Luke Fenhaus and John DeAngelis put on a battle for the ages throughout the middle stages of the Super Late Model Futures Race on opening night of Oktoberfest Race Weekend. The two drivers raced side-by-side and nose-to-tail over several laps as the two chased after the win. However, that battle came to a screeching halt with four laps to go after between the two drivers sent Fenhaus into the inside wall on the frontstretch, ending both of their races.
Current NASCAR K&N Pro Series West points leader Derek Kraus inherited the lead after the two leaders tangled late. The Stratford, Wisconsin driver held off a last-lap charge and contact from Gabe Sommers to take the win in what turned out to be a wild Futures Race.
Kraus was surprised when he found himself in the lead late in the 25-lap sprint, but the race was not over just yet.
“I don’t know, I didn’t think they were going to at all,” Kraus told Speed51.com. “It’s the beginning of the week and it was just really hard racing it looked like, and they just slipped up into each other. It’s always fun racing late in the race. We had a good car at the end, we just had to protect the bottom and we ended up winning the thing.”
Unsure of whether his team was going to race hard due to the long weekend ahead, Kraus rode in third for the majority of the event until finding himself leading the race with four laps to go. Thursday night’s win now has his team excited for what’s to come during the weekend.
“We started fourth and we just had to stay patient,” he said. “We weren’t sure if we were going to actually race just to protect the car, but overall a good start to the weekend. I can’t wait for the rest of it.”
The late wreck left Fenhaus’s car destroyed on the right side from the contact made with the inside wall. The 15-year-old was unhappy with DeAngelis after the incident, citing a recent run-in at another track. Despite the recent issues between the two, his focus is set on getting the car fixed and back on track during the course of the weekend.
“We were running really good, we really worked the top on him. I got into him a little bit on the restart and kind of shoved him up. I don’t know if he intentionally did it but he kind of turned us and wrecked our race car,” Fenhaus said of the incident. “Hopefully we can get back out there, I don’t know right now but hopefully we can get back out there this weekend. We had a really fast Fury Race car, so hopefully we can fix it and move on.
“We’ve had drama at the Dells before this race and he just drives us like crap,” he continued. “He wrecked us tonight again, I shoved him up a little bit. I think we’ve got some tension, but I’m just going to run my own race and see what plays out.”
DeAngelis had a different view on what happened late in the Futures Race, considering the events to be a product of the situation. He echoed Fenhaus’s sentiment in looking to what’s next during the race weekend.
“We were racing real hard there for the lead and he got free coming out of three and four. I tried going down below him and he started losing it and I got underneath him,” DeAngelis stated. “It was a racing deal and it is what it is, can’t go back now. We’ll get her straightened back out for tomorrow for the Trickle 99, then we’ve got another car for the Midwest Tour race on Sunday, so we’ll be there no matter what.
“I seen him getting loose for ten laps before that running second, I knew he was going to burn his stuff up right away so we let him go,” he continued. “We reeled him back in from ten car lengths back and we were just riding. We got to him and he just got free and spun out across our nose but it is what it is. It’s hard racing and we’re going for that guaranteed Trickle spot.”
Gabe Sommers crossed the line in second after an attempted bump-and-run in the final corner proved to be unsuccessful, but he would later be disqualified in post-race tech for being too light on the scales.
Former Dixieland 250 winner Nick Murgic was ultimately scored as the runner-up, followed by Minnesota drivers Bryan Syer-Keske and Michael Ostdiek, and 15-year-old Midwest Truck Series points leader Jevon Van Der Geest, who was making his Super Late Model debut in father Jay’s Super Late Model he took to the State Park Speedway championship in 2019.
Stay tuned to Speed51.com for highlights, recaps, and more from Thursday night’s action at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway. Click here to purchase your PPV ticket for the remainder of Oktoberfest Race Weekend.
SLM Futures Race Results:
- Derek Kraus
- Nick Murgic
- Bryan Syer-Keske
- Michael Ostdiek
- Levon Van Der Geest
- Carson Kvapil
- Justin Mondeik
- Justin Neisius
- Rich Schumann Jr
- Dillon Hammond
- Wyatt Brooks
- Tim Springstroh
- Alex Stumpf
- Brock Heinrich
- Jimmy Dragich
- Harley Jankowski
- Griffin McGrath
- Luke Fenhaus
- John DeAngelis Jr
- Michael Sauter
- Corey Jankowski
- Nick Egan
- Dean LaPointe
- Michael Bilderback
- Skylar Holzhausen
- Gabe Sommers (DQ)
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com