The 'Burg Speedway
Snellenberger and LaCrosse Capture Top Spots at Historic Eric Van Iten Memorial Race
210 total cars in four divisions, from five different states, checked into the pits to battle door to door for a total combined purse that exceeded $63,000 by night’s end at the historic Eric Van Iten Memorial Race at The ‘Burg Speedway.
Benji LaCrosse entered the night looking for his third consecutive win at The ‘Burg Speedway in the IMCA Modified division but would face the stiffest competition of the year as 50 total cars signed into the pits to duke it out for the $7000 top prize. Brandon Schmitt had the luck of the draw as he rolled out of the line up chute on the pole position and jumped to the early lead. Caution flew on lap three to quickly regroup the field.
Benji LaCrosse capitalized on the restart to shoot into the third spot giving chase to both the leader, Schmitt, and second place runner, Josh Long. By lap six long-time Luxemburg hot shoe Shawn Kilgore worked into the fourth position and gave chase to the top three. Meanwhile, back at the front, LaCrosse applied heavy pressure to Long and by lap ten that battle allowed Kilgore to close the gap and throw his hat into the ring for the second place battle.
LaCrosse responded to that challenge by working the low side past Long on lap 18 and set his 54 machine to stalking Schmitt, still in the race lead. By lap 21 Kilgore managed to work past Long and lock up the third spot. At the same time LaCrosse caught Schmitt and went to work trying to wrestle away the lead with two laps remaining. The pair battled door to door over the final circuits with LaCrosse finding the grip on the high side to gain enough momentum on the front stretch to pull off the last second pass and capture his third straight victory by 0.028 seconds. Kilgore locked up third with a strong run and Long hung on to finish fourth.
A record setting 78 Quietwoods RV IMCA Stock Cars rolled in the village looking to lay claim to their share of the $63,000 purse. Derek Moede took advantage of his outside front row starting spot to rocket his 99KK machine into the lead on the opening lap. Devin Snellenberger, Mike Mashl, and Shawn Havel immediately went into a three wide brawl for the second place position. Havel scraped through that scrum and put his 9K machine to the high side trying to work past Moede.
By lap 11 Havel was able to complete the pass but Moede continued to dog the leader. Moede worked back to the top spot on lap 14 and looked to set sail from the rest of the pack. Meanwhile Snellenberger was able to move by Havel into second and set his sights on the leader.
While the action at the front was heated Mike Mullen and Benji LaCrosse steadily worked through the field from their respective sixth and tenth starting spots. By the time Snellenberger took the lead on lap 18 that duo was looking to pounce and worked by Moede as well. Mullen caught the back of the leader but not enough laps remained to fight for the lead as Snellenberger took home the top spot. Mullen settled for a hard fought second, LaCrosse third, and Havel regrouped to take home fourth.
The IMCA Northern Sport Mod division saw 40 drivers sign in looking their shot at the record setting total prize money. Travis Schmidt set up shop at the top of the field by leading the opening lap with Derek Fehling hot on his heels. Jake Carpenter, Cody Rass, and Bernie Reinhardt staged a spirited three car battle for third behind the top two. Reinhardt faded from that trio as Carpenter and Rass quickly applied pressure to Fehling to wage a three car war for the second spot.
By lap 7 Rass locked up the second spot and set to tracking down Schmidt. Carpenter got past Fehling into third on lap ten while Rass worked the high side, running down Schmidt in the top spot. By lap 13 Rass managed to fight past Schmidt and two laps later Carpenter followed suit into second. Rass held on over the final five circuits to pick up the biggest win of his career. Carpenter secured the second spot, Travis Schmidt held on to third and Jayden Schmidt completed his charge from 9th to finish fourth.
42 Unified Dirt Street Stocks were on hand looking to capture one of the largest purses in the history of the class. Troy Muench and Paul Diefenthaler wasted no time in shooting to the top spots from their second row starting positions. The two waged a door to door battle until caution flew on lap 13. Muench led Diefenthaler, Travis Zirbel, Adam Crapser, and “The Hammer” Dave DeGrave to the restart. Muench and Diefenthaler picked up the side by side battle at the drop of the green with Muench choosing to run the high line and Diefenthaler finding the low line to his liking. As they crossed the line for the final time Diefenthaler was able to nip Muench for the top spot. Zirbel finished third and Jesse Krahn fought to a fourth place finish after starting 15th.
The ‘Burg Speedway will be back in action next Sunday night, July 25th, for our Hall of Fame night. Join us as we induct our 2021 class that includes Kevin Strebel, Kurt Gretz, and Dave Zeitler. Racing starts at 5:00 with grandstand and pit gates opening at 3:00.
Article Credit: Joe Orsini