Hometown favorite Steve Carlson moved quickly through the field and left little doubt Saturday night, leading 81 laps and winning the first ever River Run 100 at the LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway. It was Carlson's second straight win with the ASA Late Model Series North Division at La Crosse, including his triumph last October in the season ending 100 lapper.
Minnesota's Trent Snyder led the field to the Green Flag, with Ross Kenseth along side on the front row. Snyder pounced to the early lead, with Kenseth falling into second. Iowa driver Griffin McGrath would challenge Kenseth for the runner up spot on the second lap, and get together with the Rookie of the Year contender on lap 4. Due to initiating the contact, McGrath was sent to the tail, while Kenseth got his spot back in the runner up position.
On the restart, Snyder would pull away from the pack again; with defending series champion Eddie Hoffman filling up the youngster Kenseth's mirror. The two would toil for second for five laps, before the ominous presence of Carlson's blue #66 filled both Hoffman and Kenseth's mirrors. Carlson would dispose of Hoffman on lap 10 and Kenseth on lap 13. It would take the Wisconsin racing veteran only six more laps to track down Snyder and take the lead.
After Carlson jumped to the front of the pack, he would sail away from the rest of the field. In the process, during a long, 84 lap green flag run, Carlson would lap all the way through the sixth spot. Carlson's quest was finally halted though on lap 88, when local hot shoe J Herbst would spin in turn 3 and bring out the third yellow of the race.
The yellow period would put Kenseth on Carlson's bumper, but Kenseth would spin his tires on the start, and Carlson would pull away. Series point's leader Chris Eggleston would seize the opportunity to battle with Kenseth for second. But as that battle heated up, the final yellow of the race flew on lap 94 for Jordan Sims, who backed his back hard into the turn 4 wall.
The final restart would see much of the same, with Carlson cruising away from the field, and Kenseth holding off Eggleston for the runner up spot. Snyder would finish fourth, his best showing since a third place run in the ASALMS North opener in Toledo, with Hoffman scoring a fifth place finish.
Carlson said in victory lane, "We've only raced this car about 15 times and its won every race but two. It's the most awesome car I've ever driven. I got an awesome crew; they work on the car so hard. It's REALLY a good car."
But even with a knowledge of the track and the superior car, Carlson confessed that the ride was by no means perfect around the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway. "The car was sliding around some, but you just gotta hang onto it and don't hurt anything, the tires and things like that,' the winner stated and also added, "It was a fun night, the car was good and it's fun to win here at home in front of all these fans."
Kenseth was asked if it's at all a disappointment to finish second to Carlson at LaCrosse.
"Not really,' stated the 16 year old, 'I mean, his car was awesome and he's obviously a great driver and has been racing here for a long time...we're happy with second place."
The third-generation racer from Spring Valley, Illinois has had quite a few great runs at La Crosse early in his career, setting fast time two years ago and winning last year's Oktoberfest feature, both with the Big 8 Series Late Model Series, where Kenseth was Rookie of the Year last year. When asked what he loves about the track Kenseth stated, 'The track is a track you can pass on, which is really cool. And (my crew) has just given me such a great car each time out it just makes it real easy for me."
RIVER RUN 100
LACROSSE FAIRGROUNDS SPEEDWAY
Position Number Driver Laps Completed
1. #66 Steve Carlson (100)
2. #25 Ross Kenseth (100)
3. #22 Chris Eggleston (100)
4. #88 Trent Snyder (100)
5. #8 Eddie Hoffman (100)
6. #29 Joey King (100)
7. #61 Ross Zumbach (100)
8. #0 Josh Nelms (99)
9. #82 J Herbst (99)
10. #90 Becca Kasten (99)
11. #34 Troy Hintzche (99)
12. #64 Griffin McGrath (98)
13. #31 Brent Brevak (97)
14. #63 Brad Plunkett (96)
15. #99 Jordan Sims (92)
16. #58 Matt Minnifield (3)
Leaders: #88 Snyder (Pole-18), #66 Carlson (19-100)
Yellows: 4 (L4, L4, L88, L94)
Fast Timer: #22 Chris Eggleston 19.159 (NTR)