By Bert Lehman
Mitch McGrath became the answer to a trivia question when he won the first ever DiscountShopTowels.com Dirt Kings Late Model Tour feature at Oshkosh Speedzone Friday, May 26.
McGrath bested a field of 35 Late Models. Prior to the racing action, Jason Shultz, co-owner and director of the Dirt Kings Late Model series, said he was humbled to see the number of Late Models in attendance for the inaugural event.
When it came time for the feature, McGrath and Mike Mullen started on the front row.
Both drivers had started at the back of their heat races and used the high-side of the track to get around their competitors.
“I wanted to get by everyone as soon as I could,” McGrath said. “I knew with the rough track that they’d be bouncing around and I’d be bouncing around so we didn’t want to wreck the car any more than we needed to.”
The track conditions were a surprise to McGrath, as well as other drivers.
“We thought it’d be a little bit more dry-slick like Oshkosh usually is,” McGrath said after the race. “It was quite a change. We made a few adjustments.”
McGrath said his plan for the feature was to once again use the high-side of the track.
“My motor stumbled a little at the beginning and Mike (Mullen) got ahead of me,” McGrath said. “I don’t know what happened to him but he fell out and we got back by him.”
With at least a quarter-lap lead, the caution flag waved with five laps remaining.
“I was ready for a break,” McGrath said when asked what he was thinking at that time.
He also said he knew Nick Anvelink was in second place at the time.
A couple of laps after the restart, Anvelink made his way past McGrath for a moment.
“I figured I’d have a crack at him,” Anvelink said. “I took it, I got him, but I just didn’t quite have enough power to maintain it. He had a good car, he was rolling.”
McGrath said pressure from Anvelink caused him to “get on the wheel.”
“I just thought I’d be smooth up top and I slowed down a little bit too much and once I saw him, I turned up the wick a little bit,” McGrath said.
After the race, Anvelink said his plan for the entire evening was to “keep the car straight, give everybody room and try not to bend anything up.”
He added, “It’s tough racing on something like that (rough track). I don’t necessarily think it’s the track’s fault either. It’s been so dang wet everywhere. This place, moisture comes out of it at night anyway ever since they built it. … It’s dirt racing. It is what it is, when you get there, you got to race on it.”
1- 74m Mitch McGrath
2-15 Nick Anvelink
3- 7b Tim Buehler
4- c12 Chris Carlson
5- 33b Joe Bongiorno
6- 70 Jim Schmidt
7- 15s Rick Scheffler
8- 25 Jared Siefert
9- 7 Joel Bennett
10- 33e Chris Engels
11- d7 Jim Letizia
12- 33s Ron Stroika
13- 27h Justin Hirt
14- 3 Brett Swedberg
15- 89 Brad Mueller
16- 10s Taylor Scheffler
17- 99 Mike Mullen
18- 97 Justin Schmidt
19- 7x Jesse Glenz
20- 122 Cole Spacek
21- 95w Aaron Wickersheim
22- 11 Justin Reed
23- 13 David Jaeger
24- 20 Joe Reuter