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Michael Bonneau bags USAC Southwest Freedom Tour finale at DCRP


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Michael Bonneau Bags USAC Southwest Freedom Tour Finale at DCRP!

by Lonnie Wheatley


DODGE CITY, Kan. (August 16, 2014) – He didn’t even know he had won when he pulled to a stop on the front straightaway. All that he knew was that he was among the top four.

Not until a crew member told him two or three times did Michael Bonneau realize that he had just won the USAC Southwest Sprint Cars Second Annual “Freedom Tour” finale atop the 3/8-mile Dodge City Raceway Park clay oval.



Courtesy of TWC Photos

“I had no idea, if I had known I probably would have done some donuts or something,” the happy winner from Peoria, AZ, said after taking the $2,500 winner’s share in the 30-lap finale.

It was little surprise that Bonneau was unaware, as Rick Ziehl was long gone in his chase for a second DCRP Freedom Tour win in as many years.

Long gone that is until the Las Cruces shoe ran afoul of a lapped car making an exit to the infield on the 24th lap, opening a door so quickly that Bonneau dashed through and into the lead so quickly he didn’t know it.

While Bonneau was a surprised winner, other winners on the night included Austin Allen in the IMCA Modified ranks, Jeff Kaup in the IMCA Sport Modifieds, Dusty Witthuhn in the IMCA Stock Cars and Edwin Elliott in Thunder Cars.

In the USAC Southwest non-wing Sprint Car feature, Bonneau started from the pole position and chased outside front row starter Ziehl throughout.

Following the race’s lone caution after five laps when Shannon McQueen bicycled and tagged the turn four wall, Ziehl began stretching his lead out over Bonneau, who was holding off Charles Davis, Jr., for second.

Ziehl eventually opened up nearly a full straightaway lead over his chasers, only to be nearly driven all the way to the infield by Josh Shipley, who was trying to make an exit in a second Tye Mihocko mount.

Ziehl gathered it in, but not before Bonneau as well as Davis, Jr., and Harli White sped by.

Bonneau kept the Priced Right Auto Sales No. 29 several car-lengths ahead of Davis, Jr., the rest of the way to secure his first win of the year with fellow Arizona shoe Davis, Jr., settling for runner-up honors in his best Freedom Tour outing of the week.

For the second night in a row, Lindsey, Oklahoma’s Harli White finished on the podium after crossing the stripe in third. Ziehl was a disappointed fourth with Topeka’s Wyatt Burks rounding out the top five.

Shon Deskins was sixth with Josh Hodges, R.J. Johnson, Josh Pelkey and Mike Martin completing the top ten.

Deskins, White and Davis, Jr., topped heat race action. The second heat got off to a rough start when Missouri’s Brad Graham and Jetmore’s Ray Seemann went for a wild double tumble in turn one. Both drivers walked away but were done for the night.

In the 20-lap IMCA Modified main event, Austin Allen moved to the top of the point charts with his first feature win of the year as Ryan Heger, who led entering the night, flipped on the frontstretch on the original start.

Allen earned his win in dramatic fashion, making a white-flag lap pass of race-long leader William Nusser to snare the win.

After leading the initial 18 circuits from the pole position, Nusser bobbled exiting turn four with the white flag in sight to open the door for Wichita’s Allen, who had battled forward from tenth.

Allen took the checkered two car-lengths ahead of Nusser with Kale Beavers, Nick Link and Van Gemmill rounding out the top five.

In the 20-lap IMCA Sport Modified feature, current points leader and reigning track champion Jeff Kaup took advantage of a late caution to snare his fourth win of the year.

While Kaup worked forward from tenth, Brian May paced the initial seven circuits before Jamie French took command with Kaup moving to second by the ninth lap. French had it well in hand until a caution flew with just four laps remaining.

But when French stumbled on the restart, Kaup took quick advantage and raced on to the checkered flag despite an overheating engine that was on seven cylinders. French chased the Woodward, OK, shoe to the line with Toby Witthuhn, Kevin Tabor and Bart Baker in the top five.

