After missing out on Thursday’s portion of the Oktoberfest Race Weekend, Johnny Sauter arrived at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway (WI) Friday night and stole the show. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver unloaded fast and bested Ty Majeski in the third and final segment to win the Dick Trickle 99 Memorial Race.
For Sauter, the win was a meaningful one and one that he won’t soon forget.
“To be honest with you, it means a hell of a lot,” Sauter said. “I have Victor Getzloff with me. If people don’t know, he raced with Trickle for a long time. I flew him up here from North Carolina and said, ‘Hey, how do you feel about doing tires?’ This one is for Victor, man. This is really cool, so awesome. I don’t even know what to say.”
Time trials were not kind to Sauter of Majeski but ultimately made a huge difference in the outcome of the race. Although Sauter ended up 12th of the 39 cars that qualified, he was automatically locked into the 99-lap feature. The story was a bit different for Majeski, who was only allowed one qualifying lap after a crew member touched the car during post-technical inspection.
After only having one timed lap, Majeski ended up 20th overall, which meant he had to race his way in via the last chance qualifier. While he had no problem winning the qualifier and making his way into the feature, it was extra laps that had to be run on his tires.
“That was a tough race for us,” Majeski said after finishing third in the overall standings. “We tried something there with the tires; it just didn’t pan out.”
In the first segment, Sauter patiently and quickly made his way up through the field to take the lead from Austin Nason with seven laps to go. He would go on to win the opening part of the race and started 13th in the second segment, which was eventually won by Majeski with a pass on Paul Shafer Jr. with just seven laps remaining.
For the final 33-lap segment, the field was arranged by invert based on how each driver finished in the first two segments of the race. Majeski led Sauter by just one point and the two drivers started next to each other in the middle of the pack. It was an intense and rushed battle to the front, which led to some contact between the two drivers and Majeski sliding up the track.
Sauter continued his charge toward the front and Majeski seemed to stall in ninth position. When the checkered flag flew, it was Jason Weinkauf who crossed the line first, but Sauter crossed the line second and was the overall winner of the Dick Trickle 99.
“The car is working good obviously,” Sauter told Speed51.com. “We have a little work to do, but for the most part it has been fun.”
In the “Stubby” B-main race on Friday night, Justin Mondeik was strong enough to survive a late-race restart and capture the victory, easing the pain of not making the feature.
Racing from LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway continues Saturday night with the Mid-American Stock Car Series, Big 8 Series and qualifying for Sunday’s 200-lap ARCA Midwest Tour race.
Race fans can watch all of Saturday’s racing beginning at 5 p.m. CT / 6 p.m. ET on Speed51.com’s live pay-per-view broadcast. Click here to order your live video tickets today for $24.99.
-By Caleb Slouha, Speed51.com Midwest Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com