Casey Johnson Crowned the 2016 ARCA Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year
by Kari Shear-Carlson / Oct 9th, 2016 - The 47th running of the Annual Oktoberfest at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway was an event not soon to be forgotten. Ty Majeski had a dominating performance this weekend and topped it off by winning the ARCA Midwest Tour presented by Scag Power Equipment 200 lap headline event.
Johnny Sauter dominated the first half of the event taking the lead on lap three from Ricky Baker who started on the outside of the front row along side Minnesota’s Jacob Goede. The busiest driver in WI, Casey Johnson fell into second behind Sauter while Chris Weinkauf found himself running third early on. Sauter stretched out his lead to about 15 car lengths over Johnson and continued to cruise as the rest of the field was settling in.
Majeski and Dan Fredrickson were the two to keep an eye on throughout the 200 lap event. Fredrickson got around Majeski on lap 19 and Majeski immediately tried to take the position back, but Dan was too strong and started to pull away, setting his eyes ahead. As the two worked their way to the front, Sauter had stretched out to almost a straightaway lead.
The first competition caution came out on lap 52. Fredrickson was the only driver of the top 10 who opted to pit. When the field went back to green, he started at the tail end of the lead lap cars, but that didn’t stop the Lakeville, MN driver from powering his way back to the front.
The yellow flag waved for debris in turn three on lap 71. The double-file restart allowed Chris Weinkauf to start on the outside of Johnny Sauter. They were followed by Majeski and Goede. Fredrickson restarted in the eighth position.
Chris Weinkauf showed his power as he pulled Sauter on the backstretch and found himself leading the event on lap 75. Sauter and Weinkauf put on a side by side battle for several laps. Sauter was finally able to snag the lead. Fredrickson got around Majeski and Weinkauf and found himself in second once again.
Weinkauf left the door open for Majeski who took advantage and moved into third. Weinkauf settled into fourth and a hard charging Austin Nason moved up to fifth.
The caution came out on lap 101 as Jason Weinkauf made contact with the turn four wall. This was the perfect time for drivers to pit and set themselves up for the second half of the race. In fact, such a perfect time that every car in the field pitted.
Sauter and Fredrickson made up the front row at the restart. Andrew Morrissey was now in the picture as he lined up outside of Majeski in fourth. Weinkauf and Nason were next in line. Sauter and Majeski got the advantage as Fredrickson tried to work the outside. Majeski charged in and took the lead from Sauter and never looked back.
Another caution came out putting the pressure back on Majeski with Sauter once again on his outside, but it didn’t seem to matter, Majeski jumped back out to the lead. It appeared Fredrickson turned on the heat in the final 50 laps as he started to close in on Sauter and Majeski.
Yet another restart with 19 to go put Sauter back on the outside once again and Majeski could feel the heat of Fredrickson on his tail at the restart. Andrew Morrissey threw himself into the mix yet again looking to the inside of Sauter to take the third spot away. Chris Weinkauf joined the battle, but in the end Sauter came out ahead.
Meanwhile, Majeski extended his lead and Fredrickson started to put some distance between himself and Sauter. With seven laps to go, the caution flag flew yet again. Majeski was starting to feel the pressure of a very hungry Fredrickson.
Just as it seemed the race was over, another caution came out setting up a green, white, checkered finish. You could feel Majeski’s anxiety building as it took three attempts before flagman, Tom White was satisfied with the restart.
In the end, Majeski prevailed. It was an emotional win for the team. “I’m just so happy for my crew chief, Toby Nuttleman. He’s been trying to get this win for 30 years and I’m just so happy we could bring it home for him,” said Majeski.
In addition to winning what may have been one of the most important events of his ARCA Midwest Tour season, Majeski and his team clinched their third consecutive ARCA Midwest Championship, adding to his history making career.
Casey Johnson took home the title as this year’s Rookie of the Year.
The next event for the ARCA Midwest Tour will be the 2016 Championship Banquet. Follow arcamidwesttour.com for details to come.
For complete event details, log on to arcamidwesttour.com
Be sure to follow the ARCA Midwest Tour on Facebook (/midwesttour) and Twitter (@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.