MWS: LaCrosse II: Season finale race notes

Brian Hoppe Wins NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series, Oktoberfest 250, While Justin Diercks Claims The Championship West Salem, Wisconsin (October 10, 2004) - Brian Hoppe, of Madison, Wisconsin, won the NASCAR AutoZone Elite ...

Brian Hoppe Wins NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series, Oktoberfest 250, While Justin Diercks Claims The Championship

West Salem, Wisconsin (October 10, 2004) - Brian Hoppe, of Madison, Wisconsin, won the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series, Oktoberfest 250, Sunday afternoon at LaCrosse (Wis) Fairgrounds Speedway.

Hoppe dominated the race for his second victory of the season, leading 184 of the 250 laps that made up the Midwest Series finale. However, Hoppe was the last of the leaders to pit and needed a late race caution to secure the win.

Hoppe took the lead on lap five and pulled away from the rest of the field. All the leaders, except Hoppe and Eddie Hoffman, of Wheaton, Illinois, pitted during one of the first two caution periods.

"We were fortunate to get that caution when Jeff Way ran out of gas, because it looked liked we weren't going to get one," said Hoppe. "We needed that because we were going backwards pretty fast."

Hoppe's pit strategy was to pit late and it paid off as, with fresh tires, he blasted through the field to take the impressive win.

Steve Carlson, of West Salem, Wisconsin, took second away from Beach Park, Illinois driver, Erik Darnell, on the final circuit. Tim Schendel, of Sparta, Wisconsin and Eric Fransen, of West Bend, Wisconsin, rounded out the top five.

Justin Diercks, of Davenport, Iowa, finished seventh in the 250-lap race and claimed his first career NASCAR Midwest Series championship, but it didn't come easy.

Diercks broke a right front wheel early in the race and lost a lap to the leaders while pitting under green. Diercks was then involved in two on track incidents, the second coming while circling the speedway under caution.

"There was a time during that race where I thought I wouldn't be standing here as a champion," said Diercks. "After that second caution, I told myself to settle down and just ride around in the back and stay out of trouble."

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Tim Schendel , Erik Darnell , Justin Diercks , Steve Carlson