Fredrickson Giant Among ASA Midwest At Grundy County by Bob Dillner
Haseleu Closes In On Point Lead; Grundy King Hoffman DQed
At first glance, Dan Fredrickson looks like a gentle giant. He stands 6’6” and weighs in at somewhere around 250-pounds or more, certainly not your ordinary driver in this day an age. Fredrickson is a throw-back to the Buddy Baker days; a Minnesota farm-boy, who could play ball as a youngster, but was eventually captured by the lore of racing in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. When you put him behind the wheel of a racecar, he still may be a giant, but he’s anything but gentle.
Fredrickson proved those characteristics Friday night during the ASA Midwest Series race at Grundy County Speedway in Illinois by gently nudging his way by Nathan Haseleu enroute to his second series victory in less than a month. In fact, in front of a packed house that featured many fans and players of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (the Cup race was down the road at Chicagoland Speedway), he became the first two-time winner in this inaugural ASA Midwest season.
“Of course, with the big race just 15-miles away from here there’s a lot of people here watching. And even though I’m 29-years-old, I haven’t completely given up on maybe making it as a racer,” said Fredrickson in his brutal honest fashion that makes him enjoyable to listen to. “I think I won in a fashion that was impressive in front of a lot of people that grew up here watching short track racing. I guess you could say I am still auditioning. Hopefully somebody was watching that cares. I tried to race clean, the best I could, and get to the front.”
Dan Fredrickson is a "giant" among the ASA Midwest Series right now. (Doug Hornickel photos)
Fredrickson did race clean, for the most part, but a little fender rubbing between he and his current upper Midwest rival Nathan Haseleu had the fans on their feet just past the halfway point in the 100-lap event.
“He (Haseleu) basically told me over the radio that as soon as I got a run on him, he would give me the spot,” explained Fredrickson. “I got underneath him and he kinda thought about, you know, protecting his spot a little bit. But as soon as he saw I was really in there, he pretty much gave it. He’s a good racer. I wouldn’t say we gave a fender to him to get by him. We got a run, we touched a little bit down the straight-a-way; I just wanted to make sure he knew we were there.”
“I just did what I could to keep him back there,” Haseleu told Speed51.com after the race. “He bumped me a little bit when he got by me; just racing. That one time he slowed up down there, so I figured I’d get into him too. It’s just fun. We’re both good racers and we’re not going to take each other out.”
Haseleu wound up second, but he had lost second spot for a short time as well, to 3-time track champ and 3-time Appleton Memorial winner Eddie Hoffman.
“The car was good because we were carrying some extra-weight for the rules for the series,” said Hoffman. “I got a 9-to-1; they got “Aces” (spec engine combination in the upper Midwest). I also have a merge-collector and I had to put another 25-
Nathan Haseleu (#87) tried to hold off Fredrickson (#36). (Hornickel photo)
pounds on. So I was spotting them 75-pounds. During a long race that will take its toll. And I think toward the end on the long runs it hurt us. It started to fall off; it was loose, pushing, sliding. The tires cooled a little and I got by Nathan, but he got back there to us in the end.”
“Mine was better on the longer run, but we had that 18-lap run at the end and I was able to get back by him for second,” added Haseleu, who had two-straight finishes outside the top-10 coming into the event. “The way we’ve been running lately, it hasn’t been that great, so at least we’re getting closer.”
Hoffman was disqualified after post-race tech revealed he had, according to ASA Midwest Series officials, an unapproved carb spacer on his number-8 racecar.
But as for Fredrickson, he’s the man everyone is keeping an eye on. He was 10th in points coming into the event, with one less race entered than the top runners, but he has three Super Late Model victories in the last month (one independent win as well) and now has three-straight podium finishes in the ASA Midwest Series.
“I don’t know what he’s got going on,” said Haseleu. “He’s on a roll. He’s got it figured out right now.”
