DODGE CITY, Kan. – 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 Car Series Second Annual Freedom Tour finale atop the three-eighths-mile Dodge City Raceway Park clay oval.
“I had no idea, if I had known I probably would have done some donuts or something,” the happy winner from Peoria, Ariz., 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.
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 and Harli White sped by.
Bonneau kept the Priced Right Auto Sales No. 29 several car-lengths ahead of Davis the rest of the way to secure his first win of the year with fellow Arizona shoe Davis 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.