And that is what happened. Horstman drove his #175 Wehrs Chevy to a fifth place finish.
After qualifying though is when things went bad for Jonathan Eilen.
“Everything was going good,” says Eilen, “We qualified and then came in and there was oil everywhere. We broke the oil cooler, which put oil in to the water and it was just one thing after another.”
The team was minutes away from unloading their back up car, but that would have wiped out his ninth fast qualifying time and forced him to make the feature through the qualifying races.
“We had a back-up car out at one point,” says Eilen, “And just said we'll put thing together because we're already in the show and see what it does, hopefully it holds together.”
The Eilen and Sons crew went hard to work on his #77 Chevy and began the race with the back-up car tucked safely in the trailer. Because of the inverted start, Eilen began the Kwik Trip 100 on the outside of row one and jumped in front of pole sitter Adam Hensel right away. Eilen quickly gained nearly a full straightway advantage and by lap 23 began putting cars a lap down.
Says Eilen, “The car just had awesome bite coming out of the corner, it was just like a rocket set on rails.”
Lap 26 though is when the dark skies above opened up, sending the cars off the track and fans scrambling for cover.
After nearly an hour and a half rain delay, the race restarted with cars in the order in which they were racing. That means a handful of cars that were already down a lap still stood between Eilen and second place Adam Hensel and third place Jamie Iverson with 74 laps to go.
By lap 44, Iverson moved his way in to second place and began to hunt down the leader.
“There were a lot of lap cars,” says Iverson, “It seemed like there was lap cars between us all
the time so I just tried to get by the lap cars as quick as I can and never really got close enough.”
That was until a late caution with just five laps to go. The ASA Midwest officials lined up the
cars in their race order. That meant putting Iverson on the bumper of Eilen. “I just kept asking
the guys how many cars in between us” says Eilen, “Ya know lap cars, and they said he's
right on your bumper, then he goes I think you got him.”
A combination of Eilen's fast car and Iverson getting a little loose on the restart allowed the
Eilen and Sons #77 to lead every lap of the Kwik Trip 100 and pull his car in to victory lane
for the first time this year. Says Eilen, “To tell you the truth I think I looked in the mirror
once coming out of the corner to make sure I got a good restart and I don't think I looked
“I ran it in, did a little brake adjustment,” says Iverson, “I tried to put a little more rear brake in
and try and loosen the car up and then I came in and it got really loose on me and almost
spun out, so I figured then it was time to settle for second.”
For Eilen, last season's ASAMT rookie of the year, this turns around a start to the year that
included an 18th and 16th place finish so far, and hopefully give him some momentum.
"The first two races just didn't go so good for us,” says Eilen, “I had one thing after another.
But to come back and pretty much be running around in the back and now come out and win it,
hopefully we can carry this through the rest of the season and hopefully be a runner at the end of the year to contend for the championship.”
Next up for the ASA Midwest Tour is the Dells 100 Sunday June 1st and Dells Raceway Park in the Wisconsin Dells.
The excitement started when Matt Kocourek put down a qualifying lap of 13.775 seconds, knocking off the previous track record of 13.815 held by Dan Lensing. It looked as though the ASAMT rookie's quick time would stand the test of the day and it almost did. That's until Blake Horstman hit the track as the final car to qualify and ran a lap that bested them all. His time of 13.729 surprised even himself a little.
“It felt really good,” says Horstman, “I didn't expect my crew chief Chad to say 'hey you go fast time.'” I could barely understand him on the radio. I was like 'what?' And he was like 'you got fast time!'”
For Horstman, who hadn't raced at Jefferson in a few years, the key was just getting out there and logging laps.
“I got faster as the day went on, but I was never this fast all day,” says Horstman, “A lot of it is people just getting more seat time on this track. It's totally different than any other track I've ever ran. It's a very unique track. I like it, but I hope to do real good in the race tonight, that's what I got to do is bring it home in one piece, and get a top five, top 10 finish and hopefully that's what happens.”