Donny Ruevers Breaks Through to Win at Dells by Jana Jurkovich
Beats Carlson and a Gaggle of Sauters to Score First ASA MW Victory
Ruevers' winning #41 Toyota (ASA MW / Doug Hornickle / Fast Lap Photo Photos).
The inverted lined Fredrickson up in the 11th position and put Dundas, MN driver Donny Reuvers on the pole.
As Reuvers' #41 began to pull away from the field, the real racing was going on behind him as Andrew Morrissey, Steve Carlson, and Kenny Richards raced hard for position.
“My guys were telling me on the radio that they were battling back there,” said Reuvers, “Which is good because if they're racing hard side by side or running in to each other or trying to pass each other, they're not ganging up on me, so that was a plus.”
Meanwhile, the changes Johnny Sauter made to his car before the race started to pay off. By lap 38, he had worked his way up in to ninth and by lap 75 cracked the top five.
“We started really low air pressure and by the eighth lap the thing started turning
really good,” said Sauter, “I was like we're going to be fine here, I can pick em off
one at a time, it's just this place is so hard to pass. I think we were the only car that
did a lot of passing, that makes me feel pretty good about it.”
A hot engine appeared it might end the day Johnny Sauter's early, but it held out for
“The motor ran 260 [degrees] the whole time,” said Sauter, “So I'm just glad it didn't
blow up because I thought for sure it was going to blow up.”
As Johnny Sauter worked his way in to the top five, the youngest Sauter made some
moves of his own. Travis, who started eighth, worked his way in to the top five by lap
45. He would move up in to fourth and close ground on third place Andrew Morrissey,
but was unable to make the pass in the closing laps.
“We burned our stuff out just getting though lap traffic,” said Sauter, “I got up to Morrissey and was just too loose to do anything with him at the end there, maybe if we didn't have to race the lap cars so hard I coulda got a few more.”
Just in front of Morrissey, Steve Carlson began to run down Reuvers, who had led the entire race. Carlson's #66 took over second position by lap 67, and inched closer and closer to the leader as the laps ticked by.
The caution flag flew with just six laps to go, tightening up the field and putting a hard charging Carlson on the bumper of the #41 Toyota. With three laps to go, Carlson made his move, looking to the inside of Reuvers coming off of turn number four.
“Donny bobbled in turn four and kind of got up out of the groove a little bit,” said Carlson, “ So I stuck my nose in there and I was up to his left rear tire, but we kind of got squeezed down a little bit on the front straightaway and I had to back out.”
For the ASA Midwest Tour, this Sunday at Dells Raceway Park (WI) may have seemed a little like déjà vu. For the second straight race, ASAMT track records fell and a driver withstood a late race restart to lead all 100 laps, this time though, for his first win. But even with that excitement, it was hard to ignore the Sauter family presence. Both Johnny Sauter and his brother Tim joined ASAMT regular Travis Sauter for the Miller Lite 100 presented by Arby's Restaurants.
It appeared as though a Sauter would likely be the one to beat as they all dominated the early practice session. Johnny Sauter topped the charts with nephew Travis right behind him and brother Tim sitting eighth.
In the second practice, it was Dan Fredrickson
who jumped to the top and then put down a qualifying lap that wowed the competition. “We were watching time trials and some of the guys were ripping off some laps,” said Steve Carlson, “We didn't know if we were fast enough.”
Carlson was fast enough as he qualified seventh, but it was Fredrickson's fast time of 13.234 seconds that set a new ASA Midwest Tour track record. Travis Sauter qualified 4th, while Johnny Sauter just edged his way in on time, qualifying 15th. Tim Sauter failed to qualify in on time, but won his qualifying race to advance to the feature.
“We started really good right off the truck,” said Johnny Sauter, “As the day went on our front spring started going out, so we ended up putting bump stops on the front. I didn't know what it was going to do for the feature, because I didn't run it in the heat race like that. We just thought we'd shoot for it.”
It was a move that Reuvers saw coming.
“I was kind of anticipating him, so I tried to stay as low as I could to make him go to the outside of me, and he still was persistent on trying to go down there” commented Reuvers, “I bobbled a little bit in the corner, probably from watching him too much, if I would have just paid attention to what I was going and did I needed to do, I probably wouldn't even have had the problem with it, but that's hard to do when you have people like him in your mirror, you always got to know what they're doing.”
Carlson fell back in to second and Reuvers won his first ever ASAMT race.
Said Reuvers, “It's awesome, it really means a lot, especially at the Dells with the competition level that was here. Fortunately we had a pretty good starting spot, so definitely helped. There was a lot of other fast cars out there and I'm just glad we're the one here [in victory lane].”
Travis Sauter came home fourth with Johnny right behind him, while Tim finished 16th. While both Travis and Johnny felt they could have contended for a win had they had better starting positions, having the family there makes days like Sunday even better.
“That's what it's all about,” said Johnny, “Not only is it fun for me, it's fun for my family, that's why we're here.” Said Travis, “It's cool. I don't think about it when I'm racing, it's just another car, but having our whole family here it's pretty cool and to out run them is even better.”
With his part-time Sprint Cup schedule Johnny Sauter hopes to run his late model in more races.
“It's fun, it's pretty much the reason we built this car, just to have fun,” said Sauter, “It worked out pretty good this year, I have a lot of free time. I want to run more. The car is in one piece, I just have take the motor out and get it fixed. We will probably go to Iowa, so I'm looking forward to that.”
Next up for the ASAMT is the 36th Annual Keith Fleck Memorial at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Donny Reuvers in victory lane.