On a chilly Western Wisconsin Saturday night, the stars of 'America's Premier Short Track Series' saved some of their best for last, contesting a thrilling curtain closer for the 2009 ASA Late Model Series North Division season. On this night the hometown ace, Steve Carlson, would make his usual move to the front. But also on this night, Carlson would be challenged hard by his own cars handling, as well as Minnesota's Jacob Goede and teenage hot shoe Ross Kenseth.
However, when the dust settled on the 'Oktoberfest 100,' again “The King” stood tall and claimed his 3rd ASALMS North Checkered Flag of the year.
Carlson started the evening strong, claiming the fastest lap in ARP Bodies Time Trials with a lap of 19.223. Carlson would draw a 'six' on the pill draw, inverting the first half-dozen cars for the 100 lap main event. This would mean the aforementioned Ross Kenseth would draw the pole and lead the 24 car field to the Green Flag.
Kenseth and front row mate Griffin McGrath would pace the field to the line for the start of the race, and immediately, the battle began. Kenseth and McGrath would battle side-by-side for the first few laps, with Kenseth squeaking ahead by lap 3 and running away from the pack early. McGrath would then fall into the clutches of Goede as the two would wage a battle for second. By lap nine, Goede had taken over the runner-up spot.
At this same time, Carlson began his early climb from sixth spot. By lap five, Carlson was into the Top 5. Next, Carlson would go after Series point's leader Chris Eggleston as well as McGrath. As the West Salem, Wisconsin veteran continued his journey through the field, Goede began to track down Kenseth for the top spot.
Goede cut Kenseth's lead to five car lengths by lap 16 and got underneath the two-time Series winner for the top spot on lap 22. After a furious side-by-side race, Goede would jump to the top spot, dumping Kenseth into the clutches of Carlson for second.
Carlson would claim the number two spot from Kenseth on lap 29, but would then find the sledding tougher tracking down the leader Goede. For the next 20-plus laps, Goede would slowly pull away from Carlson. The field would bunch up however, on lap 56, when defending Series Champion Eddie Hoffman would lose an engine, and spin in Turn One. As Hoffman sat helplessly in the middle of the track, La Crosse Speedway Track Champion J Herbst would run out of room on the speedway and collect Hoffman, also sending Becca Kasten up the track and into the wall. The incident would block the track and bring out the red flag. All drivers were ok.
When the race resumed, Carlson's sick car suddenly hulked up, and the savvy driver of the 66 would work Goede's bumper on lap 58. On lap 63, Carlson would complete the pass in Turn One and take the lead on lap 64. Two laps later, Iowa's Thor Anderson brought out the second caution of the race, spinning in Turn Two. This gave Goede another chance at Carlson, but it also gave Kenseth another shot at Goede for second.
After Goede scooted away from Kenseth on lap 72, he began to reel Carlson back in. On lap 78, the lead battle resumed, and would wage on the rest of the evening. Lap 88 would see the final caution flag of the night, and set up a shootout to the finish, and the top three would not disappoint. Carlson and Goede would go wheel-to-wheel to wheel over the final five laps, with Kenseth closing to their back bumpers at the finish. And the crowd stood and the checkered flag flew, Carlson would capture another win at his home track, beating out Goede by only a half-car length.
Carlson said of his tussle with Goede, “Jacob is a great driver. You know, he could have taken me out anytime there, and he didn't do it.' Carlson also stated that, despite the win, he had to work very hard to make the car work well down the stretch.
“I also told my crew, 'please don't ever make me work that hard again,' said Carlson with a grin, “because in the beginning, that car worked real good, but in the end, it was dying.”
Carlson continued, “On that red flag stop (on lap 56), we talked about pitting and fixing the car. And I said 'I don't wanna start that far back…lets just see if it comes to us.' And for that little bit of run there…it did come to us. But in the end…it wasn't very good.”
Goede reflected on his runner up and battle with Carlson by saying, “Yeah, that would of been huge to beat him (Carlson) at his home track. I gave it all we had, but catching' him and getting' around him were two different things here tonight. We'd like to of won, but we'll take second to Steve at this place.”
The 16 year old Kenseth made it a three way race in the end, but the way the Rookie of the Year runner up saw it…“We weren't catching them as much as they kind of fell to us. Steve and Jacob were the two best cars tonight. I just gotta thank all my guys for giving me a great car tonight and all year long.”
After Hoffman's lap 56 wreck, the 2009 ASA Late Model Series North Division Championship was decided, as Colorado's Chris Eggleston clinched the crown with his 4th place effort on the evening. Eggleston capped off a phenomenal year for he and the West Bend, Wisconsin based 5K Motorsports team.
Eggleston's stat line reads like that of a Champion…2 Wins, including his first ever at the George Appleton Memorial 125 at Grundy County (IL) Speedway in May, and at Dixie Motor Speedway (MI) in August. Also Nine Top 10's in Ten starts and also one fast time, that coming at La Crosse in June, where he set the track record at a 19.159.
66 Steve Carlson 100
72 Jacob Goede 100
25 Ross Kenseth 100
22 Chris Eggleston 100
71 Blake Brown 100
21 ISaak Owen 100
99 Jordon Sims 100
1 Russ Blakely 100
64 Griffith McGrath 100
4 Thor Anderson 99
0 Josh Nelms 99
29 - Joey KIng 99
31 Brent Brevak 98
35 - Joey Gase 98
81 Tanner Bohlen 97
125 Trent Snyder 95
63 Brad Plunkett 94
8 Eddie Hoffman 56
82 J Herbst 56
90 Rebecca Kasten 56
12 Jim Duchow 39
61 Bob Varney 32
025 Mark Kraus
2 Nick Lyons DNS