When Andrew Morrissey completed the Oktoberfest 200 at Lacrosse Speedway (WI) Sunday afternoon as the fourth car to take the checkered flag, he couldn’t have possibly imagined he would be adding his name to the list of winners in the 49-year history of the event.
That is exactly what happened, however, as the top three finishers – including the event’s last two winners, Ty Majeski and Johnny Sauter – failed post-race technical inspection, turning the win over to Morrissey.
“I’m happy, but I kind of feel bad for everybody that got tossed, too,” a muted and stunned Morrissey said. “I mean, I don’t know. This is my Daytona 500, and it’s pretty crazy. It’s not really the way I wanted to win, but we’ll take it.
Majeski was first across the finish line, earning what he thought was his second victory in the event after winning in 2016.
“It sucks. I hate that happened, but it is what it is,” Majeski said. “I’m not sure what the circumstances are, what the technical reasoning was. I had a great race car today. My crew did their job. I feel like I did mine. It is what it is."
The violation came due to an issue involving the intake manifold, per Majeski’s team.
“They said the intake was too high,” said Toby Nuttleman, Majeski’s crew chief. “We’ve been running the same motor for three years and never had an issue. We had an issue once a while back, and I had a spacer made to measure from the top of the intake to the top of the block with the spacer and gaskets. I thought I had it fixed. Obviously, I didn’t.”
Sauter's runner-up finish was vacated due to a left-side weight violation as determined in the post-race inspection process. Jacob Goede finished third in the event, but also failed post-race inspection with an issue similar to Majeski’s.
“The 91 (Majeski) car’s intake did not pass inspection,” said Gregg McKarns, Promoter of the ARCA Midwest Tour. “The 5, Sauter, didn’t make the percentage, he was over on left-side weight. So then the 72 [of Goede] was also the intake. So the 39 [Morrissey], who was the driver most outspoken about the new technical procedures, ended up the winner. Funny how things work out.”
Thus, Morrissey inherited the win in a race he had hoped to win during his entire career.
“It’s amazing. I really worked my whole life to try to win this race,” Morrissey said, choking up with emotion as the victory started to sink in. “You don’t ever think you’ll win it like this. I’m more happy for my dad and mom. Everybody than helps me, more than anybody.”
Ricky Brooks worked alongside ARCA Midwest Tour officials during the technical inspection process this season at Oktoberfest, replacing Mike “Lumpy” Lemke, who passed away in February. Brooks’ input was also valued as respected ARCA Midwest Tour technical official Bob Abitz was unable to make the trip to West Salem, Wisconsin.
“He does his job,” McKarns said of Brooks. “Bob Abitz wasn’t able to be here. I knew with the championship where it was with six drivers, I just wanted to make sure everything was on the up-and-up. Tim Noble is very good with cars. He’s learning on the engines. That’s why Bob’s part of the team, among other reasons. We knew he wasn’t available this weekend due to commitments with NASCAR. Ricky was available, so we brought him in.”
McKarns was disappointed by the disqualifications, knowing that technical inspection issues took away from the stellar on-track product showcased throughout the Oktoberfest Race Weekend.
“Part of me is very disheartened because I hold Midwest racing to a high standard. I don’t think anything was intentional, but it’s frustrating to have a winner not be the winner."
Race fans who missed the final day of Oktoberfest can visit our Race Day Now coverage and see our updates from the afternoon by clicking here. An on-demand version of Sunday's pay-per-view video stream can be viewed by clicking here.
-Story by Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor - Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Oktoberfest 200 Official Results
|2||7S||Paul Shafer Jr.|
|11||45B||Rich Bickle Jr.|
|21||5H||Jeff Holmgren Jr.|
|27||14D||John DeAngelis Jr.|