After battling side-by-side with Josh Crombie for several laps, Bazine’s Dusty Witthuhn surged ahead on the tenth round en route to his first IMCA Stock Car feature win of the season.

Witthuhn raced forward from eighth before wrestling the lead away from Crombie, who had taken the lead away from Kyle Tillery on the second round. Witthuhn crossed the stripe in the 15-lapper ahead of Crombie with Marlin Hogie, Ron Hartman and Reagan Sellard in the top five.

In the 15-lap Thunder Car feature, Edwin Elliott chased down race-long leader Bryan Habiger on the 13th lap to post his first win of the year.

Habiger jumped out front at the start and held a sizable lead at the midway point before the pack began closing the gap. Elliott worked his way to the front of the chasing pack and slipped by Habiger in the closing rounds to secure the win.

Habiger settled for second behind Elliott with Matt O’Hair, William Bauer and Dan Rogers in the top five.

Dodge City Raceway Park is back in action next Saturday night with the Inaugural $1,000-to-win Sport Modified Mayhem event with IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Stock Cars, Thunder Car and Hornets in action as well.

Dodge City Raceway Park – August 16 Results

USAC Southwest Sprint Cars Freedom Tour:

First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 20-Shon Deskins (1), 2. 29-Michael Bonneau (2), 3. 78-Chris Bonneau (3), 4. 16-Mike Martin (4), 5. 77m-R.J. Johnson (7), 6. 1x-Don Droud, Jr. (6), 7. 24-Kevin Risley (5).

Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 17w-Harli White (4), 2. 11w-Wyatt Burks (1), 3. 74x-Josh Hodges (7), 4. 11c-Michael Curtis (3), 5. 94T-Tim Kent (6), 6. 04-Brad Graham (2), 7. 72-Ray Seemann (5).

Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 50-Charles Davis, Jr. (2), 2. 41w-Rick Ziehl (3), 3. 12-Josh Pelkey (1), 4. 7-Shannon McQueen (4), 5. 5-Tye Mihocko (6), 6. 11k-Tyler Knight (5), 7. 5x-Josh Shipley (7).

"A" Feature (30 Laps): 1. 29-Michael Bonneau (1), 2. 50-Charles Davis, Jr. (4), 3. 17w-Harli White (6), 4. 41w-Rick Ziehl (2), 5. 11w-Wyatt Burks (7), 6. 20-Shon Deskins (3), 7. 74x-Josh Hodges (5), 8. 77m-R.J. Johnson (10), 9. 12-Josh Pelkey (9), 10. 16-Mike Martin (11), 11. 11c-Michael Curtis (13), 12. 1x-Don Droud, Jr. (16), 13. 5-Tye Mihocko (15), 14. 5x-Josh Shipley (19), 15. 94T-Tim Kent (14), 16. 78-Chris Bonneau (8), 17. 11k-Tyler Knight (17), 18. 7-Shannon McQueen (12), 19. 24-Kevin Risley (18). DNS: 04-Brad Graham, 72-Ray Seemann.

Lap Leaders: Rick Ziehl 1-23, Michael Bonneau 24-30.

IMCA Modifieds:

First Heat (8 Laps): 1. M15-Mike Martin, 2. 18-Austin Allen, 3. 1n-Nick Link, 4. 21-Van Gemmill, 5. 36-Travis Simmons, 6. 05-Rick Taylor, 7. 44-Mike Lunow.

Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 9-Cole Traugott, 2. 98-Danny Keller, 3. 25-Kale Beavers, 4. A2-Randy Wilson, 5. 57-Joel Lane, 6. 2L-Tracy Link.

Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 7n-William Nusser, 2. 88j-Jack Kirchoff, 3. 22k-Brad Keller, 4. G3-Brendon Gemmill, 5. 3h-Ryan Heger, 6. 01-Jesse Smith.

