HISTORY IS MADE AS CHAMPIONS ARE DECIDED ON NIGHT THREE OF THE OKTOBERFEST RACE WEEKEND
By: Paul Reichert
October 9, 2021
After dealing with cloudy skies and chances of rain the past two days at the 52nd Annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend, the sun finally shined brightly over day three at the LaCrosse Speedway. The terrific weather was perfect for ‘Championship Saturday’ as the race fans witnessed a ton of exciting racing action that would settle three series titles for the season. The Midwest Dash Series saw Phil Malouf go out on top with the race win and the championship. Ron Vandermier, Jr. won the Mid-Am race and drove off with his fourth crown. The Big 8 Late Model Series put on another exciting feature race to end the night that saw Jacob Goede take the checkered flag while Jon Reynolds, Jr. locked up his second series championship.
Michael Bilderback showed the way at the start of the 38 lap Big 8 Late Model Series feature. Billy Mohn and Michael Beamish caught the backside of Bilderback by lap five to make the battle for the lead a little more interesting. As Bilderback began to open his advantage over them, the yellow flag flew for Jackson Lewis’s spin coming out of turn two on lap 13. Bilderback pulled away quickly on the restart as Beamish shot past Mohn for second. Beamish was slowly whittling away at Bilderback’s lead when the caution returned for Frank Baldowski’s spin on the back straight. Bilderback quickly got away from the pack again but this time he would have Jacob Goede in pursuit of the lead on the restart. Goede looked to the inside of Bilderback on lap 20, but the yellow returned for a tangle in turn two between Dusty Mann and Tim Springstroh. Goede went right back to work on BIlderback as he dove low to resume their tussle for the top spot on the restart. Goede used the inside lane coming out of turn four to power his way to the lead on lap 25. Goede attempted to pull away from the field when the caution came back on lap 30 after Zack Riddle got into the back of a slowing Michael Haggar. As Goede pulled away from the pack on the restart, Zack Riddle got a late race surge to get around Bilderback for second with four laps to go. Riddle tried his best but could not make a serious dent into the lead as Goede claimed his third Oktoberfest Big 8 victory. Jon Reynolds, Jr. ran eighth in the feature but would wind up with the big prize as he claimed his first championship since winning the inaugural Big 8 title in 2005.
The 25 lap Mid-Am Racing Series feature saw veteran Bobby Gutknecht power his way past Clayton Curts for the race lead in the early laps. The caution flew on lap six when Tim Stewart spun in turn four and Joe Monti also spun to try and avoid Stewart. Last year’s race winner Tytus Helgestad shot by Gutknecht on the restart to take over the top spot on the restart. Brian Gibson had a wild ride through the grass in turn three and surprisingly did not get hit by anybody. Contact with Randy Humfeld allowed Ron Vandermier, Jr. to move into second and challenge Helgestad for the win. Vandermier, Jr. and Helgestad got into a hard fought battle for the lead before Vandermier, Jr. surged past Helgestad for the top spot as the field hit the seven laps remaining mark. Josh Fehrmann looped it in turn four right in front of the leaders with four laps to go. The four lap shootout for all the marbles saw Vandermier, Jr. pull away from the three-way fight over the runner-up position to capture an impressive Oktoberfest checkered flag victory. Vandermier, Jr. would capture his fourth Mid-Am championship and make history by becoming the first driver to claim four titles in a row.
John Preston powered his way to the lead at the start of the 20 lap Midwest Dash Series feature. Making their way through the field in the early going were Kyle Stark and Phil Malouf. Six laps into the feature Stark and Malouf used the outside lane to surge past Preston to move into the top two spots. Stark suddenly slowed in turn four with a cut tire in turn four allowing Malouf to take over the top spot as the field took the crossed flags. Scott Ciesielski was trying to close the gap on Malouf, but his motor started to sound like it was souring with seven laps to go. That allowed George Sparkman to catch up to Ciesielski and make it a fight for the runner-up spot. Sparkman made a spectacular finish in third when his engine expired as he crossed the line. Malouf was long gone as he captured another Oktoberfest feature win and wrapped up the 2021 series title.
Brent Kirchner took the lead at the start of the 25 lap Midwest Truck Series feature. Kirchner got loose coming out of turn two on lap two and that caused a big mess in turn three. Cody Houseweart hit the wall hard and rode the wall for a short distance. Kirchner, Chris Blawat and Derek Doerr also got collected in LaCrosse’s version of ‘The Big One’. After turn three got cleaned up, the restart saw a side by side battle for the top spot between Chester Ace and Kody Hubred that lasted for six laps. Ace finally took advantage of Hubred getting loose in turn four on lap seven to assume command of the race. Hubred would not let Ace get away that easily as he maintained the pace that Ace was leading the field with. Just as quick as Hubred would close the gap, Ace would step on the throttle and open up his advantage once again. With five laps remaining Hubred found another gear and closed right back up on Ace. Hubred came as lose as a car length of the leader but Ace held off Hubred to score his
The ARCA Midwest Tour ran their preliminary events to set the majority of the field for their big 200 lap season finale on Sunday. Things got off to a flying start when Ty Majeski set his fourth track record at LaCrosse as he scrotched the 5/8-mile oval with a lap time of 18.476 seconds. Majeski would accept the Ultimate Challenge and attempt to win tomorrow’s big 200 lap feature by starting shotgun on the field. A huge bonus of $15,000 is waiting in the Ultimate Challenge if Majeski accomplishes this monumental task. The fastest 16 drivers in qualifying ran their own races in the Odd and Even Dashes. Luke Fenhaus checked out on the field to win the Odd Dash, while Dalton Zehr fought back the challenges of Johnny Sauter to capture the checkered flag in the Even Dash.
