Paul Shafer Jr’s signature mullet is seen as “business in the front, party in the back.” Saturday night, it was just business up front for the Grundy County Speedway points leader as he led all 100 laps in the Wayne Carter Classic to earn his second career ARCA Midwest Tour win.
After the Midwest Tour 10-car invert put Shafer on the outside front row for the event, he quickly made his way to the point and never looked back. Not even a yellow flag with seven laps to go was any match for the Portage, Indiana native, who went virtually unchallenged the entire race.
It was his first Midwest Tour win since he won at Jefferson Speedway on Memorial Day weekend back in 2018.
“The car was good, the car was really good. This car and the car I had at Jefferson a couple years ago is spot on, it was a rocket ship all night,” Shafer told Speed51. “No matter how many yellows there were, I don’t think anybody was going to get me. This thing was really good.”
Ever since Illiana Motor Speedway’s closing, Grundy County has become Shafer’s home track when he’s not on the Midwest Tour trail. The Grundy County Speedway fans have accepted he and his team, shown by the crowd reaction in victory lane.
“That was awesome. It’s always nice to win in front of a home crowd, especially at a big race like this. It’s on par with winning the Bettenhausen, for sure.”
Shafer and his team now have a decision to make for Friday night. While owning the Grundy County weekly points lead for most of the 2020 season, he now also leads the ARCA Midwest Tour points with just three races left in the season.
With the Midwest Tour is headed to Madison International Speedway Friday night and Grundy County hosting a weekly show at the same time, he finds himself having to choose one or the other.
“We’ve just got to keep our head on straight and finish good in the next couple races and see where we end up in the points. I know Madison is Friday night, we’ll flip a coin and see if we’re going there or Grundy. We have the points lead in both. It’s going to be a tough decision for sure but we’ll see what happens.”
Former Wayne Carter Classic winner Ricky Baker used the choose cone to move into second early in the going, but that would be as close to the front as he would get.
A native of nearby Plainfield, Illinois, his runner-up result gave local favorites a 1-2 finish.
“I don’t really know what to say. We worked hard on the car all day, it was just too free in the feature,” Baker said. “Pauly got out there and I’m sure he cruised most of the race and with how good these guys are, you’ve got to be perfect to win these races.”
Gabe Sommers finished third, with former series champions Casey Johnson and Jonathan Eilen rounded out the top-five.
Click here to watch a replay of Saturday night’s ARCA Midwest Tour Wayne Carter Classic at Grundy County Speedway.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo
Wayne Carter Classic Unofficial Results
- Paul Shafer, Jr.
- Ricky Baker
- Gabe Sommers
- Casey Johnson
- Jonathan Eilen
- Rich Bickle, Jr.
- Austin Nason
- Michael Bilderback
- Joe Vinachi
- Justin Mondeik
- Josh Nelms
- Dalton Zehr
- Clay Curtis
- Nathan Kelly
- Alex Clubb
- Tony Brutti
- Andy Jones
- Steve Dorer
- Scott Koerner
- DJ Weltmeyer
- Cayden Lapcevich
- Eddie Hoffman
- Jamie Wallace