By Craig McCay
(West Allis, WI) In a frantic seventeen lap shootout, Austin Nason charged past race leader Dan Fredrickson with just six circuits remaining to claim the biggest win of his career Sunday afternoon June 16 during the ARCA Midwest Tour Father’s Day 100 at The Milwaukee Mile. The event which marked the first oval event at ‘America’s Legendary Oval’ in four years did not disappoint a faithful crowd estimated at 8,000 whom braved temperatures in the lower 50’s throughout the day. Nason, from Roscoe, IL was followed across the finish line by Wisconsin’s Ty Majeski and Minnesota’s Fredrickson.
A healthy invert of 17 found new track record holder Ty Majeski (28.350 sec/126.984 MPH) deep in the 32 car starting field Sunday. Following a four wide salute to the fans, it was Eddie MacDonald and Casey Roderick leading the field to the green flag of starter Tom White. MacDonald, a four-time winner at the one mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway charged to the early lead with Matthew Craig applying pressure early. A shuffling amongst the top spots would find Dan Fredrickson, Rich Bickle and Roderick in contention along with the lead duo. Meanwhile Majeski weaved his way towards the front and would dart to the top of the leaderboard nineteen miles into the one hundred mile contest. Majeski, fresh off ARCA Menards Series wins at Charlotte and Pocono checked out on the field with only Craig keeping the 91 machine in his view.
When the first caution flag waved at lap forty due to Midwest Tour Controlled Pit Stop Procedures, all but Preston Peltier and Ryan Farrell opted to head to the pits for adjustments on their Super Late Models. Many of the front runners opted to wait for tires and made minor adjustments while roughly a third of the field opted to utilize their two extra Hoosier Racing Tires. When the race resumed four laps later, Peltier, the Irwindale (CA) SRL Series winner, took control of the middle stages, until Fredrickson, who took new rubber came from his fifth position at the restart to become the race leader with forty miles remaining. Fredrickson, a two time Midwest Tour Champion built a sizeable lead with early race leaders Peltier and MacDonald having to contend with the likes of Craig and Austin Nason. Majeski’s dominance came to a halt as he faded back as low as eighteenth.
The final round of pit stops occurred following a lap eighty caution, again dictated by Tour Pit Stop Procedures as the race went without incident. Fredrickson, MacDonald, Gabe Sommers, 2018 Tour Champion Dalton Zehr, Josh Brock and Jeff Van Oudenhoven stayed on track, content to battle with what they had. Peltier, who managed to stay in second despite his aging tires was joined by MacDonald, Craig, Nason, Roderick, Bickle and a host of others to take their two tires for the day. When the green flag flew with seventeen circuits remaining, Fredrickson once again pulled away from the field. Roderick put on a charge from a tenth restarting position to second on the board as Nason came from restarting ninth to third with eleven laps to go. Two miles later the two had Fredrickson, a 2004 winner at Milwaukee, in their crosshairs. The battle continued between Roderick and Nason allowing Fredrickson a bit of breathing room until Nason secured second with an inside pass in turn one and set sail for the top spot, pulling into the lead as the field crossed the stripe with six miles remaining.
Over the closing laps the Nason Motorsports crew continued to tell their driver to remain smooth, as Majeski, also on fresh tires, was again on the move. After restarting the race in seventeenth, Majeski was fourth as Nason took the lead and began mixing it up with Roderick and Fredrickson for a shot at Nason. Nason drove a near perfect race and recorded his third Midwest Tour win, crossing beneath the checkered flags at the famed facility ahead of Majeski, Fredrickson, Peltier and Roderick. Second fastest qualifier Casey Johnson was sixth, followed by Farrell, Last Chance Race winner Josh Brock, MacDonald and Sommers.
Nason, the 2018 Midwest Tour Runner-Up won twice last year in Tour action, the Joe Shear Classic 200 at Madison and the Kar Korner All-Star 100 at Rockford. He told Speed 51, “This thing was nothing but a chassis two weeks ago. We busted our butts on this thing. We put new tires on late because I knew tires would be key here,” explained Nason. “We put them on for that restart, can’t pass before the start/finish line, I got going a little too good there. I backed it down, but I got past all those guys going into one and two there.” Nason added about the loyal Midwest fan support, “This is special, I can’t thank these guys enough, this place is packed. I hope they let us come back, this place is awesome. I think this is the start of a great event, and the fans made this possible.”
Levon Van Der Geest won the Midwest Truck Series event, Ron Weyer won the Mid-American Stock Car Series feature while Woody Pool celebrated his Upper Midwest Vintage Series victory. Also in action was the Vintage Indy Registry with a pair of exhibition runs. Ron Vandermeir, Jr’s ride went on its roof down the backstretch during the final laps of the Mid-American race, he was okay and walked away under his own power. 144 drivers took to the track over the two day event. Event promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises has indicated that racing will return to The Milwaukee Mile again in 2020, with exact details to be announced at a later date.