NEW RICHMOND, Wis. — Through 42 laps of maneuvering around a tricky Cedar Lake Speedway and navigating thick lapped traffic, Austin Arneson found his way back to the USMTS winner’s circle Saturday night.
It was the first victory for the 24-year-old from Fargo, N.D., since winning the first three races of his career during Winter Speedweeks in February of last year.
“The track was treacherous but once I figured out how to get through turn two and work the lapped traffic we held on,” Arneson said in Widow Wax Victory Lane to wrap up the two-day Masters event.
After a dominant run last season early on, Arneson struggled to regain his rhythm and was winless during this year’s four-week stretch down south.
“It helped to go home and regroup and get back to the basics after getting my ass kicked in Texas to start the year,” he added.
It was Arneson doing the kicking on Saturday, but there were plenty of others keeping him on his game the entire race.
Cade Dillard took off and built a huge advantage at the start of the 42-lap main event while Arneson kept him in his sights through the first half of the contest.
Just as the race reached the halfway mark, Arneson made his move and wrestled the lead away from Dillard on lap 22.
Soon thereafter, Friday night’s runner-up, Lucas Schott, got by Dillard and applied heavy pressure on Arneson, who had his hands full with an endless stream of lapped cars.
A handful of miscues in turn two allowed Schott to nearly pull even a few times, but Arneson was smooth enough and fast enough to never relinquish the top spot.
While Arneson collected the $3,000 winner’s check, Schott settled for his second second-place finish in as many nights while Dillard held on to claim the third spot on the podium.
Rookie Matt Leer capped a strong weekend with a fourth-place finish ahead of last year’s USMTS Wookie of the Year, Jesse Sobbing.
Rodney Sanders, Jason Gross, 18th-starting Ryan Gustin, Darrell Nelson and Jacob Bleess rounded out the top 10.
RealTruck.com Northern Region points leader Jason Hughes suffered a torn up race car in his heat race and used a provisional to start in the 25th position, but with no cautions to aid his march to the front he could only muster a 12th-place finish.
Hughes continues to lead the regional points battle, however, with a 51-point advantage (651 to 600) over Dillard. Johnny Scott is third with 560 markers, followed by Bleess (536) and Dan Ebert (510).
-USMTS Press Release
-Photo Credit: Tyler Rinken