Friday, July 17, 2009

Mills Continues Quest For National Title With BVR Win

To say Jeremy Mills has been on a roll the last month or so would be an understatement. After deciding to make the commitment to run the IMCA North Central Region championship, he has won many features and climbed atop the rankings. After picking up the fair race win last night at the Buena Vista Raceway in Alta last night, he mentioned in the post race interview that his goals have changed and he is now on a mission to chase down the National Championship.

Only twelve IMCA modifieds were on hand last night for the Buena Vista County Fair race, but that didn't mean there wasn't any action. Brad Williams grabbed the early lead from outside the front row, but a quick caution came out as Justin Sackett's car slid off turn three. After the restart, youngster Nick Deal powered his machine to the outside of Williams to take the lead away. Another caution came out shortly thereafter when Chris Abelson's motor let go, spewing fluids up and down the frontstretch.

Williams would regain the top spot on lap six, but his car caught a rut and pushed up the track in turn two to open the door for Deal to slip back by. After another restart, Williams motored his car back by Deal on lap nine while Jeremy Mills made his way to the runner up spot. Mills ducked low and slid his car towards the outside of turn two in front of Williams for the lead, but Williams changed lines and powered back by on the inside down the backstretch. Mills would try the same maneuver on the next circuit and make it stick this time. Williams luck would run out the hard way as he hit a big rut in turn four and lose several positions before retiring from the race.

The final three laps was anybody's race as pole sitter Rod Scheuermann closed in on the rear bumper of the leader Mills and then took the lead away when Mills pushed up in turn two. Mills would regain his composure and fight his way back as he slid up in front of Scheuermann in turn two after taking the white flag. Jeremy Mills would then hold off Rod Scheuermann the rest of the lap to take home another victory at BVR. Clayton Christensen was third, Nick Deal fourth, and Reese Coffee rounded out the top five.

Sixteen IMCA stock cars took the green flag for their feature event that saw pole sitter Jake Masters take control early on. After an early caution came out that involved three cars, Donovan Smith moved to the inside of Masters to grab the lead. Two laps later brother David Smith would put his name in the mix as he looked to the inside of Donovan. Donovan had what appeared to be the preferred line as he maintained the lead. Just before the halfway point, Jake Masters caught a rut wrong and "2-wheeled" his car through turns one and two. He was able to drive out of it and set the car back down on all four tires.

Another caution came out with four laps to go, the field was lined up double file behind the leader as they do every week in the stock car and modified features. At this time it was noticed that Chris Ullrich, running third at the time, had a broken left rear shock. Ullrich would stay out and try to hold on, but the shock put him at a disadvantage and Dustin Smith got by him on the low side for third at the white flag lap. But up front it was all Donovan Smith as he took home the win. Brothers David and Dustin followed him across the line for second and third, respectively, while Chris Ullrich and Trent Murphy completed the top five.

After cars were four-wide in turn after the green flag dropped, it would be Tim Rupp taking charge in the IMCA sportmod feature. Row three counterpart Doug Smith made his way to second until his car slowed on the frontstretch on lap three to bring out the caution. Tanner Powers had taken over the top spot before the caution came out and would remain the leader on the restart. Behind him Tony Pogeler ducked low on Mike Bailey for the runner up spot, but Brett Meyer made the pass on both of them at the halfway point. Bailey and Pogeler would make a little bit of contact that ended with Pogeler's car spinning around on the inside of turn two to bring out the caution.

On the ensuing restart, Brett Meyer's car didn't come up to speed allowing several cars to get by. Things heated up the rest of the race as Doug Smith made his way back up to second behind leader Powers. With four laps to go, Smith ducked to the inside of Powers but couldn't make it stick. The next circuit Powers car pushed up after hitting the rut in turn one to allow Smith to sneak by on the low side to take the lead away. Powers would not give up though, as he would power his machine around the cushion and draw even as they took the white flag. Smith had the advantage down the backstretch, but Powers drove his car deep in the corner on the outside and took home the exciting win. Turns out it was his first career sportmod feature win. Doug Smith finished second, Zach Norgaard third, Chris Grothe fourth, and Tony Pogeler rebounded nicely to finish fifth.

A good field of IMCA hobby stocks checked into the pits last night as nineteen cars took the green flag. Before the race could complete the first lap, Joe Menke took a wild ride down the backstretch as his car rolled several times before landing on its side. Menke would climb out of his car on his own power and appear to be okay. As the cars were realigning on the front stretch, Devin Smith walked out on the track to wave his brother Daniel to the work area so he could switch cars. Apparently Devin's car sustained heavy damage (I didn't see what happened) and wanted to gain as many points as possible by switching cars. While track officials allowed him to and tag the rear at the time, he would cross the line in third but ultimately be disqualified from the race. I'm not up on my rules, but I was told that you cannot switch cars once the field is in staging.

When racing got underway, Ryan Roder took the lead with Shannon Anderson closing in fast. Roder's luck would turn sour as his suffered a flat tire the next time by, handing the lead over to Anderson. Behind them Justin Nehring was riding the cushion and drove by Mark Hill for the second spot on lap four. Nehring was unable to catch Shannon Anderson as the Atlantic driver took home another win. Justin Nehring finished second, Matt Mahoney was third, John Briggs fourth, and Mark Hill rounded out the top five.

Mark Lindgren and Josh Egesdal raced side by side for the first half of the IMCA sport compact feature before Lindgren would gain the upper hand. The two swapped the lead a couple times in the closing laps, but it would be Mark Lindgren taking home the win. Josh Egesdal finished second, Zac Johnson third, Cory Flanigan fourth, and Cain Mahlberg was fifth.

It was easy to tell that the track had received its share of rain prior to the races. There was mud in the parking lot as I made my way to the grandstand. The track appeared to be in great shape early on, but the moisture under the surface made it's way to the top and combine with the horsepower of the cars, it didn't take long for ruts to appear. I'm sure there wasn't much promoter Jeff Herrig could have done differently, so I commend him for his efforts. The Buena Vista County Fair is going on this weekend in Alta, so be sure to take in the attractions if you're in the area. The BVR will return to its normal night of racing on Wednesday next week.

- Racing may be a hobby, but it's DEFINITELY addictive!!

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