The final 16 laps of the 10th Annual Joe Shear Classic at Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wisconsin will be talked about for a long time. At the checkers, it was Austin Nason earning his first victory in the season opening event for the ARCA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment.
The first 184 laps of the 200-lap event saw former Southern Super Series Champion Bubba Pollard lead a majority of the race and it appeared he was going to be on his way to a $10,000 payday.
It was on the 184th lap that events started to occur that many fans had stunned looks on their faces.
As Pollard was leading, Jonathan Eilen and Johnny Sauter, who started last in the 28-car field, was battling for the second-place finish. The two made contact coming out of turn four causing Eilen to spin. By rule, both were sent to the rear of the field for their involvement in the incident.
During the caution, Pollard was leading the field until he made the sharp left-hand turn into the pits on lap 187, giving up the lead to Casey Johnson with Nason right behind in second place.
Pollard would put his window net down as he pulled into his pit stall and the crew raised the hood and learned that a broken rocker arm took him out of the race.
On the restart, Johnson would get about a car length lead over Nason with Dan Fredrickson in third.
Johnson was looking for another $10,000 check after winning last season’s Dixieland 250 at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna, Wisconsin.
He was two laps away from the checkered flag when the caution flew for a tangle off of turn two that involved Rich Bickle Jr. and Steve Apel.
During the caution, Johnson was leading the field when he slowly stopped coming off of turn two, again, leaving the fans in shock. Johnson would get pulled into the pits to where it was discovered he had a broken fuel pump.
Nason would take over the lead for a two-lap shootout with two-time series champion and defending MIS Triple Crown Series champion Dan Fredrickson in his rear-view mirror.
The green flag would fly and Nason would get a lead over Fredrickson and drive his way to his first ever ARCAMT victory and a $10,000 payday.
“I didn’t know if he (Johnson) was straightening his wheel or what he was doing, it was just weird,” Nason said in victory lane. “I would have loved to race him, me and him have had a lot of good races over my whole career. He has always raced me clean and I raced him clean. We were racing side-by-side for six to seven laps and we never touched each to other. I love racing with him.”
Nason said that this is easily the biggest win in his career. Especially when he gets to take home a $10,000 check.
“It boosts my racing program,” Nason exclaimed. “To tell you the truth, I wasn’t supposed to be racing this year. I had the little one on the way and taking over our company. I can’t thank Brian (Johnson Jr.) enough as he worked on this car all week and has been very helpful to me for the last six years. Over the last year we have shown a lot of speed and I think today it finally paid off.”
Fredrickson didn’t expect he would end his day would end with a podium finish.
“We lucked into second with an eighth place, well sixth place car,” Fredrickson said after the race. “I got to figure it out, we were not getting off of the corners.”
When asked if he had something for Nason in the final two laps, Fredrickson knew he wasn’t going be a challenge for the win.
“I knew he was going to get me and I knew if I pressured him, he may screw up and slow us down and (Nick) Murgic was better than I was, and he would eat me alive,” Fredrickson explained. “I wanted to give him (Nason) plenty of room to get out of there and get the best jump on Murgic so I wouldn’t get run over by him. We were just fighting to get what we got.”
Nick Murgic finished third after starting deep in the field. He was grinning from ear-to-ear at the end of the race.
“I’m excited, I started 20th or something. We worked pretty hard to get this one,” Murgic said. “We were a little too tight on the short run. We tightened it up on our pit stop and I should have known better knowing we would some cautions near the end. It wasn’t a bad effort.”
Paul Shafer Jr. finished fourth with Dalton Zehr rounding out the top five.
The event saw 10 lead changes among seven drivers.
Johnny VanDoorn won the fast qualifier award with a time of 17.407 seconds (103.407 mph).
James Swan won both the Midwest Truck Series and Mid-American Stock Car Series events.
The ARCA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment will be back in action on Saturday, May 19th with the Cabin Fever 100 at State Park Speedway in Wausau, Wisconsin.
Visit midwesttour.racing for a full schedule and be sure to follow the ARCA Midwest Tour on Facebook (/midwesttour) and Twitter (@MidwestTour).
JAMES SWAN TAKES HOME TWO CHECKERED FLAGS AT MADISON
James Swan pulled double duty today at Madison International Speedway in the Midwest Truck Series and the Mid American Stock Car Series and when the afternoon was over left with a pair of wins.
Swan Flies to Truck Series Victory
James Swan led wire to wire to pick up the 30 lap feature for the Midwest Truck Series.
The twenty-one truck field was paced to the green flag by Danielle Behn and Swan. Swan quickly grabbed the top spot with Jeff Holtz and Rick Corso joining him. On lap 4 Kevin Knuese pulled to the inside of Corso racing for the third position with Carson Kvapil up to fifth.
Out front Swan and Holtz had built up a sixth truck length advantage over Corso and the rest of the field with ten laps completed. Swan was able to increase his lead over Holtz to three truck lengths at the half-way mark. On lap 17 Knuese moved past Corso for third. Three laps later the first caution flag of the race came out when Reagan May spun coming out of turn two.
