International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series Post Race Notes From Spring Sizzler 200 at Wisconsin Dells Motor Speedway Tim Sauter Returns Tim Sauter (Victor Ford Ford) made his return to the International Truck and Engine ...
International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series Post Race Notes From Spring Sizzler 200 at Wisconsin Dells Motor Speedway
Tim Sauter Returns
Tim Sauter (Victor Ford Ford) made his return to the International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series, Saturday night at his home track, Wisconsin Dells Motor Speedway. But the return did not come without a ton of effort on his part.
Sauter was at the Dells for the original race date, May 10. Rain postponed it to May 17. Sauter, however, was scheduled to compete in a Kodak Southeast Series race in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Friday, May 16. After rain washed out the Myrtle Beach event, Sauter high-tailed it to the Dells for the Midwest Series event.
To get to the Dells on time, Sauter had to leave Myrtle Beach at 4:30 a.m., fly to Charlotte and catch another flight to Milwaukee. From there a two-hour drive laid ahead of him.
Sauter received the biggest ovation from the partisan crowd in pre-race introductions. He led for 35 laps in the early going before a brush with a lapped car sent him spinning and relegated him to a 10th place finish.
"I think I could have won if I would have been able to race from the lead," said Sauter. "But when I had to run hard, my rear brakes were giving me problems. We'll fix it and maybe be back down the road."
New Point Man
For the first time since June of 2002, someone other than Steve Carlson (Lefthander Chassis Chevrolet) sits atop the Midwest Series point standings. After a disappointing ninth place run, Carlson slips to third in the championship chase behind Ron Breese, Jr (EWT, Inc. Chevrolet) and rookie Eric Fransen (Sonya's Rose Chevrolet).
Breese and Fransen are tied atop the standings, but Breese gets the nod as a result of the NASCAR tie breaker.
"I don't know if this is the point where we make our bid for a points championship or not, but I think we're one of the one's to beat," said Breese.
Asked if it were too early to be thinking about a possible championship, Breese simply said, "Negative."
"It's probably a curse to think about it (points) now," said Fransen. "I actually just try to race the race track, not use the car up and not crash."
Other Point News
Dells race winner Eddie Hoffman (Appleton Rack and Pinion Chevrolet) moved from 19th to sixth in the championship standings. After mechanical problems relegated him to a 19th place showing at the opener at Rockford Speedway, Hoffman scrapped the thought of racing for points.
"You're never gonna make up those points we lost at Rockford, so we're not points racing, we're just going for the wins," said Hoffman.
Brian Hoppe (Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Chevrolet), with a second place showing vaulted from 22nd in the standings to 10th.
Jon Lemke (K.C. Colors Chevrolet) saw his championship hopes take another major blow Saturday night, For the second week in a row, Lemke had problems and he is mired in 19th place in the current run down.
Fransen has been the top rookie in both 2003 races. But Jeremy Lepak (U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) is keeping the pressure on with a solid fourth place run on Saturday night.
"Last week we struggled when we came here," said Lepak. "But we took the car back to the shop and went through it and came back with a totally different set up and it worked."
Lepak was a top runner throughout the 200-lap feature.
"I really thought I was faster than Eric (Fransen) and Brian (Hoppe), but with Breese right on me, it made it hard for me to go up and run. I had to protect what I had and go home."
Josh Vadnais (Northern Racing Products Chevrolet) and Dave Finney (Fisher & Paykel Appliances Chevrolet) were involved in a hard crash late in the running of the Spring Sizzler 200.
Both teams will surely suffer a major set backs in their efforts as a result of the crash, but probably Finney more so than Vadnais. Both teams operate on very limited budgets.
Adding insult to injury for Finney is the fact that the International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series is scheduled to travel next to his home track, Grundy County Speedway in Morris, Illinois, a track where he has finished as high as second in their year-long points battle.
It is yet to be seen whether Finney and company will answer the bell on Sunday at Grundy.
Add Water and It'll Grow
After the one-week postponement because of rain, many were pleasantly surprised to find that the number if Midwest Series entrants grew.
All 28 cars that were in attendance on May 10 came back on Saturday, plus Chad Barker (Wynn's Chevrolet) joined in on the fun.
Barker, an engineer by trade, had to take his State Engineering Exam on the 10th, and since his employer had already paid for the schooling and the tests, racing had to take a back seat.
Barker advanced to the main event through the wild 25-lap last chance qualifier. He finished 17th in the 200-lapper.