2004 LaCrosse Late Model and NASCAR Midwest Regional Champion, Charlie Menard wins the ASA Late Model Series Oktoberfest 100 at LaCrosse (WI) Fairgrounds Speedway. (West Salem, Wisconsin 10/07/05): The ASA Late Model Series Presented by GM...
2004 LaCrosse Late Model and NASCAR Midwest Regional Champion, Charlie Menard wins the ASA Late Model Series Oktoberfest 100 at LaCrosse (WI) Fairgrounds Speedway.
(West Salem, Wisconsin 10/07/05): The ASA Late Model Series Presented by GM Performance Parts have completed race number 13 of 14 on the 2005 schedule, . The site was the LaCrosse (WI) Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, Wisconsin for day two of the 36th annual Oktoberfest Weekend.
With a front row the caliber of Charlie Menard and Stephen Leicht, the jam packed grandstands were in for a treat. When all was said and done, Menard, the C.O.O. of the nationally known Menard's Home Improvements chain of stores, made the hometown fans proud as the driver from near-by Eau Claire, Wisconsin, survived a lengthy battle with the current ASA Late Model Series points leader, Leicht, to take home the Oktoberfest 100, his first career ASA Late Model Series victory in only his second start.
A star studded 26-car field took chief starter, Tom Powell's green flag to begin the Oktoberfest 100, the highlight of day two of the 36th annual Oktoberfest Weekend at the 5/8s mile semi-banked paved oval in West Salem, Wisconsin. Menard and Leicht would take the green flag as the stellar front row and it would be Leicht who would beat out Menard to the first corner to take the early lead.
Leicht would set sail for the opening laps while the field behind him settled into a rhythm. The first of nine cautions flew on lap 11 when Pat Bourdow Memorial Rookie of the Year title contender, Kris Stump spun in turn two collecting Jason Tyler and Brett Piontek in the process. Stump was done for the evening. On the restart, Leicht would pull ahead slightly while Menard had his hands full with fellow Wisconsin pilot, Chad Wood.
Two more cautions for spins flew and then on lap 42, the most serious incident of the night occurred when another Pat Bourdow Memorial Rookie pilot, Ryan Carlson slammed the front stretch at the opening underneath the flag stand and came to rest in turn one, all done for the evening. He was ok.
On the next restart, Leicht would once again try to pull away but had a mirror full of Menard. As the laps wound down, Menard began figuring out the line that Leicht was running and began to apply heavy pressure to the 18-year-old from Asheville, North Carolina. Menard's hard work finally paid off as on lap 73, Menard slid by coming out of turn four to take the lead for the first time.
Leicht's handling began to go away and he dropped back in a hurry. Wood would get by the ASA Late Model Series Points Leader, as would 16-year-old Landon Cassill. Wood and Cassill would get involved in a battle of their own while Menard would pull away from the pack. Two late cautions slowed things down, but each time Menard would pull away from Wood and Cassill.
Menard would lead the final 27 laps as the Eau Claire, Wisconsin pilot, the 2004 NASCAR Midwest Regional Champion as well as the 2004 LaCrosse Speedway Late Model Track Champion would go on to win his first ever ASA Late Model Series event. Menard began the 36th edition of Oktoberfest much like last season when he won three features in three different divisions over the course of one of the biggest and tradition laden end of the season events in the country.
Wood settled for second after a last minute battle with Cassill, who tied a career high with a third place showing! Motive Gear Fast Qualifier, Eddie Hoffman, in his first career ASA Late Model Series start would finish fourth over Peter Cozzolino, who would post his best finish of the season in fifth. Leicht would slide back to sixth while Travis Dassow, 16-year-old Jesse Smith, his best career finish of eighth! Tony Rosebrugh and Jack Smith completed the top 10.
Earlier in the evening, Hoffman was the fastest of 40 cars on hand as the Wheaton, Illinois veteran won his first Motive Gear Pole Award in his first start with a lap measured at 19.594 which measures out to 100.069 MPH. In the 25-lap GM Performance Parts Shootout, Jesse Saunders won his second GMPP Shootout of the season over Brent Downey, Jim Ross, Pete Moore, and Jason Miller, the top five. Mark Hartline, who finished sixth, was crowned the 2005 GM Performance Parts Shootout Points Champion
The 2005 season for the ASA Late Model Series Presented by GM Performance Parts will close out the year on Saturday October 29th for the conclusion of the 40th annual National Short Track Championships at the Rockford (IL) Speedway in Loves Park, Illinois. Current ASA Late Model Series Points Leader, Stephen Leicht and Rockford's own hometown favorite, Ryan Carlson will lead the field to the green flag to close out the 2005 season. Leicht merely needs to take the green flag and the 18-year-old, one of the "Young Lions of the ASA Late Model Series" will clinch the 2005 ASA Late Model Series Championship!
For more information about the remaining 2005 season as well as the approaching 2006 season with the ASA Late Model Challenge Series, the ASA Late Model Series Northern and Southern Divisions; check out their websites at www.asalatemodelsnorth.com and www.asalatemodelssouth.com You can also call the ASALM Series home offices at 1 (800) 385-2503 or log onto the main website at: www.asalatemodels.com