In memory of the late Dan Ryan, the Thunderstruck 93 is a race that holds a special place in the heart of Dan Fredrickson. It is a race circled on his calendar every year and on Saturday night at Elko Speedway Fredrickson dominated the 125-lap race to pick up his 4th Thunderstruck 93 presented by NAPA Auto Parts win in the second to last ARCA Midwest Tour presented by Scag Power Equipment event of the season.
“I was pretty good friends with him, I worked for him and worked on his son, Jake’s, race cars for a few years, he died from Lou Gehrig’s disease, he was an awesome dude and it’s just a terrible disease and it was tough to witness, it’s tough to even talk about it,” said Fredrickson, “I kind of took the year off of racing, but this is a race I will probably never miss and to win it again means a lot.”
Fredrickson set fast time earlier in the day and once the green flag dropped he wasted little time getting to the front of the field. Touring Star Jonathan Eilen took the lead on lap six and on lap 25 Fredrickson had worked his way from his 12th starting position up to second. The caution flew shortly after Fredrickson took the second spot and put him and Eilen on the front row for a restart with 100 laps to go.
Fredrickson continued his march to the front and was able to clear Eilen for the lead in under one lap. “There was rain in the forecast so I didn’t want to lay back,” said Fredrickson, “I pressed pretty hard in the beginning, I didn’t want to do that, but I had to press really hard in the beginning in case the rain came. It was late and I was certain if it rained just a little they would call it.”
Fredrickson put some distance between himself and the rest of the field, but his work for the night was not finished. As the driver approached the break on lap 93, in honor of the late Dan Ryan, Nathan Haseleu and Ty Majeski weaved their way towards the front as well.
On lap 65 Haseleu worked his way around Nick Barstad and into third. Majeski followed Haseleu through and around Barstad as well to take fourth position and then set his sights on Haseleu. On lap 79 Majeski looked to the inside of Haseleu for third. The two, who also sit one and two in the ARCA Midwest Tour point standings, raced side by side for five laps, when Majeski was able to clear for the position.
Behind Haseleu and Majeski, Tim Sauter was on the move as well. He was able to close in on the two as they raced side by side and followed Majeski around Haseleu, moving into fourth.
The caution flew again on lap 86. As Fredrickson held on to the lead, Majeski went to work on Eilen for second. Majeski, who followed Fredrickson on the outside line, raced side by side with Eilen for two laps, finally making it stick and moving into second.
Two laps later the caution flew again and officials made the call that this would also serve as the 10 minute break. Drivers pulled down the front stretch and had 10 minutes to make adjustments to their cars before completing the final 35 laps.
During the break the 77 machine of Jonathan Eilen had a flat tire. The crew had to make a tire change and Eilen would have to restart at the rear of the field, losing his third position.
Fredrickson and Majeski restarted the Thunderstruck 93 from the front row and Fredrickson was able to hold on to the lead once again.
Haseleu got past Sauter and into third and six laps later Nick Murgic also worked his way around Sauter and into fourth.
The caution flew with 18 laps to go, giving Majeski one more shot at Fredrickson. Fredrickson got another good restart on the outside and cleared for the lead, but this time Majeski didn’t let him get away. Majeski followed in the tire tracks of Fredrickson and with nine laps to go Majeski dove to the inside of Fredrickson. Fredrickson held off the charge, but Majeski battled back.
Majeski was able to pull even with Fredrickson through turns three and four, but through turns one and two Fredrickson held the advantage. With three laps to go Fredrickson cleared Majeski for the final time and held on to win the Thunderstruck 93.
“The fact that I pressed early in the race might have hurt me a little in the end, ” said Fredrickson, “I don’t think Ty could ever have gotten cleared of me. I let him try the bottom a few times there, but it’s really tough to pass on the bottom here when it’s cold out so I knew he probably wouldn’t get any grip down there on the straightaway on the bottom, but it was a fun race.”
Majeski finished second and retook the ARCA Midwest Tour point lead heading into the final race of the season. “I got pretty good position on him one time, but that outside is just too strong when you are side by side,” said Majeski, “It’s so tough to pass here and I wanted to do everything I could to get it done cleanly, so just didn’t quite have enough. We kind of control our own destiny now, we will have a small point lead going into Oktoberfest, hopefully we can just close it off there.
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For complete event details log on to arcamidwesttour.com.
Upcoming Event Information
What: 45th Annual Oktoberfest
Where: West Salem, WI
When: October 4th-5th, 2014
To learn more about the Automobile Racing Club of America Midwest Tour, log on to arcamidwesttour.com. For questions, call Tim Olson at (612) 327-5831 or e-mail [email protected]
The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is among the leading auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country. Founded in 1953 by John and Mildred Marcum, the organization administers more than 100 events each year in multiple racing series, including the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the ARCA Truck Series and the ARCA Midwest Tour, plus weekly racing at Toledo and Flat Rock Speedways.
– ARCA Midwest Tour Press Release
Photo Credit: Doug Hornickel/Fast Lap Photos