If you were in the stands at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway during Oktoberfest on Sunday, here’s to hoping that you didn’t blink.
The 100-lap ARTGO/Wisconsin Super Late Model “Oktoberfest 100” feature, the crown jewel of the racing weekend, went by in a flash. The 100-lap race went caution-free, finishing is just under 40 minutes.
That meant the cream of the crop rose. And the best of those was veteran racer Steve Holzhausen.
Holzhausen was the story of the day. While the green-flag race allowed the leaders to put many cars a lap down, it was Holzhausen’s purple #97 that everyone had their eyes on.
After qualifying second and starting 10th, Holzhausen was a man on a mission. While other big names fell a lap down, or ran toward the front only to fall back later, Holzhausen was the exact opposite. He was slowly and methodically moving toward the front.
By lap 37 he was up to the fifth position. He would then
Steve Holzhausen (#97) took the checkers for his second-straigh Octoberfest win. (51 photos)
get past Nathan Haseleu for fourth on lap 43. Three laps later he would continue his charge to the front by taking over third from Josh Vadnais.
Then, with just nine laps to go, Holzhausen made his move for the lead, passing the dominate car up to that point, Chris Weinkauf. It was Holzhausen’s second-straight Oktoberfest 100 victory.
“I learned a long time ago that you have to be patient,” said Holzhausen. “But some of those lapped cars… wow. (Weinkauf) was stretched out there a pretty good ways, so we had to play catch up. A yellow would have helped an old guy like me a lot.
“I’m sure we’ve went 100 green flag laps here at some point here sometime; maybe about 100 years ago or so.
“It was pretty cool. In case you weren’t here last year, it ended something like this.”
Last year, Holzhausen spent more time out front. But it doesn’t matter if you lead one lap or 100 laps, as long as you lead that last one.
“I’ve gotta thank Pete, the car owner. I don’t know why he trusts me to drive it, but I’m sure glad that he did. It was an awesome car. That was one of the best cars I’ve driven in a long time.”
Watching Holzhausen’s car, it was obvious that he was one of the best on the track. But early, it looked like no one would have anything for Weinkauf. In fact, for a while, it looked like there might not be anyone else left on the lead lap to battle Weinkauf.
“We got a little luck with the race being all green and no yellows because I was able to get out there a ways and put a lot of cars a lap down,” said Weinkauf. “There were a lot of lapped cars there at the end that were fast cars which made them harder to get around. That held me up enough and Steve was able to catch me. I guess if the race was about 10 laps shorter, we would have been alright.
“I saw him in my mirror when he was on my rear bumper, but I couldn’t do anything to hold him back.
“We did all we could do all weekend long. My crew did a great job. We just came up a little bit short.”
Weinkauf got around early leader Haseleu on lap 14. From there on out, it was a race to stay on the lead laps. Several good cars went a lap down to Weinkauf, including Tim Schendel, Dick Trickle, Haseleu, Tim Rothe, Steve Carlson and others.
But coming from the back was Holzhausen. Also coming was eventual third-place finisher Neil Knoblock.
Knoblock, who started 20th, had a great race.
Holzhausen puts Dick Trickle (#99) and Steve Carlson (#66) a lap down.
“Chris Weinkauf, in case no one knows, is one of my best racing friends,” said Knoblock. “I wish he would have won the race. Steve Holzhausen is a legend here and Chris and I are just trying to be legends. Maybe someday we’ll be like that.
“I’m just so happy to be here in front of all of these fans. I’m kinda emotional right now because racing is an emotional sport.”
Mark Eswein, who broke the track record for Super Late Models in qualifying, finished fourth, while Jonathan Eilen rounded out the top-five.
OKTOBERFEST 100 RESULTS
1. Steve Holzhausen, Bangor;
2. Chris Weinkauf, Merrill;
3. Neil Knoblock, Green Bay;
4. Mark Eswein, Wisconsin Rapids;
5. Jonathan Eilen, Hampton, MN;
6. Jason Weinkauf, Merrill;
7. Dick Trickle, Iron Station, NC;
8. Dean Cornelius, Chaska, MN;
9. Frank Kreyer, Pardeeville;
10. Josh Vadnais, Whitebear Lake;
11. Trent Snyder, Ironton, MN;
12. Tim Rothe, Appleton;
13. Peter Moore, Mc Farland;
14. Tim Schendel, Sparta;
15. Jim Weber, Roseville, MN;
16. Steve Carlson, West Salem;
17. Nick Hammer, Madison;
18. David Prunty, Brownsville, WI;
19. Blake Horstman, Bangor;
20. Josh Bauer, Random Lake;
21. Jacob Goede, New Germany,
22. Kris Kelly, Norway, MI;
23. Nathan Haseleu, Pardeeville,
24. Rob Debnecay;
25. Adam Royle, Farmington, MN;
26. Eugene Gregorich Jr, Amherst;
27. Chris Skrede, Sparta;
28. Charlie Menard, Eau Claire;
A couple of young guys, Knoblock (left, third-place) and Weinkauf (right, second-place), joined old-man Holzhausen on the podium.