Casey Johnson didn’t have plans to compete at the Falloween 150 at Dells Raceway Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon. Those plans changed seven days prior when Jason Schuler offered him a chance to drive his car.
Johnson was looking at a solid podium finish as he was running third behind Ty Majeski and Andrew Morrissey were in front of him in a classic short track side-by-side battle for the lead on the last lap.
As the leaders went into turn one, there was contact between Majeski and Morrissey causing both to spin, allowing Johnson to take over the lead and hold off Natalie Decker in a green-white-checkered finish to pick up a $3,000 payday.
“I knew they were mixing it up quite a bit and we had a decent car, nothing to match those two, so I was going to let them beat and bang a little bit and kind of see if they were going to do what they did,” a smiling Johnson said in victory lane. “Everything went to plan and everything worked out well.”
Morrissey and Majeski would fall to the tail of the field and finish 10th and 12th respectively.
After the race, both had their side of what happened on the final lap.
“I raced him as clean as I could the whole race and he tried blocking me once and I got into him,” Morrissey said. “I don’t know if he was mad at me or what, but he ran into me three times to get by me. I was inside of him on the last lap that we went into one and he cranked the wheel to the left and hit me so hard that it knocked my car totally sideways and spun out, there was nothing I could do. It should have been a clean battle to the finish. We ran side-by-side for five laps and going down the frontstretch he cranked it to the left and hit me in the right front and spun me out.”
Majeski had a different view of what happened.
“We came out of turn four, and I was on the outside of him. I should not have been in the first place. There were a lot of cautions in this race. I just made one little mistake on the restart and in turn four he got underneath me and coming out of turn four, he was using me pretty good the last few laps, which I didn’t have a problem with, and we made contact coming down the straightaway and I know I gave him plenty of room going into one,” Majeski recalled. “I don’t know if he was loose in, but I was trying to hold him as tight as I could but knew there was enough room for him. I don’t know if he got loose in and got on my door and I didn’t think I was 100% at fault so I didn’t tap out.”
Dells Raceway Park does have a tap out rule where if two cars are involved and one of the drivers wants to take responsibility for the caution, they can simply tap the roof of their car allowing the other car to get their spot back, while they re-join the field at the rear. Majeski didn’t feel he was responsible to do this.
“I think it was 50/50,” Majeski said. “I mean it was hard racing with two laps to go, and I don’t think he was more at fault then I was and I don’t think I was any more than he was. We were racing hard at the end and trying to win the race”
Decker recorded her best finish at Dells Raceway Park and was satisfied coming home second, especially with the action happening in front of her at the end of the race.
“I was like oh I am going to get second and my spotter said no it’s a green-white-checker,” Decker said. “Casey was really fast and I just wanted to get a podium finish.”
Bobby Kendall finished third with Travis Dassow in fourth. Jason Weinkauf rounded out the top five.
For Casey Johnson, he went from a week of planning not to race to getting in a car prepared by Jason Schuler, co-owner of Pathfinder Chassis. All of this came about just by Johnson stopping by to pick up parts.
“Jason Schuler was nice enough to ask me to run her,” Johsnon recalled. “I was at Pathfinder Chassis buying some parts the other day he asked me what I was running up at the Falloween race and I told him I didn’t have a ride. So he said you better drive my car then, and that was on Monday as I was getting parts. Monday night, I went over to see if I could fit in his seat, which is tight, but we got in there.”
Schuler was pleasantly surprised in victory lane.
“I knew we were going to be a third-place car cause both Majeski and Morrissey were the class of the field and were all night,” Schuler said. “I was just glad we were there to take advantage of it, a win is a win and we will take it.”
It may be considered a classic case of taking advantage of an opportunity for Schuler.
“I was going to bring the car here and race it myself and he wasn’t going to have time to fix his car from Rockford and I said well just take my car,” Schuler said when he offered the ride to Johnson. “I was going to take it anyways and get a chance to learn something, and learned that he is a hell of a driver. No kidding, he is pretty damn good, not going to lie. It’s pretty amazing stuff out there today and it was kind of crazy.”
A total of 44 cars qualified for the Falloween 150.
Erik Darnell won the “Scarecrow 40” B-Main feature over Lowell Bennett and M.G. Gajewski.
Speed51.com will have full highlights of the race, including the last-lap contact, on the Speed51 Network this week.
-By Kevin Ramsell, Speed51.com Midwest Correspondent – Twitter: @KevinRamsell
-Photo credit: Speed51.com