As lightning filled the sky, sparks began to fly last Friday night when the Stars and Cars of the ARCA Midwest Tour presented by Scag Power Equipment were joined by the best of the Chicagoland drivers. Eddie Hoffman took the checkered flag for his third Wayne Carter Classic victory.
Over the years, it has seemed customary when the Midwest Tour races at Grundy County Speedway, it is on the hottest day of the year, and this year was no exception. With the temperature in the high 90’s, heat index in the 100’s, air so thick it could have been cut with a knife, and the threat of stormy weather, the show still went on.
Touring Stars, Andrew Morrissey and James Swan, led the 24-car field to the green flag of the 100-lap feature. Morrissey snagged the early lead as the rest the drivers in the field were trying to find their places. The first caution came out on lap one when Skylar Holzhausen spun in turn three. Rich Bickle was also involved and the two took their restarting positions at the back of the field.
Morrissey once again took the lead as Jonathan Eilen fell in line in the second spot, but James Swan quickly took the spot back away from Eilen. Eilen got stuck on the outside as Austin Nason, Cardell Potter, and Chris Weinkauf all got by as well.
As a few more quick cautions fell, Morrissey was becoming an expert on restarts and hoping for a longer run to stretch out his lead. Last year’s Wayne Carter Classic winner, Touring Star Chris Weinkauf, was also looking racy and was up to the fourth spot.
As the green flag dropped once again, Weinkauf made his way into third and quickly took the second spot away from Swan. With his sights set on Morrissey he closed the gap and was pressuring him for the lead on lap 15.
A few laps later, Touring Star Austin Nason, was in the wall. Weinkauf started on the outside of Morrissey on the restart and was able to take the lead and got a way a little bit.
Meanwhile, eventual winner, Eddie Hoffman, had been running the high line most of the night and had powered his way into the third position. Chris Weinkauf began to fall off the pace, eventually slowing in turn four before heading to the pits, ending what he was hoping would be his second consecutive Wayne Carter Classic victory.
As lightning started to surround the track, Morrissey once again assumed the lead, but it didn’t take Hoffman long before he took the top spot away and started to pull away from the rest of the field. Morrissey started to drift back a little bit coming home in the 10th spot when all was said and done.
As all of the action was taking place up front, one driver was powering his way through the field almost unnoticed. Skylar Holzhausen who spun on lap one, and was three laps down at one point, had moved into the top five and was still on a mission. With the series of cautions early on, Holzhausen was able to recover his laps as the lucky dog, eventually putting him back on the lead lap. Holzhausen moved into the second spot and was reeling in the leader but just didn’t have enough time.
The 2013 winner of the event, Jonathan Eilen also had a strong run, holding his own in the top five most of the night and came home in third.
As Hoffman climbed from his car, a healthy combination of cheers and boo’s erupted from the crowd, which in the racing world is the sign of a tough and successful driver. With as many laps as he has had around Grundy County Speedway, Hoffman knew he had to figure something out in order to beat the Stars and Cars of the Midwest Tour.
“I really had to work for it. I knew I’d have to work on the outside and I think we figured it out. I’ve got a great bunch of guys,” said Hoffman. “I’m just glad it wasn’t 125 laps,” he joked, in reference to the hard-charging Holzhausen.
Holzhausen was happy with his run but another 25 laps might have been just what he needed.
“That was a lot of work. I have to thank my crew for a great car. I was reeling him in, but I just couldn’t get a lot of grip at the end. I’m just glad I made it up to second, kept it in one piece, and can go on to the next one,” said Holzhausen.
Jonathan Eilen’s season had not been off to a good start, so the former winner of the event was pleased with a top three finish as well. “We definitely needed that to build our confidence. We built a new car and she’s being a stubborn girl. We struggled in the beginning, but never gave up. I love coming here. It’s always a great race,” said Eilen.
What started out as a good day for point leader, Ty Majeski, who set the pace early in the day topping both practice sessions, and turning the fastest lap in qualifying with a 15.025, turned out to be an unfortunate one. The top three in the point standings all had a rough night with Majeski finishing 20th, Austin Nason 19th, and Chris Weinkauf 23rd.
The three will be ready for redemption when the ARCA Midwest Tour heads to Wisconsin International Raceway on Tuesday night, August 4th for one of the most historic events in Midwest racing, the Potawatomi Dixieland 250 presented by Calypso Lemonade.
This 250-lap event is one that neither fans nor drivers want to miss! The ARCA Midwest Tour will also be joined by the Big 8 Series, so it will be a night full of some of the greatest late model action in the Midwest.
The grandstands will open at 4:00pm. Qualifying will begin at 5:00pm, opening ceremonies at 6:15 and racing at 7:00pm. See you there!
For complete event details, log on to arcamidwesttour.com
Be sure to follow the ARCA Midwest Tour on Facebook (/midwesttour) and Twitter (@midwesttour).
To learn more about the Automobile Racing Club of America Midwest Tour, log on to arcamidwesttour.com. 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 Speedway.
Waye Carter Classic Feature Finish
1. 8 Eddie Hoffman
2. 78 Skylar Holzhausen
3. 77 Jonathan Eilen
4. 45 Rich Bickle
5. 58 Cardell Potter
6. 96 John Nutley
7. 2 Anthony Danta
8. 97 James Swan
9. 43 Matt Kocourek
10. 39 Andrew Morrissey
11. 7s Paul Shafer Jr
12. 23 Brandon Clubb
13. 52 Ricky Baker
14. 30 Larry Schuler
15. 16 DJ Weltmeyer
16. 7g James Gregait
17. 11 Andy Jones
18. 24 Jim Olson
19. 14 Austin Nason
20. 91 Ty Majeski
21. 5 Brett Sontag
22. 17 Tony Scalpelli Jr
23. 75 Chris Weinkauf
24. 55 Scott Koerner
25. 76 Jason Weinkauf
Story: ARCA MT PR
Photo Credit: FastLapPhoto.com