Since 2007, the Oktoberfest Race Weekend at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, Wisconsin has been the championship event for the ARCA Midwest Tour. The Tour will be making their 12th visit this upcoming weekend (October 6, 7) and will be arriving with one of the tightest points battle ever to this great event.
With a maximum of 118 points available to a single driver, mathematically the top nine in the point standing could be considered in the hunt for the title. Realistically, the top six have the best shot since there is only 34 points separating them.
Austin Nason, the only driver with two victories this season in the Tour, will be coming into Oktoberfest with just a two-point lead over Dalton Zehr. Casey Johnson is third in points, just 25 points back while former ARCAMT champion Andrew Morrissey is fourth, just 26 points behind Nason.
John DeAngelis Jr. is seventh in points and is 98 points back. Billy Mohn, the leading Rookie of the Year contender, is eighth 107 points back while Justin Mondeik is ninth, 113 points behind the leader. These three will have to have a lot happen in order to capture the title.
Within the top six in the standings, Nason, Zehr, Morrissey and Shafer each have a victory this season. Johnson and Eilen have yet to see victory lane but have been close all year long. In fact, Eilen has been second in the last two ARCAMT events.
While the Oktoberfest 200 on Sunday, October 7th will be the big event to get the most points, the top six will also be focusing on their qualifying and heat events on Saturday, October 6th.
The first thing will be qualifying, which starts at 2:25pm on Saturday afternoon. Each driver will want to qualify into the top 16 in order to not only assure themselves a starting spot for the 200, but also put them in a position to gain more points in the top 16 odd/even qualifier heats that night.
A driver can earn 12 points for fast time, 10 points for second fastest, 9 points for third, 8 for fourth, etc. down to two points for being 10th fastest. The rest will earn one point.
For drivers that make the top 16, they will compete in the odd/even qualifier heats which will give six points to the winner in each, five for second, four for third, three for fourth, and two points for the rest of the field.
If a driver competes in a qualifier race, they will earn just one point.
It is possible after qualifying and the heat races on Saturday that Nason and Zehr could swap positions in the standings, given there is only two points between them.
It is also possible that Johnson, Morrissey, Shafer and Eilen could gain points to put them in a better position to go for the championship on Sunday.
On Sunday, don’t be surprised if you see many crew members of the top six walking around with a calculator in their hands as they will be checking on where their driver needs to finish to win the title.
The winner will get 100 points, second will get 94 points, third will get 89 points, four will get 85 points, fifth will get 82 points and sixth will get 80 points. From seventh to the rest of the field, each position is one less point, seventh is 79 point, eighth is 78 points, etc.
The odds are on the side that we could see a first-time champion along with the possibility of seeing one of two drivers win their second ARCA Midwest Tour Championship. The only way to find out is to run the race and see where everyone stands after the checkered flag falls on Sunday afternoon.
Make your plans now to be a part of the 49th Annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, Wisconsin on October 4, 5, 6, and 7th.
Visit midwesttour.racing for a full schedule and be sure to follow the ARCA Midwest Tour on Facebook (/midwesttour) and Twitter (@MidwestTour).
Top Six Driver 2018 Stats:
Position: 1st (740 points)
Wins: 2 (Joe Shear Classic at Madison & All-Star 100 at Rockford)
Top 5’s: 3
Top 10’s: 7
Position: 2nd (738 points)
Wins: 1 (Wayne Carter Classic at Grundy County Speedway)
Top 5’s: 5
Top 10’s: 5
Position: 3rd (715 points)
Top 5’s: 3
Top 10’s: 5
Position: 4th (714 points)
Wins: 1 (Cabin Fever 100 at State Park Speedway)
Top 5’s: 5
Top 10’s: 6
Championships: 1 (2011)
Paul Shafer Jr.
Position: 5th (710 points)
Wins: 1 (Salute the Troops 100 at Jefferson Speedway)
Top 5’s: 3
Top 10’s: 4
Position: 6th (706 points)
Top 5’s: 4
Top 10’s: 8
Championships: 1 (2012)
-ARCA Midwest Tour Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com photo