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June 21, 2015; Sun Prairie, WI – From victory lane Scotty Neitzel indicated that in his long and successful career that on over a dozen occasions he had lost the lead on the final lap.  Imagine then the pressure of surviving a pair of green, white checker finishes with the 2014 Knoxville Raceway champion Ian Madsen, and seven-time IRA champ Bill Balog on your tail.

At each restart Neitzel was able to power away from the field, fending off both Madsen, and Balog.  The victory for Neitzel was one on his bucket list having attended races at Angell Park Speedway since his youth, this made the victory all that much sweeter.  The win also ended a dry spell that dated back to September 2013 when he had topped the field in a runaway performance at Amsoil Speedway in Superior, WI.

Madsen finished four car lengths behind Neitzel at the wire, and spent the final two turns having to hold off the challenges of Balog who had come from deep in the field.  After a slow start to the night Balog clawed his way toward the front of the pack but was unable to capitalize on three late race restarts ultimately finishing third.  It was the first time this season Balog had failed to reach victory lane when he appeared in IRA competition.

Neitzel had started the contest on the pole with Steve Meyer to his outside. When the 24 car A-main accepted starter Jim Barr’s green flag Neitzel shot into the lead with Meyer in two.  The two battled for the top spot for the first two laps before Neitzel gained the advantage and began to pull away from his rivals.

Lapped traffic was quickly reached, and Neitzel began to work back markers with authority stretching his lead.

Madsen meanwhile had driven from his sixth place starting berth up to third, attempting to run down the lead pair.  The big movers however were Mike Reinke, and Balog.  Reinke who started in the tenth spot had a brilliant start, and rocketed into the top five. Balog meanwhile had started 15th and was up to seventh by lap ten.

With the field spread out around the uniquely shaped third-mile clay oval, action was frantic for every position in the 24 car field.  On lap 14 Madsen shot past Meyer who had been temporarily boxed in behind some lapped traffic to grab second.  Balog by now had powered his was into the fifth spot behind Reinke.

With ten laps to go Neitzel had continued to execute quick passes on lapped machines extending his lead to a full straight on Madsen.  The battle for third place began to heat up as Meyer caught and repassed Reinke for the position with Balog still closing the gap from the fifth spot.

It appeared the event was going to go from green to checker as the final six circuits were reached with Neitzel still firmly in control.  However, the frantic pace came to an end when Meyer got clipped by a lapped car, and went sliding toward the infield coming to a halt at the start finish line.  The incident negated a possible podium finish for Meyer who had been running a solid race.

The field resorted with six laps to go.  Neitzel had a cushion of six lapped cars between himself, and Madsen was the race resumed.  Neitzel, with clear track ahead, built a huge lead while second was hotly contested between Madsen, Balog and Reinke who were also clearing lapped cars in effort to reach Neitzel.

As the white flag was set to fly, Russel Borland came to a halt in turn four forcing the second caution of the entire evening for the Bumper-to-Bumper IRA Sprints.  This setup a green, white checker finish, and placed Madsen, Balog and Reinke squarely on Neitzel’s rear nerf bar.  The restart, per IRA rules, has lapped cars drop to the tail of the field once within the final five laps of a main event.

With the green flag waving in the air Neitzel got the jump on Madsen getting away cleanly with the lead.  Before the lap was complete Scott Biertzer, and Phillip Mock encountered issues with Mock doing a quick tumble onto his wing before landing back on his wheels.  Both drivers had been running just outside the top five at the time and both had to retire from the contest as a result of contact which caused damage to their machines.

This setup a final green white checker situation.  On this restart Madsen stayed close to Neitzel but as the final lap began Balog began to pressure Madsen for the second spot.  This allowed Neitzel to scramble away taking the victory for four car lengths.  Madsen was successful in repelling Balog to gain second while Balog was able to finish third, having advanced the most positions in the event.   Reinke finished just outside the podium in fourth.

Title contenders Bill Rose, and Ben Schmidt did battle to the finish, with Rose gaining the final top five position and Schmidt having to settle for sixth.  Jim Moughan earned seventh with Brian Kristan in eighth, while Dave Uttech was the final car on the lead lap in ninth.  Jeremy Schultz was tenth the first car one lap down.

In earlier action Mock had dominated the B-main taking a convincing win.  Bill Wirth, Rick Kelsey and Jereme Schroeder all advanced to the main event as the top four finishers.  Matt Vandervere laid claim to fifth and was the first alternate, but he did not start the A-main as all 24 scheduled starters were able to accept the green flag.

Heat race victories were captured by Biertzer, Kristan, Uttech and Reinke.

The night had began with Madsen establishing an new record qualifying lap of 12.171 seconds eclipsing the old standard set by Rose during the last event of 12.334 seconds.  Moughan was second quick this evening with a 12.457 second qualifying effort while Rose was third quick at 12.500 seconds.



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