Well there was lighting in the sky and sparks on the track but that didn’t stop the 2012 ARCA Midwest Tour champion Jonathan Eilen from taking home the checkered flag in ARCA’s Midwest Tour Wayne Carter Classic 100 at Grundy County Speedway Friday night.
“Man, I didn’t ever expect to come from 17th to win it tonight, you know? My hats off to Chris Wimmer and Danny Fredrickson. They put on a really tough battle,” said a happy Eilen from victory lane.
With temps 90 plus all afternoon, it was a hot day which turned into a hot night of a racing. It was a Weinkauf and Weinkauf front row as the brothers led the field to the green. Jason Weinkauf was able to pull out to the lead, but last year’s winner Eddie Hoffman quickly tucked under Chris Weinkauf to take the second spot.
The first caution fell on lap 2 for a group of cars getting together in turn one. At the restart Jason Weinkauf once again chose the inside followed by his brother Chris. This allowed Hoffman to start on the inside followed by the other No. 8 of Jacob Goede.
Jason Weinkauf once again squeezed into the lead and was able to pull away a little bit as Hoffman had pressure from Chris Weinkauf and Goede. Goede and Chris Weinkauf put on a good battle for third and Dan Fredrickson was trying to stick his nose in the mix but thought better of it. This allowed Jason Weinkauf to get himself into a comfortable lead.
The 8 of Goede was putting pressure on the 8 of Hoffman for second while Fredrickson was looking to the inside of Chris Weinkauf for the fourth spot but the caution flew for the second time before he was able to seal the deal.
Jason Weinkauf once again chose the inside with Goede on the outside. Hoffman was now on the inside with Fredrickson on the outside behind Hoffman.
Goede was making a move diving quickly into second and working on Jason Weinkauf but once again the caution flew and it was a complete restart.
Goede got a great restart and powered by Jason Weinkauf down the back stretch and began to pull away. Fredrickson was now working Hoffman on the outside, but couldn’t get it done. Nathan Haseleu and Chris Wimmer were also on the move running nose to tail in the top six.
Fredrickson was trying to make a move on Hoffman while at the same time getting pressure from Haseleu and Wimmer. Fredrickson finally got under Hoffman on lap 30 and made the pass for third. Haseleu followed suit as did Wimmer as Hoffman got stuck on the outside.
Fredrickson was reeling in Weinkauf lap by lap for third. He was on the move. As they encountered lapped traffic he was able to close in a little closer and on lap 40 got underneath for second and set his sights on Goede for the lead.
Wimmer continued to work on Haseleu and got him with 58 to go. Jason Weinkauf was slipping back a little bit and Wimmer caught him and quickly made the pass for third.
Fredrickson was closing in on Goede lap after lap. Another caution fell with 53 to go. At the half-way mark it was Goede, Fredrickson, Wimmer, Haseleu and Eilen.
This set up a fierce battle at the restart. Eilen had moved his way into the top ten after failing to qualify in the top 16 and starting 17th.
For the restart Goede chose the inside. Fredrickson on the outside. Goede got a great restart as Fredrickson settled into second, but Wimmer was hot on his tail. Wimmer starting looking to the inside of Fredrickson. At this point you could throw a blanket over the top three.
The caution flew yet again with 46 laps to go. Once again Goede chose the inside with Fredrickson on the outside. Wimmer and Hoffman set up the second row.
At the restart, Dan Fredrickson drove it as hard as he could but Wimmer got to the inside and took second and quickly started working on Goede. It was still the top three pulling away a little bit from Haseleu, Eilen, Hoffman and J. Weinkauf.
Wimmer was doing everything he could to get Goede, but Goede shut the door. Eilen moved into fourth with 40 to go. Wimmer got a run on the backstretch and got by Goede on the back stretch the next lap. Fredrickson was to Goede’s bumper with Eilen all over the back of him.
Fredrickson got to the inside of Goede and took second and Eilen followed suit. Wimmer was able to start pulling a way a little bit as Fredrickson and Eilen were battling for second. Eilen looked underneath Frerickson and got the spot from him and set his sights on Wimmer.
Wimmer continued to pull away from the field and Eilen was stretching out away from Fredrickson. Fourth through tenth were running nose to tail with Goede leading that battle. Hoffman was all over the bumper of Goede and Haseleu was watching for things to shake out. Haseleu dove to the inside of Goede behind Hoffman for fifth.
Eilen looked to be slowly closing in on Wimmer with no pressure from Fredrickson. As they closed in on lapped traffic, Wimmer hoped to use it to his advantage as Eilen continued to close in on him. Unfortunately it allowed Eilen to catch him and try a risky move but wasn’t able to clear him in lapped traffic.
Eilen continued to try to dive under Wimmer amidst lapped traffic but couldn’t seal the deal. Once they got a clearing you could’ve have put a piece of paper between Wimmer’s bumper and Eilen’s nose. Eilen got him going down the backstretch but got a little sideways coming out of four, but not enough for Wimmer retake the lead.
With seven laps to go, Eilen began to pull away from Wimmer and won his first race of the 2013 season.
Wimmer was second followed by Fredrickson, Hoffman and Rich Bickle.