Three-time Midwest Sprint Car Association champion and current point leader Brandon McMullen Oshkosh held off a spirited challenge from 17-year-old Jack Vanderboom of Dousman to rack up his third straight MSA A-main victory in the 20-lap Fuzzy Fassbender Memorial Race at the Dodge County Fairgrounds in Beaver Dam. Wis. on Friday, Sept. 25.
The 16th full MSA program of the COVID-19-shortened 2020 campaign was run in honor of the late Fuzzy Fassbender, father of current MSA competitor and former series champion Lance Fassender of Burnett, who was one of the most successful open-wheel racers in Southeastern Wisconsin racing history.
The event drew 24 entrants for the second MSA event of the 2020 season at the sprawling “horsepower half mile” facility.
Outside front row starter Shane Wenninger of Kewaskum got the jump on polesitter Tyler Davis of South Milwaukee to lead the opening lap of the 20-lap main event, while fourth starter Jack Vanderbooom bolted into second and sixth starter Lance Fassbender slipped into third.
On lap 2, McMullen made his presence felt as he worked his way up from the eighth starting spot to power around Fassbender into third in the running order exiting turn four.
One lap later, Vanderboom bolted in to pressure Wenninger for the top spot along the low groove of the lightning fast track surface. Wenninger and Vanderboom dueled side by side for the lead over three consecutive laps, before the lone caution flag of the race was displayed on lap 6 when rookie Austin Hartmann of Plymouth spun in turn three.
Under caution, Wenninger’s machine slowed to a stop in turn one and failed to refire, forcing him to retire to the pit area as Vanderboom inherited the lead.
McMullen used strong run on the restart to surge past Vanderboom into the lead with a high move in turn three on lap 7. McMullen wasted no time in building up a solid cushion over Vanderboom as the leaders began to slice their way through lapped traffic during the second half of the race.
On lap 13, five-time MSA champion Kurt Davis of South Milwaukee, who started seventh, pulled off a slide job to pass Fassbender for third in turn three.
Meanwhile, McMullen had his hands full with lapped traffic over the final five circuits, which allowed Vanderboom to close the gap drastically in the closing laps.
On the final lap Vanderboom appeared that he was going to make a challenge for the lead with a big run in turns three and four. However, the second-year MSA 360 Sprint Car competitor jumped the cushion entering turn four and was unable to mount a serious threat in the final corner as McMullen held on to secure his seventh MSA A-main victory of the season, second victory of the 2020 campaign at the Dodge County Fairgrounds and 30th overall career MSA main event win.
After the race, McMullen seemed more impressed with Vanderboom’s runner-up effort, than his own performance.
“It’s awesome to get a win, but I’m pumped for Jack,” McMullen said. “He really gave me a run and made me earn it tonight. He has an awesome future in racing.”
Vanderboom equaled his career-best MSA A-main finish with a second-place showing.
“I almost had him at the end, but things were a little sketchy in turns three and four on that final lap when I got up too high,” Vanderboom said. “Overall, it was a really good night and it feels good to bring the car home second.”
Davis was satisfied with a third-place showing at one of his favorite tracks on the MSA schedule.
“I love this place,” Davis said. “It makes up get up on the wheel, steer, stand on the gas and just go fast. Some people like the smaller tracks and maybe don’t like tracks like this as much, but it is definitely one of my favorite tracks.”
Tim Haddy of Waupun placed fourth after starting fifth and Fassbender rounded out the top five.
Heat race victories went to Brandon Berth of Cascade, Shane Wenninger and Tim Haddy.
The next race on the 2020 MSA schedule is the season finale as part of the Wisconsin Sprint Car Championships at The Plymouth Dirt Track at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds in Plymouth, Wis. on Saturday, Sept. 26.
On-track activity is slated to begin at 4:45 p.m. with qualifying and racing to follow for the all-Sprint Car program, which also features the Bumper to Bumper Interstate Racing Association, AutoMeter Wisconsin Wingless Sprint Cars and IRA Lightning Sprints.
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Midwest Sprint Car Association
Dodge County Fairgrounds
Beaver Dam, Wis.
September 25, 2020
1, Brandon Berth 2, Tyler Davis 3, Jack Vanderboom 4, Scott Conger 5, Chris Larson 6, Kevin Seidler 7, Paul Pokorski – Travis Arenz (DNS).
1, Shane Wenninger 2, Lance Fassbender 3, Tony Wondra 4, Tyler Brabant 5, Blake Wondra 6, Tyler Tischendorf 7, Preston Ruh 8, Austin Hartmann.
1, Tim Haddy 2, Kurt Davis 3, Brandon McMullen 4, Justin Miller 5, Will Gerrits 6, Bill Taylor 7, Justin Erickson 8, Chris Clayton.
1, Brandon McMullen 2, Jack Vanderboom 3, Kurt Davis 4, Tim Haddy 5, Lance Fassbender 6, Justin Miller 7, Tyler Davis 8, Tyler Brabant 9, Tyler Tischendorf 10, Will Gerrits 11, Tony Wondra 12, Scott Conger 13, Blake Wondra 14, Bill Taylor 15, Chris Larson 16, Preston Ruh 17, Austin Hartmann 18, Chris Clayton 19, Shane Wenninger 20, Brandon Berth 21, Kevin Seidler – Paul Pokorski (DNS), Justin Erickson (DNS), Travis Arenz (DNS).
Photos by Leader Photography