"A" Feature (20 Laps): 1. 18-Austin Allen, 2. 7n-William Nusser, 3. 25-Kale Beavers, 4. 1n-Nick Link, 5. 21-Van Gemmill, 6. 98-Danny Keller, 7. 88j-Jack Kirchoff, 8. A2-Randy Wilson, 9. 44-Mike Lunow, 10. 22k-Brad Keller, 11. 01-Jesse Smith, 12. M15-Mike Martin, 13. 05-Rick Taylor, 14. G3-Brendon Gemmill, 15. 57-Joel Lane, 16. 2L-Tracy Link, 17. 9-Cole Traugott, 18. 36-Travis Simmons, 19. 3h-Ryan Heger.

IMCA Sport Modifieds:

First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 7b-Jamie French, 2. 92-Jeff Kaup, 3. 33-Jason Lunow, 4. 39-Brian May, 5. 44-Austin Walker, 6. 19-Brian Harkness, 7. 55d-Donald Strecker, 8. 22-Randle McRoberts.

Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 56m-Mike Appel, 2. 10T-Toby Witthuhn, 3. 65j-Josh Appel, 4. 12-Kevin Tabor, 5. 37-Bart Baker, 6. 55-Robbie Perkins, 7. 81T-Tristen Barton. DNS: 40d-Steve Dent.

"A" Feature (20 Laps): 1. 92-Jeff Kaup, 2. 7b-Jamie French, 3. 10T-Toby Witthuhn, 4. 12-Kevin Tabor, 5. 37-Bart Baker, 6. 65j-Josh Appel, 7. 56m-Mike Appel, 8. 44-Austin Walker, 9. 55-Robbie Perkins, 10. 19-Brian Harkness, 11. 55d-Donald Strecker, 12. 81T-Tristen Barton, 13. 33-Jason Lunow, 14. 39-Brian May. DNS: 22-Randle McRoberts, 40d-Steve Dent.

IMCA Stock Cars:

First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 19-Brett Copeland, 2. 33-Marlin Hogie, 3. D44-Randy Dowell, 4. 70-Karson Love, 5. 28-Jack Pepper, 6. 55h-Ron Hartman, 7. 22-Michael Pepper.

Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 10-Dusty Witthuhn, 2. 57-Josh Crombie, 3. 80-Perry Misner, 4. 2s-Reagan Sellard, 5. 58-Kyle Tillery, 6. 3-Chris Oliver.

"A" Feature (15 Laps): 1. 10-Dusty Witthuhn, 2. 57-Josh Crombie, 3. 33-Marlin Hogie, 4. 55h-Ron Hartman, 5. 2s-Reagan Sellard, 6. 70-Karson Love, 7. 3-Chris Oliver, 8. 19-Brett Copeland, 9. 80-Perry Misner, 10. 58-Kyle Tillery, 11. D44-Randy Dowell, 12. 22-Michael Pepper. DNS: 28-Jack Pepper.

Thunder Cars:

First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 67-Edwin Elliott, 2. 22-Dan Rogers, 3. 44b-David Berger, 4. 07-Bryan Habiger, 5. 17-William Bauer, 6. 7-Tom Reed, 7. 11m-Chip Broaddus.

Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 2m-Matt O’Hair, 2. 45p-Michael Penrod, 3. 87-Norman Carr, 4. 15k-Gary Allaman, 5. 38-Scott Messino, 6. 91d-Cody Davis.

"A" Feature (15 Laps): 1. 67-Edwin Elliott, 2. 007-Bryan Habiger, 3. 2m-Matt O’Hair, 4. 17-William Bauer, 5. 22-Dan Rogers, 6. 91d-Cody Davis, 7. 44b-David Berger, 8. 11m-Chip Broaddus, 9. 45p-Michael Penrod, 10. 38-Scott Messino, 11. 87-Norman Carr, 12. 7-Tom Reed. DNS: 15k-Gary Allaman.

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