Swan maintained on the restart with Holtz applying heavy pressure with Knuese close behind in third. Two laps later the caution flag waved again when the truck of Brad Gajewski went around coming out of turn two.
After the green flag waved again, Swan continued to show the way with Holtz and Knuese still running second and third, but neither driver would be able to catch the speedy Swan who took home the green flag. Rounding out the top five were Rick Corso and Carson Kvapil. Fast qualifier Todd Kluever finished in sixth followed by Luke Fenhaus, Mike Corvo, Tommy Pecaro, and Chester Ace.
“This was anything but easy with all the great competition out here today,” said Swan from victory lane.
Todd Kluever was fast qualifier for the Midwest Trucks with a lap of 18.962 (94.927 mph). Heat races were won by Parker Retzlaff, Kyle Chwala, and Levon Van Der Geest.
Two for Two for Swan
Fresh after picking up the win in the Midwest Truck Series, James Swan jumped in his Mid-American car and raced his way to victory lane.
Andrew Meyerhofer and Cody Clubb led the field of ten cars to the green flag in their 30 lap feature. Clubb quickly stepped away from Meyerhofer to take the lead. On lap 3 Bobby Gutknecht powered his way past Meyerhofer for second with Lyle Nowak moving into third on the fifth lap.
Ron Vandemeier Jr. moved up into third on lap 10 and three laps later worked his way past Gutknecht for second with James Swan moving into third on the next lap. By the half-way mark It appeared that Clubb was going to check away from the field but Vandemeier Jr. and Swan weren’t going to let that happen.
By lap 20 the gap was down to a single car length. On lap 21 Vandemeier Jr. raced past Clubb for the lead with Swan right behind him. On lap 24 Swan moved into second and two laps later got past Vandemeier Jr. for the lead and cruised his way to victory lane. Vandemeier Jr. finished in second with Clubb taking home third place.
“This car was awesome today with a lot of forward grip,” said Swan. “I learned a few things from the truck race and made it work in this race.”
Fast qualifier for the MASCS was Rick Corso who turned a lap of 19.614. Heat winners were James Swan and Cody Clubb.
Midwest Truck Series
30 Lap Feature: (1-10) James Swan, Jeff Holtz, Kevin Knuese, Rick Corso, Carson Kvapil, Todd Kluever, Luke Fenhaus, Mike Corvo, Tommy Pecaro, Chester Ace
(11-21) Danielle Behn, Levon Van Der Geest, Parker Retzlaff, Jerry Wood, Kyle Chwala, Danny Darnell, Kyle Lockington, Mark Hartline, Brad Gajewski, Dan Calhoun, Reagan May
8 Lap Heat #1: (1-7) Parker Retzlaff, Dan Calhoun, Danny Darnell, Mark Hartline, Jerry Wood, Brad Gajewski, Kyle Lockington
8 Lap Heat #2: (1-7) Kyle Chwala, Tommy Pecaro, James Swan, Reagan May, Chester Ace, Danielle Behn, Dave Edwards
8 Lap Heat #3: (1-8) Levon Van Der Geest, Jeff Holtz, Rick Corso, Luke Fenhaus, Kevin Knuese, Todd Kluever, Mike Corvo, Carson Kvapil
Qualifying: (1-10) Todd Kluever, Carson Kvapil, Mike Corvo, Kevin Knuese, Luke Fenhaus, Rick Corso, Levon Van Der Geest, Jeff Holtz, Chester Ace, James Swan
(11-20) Dave Edwards, Danielle Behn, Tommy Pecaro, Kyle Chwala, Reagan May, Jerry Wood, Danny Darnell, Mark Hartline, Brad Gajewski, Dan Calhoun
(21-22) Parker Retzlaff, Kyle Lockington
Mid American Stock Car Series
30 Lap Feature: (1-10) James Swan, Ron Vandemeier Jr., Cody Clubb, Bill Prietzel, Kenny Joosten, Bobby Gutknecht, Lyle Nowak, Rick Corso, Andrew Meyerhofer, Landry Potter, Mark Brooner (DNS).
8 Lap Heat #1: James Swan, Bill Prietzel, Ron Vandemeier Jr., Lyle Nowak, Rick Corso
8 Lap Heat: #2: Cody Clubb, Bobby Gutknecht, Andrew Meyerhoferr, Kenny Joosten, Landry Potter, Mark Brooner (DNS)
Qualifying: (1-11) Rick Corso, Bill Prietzel, Ron Vandemier Jr., James Swan, Lyle Nowak, Kenny Joosten, Bobby Gutknecht, Andrew Meyerhofer, Cody Clubb, Landry Potter, Mark Brooner
Next up at Madison International Speedway will be the One on One Street Drags on Thursday, May 10th. The gates open at 6:00, practice and grudge matches at 6:30 with bracket racing beginning at 7:30.
The NASCAR Weekly All American Season Opener is Friday, May 18thwith NASCAR Late Models, Dave’s White Rock Sportsman, Pellitteri Waste Systems Bandits, and the Northern Outlaw Vintage Series in action. Qualifying is set for 6:15 with racing at 7:30.
For more information checkout our website at misracing.com.