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(Saunders captures round I of the Pavement Pounder sportmod series)


(KAUKAUNA, WI) June 14 – Edgerton’s Casey Johnson truly went from “wreckers to checkers” at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna Thursday on Weld Specialty Gas & Equipment Night.


One week ago Johnson scored fast time and crashed hard in the dash. This week Johnson rebounded and passed veteran Lowell Bennett for the lead on lap 20 and cruised to his first “Thursday Night Thunder” feature of 2018.


Polesitter Alex Stumpf sprinted into the lead at the drop of the green at the 35 lap contest with Bennett diving underneath Stumpf to take the lead on the fourth lap. The 59-year-old Neenah veteran pulled away from the pack and built up a near full straightaway lead.


Meanwhile Johnson, who started 11th, had been methodically picking his way through the field, motoring around both Sawyer Effertz and Brent Strelka to snatch the second on lap 16. Randy Schuler stalled his racer on lap 16 which put Johnson back to fourth but more importantly erased Bennett’s huge margin.


With 19 laps remaining the green flew again and Bennett kept the lead with Strelka and Johnson running second and third, respectively. Bennett wasted no time shaking loose from the pack and building upon his lead. A Tim Springstroh spin two circuits later brought racing to a halt once again. Back under green Johnson roared into second and challenged Bennett for the lead. Johnson motored around Bennett for the lead with 15 laps remaining. Johnson was able to keep Bennett and the rest of the field at bay to capture his first WIR feature flag in ’18. “We had a rough week last week and the crew busted their butts to get us back on the track but we decided to run our traveling car here tonight,” Johnson said in victory lane. “I guess all it took was 15 laps of practice to get this thing dialed in.”


Bennett hung on for second place, followed by Strelka, Jeff Van Oudenhoven and Bobby Kendall.


The Pavement Pounder sportmod race got off to a rocky start when Randy Theys and Steve Seehawer got together on the opening lap. With a complete restart polesitter Brock Saunders jumped into the lead with Braison Bennett in tow. The pair slowly pulled away from the pack as the race wore on. A lap nine spin by Russ Franks tightened the field. When racing resumed Sawyer Haese muscled his way past Bennett into second. Saunders pulled away from the field and coasted to victory. Haese held on for second, followed by Evan Beattie, Mike Mueller and Jayden Schmidt.


Two Rivers Brett Wenzel took the lead at the drop of the green and fought off heavy pressure from Nathan Van Wychen all race long to capture his first late model feature of the season. “My spotter kept telling me one, one one (car length) away every lap,” Wenzel said in victory lane. “So I knew he was there the whole time. We were happy to get this one that’s for sure.” Van Wychen turned in his best performance of the year finishing second, followed by Braison Bennett, Bryan Monday and last week’s feature winner Eddie Muenster.


Neenah’s Jason Plutz became the first repeat winner in the sport trucks by winning the division’s feature.


Maribel’s Denny Crass thwarted Sheboygan’s Brody Rivest in his attempt at a clean sweep. Crass fended off a late race challenge from Rivest to win the Sizzlin’ 4 feature.


Craig Vanderwettering captured the evening’s finale Figure 8 feature, his third win of the year.


Next Thursday night, June 21 will feature Big Wheel races sponsored by Werner Electric Supply. The Racing gets underway at 6:45 p.m. You can check for more information or follow the club’s Facebook page.


SUPER LATE MODEL FEATURE – Casey Johnson, Edgerton; Lowell Bennett, Neenah; Brent Strelka, Freedom; Jeff Van Oudenhoven, Appleton; Bobby Kendall, Montello; Andy Monday, Appleton; Kyle Calmes, Freedom; Travis Dassow, West Bend; Jesse Oudenhoven, Kaukauna; Taylor Vandermoss, Appleton; Grant Griesbach, Pewaukee; Randy Schuler, Mequon; Mickey Schallie, Darboy; Sawyer Effertz, Darboy; Alex Seidl, Appleton; Tim Springstroh, Freedom; Cory Kemkes, Appleton; Alex Stumpf, Woodville


SEMI FEATURE – Kemkes; Schuler; Seidl; Springstroh


HEATS 1) Springstroh; Taylor Haufschildt, De Pere 2) Vandermoss; Effertz


DASH – Oudenhoven; Strelka


FAST TIME: Calmes, 19.391


PAVEMENT POUNDER FEATURE – Brock Saunders, Appleton; Sawyer Haese, New Franken; Evan Beattie, Kaukauna; Mike Mueller, Fond Du Lac; Jayden Schmidt, Seymour; Travis Hansen, Chilton; Tailar Ness, Green Bay; R.W. Aschenbrenner, Oneida; Randy Theys, Algoma; Chad Ewald, Oshkosh; Tom Schneider, Chilton; Cory Kemkes, Appleton; Steve Seehawer, Beaver Dam; Braison Bennett, Neenah; J.R. Hansen, Green Bay; Russ Franks, Oconto; Scott Besaw, Oshkosh


HEATS 1) Haese; Mueller 2) Hansen; Bennett


LATE MODEL FEATURE- Brett Wenzel, Two Rivers; Nathan Van Wychen, Kaukauna; Braison Bennett, Neenah; Bryan Monday, Appleton; Eddie Muenster, Green Bay; Jesse Bernhagen, Markesan; Travis Rodewald, Manitowoc; Mike Meyerhofer, Hilbert; RD Yaeger, Appleton; Matt Wittmann, Kaukauna


HEATS 1- Van Wychen; Wenzel


DASH- Rodewald; Bennett


FAST TIME: Muenster, 20.299


SIZZLIN’ 4 FEATURE –  Denny Crass, Maribel; Brody Rivest, Sheboygan; Jake Peters, Shiocton; Jerry Konrad, Appleton; Heather Wolfgram, Oshkosh


SEMI FEATURE – Bob Voight, Appleton


HEATS 1) Wyatt Lemmers, Brillion; Shawn Bangart, Kaukauna 2) Rivest; Crass


FAST TIME – Rivest, 17.954


SPORT TRUCKS FEATURE – Jason Plutz, Neenah; Kylee Vandermoss, Appleton; Bobby Wautier, Denmark; Kyle Quella, Appleton; Tanner Fickel, Neenah


HEATS 1) Quella; Marty Sokolik, Fond Du Lac 2) Vandermoss; Wautier


FAST TIME – Vixmer, 16.587


FIGURE 8 – Craig Vanderwettering, Kaukauna


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