By: Kevin Ramsell
(West Salem, WI – October 4, 2013) Erik Darnell was looking to improve on his run at Oktoberfest’s Dick Trickle “99” last year. In fact, he wasn’t in the main event but won the “Stubby” for the drivers that didn’t make the big show. Tonight, he made a great improvement, as he became the seventh different winner of the popular event on day two of the 44th Annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway.
Johnny Sauter started on the pole for the first segment and he showed his muscle early. He was leading until the only caution of the segment waved on lap nine as Paige Decker made contact with the frontstretch wall. Greg VanGool got the worse of the incident with heavy front-end damage. On the restart, Chris Weinkauf got a jump on Sauter and took the lead. But that lead only lasted a lap as Sauter drove right by him and sailed on to the checkered flag.
Sauter said in victory lane that they still have some work to do on the car to get it better to turn in the corner. Which they later found out that he had a broken shock and was able to repair it for segment two. He drew a six, for a 16-car invert for the second segment.
Steve Holzhausen and Neil Knoblock led the field to the start of the second segment. Knoblock got the lead with Ty Majeski right behind him. On lap two, Majeski went to the inside of Knoblock going into turn three to challenge for the top spot. A lap later, Majeski got the lead broke away from the rest of the field. Steve Carlson made a late charge to go to second as the checkered flag fell. Nick Panitzke was third.
Johnny Sauter pulled into the pits with 12 laps to go in the first segment. Crew was working on the driver side of the car. Majeski pulled a one for an eleven-car invert for the final segment.
Erik Darnell was the overall leader after two segments with nine points as he finished seventh in the second segment.
Darnell started eleventh in the final segment. Jonathan Eilen got the lead at the drop of the green flag but Majeski didn’t waste any time as he went from fourth to the lead in three laps. Darnell knew he had to stay ahead of Nathan Haseleu and Frank Kreyer to take the overall win.
While Majeski led, Darnell got past Colin Reffner for fifth on lap 14. Darnell didn’t stop as he got past Johnny Sauter for second in the closing laps.
Majeski won the third segment but it was Darnell picking up the overall win over Haseleu and Majeski.
Dave Auringer passed Scott Ciesielske on lap 3 and pulled away from the rest of the field to win the Midwestern Dash 15-lap feature event. Ashley Gottchalk took the lead at the green but was passed by Ciesielske heading into turn one on lap three. Two turns later, Auringer made the winning pass. Only one caution flew in race when Gary Stark went up in flames in front of the crowd on the frontstretch. He would walk away. Phil Malouf tried to chase down Auringer but would run out of laps and finished second. Kyle Stark was third.
Devin Schmidt led all 25 caution-free laps to win the Great Northern Sportsmen feature event. But it wasn’t easy as he was held off challenge from Randy Humfeld with ten laps to go. Humfeld got in a battle with Rich Schermerhorn with five laps to allowing Schmidt to get away. Schermerhorn and Humfeld would make contact in turns one and two laps to go but would not get a chance to run down Schmidt who took the win.
Jason Thoma finished fourth and won the 2013 Great Northern Sportsmen Series Championship.
Andy Jones won the Midwest Truck Tour feature. Jerry Wood claimed his third championship.
The Big-8 Late Models series will be leading the action come Saturday night, also on tap is the Mid-American Stock Car series and ARCA Midwest Tour preliminaries. Ending the weekend on Sunday will be the ARCA Oktoberfest 100-lap feature, along with the JMCK 63 Late Models, Late Model Challenge, Vintage Cars, Outlawz and Bandits. For more information please call the Speedway office at (608) 786-1525 or visit www.lacrossespeedway.com.
LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway is a proud NASCAR Hometrack, part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series – www.hometracks.nascar.com.