The 52nd Annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend comes to its dramatic conclusion on Sunday, October 10. The big 200 lap season finale for the ARCA Midwest Tour headlines the final days as the 2021 Oktoberfest champion will be crowned. Hanging in the balance will also be the 2021 ARCA Midwest Tour series championship. We have witnessed excitement during and after the previous two runnings of the Cratetoberfest 602 Challenge features. No doubt there will be even more excitement and drama with this year’s event. The Upper Midwest Vintage Racing Series will also be competing and transport the fans back in time to the days of racing gone by. Fan gates open at 8:30, qualifying for the Cratetoberfest 602s happens at 10, the annual Autograph Session begins at 10:45 and the final green flags of the season will wave starting at 12 Noon. Be sure to visit oktoberfestraceweekend.com for the latest updates and news on the weekend.
For more information about LaCrosse Speedway or the 2021 schedule of events, please call the track office at 608-786-1525 or visit our web site at lacrossespeedway.com. LaCrosse Speedway is proud to be a NASCAR Hometrack, part of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series.
Big 8 Late Model Series
Feature (38 laps): 1. Jacob Goede, 2. Zack Riddle, 3. Matthew Henderson, 4. Michael Bilderback, 5. Michael Beamish, 6. Billy Mohn, 7. Steve Bachman, 8. Jon Reynolds, Jr., 9. Bryan Wrolstad, 10. Austin Nason, 11. William Sawalich, 12. Randy Sargent, 13. Jerry Mueller, 14. Ryan Varner, 15. Brent Edmunds, 16. Tom Berens, 17. Frank Baldowski, 18. Steve Rubeck, 19. Dusty Mann, 20. Grant Brown, 21. Tim Springstroh, 22. Michael Haggar, 23. Nick Clements, 24. Jackson Lewis, 25. Ryan Kamish, 26. Chad Walen
Last Chance Race (18 laps): 1. Randy Sargent, 2. Ryan Kamish, 3. William Sawalich, 4. Tom Berens, 5. Brent Edmunds, 6. Zach Braun, 7. Teddy Kottschade, 8. Nick Clements, 9. Dusty Mann, 10. Joey Gase, 11. Mitchell Haver, 12. Darren Wolke, 13. Johnny Baumeister, 14. Hanna Raley, 15. Jerry Mueller, 16. Ridge Oien, 17. Barry Tanner, Jr., 18. Willie Nelson, 19. Russ Grossen
Qualifying Race #1 (20 laps): 1. Michael Bilderback, 2. Jon Reynolds, Jr., 3. Matthew Henderson, 4. Frank Baldowski, 5. Zack Riddle, 6. Bryan Wrolstad, 7. Billy Mohn, 8. Chad Walen, 9. Grant Brown, 10. Nick Clements, 11. Randy Sargent, 12. Bretn Edmunds, 13. Jerry Mueller, 14. Teddy Kottschade, 15. Joey Gase, 16. Johnny Baumeister, 17. Ridge Oien, 18. Russ Grossen, 19. Ryan Kamish
Qualifying Race #2 (20 laps): 1. Michael Beamish, 2. Ryan Varner, 3. Tim Springstroh, 4. Michael Haggar, 5. Austin Nason, 6. Steve Bachman, 7. Steve Rubeck, 8. Jacob Goede, 9. Jackson Lewis, 10. Tom Berens, 11. Zach Braun, 12. William Sawalich, 13. WIllie Nelson, 14. Darren Wolke, 15. Dusty Mann, 16. Hanna Raley, 17. Barry Tanner, Jr., 18. Mitchell Haver
Qualifying: 1. Matthew Henderson, 2. Steve Bachman, 3. Zack Riddle, 4. Jacob Goede, 5. Ryan Kamish, 6. Tom Berens, 7. Bryan Wrolstad, 8. Michael Haggar, 9. Billy Mohn, 10. William Sawalich, 11. Nick Clements, 12. Austin Nason, 13. Jon Reynolds, Jr., 14. Michael Beamish, 15. Michael Bilderback, 16. Ryan Varner, 17. Chad Walen, 18. Tim Springstroh, 19. Frank Baldowski, 20. Steve Rubeck, 21. Randy Sargent, 22. Dusty Mann, 23. Jerry Mueller, 24. Willie Nelson, 25. Brent Edmunds, 26. Zach Braun, 27. Grant Brown, 28. Darren Wolke, 29. Teddy Kottschade, 30. Jackson Lewis, 31. Joey Gase, 32. Mitchell Haver, 33. Johnny Baumeister, 34. Hanna Raley, 35. Ridge Oien, 36. Barry Tanner, Jr., 37. Russ Grossen, 38. Andrew Buhrow (NO TIME), 39. Kyle Kirberger (NO TIME)