Kertscher and Balog sweeping to the outside of Borland to annex the first and second positions while Borland drifted back in the field. On the next circuit the race was halted when Scott Uttech flipped his ride heading into turn three. Uttech was unhurt but done for the evening.

The race resumed with Kertscher showing the way but he was immediately challenged by Balog. On lap seven Balog used the high groove to sweep past Kertscher for the top spot coming off turn four. After a brief battle Balog was in control of the lead.

Further back attention focused on the battle for the third spot contested between current point leader Jeremy Schultz and Todd King. King who had captured the B-main was on a mission driving from deep in the field to the third spot by lap eight.

By lap 12 Balog had caught the tail of the field and started slicing through lapped traffic extending his margin on Kertscher who was now being pressured by King. King showcasing the speed of his #97 machine would surge ahead of Kertscher for the number two slot on lap 16 before Kertscher rallied to retake the position two laps later.

With 10 laps to go in the contest Balog found himself comfortably out front with Kertscher, King, Schultz and Bill Wirth giving chase.

Balog appeared to be headed to a convincing win when the second red flag for the contest occurred on lap 25 as Tommy Sexton clipped the wall in turn three which dumped his ride onto its wing. Sexton emerged unhurt but the accident was a setback in his title efforts.

The restart proved that Kertscher was far from ready to concede victory to Balog as he shot to Balog’s inside at the drop of the green flag snaring the lead with a well-timed slider into turn one. Balog would return the favor in turns three and four and the pair would trade the lead back and forth nearly a half dozen times before Balog finally got the upper hand with two laps to go.

Kertscher spent the final two laps looking for a weakness in Balog’s line but there was none to be found with Balog scoring the win and Kertscher following to the line. King notched his first podium finish of the year with a third place run. Wirth hugging the low line around the track for the majority of the contest quietly worked into the fourth spot. Goldesberry earned his best showing of the year with a fifth place performance.

Advancing the most positions in the event was Scott Thiel who moved from his 15th place starting berth up to sixth passing point leader and leading rookie of the year contender Jeremy Schultz over the final laps. Schultz continues to maintain the point lead having finished seventh extending his streak of finishing every race held so far this year in the top ten. Steve Meyer, Nick Alden and Scott Neitzel completed the top ten finishers.

14 drivers were still on the lead lap at the checkered flag with 18 of the 22 starters still on the track.

All totaled 35 drivers had checked in for qualifying tonight with Schultz nailing down fast time honors with a 13.069 second tour of the track. Balog was second quick with a 13.127 second effort and Dave Uttech was third fastest with a lap of 13.239 seconds. A pair of drivers, Ben Schmidt and Bryon Walters had mechanical issues and neither was able to take a qualifying lap. Michael Decker had the unfortunate experience of getting upside down during his qualifying effort but his crew was able to repair his ride in time to compete in the B-main. Decker’s efforts nearly resulted in a feature start coming up one position shy of a transfer spot in the B-main.

The B-main was captured by King who outran Meyer, Dave Uttech, Phillip Mock, Kris Spitz and Lance Fassbender who captured the final transfer spot in the contest which saw 18 cars take the green flag.

Heat race victories were captured by Scott Uttech, Neitzel, Kertscher and Reinke.

The series hosts two more races in the month of June beginning with the Tony Stewart Sprintacular on Saturday Night June 15th to be held at the Plymouth Dirt Track located on the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds in Plymouth, WI. The former NASCAR champion has his roots in dirt racing where he had captured multiple USAC open-wheeled championships and has tasted victory in World of Outlaws competition. Stewart seeks to top the best of the Bumper to Bumper IRA Sprints and the showdown will occur next week.

In addition to the Bumper to Bumper IRA Sprints, the tracks own 360 sprints will also be on hand for the show. Pit gates are set to open at 3:00pm with the grandstands opening at 4:30pm. Fans are advised to arrive early to get the best possible seating as a full house is expected. Hot laps will begin at 5:30pm followed by qualifying for the IRA Sprints. The first race is scheduled to push off at 7:00pm

Adult admission for the program is just $20, with youth tickets for younger fans ages 6 through 12 only $5. Children under the age of six are admitted FREE with an adult.

For more information on the show you can check the IRA website of the Plymouth Dirt Track site at or call 920-893-5751.

The final Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint event in June will be held on Friday Night June 21 at the Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway. Efforts are being made for an appearance by open-wheeled hot shoe turned NASCAR star Kyle Larson. Kenny Schrader is already confirmed for the event and will be competing in a modified during the program.

For more information on the IRA Outlaw Sprints check out the tour website at or logging onto the series 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, 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

Article Credit: Jeffrey Sachse

Submitted By: Kim Tennyson

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