WHO WILL TAKE THE “ULTIMATE CHALLENGE” THIS WEEKEND AT FEST
ASAMT Staff Writer handicaps who may or may not take the challenge.
By: Kevin Ramsell
BURLINGTON, WI (September 29, 2008) – The final event of the 2008 season for the American Speed Association Kwik Trip Midwest Tour presented by ECHO Outdoor Power Equipment will take place this Sunday with the Oktoberfest 100 at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway. Along with the unique format that will be used to set the lineup for the feature event. One or maybe two drivers will be offered to take the “Ultimate Challenge.”
On Sunday, the top six finishers (top three or top two from each, depending on the number of Saturday events) in the qualifying features from Saturday night will compete in a six-for-six dash. While this race will determine the starting lineup for the first three rows with the winner of this race getting an opportunity to take the “Ultimate Challenge” of starting at the rear of the field and if they win, collect an extra $5,000 bonus. If the winner declines the second-place finisher will get that opportunity.
The “Ultimate Challenge” is an idea that John McKarns is bringing back to the 39th Annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend after doing this for many years in the famous ARTGO Series.
McKarns noted that in the three years that ARTGO featured the “Ultimate Challenge” at its event, it was won five times. Those winners include: Butch Miller, Joe Shear, Tony Strupp, Steve Carlson and Tom Carlson. Miller’s win at Toledo in 1992 was the biggest as he collected $11,690 after taking the lead 78 laps into that event. A week later, Tom Carlson accepted the Challenge at Oktoberfest and was the winner after taking the lead on lap 62. Carlson’s last to first win at Fest was one of three to have taken place at the historic event. In 1971, Dick Trickle started 31st in a 33-car field and was the winner, lapping all but two other cars after 200 laps. And in 2002, Brian Hoppe, due to a NASCAR penalty, started last and won. All of these won without the benefit of a “Shoot-Out” caution. So it is possible for someone to accomplish this goal on Sunday.
But the question is…who is likely to take or not take the challenge? Here is my predictions (and please note that this is the writer’s predictions not the series. This is just for fun and hope to create some fun discussions among the racing community).
DAN FREDRICKSON – He currently holds a 56-point lead over Danny Fredrickson going into the event on Sunday. If he has that same lead or close to it, I could see him taking the challenge. Why? Because with that big of a point lead he would have to finish at least 20th or better to take the championship if Donny Reuvers would win the race. With a 30-car field he just has to pass at least ten cars to secure the championship then focus on winning the race.
DONNY REUVERS – This will be simple and short…NO. Reuvers will be competing in his second Oktoberfest and will be focused on doing everything he can to take the championship away from Fredrickson.
TIM SCHENDEL – Mathematically he is still eligible to win the championship but some major things need to happen to Fredrickson and Reuvers (like not show up) for Schendel to have a chance. But, he is 39 points ahead of Chris Wimmer in the point standings. Factor in that he has won at Fest in the past (2003 & 05), knows the track well, I would say, Tim give it a shot.
CHRIS WIMMER – Last year he was disappointed that he didn’t make the feature event at Oktoberfest. I think his main goal will be to make the show. Given that he is in a tight battle to be in the top-five in points, and the fact that he would like to get a win this season after having five top-five finishes this season, he will turn it down.
JAMIE IVERSON – He is looking for another strong finish in the ASAMT. Last year he finished fourth in points and is currently fifth going into Fest only 40 points behind Wimmer. Also remember, he finished sixth last year at Fest. My gut tells me that he would say no, but if Mrs. Iverson had a say in it, he may.
JONATHAN EILEN – Let’s see, he is 13 points out of fifth. Has had some past success at Oktoberfest in a Mid-American car. He finished 21st last year. I think he would want a Fest win more than the extra $5,000 and will say no.
ANDREW MORRISSEY – He will say no. Why? Cause he told me over a week ago. I have it on tape. Listen, he wants an ASAMT win, and he wants an Oktoberfest win. He finished third last year and he knows he can do it.
TRAVIS SAUTER – This will be an easy answer, and that would be yes. Why? It’s a simple answer, he is leading the Hard Charger points and this would be a great opportunity to secure that if he started from the rear and passed cars. Plus, the extra $5,000 would be something he wouldn’t mind having either.
NATHAN HASELEU – No he won’t take it. The defending champion has struggled in ASAMT competition this year and I know that he and his Swiss Colony team would like to end the season with a win and an Oktoberfest win.
BLAKE HORSTMAN – He is looking good for finishing in the top-ten this season and getting a Touring Star status next season. It’s a home race for Wehr’s Machine and Chad Wehrs like challenges. They would take the challenge.
JEREMY LEPAK – He had a good season driving for Jerry Gunderman and if the opportunity was there and the car was good…maybe. But, Lepak said it best over the weekend when he said that he would leave that up to Jerry to decide.
TODD KLEUVER – Todd is coming back home to compete in Oktoberfest and try to make his second ASAMT start after finishing sixth at The Milwaukee Mile in August. He really has nothing to lose if he did take the challenge. I could see him taking the challenge.
STEVE CARLSON – He is one of the five drivers to have taken the ARTGO Ultimate Challenge in the past. He knows how to get around La Crosse better than anyone else. Based on that he would take the challenge. But, he only has won Oktoberfest once in his career and that was in 2000. If he says no, it will be for a simple reason. He wants another Oktoberfest championship added to his impressive racing career.
STEVE HOLZHAUSEN – He is right with Steve Carlson as far as knowing his way around La Crosse. He won the Dick Trickle “99” last year and finished second in the ASAMT event. He finally got his big Fest win in 2006. If he has a strong car, and his owner Pete Kempf says so, watch him take it.
This is only a short list of drivers. Last year, there were 68 drivers attempting to make and win the event. We can predict all day and night, and our predictions will become reality this weekend. Plan on being there to see it in person.
For more information on the 39th Annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend, please visit their new dedicated website at www.oktoberfestraceweekend.com.
To learn more about the American Speed Association Kwik Trip Midwest Tour presented by Echo Outdoor Power Equipment log on to www.asamidwesttour.com or call the ASA Midwest Tour office at (262) 514-3880 or e-mail Tim Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve Einhaus at email@example.com.
To learn more of the Daytona Beach, Florida-based Racing Speed Associates or the American Speed Association Racing Member Track program, call (386) 258-2221 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For news and information from all the racetracks and regional tours involved in the American Speed Association, visit www.asa-racing.com.
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