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Two First-Time Winners Highlight Wilmot Open Wheel Special

WILMOT, Wis. — Two first time Wilmot Raceway feature winners and a four-time victor this season highlighted the Open Wheel Special on Saturday. 

Ben Schmidt snapped a winless drought at Wilmot which saw him finish second seven times combined while competing in both 410 and 360 winged sprint cars. 

Schmidt took over the lead from Matt Vandervere with 10 laps to go in the 25-lap Midwest Sprint Association (MSA) 360-Winged Sprint Car main event.

A pair of red flags slowed the early progress in the MSA  main. The first came on lap three when heat race winner Lance Fassbender got caught in traffic while attempting to move through the field, and ended up flipping high into the air end-over-end down the front straightaway heading into turn one. 

Fassbender was transported to a local hospital for a checkup, but gave a double thumbs up to fans as he was put into the ambulance.

Logan Julien held the lead from his front row starting spot through the first stoppage. On the restart, Vandervere shot to the outside cushion shooting from third to first. A second red flag came two laps later for Chris Larson catching the inside berm in turn two and flipping on his side.

The stoppage erased a sizable lead Vandervere had opened up quickly. Vandervere sifted through lapped traffic with Schmidt right in tow. Vandervere maintained top spot until spinning on the high side in turn three while attempting to maneuver heavy lapped traffic brought out the final caution with ten laps to go.

Schmidt inherited the lead on the restart going on to a satisfying win. Brandon McMullen, who won the earlier MSA sprint feature at Wilmot back in May, finished second. Brandon Berth took third in a tight three-way battle with fourth place finisher Anthony Knierim and fifth place Kevin Karnitz. Vandervere ended up 16th.

“When I saw the lineup in the pits, I was standing next to Matt and asked him, ‘Hey, you run here all the time, where should I go?,’” Schmidt said, joined by his family in victory lane. “Matt said, ‘I run the high side. Just follow me.’

“I did, and I don’t know if I would have been able to get around him if I caught up to him. It was too bad he spun, but I do have to thank him for the advice. It’s really great to finally get a win here at Wilmot.”

The Badger Midget 25-lap feature win went to Jack Routson, with the 15-lap Modified feature win going to Steve Mueller for the fourth time at Wilmot this season and his sixth main win overall this year.  

The Bandit 4-Cylinder Stock Cars feature was postponed due to curfew.

Feature Finish (25 Laps)

1. 35-Ben Schmidt[8]; 2. 98-Brandon McMullen[4]; 3. 22B-Brandon Berth[3]; 4. 16-Anthony Knierim[12]; 5. 63K-Kevin Karnitz[10]; 6. 85J-Logan Julien[2]; 7. 20R-Rob Pribnow[11]; 8. 69S-TJ Smith[17]; 9. 0-John Fahl[14]; 10. 69-Bill Taylor[18]; 11. 6K-Kurt Davis[9]; 12. 66T-Tristan Koenings[13]; 13. 11-Tony Wondra[21]; 14. 4-Alex Pokorski[5]; 15. 12P-JJ Pagel[15]; 16. 10V-Matt Vandervere[6]; 17. 08-Katelyn Krebsbach[16]; 18. 68-Josh Bilicki[22]; 19. 29J-Ralph Johnson[20]; 20. 21H-TJ Haddy; 21. 51-Chris Larson[1]; 22. 7-Lance Fassbender[7]; 23. (DNS) 38-Jeffrey Neubert