BRADFORD, Vt. — The top three finishing cars in Saturday’s 25 lap USAC Dirt Midget Association feature at Bear Ridge Speedway all left on the same hauler- one in a box truck and two on an open trailer- after Skip Matczak’s Seals-It Racing Team swept the podium.
Defending Champion Joe Krawiec got the win, multi-time/multi division winner Kevin Chafee was second and 1971 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Denny Zimmerman was third.
“I’ve been a car owner for more than 50 years and I’ve won some big races, but I’ve never had a night that could compare to this,” an elated Matczak said.
Krawiec started seventh, took the top spot from Zimmerman on lap 11 of the green-to-checker event and stretched his lead out to a full straightaway until Chafee narrowed the gap in the closing laps. The victory makes Krawiec the first three-time winner this season and places him back in contention to repeat as champion.
“We made a few adjustments to match the track conditions and the car just rotated beautifully tonight, Krawiec said. “ I could use the brake just a little coming in and put the nose where I wanted it. If I wanted to get close to the infield I could, if I wanted to skate the car up the track a little I could- it was the best car I had all year. Denny had an amazing night, he’s been a mentor to the group and to me and I’ve learned so much from him. It was great to see the confidence back in and to see him and him do so well.”
For his part, Zimmerman deferred to the car. “After the changes we made, the car was just about perfect and that makes all the difference in the world,” he said.
Matczak, Krawiec and Zimmerman gave credit to set-up advice from Chili Bowl and Hut Hundred winner John Heydenreich, a Seals-It colleague who on hand was in the pits. The changes Heydenreich recommended were implemented by 79 year old mechanic Warren Sentivany, who first raced with Zimmerman in 1958.
Chafee, who also has wins this season in a Sprint Car and a DIRTcar Sportsman Modified, immediately left the victory lane celebration to race in the Sportsman Modified feature, where he replicated his Midget performance with a second place finish.