When you think of Raceway Park in Shakopee, MN it's easy for the name Donny Reuvers to come to mind. He's won four season championships, including three straight events from 2005-2007. While Reuvers seemed to “own” Raceway Park every Sunday, last off season he made it official when he purchased the track and became the new owner.
When Reuvers finalized the 2009 schedule, there's no doubt he took out a big red marker and circled August 16th, the day the ASA Midwest Tour comes to town. Reuvers, who finished second in points in the ASAMT last year, went to the first four races, but with a full plate back in Shakopee, decided not to run the full Tour schedule again this year.
So as the ASAMT descended on his territory Sunday afternoon, last year's race winner once again hoped to find victory lane, this time, at the track he calls his own.
“It would definitely mean a lot to win this race,” said Reuvers, “It's hard not to run the full ASA schedule and to repeat here would be special.”
It was another local river though, Ryan Johnson, who stole the show early in the day when he went out and set fast time in qualifying. Mark Kraus laid down the second fastest lap with current Raceway Park points leader, Adam Royle third, Chris Wimmer fourth, Jamie Farrell fifth and Reuvers sixth.
The invert started another Shakopee regular, Bryan Roach, on the pole, with Tim Schendel to his outside. Roach grabbed the early lead, but as he tried to put distance between himself and the rest of the field, the caution flew just seven laps in to the race. Fast qualifier, Johnson, was stopped on the track with mechanical problem and would not finish the race.
As Roach lined up for the re-start he had a mirror full of Steve Carlson and Reuvers sitting back in the fourth position. Reuvers wasted no time making his move. He took the road less traveled, went to the high side and went from fourth to first in one lap to take the lead.
“The car was really good tonight,” said Reuvers, “It was really good on the outside, I actually think it might have been better in second groove than in first groove.”
Behind him, Carlson worked his way in to the second position, while Wimmer followed the move of Reuvers are used the high side to negotiate his way in to the third spot.
“At the beginning of the race it seemed like you could go to the outside,” said Wimmer, “Towards the end of the race everyone really just seemed to even out so I tried to pass on the outside and pass early to get some track position.”
A few cautions here and there, but the front three stayed put through the competition caution with 25 laps to go. Carlson was able to get inside Reuvers one time when the pair ran in to lap traffic, but ultimately it was the Shakopee owner who held the top spot. “There's no one else you'd rather have in your mirror than Steve Carlson,” said Reuvers, “He's so good, especially around tight, quarter-mile tracks. I knew it'd be tough to stay in front of him, but it all worked out.”
“I thought I might have something for him for a little while,” says Carlson, “But on the long run he pulled away by a few car lengths. “It's really hard to beat Donny Reuvers at his home track. He had a really good car. He knows this track so well and I only come here once a year.
With laps winding down and the front three still holding their spot, the racing behind them began to heat up. With just over 20 laps to go Roach, Schendel, and Jacob Goeded, running fourth, fifth, and sixth made contact coming out of turn two. All three cars were sent to the back moving Jeff Storm in to the fourth spot and Ferrell in to fifth.
Reuvers had no problem on the re-start and held on for the final laps to check the checkered flag at his own track. “
It's just great to be back in the car and racing with the ASA Midwest Tour,” said Reuvers, “Especially with all my family out here and all three of my kids here tonight, it's pretty cool and very exciting.”
Carlson and Wimmer held strong in the spots they'd occupied most of the day to earn podium finishes.
“I'll take second,” said Carlson, “I started out the year and I was only gonna run part-time, but I'm up in the points, so I'm going to finish out the season and a second place feels good.”
“It's my second straight third place finish in the ASAMT,” said Wimmer, “And it's exciting. Anytime you can finish in the top-five you've had a good day, especially at a short track like Shakopee, so to come home with two straight top-three's is awesome.”
Storm kept his fourth spot and Ferrell his fifth. Current ASA Midwest Tour point leader Nathan Haseleu came home seventh.
Next up for the ASAMT is a trip to Norway Speedway Sunday, September 6th.