Jesse Oudenhoven grew up watching races at Wisconsin International Raceway as a young fan, and eventually became one of the racers at his hometown track in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. Oudenhoven has been competing at the famed half-mile for more than a decade, but the track’s signature Red, White and Blue State Championship Series had always been his undoing.
That is no longer the case, as Oudenhoven scored an emotional win Thursday night in the Red Race, holding off Ty Majeski for the win in the 50-lap race.
Oudenhoven took the top spot from Taylor Vandermoss on lap 10 of the feature race, leading the rest of the way in the caution-free race.
“It feels pretty unbelievable,” Oudenhoven told Speed51 after the win. “The Red, White and Blue Series has been my kryptonite, bar none. I show up to the Red, White and Blues and I typically end up in the wall or somebody else’s mess.
“This is my career victory right here,” added Oudenhoven. “We’ve had a lot of momentum so I want to keep it rolling right now.”
After parking his car at the finish line, Oudenhoven climbed out of his Super Late Model and leaped with joy in front of a roaring crowd. That joy comes from a lifetime spent around Wisconsin International Raceway as both a fan and racer.
“I started coming to WIR watching races when I was three years old, playing with little stock cars on the wooden benches that are still up there today,” said Oudenhoven. “This is now my 13th year on the half-mile. It’s jubilation. This is the biggest win.
“This is huge to me,” Oudenhoven continued. “The Red, White and Blues mean so much to me. Roger Van Daalwyk was a great owner here, his kids took it over now. The history at this track, I mean, Red Race, this is huge.”
The win did not come without some stress. While the race went caution-free, Majeski charged from 12th in the starting lineup to a runner-up finish, with a margin of victory of 0.750 seconds at the conclusion of 50 laps.
“Ten more laps, and I might not be giving this interview right now,” Oudenhoven confessed. “It was definitely tight. There’s nobody better than Ty. The benefit we had was we went wire-to-wire. It just worked out for us.
“Ten more laps, he would have been right there,” added Oudenhoven. “I could have tried to put up a fight, but I know how good Ty is, it wouldn’t have lasted long.”
While Majeski ran out of time to chase down Oudenhoven after starting 12th from an invert, he still left Wisconsin International Raceway pleased with a strong start to the Red, White and Blue Series.
“Obviously just ran out of laps there,” said Majeski. “I feel like we had the best car there. The best part of these races is they are pretty short, 50 laps. With a big invert like that, sometimes you get held up in traffic. If it goes green-to-checkered, it’s tough to get there.
“Overall, great race car, great points night,” added Majeski. “We’re going to try running for the Red, White and Blue championship this year, so we’ll be back for the White and Blue races and hopefully we’ll put three good races together.”
Race fans who missed Thursday’s Red, White and Blue Series opener will be able to see highlights from the race on the Speed51 Network. Stay tuned for those highlights, and make sure you are a Premium Member of the Speed51 Network by clicking here.
Unofficial Results - Red, White and Blue State Championship Series 'Red Race
Wisconsin International Raceway - Kaukauna, Wisconsin - June 12, 2019
|17||30V||Pete Vandermolen, Jr.|
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo