Steve Carlson wins Re/Max Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring, Al Schill, Jr Memorial 150 at Lake Geneva Raceway. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (July 29, 2002)--Steve Carlson won the RE/MAX Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring Al Schill, Jr Memorial 150, ...
Steve Carlson wins Re/Max Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring, Al Schill, Jr Memorial 150 at Lake Geneva Raceway.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (July 29, 2002)--Steve Carlson won the RE/MAX Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring Al Schill, Jr Memorial 150, Saturday night at the Lake Geneva (Wis) Raceway. The victory was Carlson's third series win in a row.
Carlson led the final 50 circuits and beat Al Schill, Sr to the stripe by 1.273 seconds. Brian Hoppe, Ron Breese, Jr and Jeremy Lepak rounded out the top five.
"For the longest time I thought Al was holding something back," said Carlson. "But then I saw him getting a little loose and I was able to put the move on him."
Schill was the leader before Carlson made the winning pass. Prior to the final pass for the lead, 11 other lead changes took place.
"It got loose then it got a little tight. Typical racer's excuse," said Schill with a grin. "I just need to thank Gerry Gundermann. We put this deal together, to run his car, about 10 days ago. This is just awesome."
Schill led the first three laps from his front row starting spot before giving way to the hard charging Lepak. The RE/MAX Challenge Series start for Lepak was the first of his career.
Lepak and Schill swapped the lead virtually every three to four laps. At times the pair crossed the stripe in a dead heat.
While Lepak and Schill were busy thrilling the near capacity Lake Geneva Raceway crowd, Carlson, Hoppe and Breese were on a mission to get to the front. Early on Breese appeared to have the fastest machine, quickly reeling in the lead pack.
Carlson had briefly disposed of Lepak by lap 30 and was looking for a way to get around leader Schill. Carlson tried the high side for several laps, but with Schill holding strong, Carlson elected to duck in behind the veteran and wait for another chance. With the high lane then open Lepak made a daring move around both Carlson and Schill and found himself once again in the lead.
Schill once again got under Lepak for the lead on lap 78, this time bringing Carlson with him.
Carlson and Schill then continued their war for the top spot. Carlson snuck by Schill on lap 95 but Schill took it right back, pinning Carlson behind the lapped car of Dave Finney.
Once Carlson took the lead, attention focused to the torrid battle for the third spot between Lepak and Hoppe. The pair raced side-by-side, Hoppe on the bottom, Lepak on the top for over 20 laps. Hoppe finally muscled his way past on lap 120.
"He gave us the inside line, we just didn't have any bite off the corner," said Hoppe. "He wore his stuff out and we finally got by."
Breese was able to get past Lepak late in the going, using the lapped car of Josh Vadnais as a pick and netting him the fourth spot.
Just one caution flag slowed the 150-lap event. Mark Voight and Tim Bell made contact directly in front of the leaders on lap 38. The contact between the pair left Bell turned backwards off of turn two, unable to refire his mount before a caution flew.
On his way to the triumph, Carlson established a new 150-lap race speed at 63.811 mph.
Erik Darnell was the highest finishing rookie, placing ninth in the final run down. Justin Diercks captured his first Bud Pole fast qualifier award of the season. Diercks was a contender early on in the event but was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop and lost several laps.
The race is run annually in honor of Al Schill, Jr, a promising young series competitor who lost his life in March of 1999, just one day after competing in that years opening event.
The RE/MAX Challenge Series next travels to the Dells Motor Speedway, Saturday night, July 13 for the running of the Welcome Back 200.