Often times, racing is no different than most stick-and-ball sports. The team or driver playing on their home turf usually has a bit of an edge over the competition. The top-three finishers in Saturday’s Tour event at the historic Elko Speedway in Minnesota all took advantage of their thousands of laps around Elko to claim the ASA Midwest podium.
But just which Elko regular would come out on top? That question was not answered until after the half-way break restart, when Jake Ryan was able to get by Jacob Goede for the win, bringing Dan Fredrickson along with him for second.
“It was a rocket (after the break),” said Ryan in victory lane. “Me and (Fredrickson) were slugging it out. It was sweet.”
Early on, however, Ryan was not in the picture as a favorite to win. Fredrickson and Goede all flexed the most muscle in the first half of the race, but Ryan saved his best for last.
Goede took the lead after the first caution of the event and put it on cruise control early on, but he couldn’t last up front for as long as he had hoped.
“I was hoping we could hang on,” Goede said. “My car was really good early on, but I knew Jake (Ryan) and Danny (Fredrickson) would be the ones to beat.”
While Goede held the top spot the two drivers he feared most were working together through radio communication to make their way forward.
“It was real fun for me coming up through the pack,” said Fredrickson. “I won a few spots and lost a few (in traffic).”
By the 10-minute break after 75 laps, the #19 of Ryan and the #36 of Fredrickson were up to third and fourth, respectively. Fredrickson decided not to change his car during the break while Ryan’s crew made a few adjustments to get the #19 handling better. In the end, those few changes to Ryan’s car made the difference.
The #19 was in position to challenge Goede for the top spot within five laps of the restart with his partner Fredrickson right behind.
Jake Ryan shows off the hardware of his ASA Midwest Tour victory. (Doug Hornickel Photos)
Ryan (#19) looks underneath Jacob Goede (#72 for the lead at Elko.
Jake Ryan Leads Elko Regulars Over ASA Midwest Tour at Elko
Ryan, Goede and Fredrickson Steal the Show at Elko
“Home track, home crowd, it really means a lot to me,” said Ryan.
EVENT NOTES: ASAMWT AT ELKO
Last Year’s Top Finishers Struggle in Season Opener
In 2007, Jonathan Eilen and Nathan Haseleu dominated the 125-lap Midwest Tour event and fought each other for the top spot throughout the race. This year was a much different story.
“We came here today and (the car) was horrible,” said a visibly disappointed Haseleu. “We just struggled."
Haseleu, the 2007 ASA Midwest Tour Champion, was forced to use a Champion’s provisional after failing to qualify on time and to race in during both his heat and the last chance race.
2007 ASA Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year and the ’07 Elko Speedway event winner, Jonathan Eilen, had similar misfortunes.
“The car was tight all day but at least we kept it in one piece,” Eilen said.
Both drivers are still looking forward to competing this season and they are already thinking about the next event in Madison, Wisconsin.
“We’ll be as strong as we were last year,” said Eilen.
Donny Reuvers Has Quiet, Solid Race
Amidst the excitement of the ASA Midwest Tour Season Opener, one driver was hardly noticeable—and that is a good thing.
The 2007 Elko Speedway Super Late Model Champion did not attract a lot of attention to himself, good or bad, but he was up front all night long.
“I got a top-five, so I’m not going to complain about that,” a modest Reuvers said of his efforts. “I think it was a good night.”
During a race that saw more than one wreck throughout the evening, Reuvers made his way to the top-five and managed to hang in there despite it all.
As for the rest of the season, Reuvers expects the competition of the season opener to continue all season long.
“It will be extremely tough every race,” he said. “I would like to just keep running well and win a race.”