By: Tom Ace
ARCA Midwest Tour Kar Korner All Star 100
After coming frustratingly close to victory in last year’s All Star
100, Roscoe’s Austin Nason left little doubt in this year’s version of
the Super Late Model Showdown. The Roscoe resident led the race’s
final 59 laps en route to one of the biggest victories of his career
and his second win along the ARCA Midwest Tour in 2018.
Despite having a very fast race car, Nason’s road to victory was far
from easy. After climbing to the lead on the 16th lap, Nason had his
left rear tire cut down in a bottleneck on lap 31. The incident was
enough to luckily bring out a yellow flag for Nason, as his crew was
able to replace the flat and quickly get Nason’s car back on track. A
myriad of yellow flags allowed Nason the advantage of moving forward
on “pick and choose” restarts, allowing him the opportunity to quickly
climb back to the front of the field.
Nason challenged Casey Johnson for the lead just a few laps later and
re-assumed the lead for good on lap 41. Despite a handful of yellow
flags over the final 59 laps, Nason was never seriously challenged for
the lead again. Johnson claimed second while Minnesota’s Jonathon
Eilen came home in third.
Florida’s Dalton Zehr finished fourth and earlier in the evening set
the new ARCA Midwest Tour track record in qualifying with a lap of
12.913. South Beloit’s Michael Bilderback rounded out the top five.
STANLEY STEEMER NASCAR LATE MODEL STAR SPANGLED 76
Speaking of Bilderback, for the second straight year, he was the man
to beat in the 76 lap Late Model feature which served as the
under-card to the 100 lap Super Late Model race.
After setting fast time in qualifying, Bilderback elected to start at
the back of the 14 car field in pursuit of the $700 Gerber Collision
and Glass Ultimate Challenge Bonus. A couple of early yellow flags
chipped away at the field, sidelining three cars by lap five, allowing
Bilderback a small assist in his climb forward.
After a second yellow flag on lap 3, the race proceeded to go 31
straight laps green, allowing Bilderback to race his way into the top
three. Following a restart just before halfway, Bilderback was able to
get into second place and challenge race leader Alex Papini for the
top spot. After a brief yet exciting exchange, Bilderback assumed the
lead on the 38th lap. Despite a couple of late-race yellow flags, the
two-time Rockford Speedway track champion was never seriously
challenged for the lead and picked up the win, his third of the season
and second in as many nights after winning Friday night’s Big 8 Series
event at Madison International Speedway.
Jon Reynolds Jr took advantage of a late race restart to move from
fourth place on lap 71 to second place when the race ended five laps
later. 15 year old Max Kahler capped off a solid night with a third
place finish, with Matt Berger coming home fourth. Wisconsin teenager
RJ Braun persevered throughout the 76 laps and was rewarded with his
first ever Rockford Speedway top-five finish.
The most exciting finish of the night was the 20 lap Kickstart
Roadrunner feature, which included no less than five cars battling at
the front of the field at any given time. When the curtain came down
on a caution-free 20 lap race, Beloit’s Chad Lounsbury outdistanced
Austin Fowler by a matter of inches at the line for the checkered flag
and his fifth victory of the year.
Fowler got to the front of the field just before halfway after getting
by Terry Gerber for the race’s top spot. Lounsbury, saddled with an
unfavorable starting position, fought into the runner up spot with 8
laps to go. Quickly Lounsbury chased Fowler down for the lead. Over
the course of the race’s final four laps, Lounsbury and Fowler went
back and fourth in their battle for the win, with Lounsbury slipping
sideways while getting after Fowler for the lead with two laps to go.
As the field took the white flag, Lounsbury got under Fowler in turn
two and the duo raced side-by-side through the final corners, with the
two drivers trading paint off the corner headed towards the finish
line. When the dust settled and the checkered flag waved, it was
Lounsbury who ground to victory by 18 inches over Fowler.
Kevin Memoli finished third after holding off several aggressive
challenges for Robby Robinson for the position. Robinson settled for
fourth, while Gerber finished fifth.