JUSTIN DIERCKS WINS RACEWAY PARK 150 SHAKOPEE, Minn. (July 15, 2005) -- Justin Diercks, the defending NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series champion from Davenport, Iowa, won Friday night's Raceway Park 150 held at Raceway Park ...
JUSTIN DIERCKS WINS RACEWAY PARK 150
SHAKOPEE, Minn. (July 15, 2005) -- Justin Diercks, the defending NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series champion from Davenport, Iowa, won Friday night's Raceway Park 150 held at Raceway Park in Shakopee, Minn. It was Diercks' second win of the season and 10th of his Midwest Series career. Steve Carlson finished second, followed by Dan Frederickson, Brent Kirchner and Eddie Hoffman in fifth place.
The key to Diercks' victory turned out to be his ability to power ahead of the competition during restarts, as a string of late caution periods tested the field in the closing laps.
"It took about two or three laps for my car to really get going," said Diercks. "After that, I just had to make sure I was easy in the corners and get the car turned, and then pickup the throttle as soon as I could."
Over the final 28 laps, the field was restarted four times due to various incidents. Each time, Diercks' rearview mirror was filled with an intimidating sight -- Carlson's black No. 66 Chevrolet. Carlson, a nine-time Midwest Series champion, finished second to Diercks in the 2004 championship chase and has been playing catch-up to his younger rival ever since.
Diercks' crew chief, Nick Carlson, admitted they had setup the car to handle better on long green-flag periods, but Diercks was able to keep the car in front for short bursts of speed.
"When I got into my rhythm I could pull away from Steve," said Diercks. "When I got into driving too aggressive and driving into [to the corners] too deep, I couldn't leave him. So I had to really concentrate."
The race was extended to 152 laps following a final caution period from lap 147-150, and Diercks was once again faced with the challenge of pulling away from Carlson in a two-lap dash to the finish.
"On that last restart, I got a got a good start into the corner and turned into the car as fast as I could," said Diercks. "As soon as I got that car to turn I just took off."
Diercks has also taken off in the season-long championship race. Diercks has won the first two stand-alone Midwest Series events, at Rockford (Ill.) Speedway in April and Raceway Park Friday. In addition, Diercks was credited with a victory and the full 180 championship points that come with it, as the highest-finishing Midwest Series driver in the Midwest Series-Southwest Series combination race June 4 at Colorado National Speedway near Denver. As a result, Diercks has a perfect record of three wins and 540 points in the first three races of the year. Eddie Hoffman is ranked second with 490 points, followed by Carlson with 481 points.
The Midwest Series will once again be combined with the Southwest Series, July 23 at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo. Following the Pikes Peak event, the series travels to Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Speedway July 31.