Eilen Wins ASA Midwest Tour Inaugural Event Elko 125 ELKO, MN (April 28, 2007) -- Jonathan Eilen won the inaugural event for the American Speed Association Kwik Trip Midwest Tour presented by Echo Outdoor Power Equipment on the high banks of ...
Eilen Wins ASA Midwest Tour Inaugural Event Elko 125
ELKO, MN (April 28, 2007) -- Jonathan Eilen won the inaugural event for the American Speed Association Kwik Trip Midwest Tour presented by Echo Outdoor Power Equipment on the high banks of Minnesota's Elko Speedway Saturday.
Fifty-one of the nation's top Super Late Model drivers turned out to put on an amazing show in the Elko 125 for a full-house crowd in ideal weather. The feature field started 28 cars. Sponsors Echo, Kwik Trip, Heat N Glo, and Scag Power Equipment greeted fans with displays in the pedestrian mall inside Speedway grounds with free product samples and actual power tools for people to handle and learn about. The full-house crowd and packed pit area further demonstrate the ASA Midwest Tour is going to be a hit this season and beyond.
The top sixteen in qualifying were locked into the show, and the top fourteen were inverted based on a dice roll plus eight. The inversion put Jamie Iverson and Brandon Hill on the front row and fast time "Blow Your Competition Away" award winner hometown hero Dan Fredrickson in the outside of the seventh row.
Hill took the early lead officially on lap three after a side-by-side battle with row mate Iverson. Jason Schneider then passed Hill on the outside on the seventh lap for the top spot, but only held it for six laps until Haseleu took command.
The first caution of the Elko 125 wasn't until lap 29 when Jacob Goede spun solo in turn two. At the restart it was Haseleu at the point, Schneider in second, and Jonathan Eilen in the third spot. Haseleu was able to open his lead by working lapped traffic until the second caution came on lap 52 when Darrin Gilles and Bradley "JJ" Mueller made contact in turn two. At the restart Eilen made the charge on the inside of Schneider to take over second place just before the lap 75 mandatory pit stop.
The running order at the break (30 minutes into the fast-paced event) was Haseleu, Eilen, Schneider, Donny Reuvers, Hill, Dean Cornelius, Dave Feiler, Kenny Richards, Josh Vadnais, and Iverson in the top ten; followed by Steve Anderson, Kevin Cywinski (up from the 28th starting spot), Goede, Jake Ryan, Brian Johnson Jr., Travis Sauter, Steve Carlson, Adam Royle, Gilles, and Mueller closing out the top twenty.
Eilen was hungry for victory upon restarting the race and was tight on Haseleu's tail for several laps with Reuvers right behind, waiting for the slightest mistake to make his move to the front. The caliber of racing and number of side-by-side clean laps through the field illustrated that these 28 cars really are the best of the best in the Midwest.
Haseleu surrendered the lead to Eilen on lap 114 when the ignition wire burned on his car and he quickly dove to the infield, ten laps shy of the victory. Eilen took the checkered flag in what he cited as the greatest win of his career, followed by Reuvers a mere 0.203 seconds behind, Dean Cornelius in third, Schneider in fourth, and Dave Feiler crossing the line fifth.
"The inaugural event was a great success. It was very well organized and the competitors were professional throughout. This was a great showcase for what American Speed Association racing is all about and I couldn't be more pleased with what I saw tonight -- the Midwest Tour has a bright future ahead after this historical night," said Dennis Huth, president of ASA Racing.
All of the Kwik Trip Touring Stars qualified into the Elko 125 field by time or transfer. Touring Stars include Dan Fredrickson (Elko, MN), Josh Vadnais (White Bear Lake, MN), Donny Reuvers (Dundas, MN), Adam Royle (Farmington, MN), Kenny Richards (Montello, WI), Nathan Haseleu (Pardeeville, WI), Rod Wheeler (Appleton, WI), Brad "JJ" Mueller (Random Lake, WI), Dave Feiler (Sun Prairie, WI), Steve Carlson (West Salem, WI), Travis Sauter (Necedah, WI), and Jamie Iverson (Escanaba, MI).
Local heroes Kevin Cywinski and Joey Miller also registered for the Elko 125 and both were forced to compete in Last Chance races. Cywinski has won three American Speed Association National Tour championships and competed at the NASCAR Craftsman Truck and Busch Series levels. He is the Team Director of Country Joe Racing located just south of Lakeville, Minnesota. Miller is a full-time competitor on the ARCA RE/MAX Challenge Series circuit and also has NASCAR experience.
Drivers traveled from all over the country to compete in this great spectacle of auto racing. Wade Lynn made the haul from Florida, Bruce Yackey, Darrin Bucklen, and Dan Savage all came up from Colorado, and open-wheel sensation Michael Pickens relocated to the Midwest for the summer months from New Zealand to participate in the Tour.