“The win in LaCrosse (Fairgrounds, WI) was easy; the car was perfect,” added Fredrickson. “Last week we nearly won, but came up short due to lapped cars. This car was ok here tonight, but with this track, I think it was a driver’s deal tonight. I don’t think anybody’s car handled perfect here tonight; mine wasn’t great, but I drove right by him.”
POINT RACE CLOSES UP ON DIFFERENT TURF
When you think on Grundy County Speedway, two drivers certainly come to mind; Eddie Hoffman and Pat Kelly. We already told you of Hoffman’s fate, but two-time track champ Kelly didn’t fair that much better. He finished 12th.
While some of the favorites did not come out of Morris, IL on the upside, another party did – the ASA Midwest Series itself. That statement is due to the mere fact that the series points race has heated up. Haseleu, by our calculations, gained a bunch of
Haseleu and the rest of the ASA MW drivers need to figure out how to beat Fredrickson. (51 photo)
points and has moved back up to second in the standings, while Dave Feiler, who survived to finish 10th, has fallen a spot to third. Donnie Reuvers still leads the chase, but finished directly behind Feiler.
“It wasn’t as good as it needed to be,” explained Reuvers, who began the ASA Midwest season on a tear. “Every once in a while I got a good run, but I didn’t want to hit the guy in front of me. He (Feiler) was second place in points and I don’t want him to run me that way, so I’m not going to race him that way.”
“The car was a little skatey,” said Feiler. “We came from 21st to get where we did, but the car just wasn’t underneath us today. Overall, I’m ok with how we did; I just hoped we had a better car. It was a little bit of survival tonight because of that.”
Survival, performance and experience went hand-in-hand at Grundy and experience proved to be the most important ingredient.
“We’ve never been here before; granted it’s not a lot different than a lot of tracks you go to, but we just weren’t as good as we needed to be,” added Reuvers. “It just didn’t want to turn in the middle and that would turn me loose off.”
“This is only the second time I’ve ever been here,” Feiler told us. “You could tell, I’m sure, by watching it, that this place is notorious for being a one-groove racetrack. If you get caught up high you’re just in big trouble. But if you could roll through the middle and actually pick up the gas and hold it down, you got a good car. And obviously the guys that ran up front could do that.”
Dave Feiler's #96 is in the thick of the ASA MW points race. (51 photo)
Haseleu was one of those guys and was relieved to get off the snide with a good run after a couple of tough outings. And don’t think for a moment that he isn’t watching the point situation.
“It’s a good points day and we go to Madison next and Kaukauna after that; two places that I run really good at. And I do, I keep track of the points thing a little bit,” admitted Haseleu with a smile. “You can’t really points race too much, but I sort of looked in my mirror during the cautions and I saw where those guys were hanging out. It’s just interesting to know what kind of day they are having compared to us. Because you don’t want to make a stupid move and spin out and have to go all the way to the back of the pack when they weren’t having the best day and you were up front.”
“We always keep an eye on him because he’s good everywhere he goes,” said Reuvers of Haseleu. “We’re going to tracks that we’ve never been to and he has a lot of experience at them. He races at these tracks a lot.”
And while Haseleu may be the favorite to wear the crown at the end of this inaugural ASA Midwest season, the race is still wide-open.
“It’ll be interesting. I’m exciting to go to these new tracks, but that’s where we need to be consistent,” continued Reuvers. “I’m looking forward to Madison and we’ve run well at Kaukauna before, but so does he. I’m really looking forward to getting back to Raceway Park.
“It definitely helps to go back a second time. Even though this track (Grundy County) is similar to Elko; it’s still different. There were things we do at Elko that just didn’t work here.
“Obviously Nathan is an incredible driver,” added Feiler. “He does a great job and they got really good stuff. Just to be in the same category as him right now is a good feeling. But Nathan has run all these racetracks and that’s gotta help. For Donnie and me to come down here is probably a little more difficult. But that’s the beauty of this series; you go to so many places that sometimes you’ll have and edge and sometimes you don’t. And obviously in the end, the best guy is going to take her (the series title).”
Donny Reuvers still leads the ASA MW point standings.