From Last To First, Bill Balog Wins UMSS Richert Memorial
New Richmond, WI
By: Greg Parent, UMSS Media Director (9-8-18)
The last shall be first! Although he was not scheduled to start from the back of the field, such was the case when Bill Balog pushed off for the start of the 25 lap feature, then made a visit to the work area, and rejoined the starting grid at the tail prior to the green flag for the running of the 18th Annual Jerry Richert, Sr. Memorial UMSS POWRi Lucas Oil Midwest Power Series event. With an extremely impressive charge forward from 18th, Balog added his name to the record books as the third driver to win in both the IRA and UMSS portions of the Richert Memorial at the Cedar Lake Speedway. Balog earned $1,800 for his work behind the wheel of the Lien Acres #2 360 winged sprint car on his way to Rock Auto Victory Lane. It was Balog's third career UMSS win, as the Hartland, WI driver (via North Pole, Alaska) has only raced with the series on several occasions over the years but has certainly had success.
A field of nineteen UMSS sprint cars were on hand which was also the ninth event of the season for the Midwest Power Series. With 36 IRA sprints and 29 UMSS Traditional sprints also signed into the pits, the total car count of 84 sprint cars set a Cedar Lake Speedway record. Heat race winners included Bill Balog in the Al Parker Engines/Pirtek Fluid Transfer Solutions first heat, Brooke Tatnell in the Al Parker Engines/Rock Auto second heat and Geoff Dodge in the Al Parker Engines/GRP Motorsports third heat. Each 10-lap heat race winner earned $100 from Al Parker Engines of Newton, Iowa. Dodge earned the most points in heat race action, and he along with five other drivers qualified for the six lap dash. Local fan favorite, and the most recent UMSS winner at the Cedar Lake Speedway, Chase Viebrock won the six lap Al Parker Engines Dash for Cash which earned him the right to start on the pole for the 25 lap main event. Viebrock picked up $200 from Al Parker Engines for the victory. Tatnell would start alongside Viebrock for the 25 lap Richert Memorial feature race.
With some early drama playing out for Bill Balog and his team before the race got underway, eighteen cars took the green flag. Jason Tostenson was the only car not able to start the feature. Tatnell blasted out to an early lead, as fans watched Balog move up through the field. The race ran thirteen laps before the first caution blinked on for Ryan Bowers stalled car in turn four. Bowers, a two-time UMSS champion and current point leader coming into the night, was out of action with a broken rear end. Balog was up to sixth for the restart. Tatnell once again held the top spot with Balog quickly moving up to third just one lap later. Suddenly while entering turn one to begin the seventeenth lap, Tatnell's right rear tire exploded and he stopped in turn two to bring out what would be the final caution and end any chance he had for another Richert Memorial title in the UMSS portion of the event. Indeed a tough blow for the veteran Australian driver, but his night would improve rather nicely a bit later on. Balog was now in second behind race leader Jon Agan of Knoxville, Iowa. Agan had moved to second back on lap 12. Agan led two circuits before Balog made the winning pass and went on to record a come-from-behind victory much to the delight of many race fans in the crowd. Agan held strong for a solid second place finish in his first appearance of the season with the UMSS and Midwest Power Series and earned $1,000. Charging forward from his 12th starting spot, two-time UMSS and Midwest Power Series champion Chris Graf finished third. Geoff Dodge and James Broty rounded out the top five. Defending Midwest Power Series champion Derrik Lusk, Wade Nygaard, Mark Dobmeier, Tatnell and Viebrock completed the top ten.
After a DQ in his heat race for an illegal tire, Dobmeier, driving the DDR car, earned the $200 GRP Motorsports/Minnesota Mafia Hard Charger Award in the feature with a gain of ten positions, one more than Graf. Although Balog actually started tail-end, he was slated to roll off from the sixth spot and was not eligible to earn the hard charger from the back of the pack even though he truly advanced seventeen positions for the win. Only one car dropped out of the feature race with twelve cars still on the lead lap at the end. In the 30 lap IRA feature following the UMSS feature, Tatnell found redemption from his dissappointment in the 360 class and won the IRA portion of the show for his third win in the 410 division at this prestigious event and a $5,000 payday to end his evening on a very high note.
