MWS: LaCrosse Oktoberfest preview

Steve Holzhausen will try again to grab elusive Re/Max Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring Oktoberfest win. DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (October 1, 2002)--Steve Holzhausen is a legend on the Wisconsin racing scene, especially at his home track, LaCrosse ...

Steve Holzhausen will try again to grab elusive Re/Max Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring Oktoberfest win.

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (October 1, 2002)--Steve Holzhausen is a legend on the Wisconsin racing scene, especially at his home track, LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway. He's notched hundreds of wins in weekly late model racing, he has three LaCrosse championships to his name as well as nine RE/MAX Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring triumphs. Yet for nearly 30 years there has been an empty spot on the Holzhausen family mantel. That vacancy can be filled this weekend with a win in the Oktoberfest 250 presented by All-Tel.

"I guess I'm not supposed to win this race," said a dejected Holzhausen after finishing third in the 2001 Oktoberfest race.

Since he started racing in 1973, Holzhausen has been trying to win Oktoberfest, the event that brings down the curtain to racing in western Wisconsin.

"I'm sure not going to quit trying," said Holzhausen. "I may be 75 years old, but I'm not going to quit."

The RE/MAX Challenge Series cars will headline four days of non-stop racing on the .545-mile LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway oval. Twenty-eight competitors will take the green flag in the Oktoberfest 250 presented by All-Tel, Sunday afternoon, October 6 at 1:00 p.m. (CT). Practice and qualifying is slated for Saturday afternoon, October 5 with a 25-lap last chance race set for Saturday evening.

"I don't know why this race is so special for me to win, it just is," said Holzhausen. "I don't know if it's because it's in my back yard or if it's because I haven't won it or if it's because it's just 'Fest."

Holzhausen has been close before. He was the Bud Pole fast qualifier and led 48 circuits before a late race caution set up a 10-lap sprint to the checkers that cost him the win. Then there was the time in the early 80's when Rich Bickle beat him to the stripe by six inches.

"I've won other races at Oktoberfest, just not the big one," said Holzhausen. "I said if I ever won it I'd retire. I don't think that would really happen though. I'd probably go on a three or four day bender and then things would get back to normal."

Normal except Holzhausen would have the prized Oktoberfest trophy on his mantle.

The RE/MAX Challenge Series is one of eight NASCAR Touring Series that blanket the United States. NASCAR Touring Series are extremely popular with fans and competitors. They can provide a competitor with an entire career, or they can provide valuable experience to competitors moving through the NASCAR ranks. Corporate sponsors make significant contributions to NASCAR Touring Series point funds. These sponsors include Anheuser-Busch, Featherlite, Goody's Headache Powders, Hills Bros Coffee, Raybestos Brakes, RE/MAX International, Inc., and RJ Reynolds brand, Winston.

Oktoberfest 250 presented by All-Tel
RE/MAX Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring, Race #13 of 14

SCHEDULE:

Saturday, October 5 (All Times Central)
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: Practice
3:30 p.m.: Qualifying (2 Laps)
6:30 p.m.: 25-lap Qualifying Race

Sunday, October 6
1:00 p.m.: Oktoberfest 250 presented by All-Tel

Notes Of Interest

* The RE/MAX Challenge Series has visited LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway on 30 previous occasions; the last six of which have been sanctioned by NASCAR. Tom Reffner won the series' first visit to the speedway on July 4, 1979.

* The RE/MAX Challenge Series evolved from the ARTGO Challenge Series and, in 2002, is celebrating its 28th consecutive season of competition. The series joined the NASCAR Touring family in 1998.

* Defending Event Champion: Eddie Hoffman. Defending Event Bud Pole Winner: Steve Holzhausen. In this event last year, Pete Moore led the first 40 laps before giving way to Dan Fredrickson. Fredrickson led 100 laps and appeared to have his first career win under wraps until he had to pit under green for fuel. That gave the lead to Steve Holzhausen. He led for 48 circuits and appeared to be on his way to victory until a late race caution sent the leaders down pit road for fuel and tires. Eddie Hoffman beat everyone off pit road and ultimately to the checkers. Steve Carlson passed Holzhause with two laps to go to grab second while Holzhausen was forced to settle for third. With the second place run, Carlson all but secured his seventh series title, a crown he would officially lay claim to at the series final event.

* In the most recently completed event, September 29 at Elko Speedway in Elko, Minnesota, Steve Carlson got back to his winning ways after three months away from victory lane. Carlson inherited the lead with just a handful of laps remaining when he and leader Jon Lemke made contact, sending Lemke around. The race was called 17 laps short of the scheduled 300 circuits due to rain. Bud Pole fast qualifier Ron Breese, Jr settled for runner-up honors while Lemke recovered to finish third.

* Steve Carlson is the defending RE/MAX Challenge Series Champion.

* 1) Busch Series, Grand National Division driver Johnny Sauter returns to his roots and will compete in the Oktoberfest 250 presented by All-Tel. Sauter will be behind the wheel of a Richie Wauters prepared Ford----2) Steve Holzhausen, a veteran LaCrosse area racer will be looking to make his first series start of the year. Holzhausen has nine career RE/MAX Challenge Series wins----3) For the fourth year in a row, Steve Carlson has captured the year-long Gatorade Front Runner award. Drivers earn points throughout the year for leading laps as well as leading the most laps----4) Just two races remain on the 2002 RCS schedule----5) Steve Carlson is in search of his eighth RCS season-long point championship. If accomplished, that would move him ahead of Dick Trickle on the series all-time championship win list----6) With his win last week, Carlson moved into sole possession of second place on the series all-time win list, ahead of the late Joe Shear, and nine behind Trickle----7) White Bear Lake, Minnesota's Josh Vadnais has been the top finishing rookie in seven of the previous 12 races. With two races remaining on the schedule, Vadnais has already locked up 2002 RE/MAX Challenge Series Rookie of the Year honors----8) With 59 career series wins and LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway being his home track, Steve Carlson has surely dominated Oktoberfest, right? Wrong, Carlson has just one win in the October classic (2000) and that came after 20 years of trying.

* The series one-lap qualifying record at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway was set by Steve Holzhausen on October 8, 1995 at 18.903 sec. (103.983 mph). The series has not contested a 250-lap feature at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Rich Bickle , Dick Trickle , Johnny Sauter , Steve Carlson