The lyrics to a famous song states that two out of three ain’t bad. For second generation driver Skylar Holzhausen, he may eagerly concur. Despite his young age, he might not even have ever heard the song before. Yet he fully followed through on the idea, by capturing two of the three segments in the inaugural John McKarns Memorial 63 during the Oktoberfest Race Weekend at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway.
The unique invitation only race for the Big 8 Series Late Models was divided into three 21 lap segments similar to the Dick Trickle 99 for the Super Late Models. The event is in honor of the late John McKarns who promoted the Big 8 Series as well as the famous cars and stars of the ARTGO Challenge Series.
Holzhausen started on the pole for the first segment and jumped out to the early lead. He would lead all twenty one laps of the segment, cruising to a win by almost ten car lengths.
Kyle Shear, whose uncle Joe Shear is the all time winningest driver in Oktoberfest history, worked his way up to second by the end of the segment. Brad Powell, Zack Riddle, and Jeremy Miller rounded out the top five.
The entire field of lead lap cars was inverted for the second segment, forcing the top five to start near the rear. Kyle Shear fared the best of the top five from the first segment, methodically working through traffic to end the segment in fourth place.
There is a unique scoring format for the event in which the higher you finish, the lower the points you received. First place scored one point, second place two and so on through the field. This left Shear up near the top to start the third segment.
Holzhausen struggled during the second segment, but perhaps that was a blessing in disguise as he was able to start from the outside of the front row for the final segment.
Holzhausen almost threw away the opportunity at the start of the third segment when he got caught on the high side and dropped back to fourth place early on. However, Holzhausen’s car was definitely strong, as he quickly recovered and made his way towards the front.
Holzhausen now used the high side to his advantage and worked his way up to the lead by lap 13. Once he got out front, he stretched his lead to half a straightaway until taking the checkers first.
Shear wasn’t able to move up as quickly and was mired further back in the pack. By the time the checkers flew, Holzhausen’s second segment win was more than enough to take the overall victory in this historic event.
Shear held on for second place overall with Zack Riddle finishing in third.
Holzhausen knew the significance of such a historic victory.
“I didn’t think the car was going to be that good,” said Holzhausen. “All of a sudden it comes alive and got it going good. I was pretty tired after that last segment. It got pretty hot. We had some practice for this running the Trickle 99 race. There’s nothing better than that to win here.”
Shear was content with his second place finish.
“That last segment I was hanging on for dear life,” said Shear. “I was in a four wheel drift all the way around the corner and getting back on the gas the back end would kick out. I was hoping it would be enough but unfortunately it wasn’t. I can’t complain, I had a good run. Congrats to Skylar Holzhausen. I know he’s done a lot of laps today and he’s pretty worn out, but it’s still a cool deal.”
JMck 63 Memorial Race Miller Lite 63 Feature (25 cars) — 1, Skylar Holzhausen, Bangor; 2, Kyle Shear, Roscoe, Ill.; 3, Zach Riddle, Brooklyn; 4, Brad Powell, La Crosse; 5, Dale Nottestad, Cambridge; 6, Jeremy Miller, Rockton, Ill.; 7, Dan Lensing, Poplar Grove, Ill.; 8, Ryan Carlson, Loves Park, Ill.; 9, Jason Schuler; 10, Jon Reynolds, Rockford, Ill.; 11, Bobby Wilberg, Beloit; 12, Davey Pennel, Sparta; 13, Tanner Whitten, Carlock; 14, Jason Hicks, Elkhorn; 15, Bill Niles; Holmen; 16, James Swan, park Ridge, Ill.; 17, Brent Kirchner, La Crosse; 18, Wayne Freimund, Elkmound, Minn.; 19, Mike Ehde, Prairie du Chien; 20, Jacob Vanoskey, Hartford; 21, Bo Bernish, Wausau; 22, Shawn Pfaff, Sparta; 23, John Lemke, Shakopee, Minn.; 24, Tim Sargent, South Beloit, Ill.; 25, Derek Childs, Poynette.