Elko, Minnesota (May 17, 2002) -- Kevin Cywinski made a triumphant return to the RE/MAX Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring, Friday night at Elko (MN) Speedway, winning the Windsor Windows 250. Cywinski, making his first series start since 1996, ...
Elko, Minnesota (May 17, 2002) -- Kevin Cywinski made a triumphant return to the RE/MAX Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring, Friday night at Elko (MN) Speedway, winning the Windsor Windows 250.
Cywinski, making his first series start since 1996, drove under the checkered flag .473 seconds ahead of defending series champion Steve Carlson. "This Country Joe Homes/Windsor Windows car was awesome," said Cywinski, the 1995 series champion. "We built it in about 3 weeks."
Eddie Hoffman and Pete Moore rounded out the top five with Paul Menard, Dan Fredrickson, rookie Josh Vadnais, Justin Diercks and Tim Schendel completing the top 10.
Cywinski led briefly in the early stages of the race, but quickly gave way to his hard charging teammate, Fredrickson. On lap 55, with a tight pack of cars running directly in front of the leaders, Ryan Hanson got turned around exiting turn four. The spin resulted in the events first caution. As the drivers in the tight pack directly behind the spin were checking up, Fredrickson drove into the rear of Larry Hunter's mount, damaging the front end of the leaders Liz Kapaun Realty Chevrolet.
Most of the leaders, including Cywinski, pitted during the first caution. When the green flag reappeared, Cywinski would line up third, behind Moore and Vadnais. With Fredrickson's crew, however, having to take extra time in the pits to repair the front end damage on the former leaders ride, Fredrickson restarted the race 11th and gave up any serious thoughts for victory.
On the restart, Moore led for 12 laps before giving way to Vadnais. The rookie, running at his hometown track, led the next 18 circuits. The laps led were the first for Vadnais in his young RE/MAX Challenge Series career.
From there, Cywinski's only serious challenge came from Carlson.
The field was put under caution for the third and final time on lap 201 when Les Ferris, in the Explore Minnesota Chevrolet, had his best career run go bad after suffering mechanical woes, forcing him hard into the turn three concrete.
On the ensuing lap 206 restart, Carlson got up next to Cywinski, but that was the best he could do.
"His car was just perfect tonight," said Carlson. "There was nothing I could do with him."
Brian Hoppe qualified an uncharacteristically poor 19th. He transferred to the Windsor Windows 250 by virtue of his triumph in the 30-lap last chance qualifying race. Hoppe moved up steadily in the main event to finish third.
"What more can you ask for?" said Hoppe. "We started 19th, and finished third with tires that had 30 more laps than everyone else."
Vadnais was the highest finishing rookie while Cywinski garnered Gatorade Front Runner honors by virtue of leading the most laps. Fredrickson topped Bud Pole qualifying with a lap of 13.894 for a speed of 97.164 mph.
With his fourth place finish, Hoffman opens up a 14 point advantage over Carlson, early on, in the season-long point championship.
The RE/MAX Challenge Series next travels to Dells Motor Speedway in Wisconsin Dells, Memorial Day, Monday May 27, for the running of the Summer Sizzler 200.