FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. — Brandon Hare could see the checkered flag.
Heading into the final turn of the 20th and final lap of Friday night’s USRA A-Modifieds feature race, Hare had the lead with Jay Ihrke right on his tail.
There was only one problem — Hare’s engine was heavily giving off smoke and couldn’t give much more.
Hare, who led every lap, was helpless as his engine died on the final turn, and Ihrke took advantage.
He passed Hare on that final turn to take the A-Mods victory in front of an estimated crowd of 800 at Mississippi Thunder Speedway.
“He was fast enough to stay ahead of me and win if his car was running right,” Ihrke said. “I could gain a little bit on him in one corner and fall back the next. I thought he was going to make it until the end. It was too bad for him, and you don’t want to win like that, but I’ll take it.”
Hare had a fast start and grabbed a significant lead after the second turn on the first lap. For the next 16 laps, Hare held a lead of roughly four car-lengths over Ihrke.
Hare’s downfall started on the 18th lap when his engine began to noticeably give off smoke following the second turn.
Despite the smoke fuming out of the engine, Hare kept his lead for the next two laps. On the straightaway on lap 20, Hare’s engine deteriorated as Ihrke’s No. 96 pulled up right behind Hare’s No. 56.
Hare took the inside on the final turn while Ihrke took the outside, and Hare couldn’t keep up as Ihrke sped past.
“The motor started sputtering on the straightaway, and I didn’t know if I was going to finish or not,” Hare said. “I didn’t want to come off, maybe I should’ve. It just shut down on the last lap.”
It was more than just a third-place finish and a lost engine for Hare, who is known as a low-budget driver. Unless he can salvage his engine or get some extra funds, it could be a while before Hare is back on the track this season.
“That was my fourth race as an A-Mod, and it might be my last,” Hare said. “It’s probably not going to happen unless I can save the motor or get some money for a new one. It sucks. Hopefully I can get back here later in the summer.”
RICHARDS DOMINATES BEFORE A DQ: George Richards had little problem during his first Pure Stocks feature race, but they added up quickly afterward.
Richards led all 10 laps and easily picked crossed the finish line first. Richards lapped every car during the race.
But around 30 minutes later, Richards was disqualified after an inspection revealed illegal spring spacers. Corey Ziemer was named the unofficial winner.
BY A NOSE: ‘Fast’ Freddy Prudoehl narrowly picked up the victory in the Wissota Street Stock feature race, edging out Shaun Mann by the edge of his car. Pruedoehl and Mann were neck-and-neck throughout the 20th and final lap.
OTHER WINNERS: Josh Angst won the USRA A-Modifieds feature, Shane Kisling took the Wissota Super Stock make-up feature, Joe Provinzino took the 600 Modifieds make-up feature, Erik Kanz the USRA B-Mods feature for the second consecutive week, Curt Luhmann the 600 Modifieds feature, and Troy Langowski the Super Stock feature.