By: Kevin Ramsell and Paul Reichert
The race fans got a break from the rain and were treated to an exciting night of racing on day three of the 49th Oktoberfest Race Weekend. Drama was the theme on this ‘Championship Saturday’ as titles were decided in the Big 8 Late Model Series, the Mid-American Stock Car Series and the Midwest Dash Series. There was drama before the racing ever started, drama during the feature events, and drama awaiting the final points outcomes for the season.
Former Big 8 champ Michael Bilderback surged by Cole Howland to take the lead early on in the Big 8 Late Model feature. After a yellow flag on lap six, Bilderback build up a huge lead and looked like he would score a runaway win. A little further back, Ty Majeski would work his way through the field from his 11th starting spot. Majeski would break into the top five by the halfway mark. Majeski would get around Bobby Wilberg, Cole Howland and Jacob Goede to move into second by lap 25. Now the chase was on to track down Bilderback. With seven laps to go, heavy lap traffic would slow up Bilderback and allow Majeski to close the gap. They would encounter more lap traffic with four to go. Majeski made a daring move to surge by Bilderback to assume command of the race with three laps to go. Majeski would drive away with his third straight Oktoberfest Big 8 feature. Bilderback, Goede, Steve Carlson and Chad Walen completed the top five. While Jeremy Miller ran 15th in the end, Miller would go out in style in his final race claiming his record 5th Big 8 championship.
Following the race, Majeski’s car failed post-race inspection by Big 8 Series tech officials. Michael Bilderback was declared as the official winner.
The final feature event for the Mid-American Stock Car Series had a lot of excitement also. James Swan would lead the opening five laps, but LaCrosse Sportsmen regular Tom Luethe would charge by the veteran for the lead on lap six. A few laps later, former Mid-Am champ Ryan Guktnecht would take over the top spot. Guktnecht was pulling away from the field, but Luethe caught a second wind and slowly started to reel in the leader. Luethe would pass Gutknecht with five to go. Dan Gilster would move up to second a lap later as Gutknecht fell backwards through the field. Gilster would watch his nephew claim his first Mid-American victory. Ron Vandermeir, Jr. wound up in sixth place, and that was good enough to wrap up the 2018 Mid-American Stock Car championship.
The Midwest Dash Series season finale had plenty of drama. It started before the racing with Brandon DeLacy’s mechanical issues during practice that put his car on the shelf. In the feature, George Seliger quickly built a huge lead. Veteran Dash competitor Phil Malouf would track down Seliger and made things very entertaining. The leaders encountered lap traffic with six to go, and they would be joined by George Sparkman. The Loves Park veteran got by Malouf for second with four to go. The final laps would be a battle of the Georges, with Seliger holding off Sparkman for the win. With Seliger winning and DeLacy finishing 10th in Lyle Phillip’s car, Seliger captured the 2018 Midwest Dash championship.
The ARCA Midwest Tour ran their preliminaries prior to Sunday’s big 200 lap season finale. Ty Majeski set the fast time of 18.623 seconds, edging Dan Fredrickson by .064 of a second. Jacob Goede, Bubba Pollard and Casey Johnson rounded out the top five. Recovering from his wreck in the Dick Trickle 99 on Friday, Dalton Zehr led all the way in the Odd Dash. Austin Nason ran fourth, keeping Zehr within three points of Nason for the championship that will go down to the checkered flag on Sunday. Jonathan Eilen ran second, and now is 36 points behind Nason. Casey Johnson ran sixth, and trails Nason by 24 points. Chris Weinkauf led all the way in winning the Even Dash. Andrew Morrissey ran second and finds himself 28 points behind Nason. Paul Shafer, Jr. ran fourth, and is 31 points behind entering Sunday. Two qualifying races would each send two more drivers into the main event Sunday. Nick Murgic led the entire way in qualifier #1, with Billy Mohn also advancing. Dennis Prunty got by Rich Bickle, Jr. late to win the second qualifier. Bickle fought off four-time Oktoberfest champion Travis Sauter to claim the other transfer spot. The remaining spots in the 200-lap feature will be determined by the last chance qualifier on Sunday.
The 49th Oktoberfest Race Weekend comes to an exciting conclusion on Sunday October 7th. The 200-lap season finale for the ARCA Midwest Tour will take place as the 2018 season champion will be crowned. The Big 8 Late Models will run their annual ‘winners only’ invitational race, the JMcK 63. The Upper Midwest Vintage Racing Series will be in action, taking you back in time and reliving some great racing memories. Plus, the Modifieds return to Oktoberfest for the first time in quite a while.
For more information about LaCrosse Speedway or the 2018 schedule of events, please call the office at 608-786-1525 or visit lacrossespeedway.com. LaCrosse Speedway is proud to be a NASCAR Hometrack, part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Big 8 Late Model Series
Feature: 1. Michael Bilderback, 2. Jacob Goede, 3. Steve Carlson, 4. Chad Walen
B-Feature: 1. Matthew Henderson, 2. Jacob Nottestad, 3. Zack Riddle, 4. Michael Beamish
C-Feature: 1. Jason Stark, 2. Ryan Gutknecht, 3. E.J. Waldron, 4. Carter Christenson
Qualifier #1: 1. Bobby Wilberg, 2. Joe Neisius, 3. Ty Majeski
Qualifier #2: 1. Owin Giles, 2. Michael Bilderback, 3. Grant Brown
Qualifying: 1. Brody Willett, 2. Jacob Goede
Mid-American Stock Car Series
Feature: 1. Tom Luethe, 2. Dan Gilster, 3. James Swan, 4. Randy Humfeld, 5. Bill Prietzel
Heat #1: 1. Ryan Gutknecht, 2. Randy Humfeld, 3. James Swan
Heat #2: 1. Bill Prietzel, 2. Paul Neisius, 3. Ron Vandermeir, Jr.
Qualifying: 1. Randy Humfeld, 2. Ron Vandermeir, Jr., 3. Ryan Gutknecht
Midwest Dash Series
Feature: 1. George Seliger, 2. George Sparkman, 3. Phil Malouf, 4. Patrick Thicke, 5. Scott Ciesielski
Heat #1: 1. Jim Belling, 2. Ashley Bell, 3. Brandon Bergstrom
Heat #2: 1. Phil Malouf, 2. George Seliger, 3. Tim Jackson
Heat #3: 1. George Sparkman, 2. Patrick Thicke, 3. Dave Auringer
Qualifying: 1. Gary Stark, 2., Dave Auringer, 3., Scott Ciesielski
ARCA Midwest Tour
Odd Dash: 1. Dalton Zehr, 2. Jonathan Eilen, 3. Jason Weinkauf
Even Dash: 1. Chris Weinkauf, 2. Andrew Morrissey, 3. Luke Fenhaus
Qualifier #1: 1. Nick Murgic, 2. Billy Mohn, 3. Michael Sauter
Qualifier #2: 1. Dennis Prunty, 2. Rich Bickle, Jr., 3. Travis Sauter
Qualifying: 1. Ty Majeski, 2. Dan Fredrickson, 3. Jacob Goede