ANTIGO, Wisc. – The once-a-year trip for the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints to the Langlade County Fairgrounds Speedway had a familiar feel in the closing stages of the show’s main event on Friday.
Out front was veteran racer Steve Meyer, celebrating his 25th season of racing, and giving chase was six-time and defending IRA champ Bill Balog.
Meyer had been driving a flawless race to keep Balog following in his tracks just like the series last appearance one year ago. During that event, Balog managed to power by Meyer late in the race following a restart an go on to victory. On this evening, Meyer had already successfully defended the lead on a pair of restarts and appeared to have the pace to win the contest.
Heading for the final lap of the race the duo encountered a lapped car, Meyer opted for the low line, and cleanly made the pass, Balog chose a higher groove. The pair came out of turn four side by side, with Balog using the momentum of the high line to pull ahead reaching the white flag first.
Over the final lap Meyer gave chase but he was unable to find a way back to the lead. He would have to settle for a second place performance, for the second straight year, while Balog and his team celebrated his sixth win of the 2014 season.
Mike Reinke, who was in contention for the victory throughout the contest finished in the third spot six car lengths behind the lead pair. It was the second straight podium finish for Reinke who claimed runner-up honors at Angell Park Speedway one week ago.
Balog noted how tricky the last lap pass around lapped traffic was. “We both made a risky decision, we ended up getting it (the win). Meyer was doing a great job, it was a lot of fun tonight racing him,” said Balog. “It was a lot of fun tonight racing here and flying around this big half-mile.”
For Meyer, the evening was extra special as his daughter had celebrated her 21st birthday at the track. Earlier in the evening Meyer had collected a victory in his heat race taking the lead in that race on the final lap, and his second place run in the feature made for a solid start of the three-day race weekend for Meyer.
Bill Balog, Steve Meyer, Mike Reinke, Ben Schmidt, Bill Rose, Scotty Neitzel, Jordan Goldesberry, Scott Biertzer, Tommy Sexron, Travis Whitney, Scotty Thiel, Lance Fassbender, Scott Uttech, Dave Uttech. Russel Borland. Brandon Thone. Jason Johnson. Ken Jay Fiedler. Kris Spitz, Dennis Spitz, Ty Bartz, Dennis Wiesner, Bryon Walters, Blake Nimee, Chad Tessman