Paul Nienhiser swept the night with the Sprint Invaders in Vinton (Mark Funderburk Photo)
(Bill W) Vinton, IA, September 3, 2023 – Paul Nienhiser made it four feature wins out of five with the Sprint Invaders Sunday night at the Benton County Speedway in Vinton, Iowa. The Chapin, Illinois driver swept his heat, the Shake-up Dash and the feature, earning $2,000 for his win aboard Scott Bonar’s #50 car. It was his fifth win of the year with the Sprint Invaders, and the twelfth in his career with the series.
The 25-lap feature had a shaky start on the quarter-mile when front row starter, Tyler Lee, tangled with Tasker Phillips and got upside down. Both drivers were uninjured, but done for the night. Colton Fisher was also involved when he spun to avoid the two, and restarted at the rear. Fisher had borrowed a motor from Hetrick Motorsports after losing his in action Saturday in West Liberty.
Chris Martin led early in the main event, with Nienhiser, Cody Wehrle, Luker Verardi and point leader, Ryan Bunton, in tow. While Martin stayed true to the tacky low side, Nienhiser searched around the first few laps. On lap four, a pass through the middle of turn two saw him shoot by Martin and into the lead.
Nienhiser was into lapped traffic by the sixth lap, and was increasing his advantage to a straightaway ahead of Martin and Wehrle. Bret Tripplett had worked his way up to fourth by the halfway point, with Bunton fifth, and Fisher from the tail back to sixth.
With ten laps to go, Verardi lost his steering headed down the backstretch. He was able to avoid disaster by getting over the top of turn three and getting stopped. Nienhiser led the field back to green, ahead of Martin, Wehrle, Tripplett and Fisher. Fisher shot by Tripplett for fourth, and then worked around Wehrle for third with seven to go.
Nienhiser maintained his lead, while Martin held off Fisher at the finish. Wehrle and hard-charger Sawyer Phillips completed the top five. Tripplett, Bunton, Aidan Zoutte, McCain Richards and Steve Pumphrey rounded out the top ten. Nienhiser won his heat and the Shake-up Dash, and Tasker Phillips also won a heat.
“I say it all the time, but the #50 car is just a dream to drive,” said Nienhiser in Victory Lane. “I thank Scott for the opportunity to drive it. Chris got the jump on me there. I probably would have done what he did, and got down on the bottom. I probably wasn’t going to pass him following him so…we had our car set up to move around a little bit. I was able to jump up top. I probably surprised him a little bit with the bottom tacky. I was up there and was able to get by once it cleaned off a little. It was a fun race. I’m glad to knock one off here. I haven’t really been good here in the past.”
“I thought I had the car snugged up enough to run the marbles through the slick,” said Martin of his second, second place finish of the weekend. “I still need to go back to work and keep on learning and making gains. We have some good notes. My hat’s off to Paul and Scott. Overall, it was a really good, solid weekend. There’s nothing to hang our head about. We just need to clean up a few things, and we’ll be back up front.”
“It felt good to restart from the back and have our speed be good,” said Fisher. “It was definitely unfortunate, because I think we had a chance to battle for the lead early. To come back to the podium though, really feels great. I felt a little rubber early in the middle of one and two. I stuck with it, and as it came in towards the end, and unfortunately, Chris found it soon after. After that, it was a little bit of a freight train. I’m happy with the car and happy with the team’s hard work this weekend. We’re looking forward to the last two nights.”
The Sprint Invaders conclude their season with two big events. On Friday, September 22, they will race for $3,000 to win at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa. The season comes to a close on Saturday, September 23 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa with the annual “Fall Haul” paying $5,000 to the winner.
For more information on the Sprint Invaders, visit www.SprintInvaders.net or visit us on Facebook.
Sprint Invaders Results
Shottenkirk Automotive Group A main (started), 25 laps: 1. 50, Paul Nienhiser, Chapin, IL (3) 2. 44, Chris Martin, Ankeny, IA (1) 3. 11, Colton Fisher, Mediapolis, IA (6) 4. 40, Cody Wehrle, Burlington, IA (5) 5. 3P, Sawyer Phillps, Pleasantville, IA (14) 6. 99, Bret Tripplett, Lincoln, IL (9) 7. 6R, Ryan Bunton, Lincoln, IL (7) 8. 14, Aidan Zoutte, Knoxville, IA (13) 9. 31, McCain Richards, Burlington, IA (12) 10. 17, Steve Pumphrey, Springtown, TX (15) 11. 32, Riley Valentine, Terril, IA (16) 12. 28, Luke Verardi, Taylorville, IL (8) 13. 21, Devin Wignall, Altoona, IA (11) 14. 4x, Chase Richards, Burlington, IA (10) 15. 7, Tyler Lee, Cedar Rapids, IA (2) 16. 1E, Tasker Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (4). Lap Leaders: Martin 1-3, Nienhiser 4-25. $75 Christine Wahl-Levitt/KSE Hard-charger: S. Phillips.
Randall’s Performance Heat one (started), 10 laps: 1. Paul Nienhiser (2) 2. Chris Martin (1) 3. Colton Fisher (4) 4. Cody Wehrle (8) 5. Bret Tripplett (6) 6. Devin Wignall (3) 7. Aidan Zoutte (7) 8. Sawyer Phillips (5)
Joshua Denning & Associates Heat two (started), 10 laps: 1. Tasker Phillips (1) 2. Tyler Lee (3) 3. Ryan Bunton (4) 4. Luke Verardi (6) 5. Chase Richards (5) 6. McCain Richards (2) 7. Steve Pumphrey (7) 8. Riley Valentine (8)
Shake-up Dash (started), 6 laps: 1. Paul Nienhiser (1) 2. Tasker Phillips (2) 3. Cody Wehrle (3) 4. Colton Fisher (6) 5. Chris Martin (5) 6. Tyler Lee (4)
Reid’s Landscaping & Turf $50 Draw Award: Cody Wehrle
DMI: Devin Wignall
Saldana: Tasker Phillips
BMRS High Point Driver: Paul Nienhiser
Trophy Sponsor: Holtkamp’s Trailer Repair
(Mark Funderburk Racing Photo)