Schumann Soars At Dells
WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. — Rich Schumann Jr. must have been getting a little tired of watching Mike Lichtfeld and Dan Lensing alternate wins all year. Either that or he’s trying to play catch-up before 2012 is over.
Schumann slid between Nick Nolden and a lapped machine with 11 laps remaining in Saturday’s Late Model main at Dells Raceway Park and pulled away for his second straight win and third overall of the season.
Back-to-back wins are no easy task as the previous week’s feature winner is placed behind the invert which included Dan Lensing, who broke a ten-year track record in qualifying. However, Schumann caught two good breaks with the decision cone that set him on a smooth path to the front.
The first restart was set on lap three when polesitter Casey Strese was tapped from behind by Jerry Blystone and spun on the back straight. Blystone tapped the roof of his machine, indicating that he accepted blame and would fall to the tail alone while Strese went back to the lead.
With the cone placed Nick Nolden went to the inside of Nate Opplinger. Several drivers in the top five decided to keep the inside as well, allowing John DeAngelis to move to the outside of the third row from eighth and Lensing to tail him from the ninth spot. That move proved to cost both DeAngelis and Lensing as the inside line, including Schumann, powered past them after the green dropped.
As drivers on the outside line began to fade backward, Nolden challenged Strese on lap five. Strese left the bottom open and Nolden slid past to the top spot. One lap later Jake Zellmer followed and soon Schumann moved past Strese for fourth.
Trailing Jesse Bernhagen, Schumann then began to work the top three. He jumped to the outside of Bernhagen on lap 11 and took the position. As he caught Zellmer and made a pass for second, the caution fell for a Brad Joecks spin. With the lineup reverted to the last completed lap, Schumann was set for a restart in third.
Schumann had no hesitation in jumping to the outside of Zellmer for the restart and was tailed by Bernhagen, DeAngelis, Mike Lichtfeld and Lensing.
Although Schumann seemed to have the strongest machine in the main, he could not work his way past Zellmer, who earlier in the night had won the fast dash. As Nolden broke away, Schumann worked the top line patiently and finally secured the runner-up spot just past the midway point.
Over the next six laps, Schumann closed the gap on Nolden. Slowly creeping in on lapped traffic, Nolden’s hope was to hold off Schumann long enough to use the traffic to his advantage and turn back Schumann. However, just as they came to the lapped traffic, Schumann slid to the bottom line in turn one and grabbed the lead just before they closed in on Troy Yohn.
Schumann started to stretch out his advantage over the final ten laps while spots were disputed behind him. After sliding back late, Lichtfeld moved back to third behind Nolden. Lensing, after being marred in traffic early in the race, moved to fourth by passing Bernhagen on the final circuit.
With just one race left in the season, Schumann will look to close the gap one final time on Lensing’s six wins and Lichtfeld’s five wins.
By securing yet another top five, Lensing put a stranglehold on the 2012 title chase. He needs only to take the green flag in the feature or semi-feature to claim the crown.
Mike Winters made his way to the top spot at just the right time on Saturday night. At the midway point Winters stole the lead from Daron Fish and cruised to his second Sportsman feature win of 2012 as Scott Luck and Dave Trute exchanged the runner up spot.
Fish grabbed an early lead in the main from pole-sitter Becky Grabarski. Behind him Winters worked the outside line to clear Sandy Cook and Grabarski to move to the second spot. As the field was boxed in behind the battle for third, Winters made his move to work past Fish.
Things finally sorted out for the trio of Luck, Trute and point-leader Randy Breunig on lap 19 when Trute worked past Clifton Sauey for third.
By this point Winters had cruised away from Fish, Luck and Trute closed in. Once they were past Fish, Luck and Trute put on a dazzling display for the runner up spot. Racing side-by-side over the final eight laps, Luck got the better of Trute by a matter of inches at the line.
Breunig finished fourth and also put himself in prime position for his first DRP title. Breunig’s lead is 59 points. He, like Lensing, needs only to start the feature next Saturday.
The Pure Stock feature may have been decided after the checkered flag fell in the heat race on Saturday night.
A captivating three-wide display coming to the stripe in the heat saw Travis Hancock on the outside of Kevin Gilding with Mark Hohl diving to the bottom to secure the win at the line. However, Hancock and Gilding ran out of space across the line and clipped Hohl’s right rear. Hohl was sent sliding to the outside retaining wall; his machine, done for the night.
When the time came for the 20-lap feature Hohl utilized his teammate Benjamin Schwarz’s machine as a backup. In a different ride Hohl could not keep pace with Hancock, who grabbed the lead on lap three.
Hohl’s point lead was saved on lap four when Brad Warthan’s engine expired. Hohl went on to second, and he and Hancock seemed to have set the earlier incident behind them in victory lane.
With an over-100 point lead, Hohl simply needs to roll through the gates at DRP to collect the Pure Stock title next week.
Dave Schmidt doesn’t visit DRP often, but when he does, he’s sure to make a stop in Victory Lane on the way out. Schmidt led wire-to-wire in the 18-lap Bandit main and cruised to a comfortable win in just his second start of 2012.
Things broke open early for Schmidt when contender Ed Klug met an early end to his race. Klug was battling side-by-side with Brian Beale for third when they went three wide with John Beale. Klug was tagged on the inside and sent spinning to the infield where he made hard impact with the retaining wall.
On the restart Schmidt again broke away and left Arch Preston to battle with Chris Weber. After the dispute was sorted out, Taylor Hammond slid past Preston to grab the second spot.
Hammond could not close the gap as Schmidt clicked off the final circuits up front.
The story of the night revolved around the point leaders Gary Stark and Spencer Wilhelm. On June 2nd Stark had Chase Munns collect points for him as a team driving effort. However, because Munns will not satisfy the minimum number of starts to be eligible for team driving, those points were taken away from Stark, placing him back in second behind Wilhelm.
Although Stark set fast time and raced his way to third, a sixth place finish left the 13-year-old Wilhelm in prime position to be DRP’s youngest titlist. He needs only to start the feature or semi-feature to win the title in his second year of action.