Arenz and Schmidt target MSA 360 Sprint Car title

By Jeff Pederson

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(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTIONS) September 23, 2022 – As the 2022 Midwest Sprint Car Association 360 Sprint Car Series season comes to a close in a weekend of dual competition culminating with the Plymouth Dirt Track Racing 2022 season finale at the Plymouth Dirt Track in Plymouth, Wis Saturday September 24, two former champions are looking to wear the crown for the second time.

After winning the 2021 Midwest Sprint Car Association and Plymouth Dirt Track Racing 360 Sprint Car titles, fifth-year 360 Sprint Car competitor Travis Arenz of Sheboygan Falls has had another remarkable season, highlighted by seven MSA A main wins. , including six main- event triumphs in the PDTR 360 Sprint Car competition.

Arenz, who also has the 2013 PDTR Outlaw Compact Championship in his collection, heads to the final two races of the 2022 MSA campaign – Friday, September 23 at Dodge County Fairgrounds in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin and Saturday, September 24 at The Plymouth Dirt Track – with a 17 point lead over 2011 MSA and PDTR 360 Sprint Car champion Ben Schmidt of Plymouth.

The former Sport Mod/B Mod racer, who also holds a 73-point cushion over Schmidt at the top of the PDTR 360 Sprint Car standings ahead of the 2022 PDTR Curtain at the Plymouth Dirt Track on Saturday, September 24, did not anticipate at the origin to compete for the 2022 MSA and Plymouth 360 Sprint Car titles.

“We were planning to run a selection of 360 and 410 races this year without sticking to any particular series or schedule,” Arenz said. “However, that changed as we found ourselves waiting for our 410 engine to come back from the engine builder and then we had an engine failure with the 410 at an IRA event at Seymour in July which made us to move back.

“With the cost of everything going up, we’ve decided to stay closer to home this season,” he said. “We are happy to be able to represent our sponsors and support our local tracks in doing so.”

In 17 MSA events during the 2022 campaign, Arenz collected 15 top fives and 16 top 10 A-mains, as well as four heat race wins, while posting seven main event wins to move up to fifth place. all time. List of MSA A main wins with 29.

Arenz, who boasts 17 career PDTR Outlaw Compact A main wins and three career PDTR B Mod main event wins, hopes to build on the momentum of a strong 2022 season at the MSA-PDTR Championship weekend.

“My goal every night is to finish on the podium, so overall my goals in the 360 ​​have been met with what we’ve accomplished this year,” Arenz said. “We hope to finish the season strong with another win or two.

“My approach to the last two nights of the racing season is simple – stay smooth, focused and humble,” he said.

In addition to his 360 Sprint Car duties, Arenz will be in action driving his 410 Sprint Car this weekend at both Dodge County Fairgrounds and the Plymouth Dirt Track with an engine provided courtesy of Gibbsville Cheese and Ozzie Wesener.

“We plan to complete the rest of the season with the IRA,” Arenz said. “This wouldn’t be possible without the generosity and support of Gibbsville Cheese and Ozzie Wesener.”

As for the 2023 racing season, Arenz isn’t quite sure at this point what the future might hold.

“Our plans for the 2023 season did not materialize,” Arenz said. “We are going to run a few races in a Dirt Late Model with Jake Van Engen Racing. We would like to race full time with the IRA Sprint Car Series in 2023, but our options are open. We are interested in partnering with someone for the 410 program.”

Schmidt, who is seeking his second MSA 360 Sprint Car Championship, had an equally strong 2022 season with a main event victory to go along with 11 top-5s and 15 top-10 A-mains, as well as a race win. heat, during the 2022 campaign.

“In 2021 we were second in the MSA points championship,” Schmidt said. “Going into the 2022 season, our goal was to be one place higher. Our season was very good, with only one A-main DNF [did not finish] so far, who was on opening night battling Brandon McMullen for the win. Unfortunately, this DNF made the difference, as Travis [Arenz] completed all races.

Schmidt, who was a regular competitor in the 410 Bumper to Bumper Interstate Racing Association race car series between 2014 and 2019, scoring three IRA A main wins and a second place finish in the 2016 IRA points standings during from his six-season tenure, returned to 360 Sprint Car competition in 2020 and has been a top racer with MSA for the past three seasons.

After beginning his long and successful racing career in the Eastern Wisconsin Stock Car Super Stock division at the Plymouth Dirt Track in 2000, Schmidt said winning another MSA title would be especially special for his crew members.

