Auto Racing: Jonathan Eilen wins Wayne Carter Classic at Grundy County Speedway
By Tony Baranek tbaranek@southtownstar July 19, 2013 11:14PM
Steve Wallace (66), son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, rides the high side while Jacob Goede (8) protects the bottom during ARCA Midwest Tour heat race action Friday night at Grundy County Speedway. | Kim Kemperman~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 22, 2013 7:01AM
It could be said that Jonathan Eilen came from the bushes to win Friday night’s 100-lap ARCA Midwest Tour Wayne Carter Classic at Grundy County Speedway.
Then again, there probably were some bushes that were closer to the front at the start of the race.
Eilen, who finished second to Eddie Hoffman in last year’s running, came from 17th starting position to pass Chris Wimmer with just eight laps remaining.
It was an unlikely charge, one even he didn’t expect.
“No, not at all,” the 27-year-old from Hampton, Minn., said. “I thought for sure a top 10 would be awesome, and before we knew it we were in 10th. Then, shoot, I thought a top five might be all right.
“Just an awesome run. I can’t thank the (pit crew) guys enough. They changed about everything on this car after the heat race. I just never gave up. And it showed you should never give up, because you never know.”
Four different drivers led the race, and all had dominant runs.
The first was pole-sitter Jason Weinkauf, who paced the 25-car field from laps one through 19 before a yellow flag tightened the pack for a double-file restart.
Second-place Eddie Hoffman chose the low side behind Weinkauf, while Jacob Goede went to the top and started outside front row.
Goede got a good run at the drop of the green, and took the lead between Turns 1 and 2. He stayed there until lap 61, when Wimmer made a move inside between Turns 3 and 4 and cleared him.
Eilen, meanwhile, moved into the top 10 by lap 25, but still was seventh at the halfway mark. He surged from there, taking second away from Dan Fredrickson on lap 69 and set his sights on Wimmer.
The pass, on lap 92, saw Eilen put his No. 77 on the bottom and power drive through Turn 3 into the lead.
“The car was awesome on the bottom,” Eilen said. “Just to drive off the corner, I could get underneath the guy, and once you get a nose underneath that’s pretty much what you have to do to get by someone here.”
Eilen pulled away at the finish, beating Wimmer to the line by 1.396 seconds. Fredrickson finished third, ahead of Hoffman, Rich Bickle and Nathan Haseleu.
Steve Wallace, son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, never was in contention, but ran steady laps for the most part and finished seventh.
“Man, our car … this is only the second race on this car,” Wallace said. “The left-side tire really wears out a lot, and I’ve never raced here so I didn’t know what to expect from track conditions.
“I didn’t have enough forward bite to keep going with them boys, but all in all, it was a solid finish and the car didn’t get torn up. Dad came up and had a good time. I picked a race that was really cool.”
John Senerchia continued his total dominance in the street stocks, taking the lead from Bill Serviss on lap 20 and cruising the final five.
Serviss, who took the top spot from Pete Odell on lap nine, was able to maintain second ahead of Logan Love, Tony Scalpelli Jr., Matt Sisson and Craig Matteson.
Camden Murphy led the first 23 of the 30-lap Midwest Trucks series feature but surrendered to leader Jerry Wood, who went on to score his fourth victory of the season.
After the pass, Murphy was shuffled back as far as fourth before charging back to take the runner-up spot just one lap from the finish. Third went to Natalie Decker, ahead of Andy Jones, Justin Oertel and Jacob Vanwazer.