Photo © Doug Hornickel - www.FastLapPhoto.com
by Kari Shear-Carlson / Oct 12, 2015 - Dan Fredrickson won the ARCA Midwest Tour presented by Scag Power Equipment 46th Annual Oktoberfest on Sunday at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway. Fredrickson started in 20th. He drove his way through the field, eventually catching leader, Ty Majeski, in the closing laps. He made the winning move on a restart with 10 laps remaining, and the rest, as they say, is history.
On what is known for its frigid temperatures and uncertain weather patterns, Oktoberfest has long seen the white of snow on the ground, sleet sheeting the racetrack surface, rain creating a muddy mess throughout camper village, and every now and then, the warmth of the sun. Sunday was one of the latter. In fact, it was 80 degrees with abundant sunshine, not a cloud in the sky.
Eager fans filled the grandstands anticipating what was sure to be yet another exciting Oktoberfest 200. With drivers like, Johnny Sauter, Ty Majeski, and Dan Fredrickson, excitement isn’t too hard to come by, and Sunday proved it.
Ty Majeski / 2015 ARCA Midwest Tour Presented by Scag Power Equipment Champion (Doug Hornickel - www.FastLapPhoto.com)
Ty Majeski had a dominating weekend, winning in what seemed to be every individual event he entered, but Sunday afternoon’s Oktoberfest 200 is the one that mattered most. After the success he’d already had throughout the weekend, and picking up fast time for the event, he was a top pick to be in victory lane.
Majeski wasn’t the only one on the radar, however.
Johnny Sauter, known for his all-or-nothing driving, qualified third on Saturday, but accepted the Ultimate Challenge, electing to start from 28th. If he were to win, he would take home an additional $5000 on top of the already $4000 to win.
As the drivers rolled out of turn four to take the green flag, Florida’s, Dalton Zehr and Iowa’s, Griffin McGrath, led the field across the start-finish line. Zehr went straight to the lead on lap one and Jim Sauter Jr., who started inside of row two, got under McGrath for second. Jacob Goede moved into third.
Austin Nason / 2015 ARCA Midwest Tour Presented by Scag Power Equipment Rookie of the Year (Doug Hornickel - www.FastLapPhoto.com)
Sauter Jr. closed in on Zehr and took the top spot on lap 21. He started to pull away and quickly gained about a half a straightway on him. McGrath had moved back up to third over Goede.
Johnny Sauter was slicing his way through the field, moving up to 6th by lap 36. By the time the competition yellow came out on lap 50, Johnny was in third behind his brother, Jim Sauter Jr, and none other than, leader, Ty Majeski.
Under controlled pit stops, drivers could pit under caution and not lose a lap under the yellow flag. Drivers were only allowed a maximum of six tires for the race, so they had to time their pit stops wisely. One driver who chose to pit on lap 50 was Dan Fredrickson, who had silently been following Johnny Sauter through the field. Fredrickson started in 20th and was in the top five when the caution came out.
When starter, Tom White, waved the green flag for the restart, Jim Sauter Jr took the lead once again, but Majeski was right on his bumper. Majeski did everything he could to get around Sauter Jr, but Jim, continued to hold him off.
Johnny Sauter sat back in third watching the battle ensue for the lead, as Goede started to close in on him.
On lap 91, the #91 of Majeski overtook the lead from Sauter Jr, and immediately began to pull away. Goede caught Johnny Sauter and passed him for third.
The battle for second through fourth was getting intense. Goede was all over the bumper of Sauter Jr. Jim got sideways at one point, but Goede let him gather it back up and then dove to the inside to take second away from him.
Natalie Decker caught Johnny Sauter and passed him for fourth.
The second caution of the day came when Caleb Adrian spun on the backstretch coming out of turn two.
All of the leaders pitted. Pole-sitter, Dalton Zehr, was the only lead lap car to stay on the track, assuming the lead for the second time in the day. However, with all the cars behind him having fresh tires, his lead didn’t last.
Majeski went straight to the lead followed by Jacob Goede, Johnny Sauter, and Dan Fredrickson. With about 50 laps remaining, Majeski was pulling away from Sauter a little bit and Fredrickson, who was now in third, was slowly closing in on him.
Another caution flag came out on lap 144 for Dalton Zehr who spun on the backstretch. On the restart, Majeski took the lead once again. Fredrickson and Sauter were side-by-side. They touched, then they touched again. Goede was right there ready to make a move if the opportunity opened up.
Fredrickson got the spot over Sauter. Natalie Decker had closed in on Goede and worked to take fourth away from him.
Fredrickson closed in on Majeski as the laps wound down, but Majeski pulled away. On lap 190, the last thing Majeski wanted, happened; a caution.
Travis Sauter who was running in the top five, spun on the front stretch. At the same time, Johnny Sauter’s hopes for winning the Ultimate Challenge went up in smoke. He pulled off with mechanical problems.
One of the most anticipated restarts of the weekend, and for some, the entire season, was only a green flag away, and it was a single file restart.
They crossed the start-finish line, Majeski leading the way. They dove into turn one, Fredrickson to the inside, and Goede wanting to go three-wide on the outside. The three were side-by-side-by-side.
As they came out of turn two, Fredrickson overtook the lead, and Goede got around Majeski for second. Nick Murgic crept up into fourth and was all over Majeski. He wanted third.
Fredrickson and Goede pulled away from Majeski as he tried to hold off Murgic. Murgic took one last look coming out of turn four, but Majeski held him off.
Dan Fredrickson picked up his fourth Oktoberfest win, followed by Goede, Majeski, Murgic, and Skylar Holzhausen.
Ty Majeski clinched his second consecutive ARCA Midwest Tour Championship. Austin Nason is the 2015 ARCAMT Rookie of the Year.
Be sure to follow the ARCA Midwest Tour on Facebook (/midwesttour), Twitter (@midwesttour) and Instagram (@midwesttour)
To learn more about the Automobile Racing Club of America Midwest Tour, log on to arcamidwesttour.com. The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is among the leading auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country. Founded in 1953 by John and Mildred Marcum, the organization administers more than 100 events each year in multiple racing series, including the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the ARCA Truck Series and the ARCA Midwest Tour, plus weekly racing at Toledo and Flat Rock Speedway.