“The approach has been the same all year – score points every time we hit the track and be consistent,” Schmidt said. “Hopefully the end result will be a championship. It would mean a lot to the crew. Our team manager, Dave ‘Dusty’ Goeden, has had championships before with his brother, Donny, and I’ve had championships in the past too, but not our team. To get a championship would be to cross out another goal for the season.

Schmidt, who sits fourth on the MSA 360 Sprint Car’s all-time major wins list with 31 wins, hopes to continue competing in the 360 ​​Sprint Car ranks for the foreseeable future.

“I don’t know what the plan is for next year because families are getting bigger for a few guys in my crew,” Schmidt said. “They have children and grandchildren they would like to spend more time with. I can’t see myself hanging up yet. We have so many great sponsors that keep us going. Hopefully we can get the 2022 MSA Championship and a few more in the years to come. »

Heading into the final PDTR 360 Sprint Car points race of the 2022 season, 2008 PDTR 360 Sprint Car and 2005 MSA champion Lance Fassbender are 117 points off the lead of third, two-time PDTR 360 Sprint and four-time champion MSA Brandon McMullen of Oshkosh is fourth with 144 points from Arenz despite missing a night of action and Justin Erickson of Plymouth is fifth with 230 points from Arenz.

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Former Grand National competitor JJ Pagel of Mount Calvary will seek the PDTR 360 Sprint Car and MSA rookie of the year awards in the upcoming MSA Championship weekend doubleheader at Dodge County Fairgrounds Speedway in Beaver Dam on Friday the 23rd. September and the Plymouth Dirt Track on Saturday September 24.

Pagel, who won the 2021 Grand National title at Gravity Park Speedway in Chilton, is looking to wrap up the MSA Rookie of the Year Award this weekend and he holds a significant 69-point lead over fellow rookie Randy Post of Oostburg leading to the PDTR Finale 360 ​​Sprint Car on September 24.

“Definitely being Rookie of the Year was probably the goal I wanted to achieve the most this season,” Pagel said. “The learning curve was much harder than expected. We struggled for half the season trying to fix some engine issues. Then when we finally fixed the engine issues, we had to start over and learn how to set up a car. Then it was about changing my driving style from the winged car to the open wheel cars because they are so different. Towards the end of the season, we finally picked up speed, but we’re not where we want it to be yet.

The former PDTR Outlaw Compact competitor is looking forward to progressing behind the wheel of a Sprint Car in 2023.

“As we approach the 2023 season, I plan to use the 360 ​​Sprint Car again, as well as make some upgrades during the off-season and hopefully start the season with a bit more luck” , said Pagel.

Pagel’s pit crew includes Joe Pagel, Bristol Hitsman and Josh Bergman.

Pagel’s racing team sponsors are A&W Iron and Metals of Kewaskum, Whiskey Dix Saloon of St. Peter, Ledgeview Precast Concrete of Fond du Lac, TTI Trucking Inc. of Eden, Silica Pub of Malone, CW Smith Jewelers of North Fond du Lac, Prototool LLC of Campbellsport, Altmeyer Electric Inc. of Sheboygan, Charles Poch Trucking Inc. of St. Cloud, Flood Oil Company of Eden, Shaky Joes Bar and Grill of Mount Calvary, S&S Mechanical of Mount Calvary, Maple Valley Heating and Cooling LLC of St. Cloud, JB Gierach Masonry & Restoration of Mount Calvary, Carbliss Handcrafted Premium Cocktails of Plymouth, H&R Safety Solutions of Campbellsport, Mark Petrie Fabrication of Plymouth, RC Custom Design of Adell, Marytown Tap of Marytown and Best Plumbing of Mount Calvary.

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The Wisconsin Sprint Car Championships event on Saturday, September 24 at the Plymouth Dirt Track will wrap up the points races for the IRA Sprint Cars, Wisconsin Wingless Sprint Cars, MSA Sprint Cars, PDTR 360 Sprint Cars and IRA Lightning Sprints with 2,022 champions crowned in the five divisions.

Pit doors open at 1 p.m. with spectator doors at 4 p.m. and on-track action at 4:45 p.m. with qualifying and the race to follow.

For those unable to attend in person, the action on both nights will be streamed live at www.floracing.com

The Plymouth Dirt Track at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds is located at 229 Fairview Drive in Plymouth, Wis. For more information visit www.plymouthdtr.com or check out Plymouth Dirt Track Racing on Facebook.

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