|Balog Sweeps Weekend With Rice Lake Victory In Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Action
By Jeffrey Sachse
RICE LAKE, WI (July 14) - Sometimes you just get in the zone. An unstoppable rhythm that leads to success. Billy Balog is squarely in the middle of that zone and is in no hurry to leave.
The Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint series wrapped up the first of three consecutive double header weekends with its first stop to Rice Lake Speedway since the 2010 season. Balog would charge from his 10th place starting spot then outrun Brooke Tatnell to earn his ninth A-main victory of the 2012 season in front of a packed house.
Like the program the night before at Mississippi Thunder Speedway, the field was left chasing Balog's #17b entry to the finish line. Tatnell would wind up in the second position for the second straight night after he pulled off a last corner pass on Kim Mock to steal the position. Mock garnered his second third place performance of 2012 after leading much of the main event, a solid showing for the young second-generation racer who is edging closer to his first career series feature win.
The 30 lap feature contest would run from green to checkered, the first main event of the season to go without interruption. The full field of 900 horsepower machines set a blistering pace on the racy banked third-mile clay oval finishing the contest in less than seven minutes.
As a result of his efforts, Balog has climbed to second on the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series win list compiled back to 1986. He now has 36 career victories to his credit having surpassed passed two other series champions, Donny Goeden and Kim Mock, who recorded 35 and 34 wins respectively in their careers during that time frame.
Only nine-time series champion, Joe Roe, who has amassed an amazing 61 wins which matched the number of his car, sits ahead of Balog on the win list.
Starting in the fifth row, both Balog and Tatnell would thrill fans as he charged through the field starting with the drop of the green flag.
21 of 22 drivers scheduled for the main event were able to answer the call and Mock who started on the pole of the contest, would outgun Russel Borland for the opening lead of the event.
Two-time series champion, Travis Whitney, would place himself into the third position in the opening rounds.
Mock showing great poise and car control began weaving through back markers on lap 10 with Borland holding fast to second turning in one of his strongest performances of the year. Whitney began to fade as Tommy Sexton reached the third spot. Sexton, showing that he's fully recovered from a violent flip in a USAC show at Wilmot Raceway a few weeks ago ran down Borland to reach the second spot at the halfway point of the contest.
At the halfway mark Balog and Tatnell reached fourth and fifth respectively as the tandem charged through the pack.
Balog would pull off a darning pass before the 16th lap whipping past both Borland and Sexton to reach the runner-up spot. In spite of his best efforts Mock was unable to hold onto the lead position and on lap 21 Balog roared past securing the lead which he would hold the final nine circuits.
With no cautions to slow his pace Balog would reach the finish line without further challenge as second place became hotly contested. Tatnell had reached Mock's tail with five laps to go but Mock was driving a flawless line around the track.
Coming to the final turns Tatnell was able to find a line which allowed him to draw even with Mock as the duo powered off turn four in a drag race to the finish line. Tatnell's momentum allowed him to reach the stripe in second by a matter of feet, as Mock settled for the third spot.
Sexton recorded a solid fourth place showing having run in the top five the entire distance of the contest. Scott Uttech recorded his third consecutive top five finish having charged from the 11th spot on the grid to finish fifth.
Borland turned in one of his best performances of 2012 with a sixth place finish while Mike Reinke, Scott Neitzel, Todd King, and Whitney completed the top ten finishers. 13 drivers were still on the lead lap as the checkered flag flew.
20 of the 21 starters who accepted the green flag were still running at the finish. Dave Uttech had dropped from the event in the closing laps, while Bill Warren who had mechanical difficulties was unable to take the opening green flag.
Heat race wins would go to Sexton, Mock and Reinke. Reinke would pull off the closest victory of the evening in his heat race. Hugging the low line he ran down Kris Spitz coming off turn four reaching the checkered flag by a matter of inches ahead of Spitz to take the win.
In qualifying for the evening action Balog narrowly missed the track record of 12.225 set on August of 2006 by Sam Hafertepe. Balog had clocked in a lap of 12.306 seconds earning fast time edging Tatnell who laid down a 12.438 second effort. 12 drivers eclipsed the 13 second mark and the top 20 were just one second apart in qualifying.
The IRA Outlaw Sprint Series is proudly supported by Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts & Service Centers, Osborn & Son Trucking, Goodyear, TW Metals, Cummins Onan, DNA Energy Drink& Snacks, MPT Industries, UltraLube, Big Game Treestands, Carriage Auto Body, Otis Gun, Mother's Polishes and Waxes and Polaris DEFENSE. The office of the IRA Sprints can be reached at 815-759-9269 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
IRA Outlaw Sprints:
A-Main: 1.) Bill Balog; 2.) Brooke Tatnell; 3.) Phillip Mock; 4.) Tommy Sexton; 5.) Scott Uttech; 6.) Russel Borland; 7.) Mike Reinke; 8.) Scotty Neitzel; 9.) Todd King; 10.) Travis Whitney; 11.) Wayne Modjeski; 12.) Brandon Thone; 13.) Bill Wirth; 14.) Kris Spitz; 15.) John Sernett; 16.) Robbie Pribnow; 17.) Andy Hunt; 18.) Darrell Dodd; 19.) Michael Decker; 20.) Dennis Spitz; 21.) Dave Uttech; 22.) Bill Warren
Heat 1: 1.) Sexton; 2.) Balog; 3.) Wirth; 3.) Sernett
Heat 2: 1.) Mock; 2.) D. Uttech; 3.) Tatnell; 4.) Neitzel
Heat 3: 1.) Reinke; 2.) K. Spitz; 3.) S. Uttech; 4.) Whitney
Qualifying: (Top 10) 1.) Balog, 12.306 Seconds; 2.) Tatnell, 12.438 secs; 3.) Reinke, 12.573 secs; 4.) King, 12.593; 5.) Neitzel, 12.607; 6.) Whitney, 12.609; 7.) Hunt, 12.871; 8.) Modjeski, 12.933; 9.) Thone 12.936; 10.) Sexton 12.944