MORRIS, Ill. (July 15, 2011) – Jeremy Bloomberg is in danger of garnering the reputation of being a bad host. For the second straight year the former Grundy County Speedway Mid-American Champion denied the visiting Mid-American Stock Car Series racers a trip to victory lane.
Bloomberg snatched the lead from Tyler Bauknecht just past the midway point of the 40-lap MASCS main event and held current MASCS point leader James Swan at bay through the final 15 trips around Illinois Finest Third-mile.
“It feels great. I didn’t think it would happen two years in a row,” Bloomberg said. “I was kind of lucky to win it last year and this year it was the same thing.”
The best stroke of luck, Bloomberg said, came at lap 16 when a caution erased Bauknecht’s straightaway lead.
“There was no way of catching him,” Bloomberg said. “Suddenly a caution comes out and bunches the field up. Without that, that race is over.”
Last year’s MASCS Rookie of the Year and Runner Up in standings took the lead from the drop of the green flag. Starting alongside current leading rookie Dan Church, Bauknecht shot off into the horizon as the remainder of the field scrambled for positioning.
As Church battled Mark Pluer for the second spot, Grundy local Billy Knippenberg and defending MASCS champion Lyle Nowak jumped to fourth and fifth on lap three. On that very lap the parade of Bloomberg, Swan and Jeremy Spoonmore filled the sixth through eighth spots.
The first caution of the race fell on the next lap when Nowak dived to the inside of Knippenberg. Knippenberg attempted to keep the door shut, but the two made contact and both spun.
On the restart Bauknecht again left Church and Pluer to battle. Just two laps later Bloomberg looked to the outside of Pluer. Unable to make the pass, Bloomberg waited and jumped to Pluer’s inside on lap 9. As Bloomberg swung to the low groove to pass Pluer, Church washed up, as well. In one daring maneuver, Bloomberg moved from fourth to second.
Another caution fell on lap 16 when Jay Foster spun in turns one and two. The restart pitted Bloomberg to the outside of Bauknecht. However, on the restart Bloomberg was quick to tuck in line behind the leader and in front of the Church-Pluer duo.
“The fast way around (Grundy) is the bottom, so when it opens up you have to take it,” Bloomberg said. “If you have the option to go low or go high on someone, everyone here is going to take the bottom side to do that.”
After a second restart when Grundy regular Geoff Vezaine made contact with Adam Bendzick, causing the Minnesota driver to make heavy contact with the back-straight wall, Bloomberg slid behind Bauknecht again. Riding in the tire tracks of Bauknecht for nearly three laps, Bloomberg squeezed in an opening entering turn one on lap 20 and secured the lead by lap 21.
As Bloomberg labored for the lead, Swan overtook Church for third. Another Nowak spin brought out a caution on lap 22. Swan quickly disposed of Church on the restart and moved past Bauknecht just two laps later.
With the final caution for a melee involving Pluer, Vezaine and Kevin Gentile, a single file restart aligned Swan on the bumper of Bloomberg. Swan closed in on several occasions over the final laps, but did not have enough to shake Bloomberg.
“That was pretty sweet. It was one of the few times I’ve ever held of Swan,” Bloomberg said. “He’s been really fast lately and it always freaks you out because that guy has been really fast everywhere he goes. This wins means a lot to overcome that.”
Adding to an already large point lead, Swan, who also set fast time, was satisfied with second. In an ironic twist, it was Swan, the traveler, who gave set up tips and advice to Bloomberg, the former track champion.
“I looked at (Bloomberg) and said ‘my car is doing the exact same thing,’” Swan said afterward. “I thought there is no way I can beat him, so I did everything I could to get to him, thinking he might mess up a little bit, but he didn’t.”
The tips came from Swan’s bag of tricks just a few seasons ago when Ron Bloomberg asked Swan to run his car in place of Jeremy, who was on honeymoon.
“That was three years ago and we’ve been working with James a little bit ever since,” Bloomberg explained. “Sometimes I think he’s leading me the wrong way, but obviously not. I don’t know if he’ll give me any more tips.”
In third, Bauknecht found retribution. Just last season Bauknecht broke an axle and backed hard into the turn three wall at Grundy. To lead early and secure a top three was a victory of sorts for the 20 year old.
MASCS regulars with Grundy backgrounds Jeremy Spoonmore and Jacob Finney rounded out the top five. John Ventrello was the next highest finishing Grundy regular, racing his way from the last chance race to sixth. Despite his involvement in two cautions, Nowak raced to a respectable eighth-place finish.
On Saturday 13 MASCS racers made the trip to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis for the Iron Brigade 100. The event was not for points and was co-sanctioned by the Advanced Racing Association. Bill Prietzel emerged victorious. The full story is available here: http://www.midamericanracing.com/article/071811/preitzel-takes-inaugural...
The next event for Mid-American is Friday, Aug. 5 at Norway Speedway in Norway, Mich. Lyle Nowak will be looking for three straight in the 40-lap Eh Main feature.
Norway Speedway is located on the Dickinson County Fairgrounds just off Highway 8 in Norway, Mich. For more information visit www.norwayspeedway.com
For more information about the Mid-American Stock Car Series, including the full 2011 schedule, results, standings and driver information visit www.midamericanracing.com.