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Illini Racing Series
BRUNS SWEEPS NIGHT AT GRUNDY COUNTY SPEEDWAY By Zach Tasker                 Saturday night July 26 saw the Illini Racing Series midgets once again visit the 1/3 mile paved oval located in Morris, Illinois known as Grundy County Speedway. The stars and cars of affordable midget racing were on hand as part of the “Tattersall challenge” honoring the legendary late midget driver from Streator, Illinois. The night started off quick as for the 2nd time this season the track record was broken during qualifying. Patrick Bruns laid down a blistering lap of 15.772 seconds to earn another fast time award.                 Up next were the nights heat races and the two time and defending IRS champion Bruns would be the story again as he started the nights first heat in 4th position and quickly worked his way to the front. He would hold off a late race charge from Dave Ohlendorf to score the victory and try to gain valuable points on championship rival Jason Allen. Speaking of Allen, he was in heat race #2 and in a symmetrical twist of fate; he also came from 4th spot to win his heat race in dramatic fashion. Local favorite Mike Anderson started towards the tail of the field and ripped his way through traffic until the final lap when he tried to maneuver around race leader Allen. The two made light contact on the back straight before Anderson spun on his own exciting turn 4 coming to the checkered flag. Following all the preliminary action was the 36 lap feature, extended from the usual 25 laps to give the fans a bonus after all of the rain outs that have plagued the area this season. Jason Allen and Brian Dobis would lead the field to the green in this extra distance affair.  The two Mike Wallace Racing cars of Jimmy Clark Jr. and Patrick Bruns both started mid pack but within a few laps Clark had overtaken Allen for the race lead. Allen would quickly fade through the field with an evil handling race car until spinning out on lap 20 then retiring from the race with a flat tire.                 With just about 20 laps remaining in the feature, Bruns after stalking his rookie teammate for a few laps pounced for the lead and then took off. Dave Ohlendorf would work his way up to third positon but couldn’t catch the lead duo as Bruns scored another victory making it look easy. Rookie driver Erica Ensor drove an outstanding smooth and steady race to record a 4th place finish while veteran Scott Koerner rounded out the top 5 fighting off a hungry mid pack group of drivers.                 The driver of the #10b Darcy GMC/Mobil 1/Triple T Car Wash & Lube/MWR Lightning/Ecotec is peaking at the right time of the season scoring his second straight IRS feature win and 4th of the season. “This was a perfect night. Hats off to my guys, Mike Wallace, MWR technology, Brad Zygmunt, Scott Carter, Scott Corry, Brian, Michael and Russ the engine tuner. These guys worked their butts off in the shop all week to make a huge difference, everything is just going really well right now and we got some momentum this is our 4th win so we are really looking forward to finishing out this year strong. “                 The Champaign, Illinois resident is starting to battle more and more with his young rookie teammate and he has no problem with that.  “My teammates are running good and Jimmy Clark, the 2nd place finisher tonight; it just doesn’t get too much better than that. I don’t want him to lay over for me, after the race I kind of talked to him about the line that I was using and he tucked in behind me and he kind of changed his line a little bit and he said it was easier to drive the car so tonight he learned and he is really prepared for the next time we come back here which is next weekend.”                 Clark, the driver of the #10c MWR Lightning/Ecotec had to leave the track immediately after the race was completed so he was not available for comment, however his father Jim Clark was pleased with another podium finish “It was a great run out there, he led about the first half of the race and the car was real good, it got a little tight in the center off but it was a fast racecar and we came home 2nd place. I want to thank Mike Wallace Racing; he has put together a great car for us. We already have a feature win in our first year and led a bunch of laps so we are excited about it. Patrick has helped him a lot and for his first year coming out of karting he is leading some laps and he did his thing and got up to the front early in the feature and led a bunch of laps and the car was just a little off but that just comes with the experience of knowing a little bit more of how to get that car just right so we can compete with Patrick.”                 3rd place finisher Dave Ohlendorf had a strong car but ran out of time to track the top 2 down in his #2 Bennies Pizza/Ohlendorf Racing Supply/Loyalty and Respect Gym/Dewilkins Law of Orland Park Beast/Brayton . “They ran good and it was all pretty even. I just got into traffic and they got away me. Pat and Jimmy both did a really good job.” The New Lenox, Illinois native also had a tight battle with Bruns in the heat race coming close to catching him on the final lap “I was trying to get Pat on the outside. I figured if I got him on the white flag he wouldn’t have enough time to get me back so I was going to try to get him on the last lap and I was all over his bumper. I don’t know if he was in the lead and figured I got this or if he knew we were all over him but we were climbing all over him and I didn’t want to bump him so I tried the outside move, I got loose coming out of turn 4 and it was a lot of fun.”                 The Illini Racing Series returns to the Grundy County Speedway this Saturday night August 2 as part of the Illinois State Championship presented by Chicagoland Speedway and fan appreciation night. Racing starts at 6:30pm and it is sure to be another exciting night of open wheel racing. Will Patrick Bruns continue to eat away at Jason Allen’s point lead with 7 races left in the season? Will Allen finally score his first career IRS feature victory or will one of the impressive young guns such as Erica Ensor or Travis Mahoney score the upset? There is only one way to find out and that is to be there this Saturday night! UNOFFICIAL RESULTS: FEATURE (36 Laps) 1)#10b Patrick Bruns 2)#10c Jimmy Clark Jr. 3)#2 Dave Ohlendorf 4)#16 Erica Ensor 5)#55 Scott Koerner 6)#9d Brian Dobis 7)#9 Mike Stroik 8)#2a Andrew Hennig 9)#6 Dan Smith 10)#51 Mike Anderson 11)#54a Jason Allen 12)#10a Aaron Willis Jr. 13)#0 Doug Orseske 14)#93 Travis Mahoney   HEAT RACE #1 ( 8 Laps) 1)#10b Patrick Bruns 2)#55 Scot Koerner 3)#2 Dave Ohlendorf 4)#10c Jimmy Clark Jr. 5)#9 Mike Stroik 6)#93 Travis Mahoney 7)#16 Erica Ensor   HEAT RACE #2 (8 Laps) 1)#54a Jason Allen 2)#9d Brian Dobis 3)#2a Andrew Hennig 4)#6 Dan Smith 5)#0 Doug Orseske 6)#51 Mike Anderson 7)#10a Aaron Willis Jr (DNS)   QUALIFYING: 1)#10b Patrick Bruns (15.772-NTR) 2)#10c Jimmy Clark Jr. (15.890) 3)#16 Erica Ensor (16.116) 4)#9 Mike Stroik (16.176) 5)#2 Dave Ohlendorf (16.184) 6)#55 Scott Koerner (16.226) 7)#93 Travis Mahoney (16.266) 8)#10a Aaron Willis Jr (16.271) 9)#51 Mike Anderson (16.304) 10)#54a Jason Allen (16.414) 11)#9d Brian Dobis (16.496) 12)#6 Dan Smith (16.702) 13)#2a Andrew Hennig (16.829) 14)#0 Doug Orseske (16.854)