The Big Wheel & Team 73 Celebrate Successful 2021; ’22 Plans Coming Together

Story By: TYLER ALTMEYER / TEAM 73 – SHEBOYGAN, WI – The 2021 season is officially in the books for Sheboygan, Wisconsin’s Scotty Thiel and Team 73, and although the dust has settled and the off-season tear down has commenced, the feeling of accomplishment still lingers giving the “Big Wheel” an extra momentum kick heading into the winter months.

Of the successes Team 73 attained in 2021, four were in the form of victories, all of which occurring during IRA Outlaw Sprint Series (IRA) competition within the Badger State. A late bloomer in some respect, Thiel, driver of the Gibbsville Cheese, Professional Plating Inc, Scott Thiel Builders, Viking Masek Global Packaging, Complete Water Inc, GRP Motorsports, PitStop Pizza, KSI Supply Inc, Racers Hall Bar & Grill, Obie 5, Spikes Barbershop, Total Restoration Services, No. 73 sprint car, did not find victory lane for the first time until July 30, outdueling Danny Schlafer and Jake Blackhurst in a 20-lap battle at Langlade County Speedway in Antigo, Wisconsin.

The win in Antigo ignited a great second half for Thiel, as the Big Wheel went on to earn IRA triumphs at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, on August 22, Outagamie Speedway in Seymour, Wisconsin, on September 10, and Wilmot Raceway in Wilmot, Wisconsin, on September 18. Impressive enough, in 17 IRA feature starts, Thiel found the top-ten on 15 occasions, 12 of which occurring within the top-five.

Making time for Tony Stewart’s All Star Circuit of Champions, as well, Thiel battled with “America’s Series” on several occasions in 2021, earning ten feature starts including two during Circle City Raceway’s debut on May 20-21. The Big Wheel was a head turner more times than not, translating five of his ten feature starts into top-ten finishes, two of which top-fives. Perhaps his most impressive All Star performance of the season occurred during Kokomo Speedway’s Rayce Rudeen Foundation Race on Sunday, May 23. Thiel not only secured a top-five result during the $26,000-to-win showcase, but he rallied big in the process, climbing ahead from the outside of row seven to finish fifth. There were 42 drivers entered for action, many of whom were heavy hitters from across the country.

Unfortunately, Thiel’s season did encounter a major setback, as a back injury, the result of a heat race incident during All Star/IRA action at Plymouth Dirt Track on Saturday, June 5, sidelined the 29-year-old for most of the month of June. Despite the kink in his summer schedule, Thiel remained motivated, recovering quickly to join the World of Outlaws for Wilmot Raceway’s Badger 40 on July 10. The home state program was a complete success for the Big Wheel, capping the evening with an eighth-place run in the 40-lap, $10,000-to-win main event.

“It was a great season for this team. I think we had the potential to win a few more races, but we were in the hunt more often than not, so it’s tough to be disappointed about that,” Scotty Thiel explained. “I can’t say enough about this team and all of our partners. There are a lot of hard working, dedicated people out there who help make our ambitions a reality, so we appreciate everything they do for us. It takes a lot to make a race team work…it takes even more to win.”

As for 2022, things are still rather uncertain for Scotty Thiel and Team 73. Preliminary thoughts include building a schedule much like 2021; focusing on a “true outlaw” agenda.

“We’re still tossing around some ideas, but we’ll figure out a game plan sooner than later,” Thiel continued. “We’ll enjoy the next few weeks, but we’ll be back to work before we know it.”

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