It seemed like same song and second….actually more like third…verse Sunday night at Norway Speedway in Michigan. For the third straight year, local favorite Jamie Iverson found himself with a front row starting position and for the third straight year he took is #97I Chevy to victory lane.
“It seems a little crazy,” said Iverson, “But to win here is just awesome.”
Earlier in the day, it was Steve Carlson who blew away the competition in qualifying with a blistering lap. Chris Wimmer followed behind in second with Andrew Morissey third. When it came time to set the invert, Carlson rolled a four on the die, making the invert twelve, and putting Iverson on the front row for the third year in a row.
“He's definitely not a guy you want to put on the front row here,” said Carlson, “He's pretty good here and that's not going to help me or anyone else.”
And Calrson was right. Iverson wasted no time moving from his outside front row starting position in to the lead. While the Norway favorite kept his Chevy up front through a few early cautions, a few cars battled for position behind him.
Rookie Blake Brown negotiated his way from his sixth starting position to grab the second spot by lap two and another Norway area favorite, Kris Kelly held strong in third. Jonathan Eilen, who started 10th, moved his way in to third by lap 31, while back in the pack fast qualifier Carlson wasn't able to make up much ground, as he, Nathan Haseleu, Tim Schendel and Wimmer ran nose to tail for some of the last spots in the topten.
The caution flag flew quite a few times at Norway Speedway Sunday, but none had a huge impact until there were 12 laps to go. Brown and Kelly, who had been battling for the second position, made contact going in to turn three and ended up in the dirt on the outside of the track. That sent both cars to the back of the field and moved Eilen in to the second position, Nick Neville in to third, Haseleu in to fourth and Schendel in to fifth.
Iverson held off Eilen on the re-start, but one lap before the white flag was about to fly, the caution came out again and your leader, Iverson, was spinning on the front stretch to avoid another car who spun to bring out the caution.
“It was a little strange,” said Iverson, “Coming down the backstretch the lap before they said the caution was out, but the green was still on so I kept going, then I come around and there's a wreck and I got spun, but I got my spot back so it's ok. I just wanted to get a good start then and if I did that I thought I'd be able to hold him off for two laps.”
“I figured since he started up front he was kind of saving his tires and what not,” said Eilen, “I thought I might be able to get to him, but if I got around him there'd be some angry fans.”
Eilen didn't need to worry about any boos, as Iverson took the green with two laps to go he put a few car lengths between himself and the #77 and held on for his third straight ASAMT victory at Norway Speedway.
“I don't think it was quite as exciting as last year,” said Iverson, “I just had to hold someone off not try to get around them at the end, but it's always great to come and win at my home track in front of friends and family, it's pretty awesome to get a win.”
For Eilen, who has had some struggles on the Tour the last few weeks, this podium finish felt like a long time coming.
“The car was just really good,” said Eilen, “It could go on the bottom, it could go on the top, just a good night and something we really needed. The last few races have been a struggle and this just feels really good, especially right at the end of the season, hopefully we can keep this momentum up.”
And Rookie of the Year contender, Neville finished third and was all smiles after his best finish of the year.
“That checkered flag seemed like it was 1,000 laps away, it just kept lingering on, “ said Neville, “But if feels awesome and hopefully we can pull off a few more before the end of the year.”
Haseleu came home fourth and now holds a 61 point lead over Steve Calrson in the ASAMT point standings. Wimmer is third 137 points back.
The ASAMT takes a few weekends off them heads back to Elko Speedway for the third and final race in the three race “Race for the Gold”, where the winner takes home $4,000.