The UMSS POWRi Lucas Oil winged sprints will finish out their season with two races on the weekend of September 14-15. Both races will also be full-point Midwest Power Series events. The series will return to the Clay County Fair Speedway in Spencer, Iowa on Friday September 14 for a travel show only race paying $1,500 to win and close out the season at the Deer Creek Speedway on Saturday September 15 with a big $2,500 to win full UMSS point show. Last year Balog won at Spencer while Deer Creek fell victim to the weather. The Deer Creek race will see the UMSS POWRi Lucas Oil winged sprint championship determined as well as the Midwest Power Series championship. With his DNF at Cedar Lake, Ryan Bowers slipped back to second in the current points standings 10 points behind Chase Viebrock coming into the final weekend. Jamey Ogston is third in the point battle for the UMSS title 39 points behind Viebrock. Derrik Lusk leads Chris Graf and James Broty in the Midwest Power Series championship standings coming into the final weekend. Racers and fans can keep track of all the UMSS POWRi Lucas Oil winged sprint car action on our website at www.umsprints.com or on the UMSS Facebook page.
UMSS POWRi Lucas Oil Race Results - Cedar Lake Speedway September 8, 2018 (Race #13)
18th Annual Jerry Richert, Sr. Memorial / Midwest Power Series Event
Midwest Power Equipment/GRP Motorsports A Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 2B-Bill Balog, ; 2. 4-Jon Agan, ; 3. 20G-Chris Graf, ; 4. 64-Geoff Dodge, ; 5. 33-James Broty, ; 6. 2-Derrik Lusk, ; 7. 9N-Wade Nygaard, ; 8. 34DD-Mark Dobmeier, ; 9. 63-Brooke Tatnell, ; 10. 50-Chase Viebrock, ; 11. 11M-Brendan Mullen, ; 12. 5M-Troy Manteufel, ; 13. 03-Jamey Ogston, ; 14. 91A-Reed Allex, ; 15. 5T-Mark Toews, ; 16. 33S-Jeremy Schultz, ; 17. 15C-Carter Chevalier, ; 18. (DNF) 5B-Ryan Bowers, ; (DNS) 36-Jason Tostenson,
Lap Leaders: Tatnell 1-16, Agan 17-18, Balog 19-25. (2) cautions. First yellow for 5 Bowers stopped turn four with broken rear end with 13 laps scored. Second yellow for leader Tatnell flat tire with 16 laps scored.
Al Parker Engines Dash 1 (6 Laps): 1. 50-Chase Viebrock, ; 2. 63-Brooke Tatnell, ; 3. 33-James Broty, ; 4. 64-Geoff Dodge, ; 5. 5M-Troy Manteufel, ; 6. (DNF) 2B-Bill Balog, 
Lap Leaders: Viebrock 1, Balog 2, Viebrock 3-6. No cautions.
PIRTEK Fluid Transfer Solutions/Al Parker Engines Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1. 2B-Bill Balog, ; 2. 33-James Broty, ; 3. 9N-Wade Nygaard, ; 4. 4-Jon Agan, ; 5. 20G-Chris Graf, ; 6. 33S-Jeremy Schultz, ; (DQ) 34DD-Mark Dobmeier, 
Lap Leader: Balog 1-10. No cautions following one false start. Dobmeier finished fourth but was DQed for an illegal tire (altered the sidewall markings).
Rock Auto/Al Parker Engines Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1. 63-Brooke Tatnell, ; 2. 5M-Troy Manteufel, ; 3. 5B-Ryan Bowers, ; 4. 5T-Mark Toews, ; 5. 03-Jamey Ogston, ; 6. (DNF) 36-Jason Tostenson, 
Lap Leaders: Manteufel 1-5, Tatnell 6-10. One yellow with 8 laps scored for 36 slow on back stretch.
GRP Motorsports/Al Parker Engines Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1. 64-Geoff Dodge, ; 2. 50-Chase Viebrock, ; 3. 2-Derrik Lusk, ; 4. 11M-Brendan Mullen, ; 5. 91A-Reed Allex, ; 6. 15C-Carter Chevalier, 
Lap Leaders: Viebrock 1, Lusk 2, Viebrock 3, Dodge 4-10. No cautions. Good heat race!
Rock Auto Victory Lane photo courtesy of Vince Peterson at Track Rat Photos.