Dan Fredrickson won his fifth Thunderstruck 93 at Elko Speedway (MN) Saturday night, but this time around it was under unusual circumstances.
The race was originally scheduled to be 125 laps in distance, with a break scheduled on lap 93; however, due to possible rain in the forecast and a busy track schedule, the ARCA Midwest Tour main event was moved up and shortened to just 93 laps.
After the invert, Chris Marek, an Elko feature winner, led the field to the green with Matt Kocourek to his outside. Marek continued to lead as the first caution of the race came out on lap 12 when the No. 43 of Kocourek spun in turn three resulting in a huge congestion. No other cars received major damage during the exchange.
The ensuing restart gave Fredrickson the opportunity to take the lead, which he did with 77 laps to go. The green flag run lasted for 27 laps and Fredrickson continued to lead Nick Barstad and Marek while Ty Majeski, who was fastest in time trials with a 13.736 second lap, worked his way through the field.
Majeski started in the 13th position after the invert, and made his way into the top five on lap 31 and continued to track down the leaders. A caution with 50 laps to go for John Heath’s car stopping in turn four helped Majeski catch up with the leaders.
It was a tough battle for second place after the restart between Majeski, Barstad and Marek as they tightly raced together for 10 laps. Fredrickson enjoyed the battle as he used his clean air to get a three second advantage over the runner-up drivers. Majeski was finally able to break away from the group with 33 laps to go, and set sail for the leader.
As Majeski charged toward the front of the field with a fast car, lapped cars began to get in the way of the leaders and caused them to carefully maneuver through the field for the final 20 laps. Although both drivers expressed their frustrations with the traffic after the race, Majeski went into detail.
“Those lapped cars could have been a little bit more courteous, especially on the last two or three laps,” Majeskis said. “If I was in that position I would get out of the way and let the guys race for the win.”
The fight for the lead did heat up with five to go when Majeski was able to get right behind Fredrickson and stay on his bumper, even making contact with him with just three laps to go, but Fredrickson would cross the finish line before the other 26 drivers.
“Ty was probably a little better than me, that was the hardest part,” Fredrickson said after the win. “I did not know how hard to push. I thought I had a big enough lead but we got into lapped cars, and they weren’t giving me a lot of room and he caught me. He is a good racer, and I am just glad to beat him.”
Marek, who led the field at the beginning of the race, finished 21st unofficially after having trouble and making hard contact with the outside wall on the final lap. Derek Kraus, a previous ARCAMT winner, also struggled and managed to finish 13th.
Jacob Goede brought his No. 72 car home in third, Barstad in fourth, and Chris Weinkauf, who led both practice sessions for the race, rounded out the top five.
The next and final race for the ARCA Midwest Tour series will take place October 9 in West Salem, Wisconsin as part of the Oktoberfest race weekend.
-By Caleb Slouha, Speed51.com Midwest Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/Caleb Slouha