“It wasn’t easy. I’m really happy to win this race, it’s the coolest trophy (guitar) I’ve ever won. It means a lot with Joe Shear’s name on it and being in my backyard,” said a very happy Nathan Haseleu from victory lane.
Ross Kenseth and Casey Johnson led a 31 car field to the green for the ARCA Midwest Tour presented by Scag Power Equipment “6th Annual Joe Shear Classic” this afternoon at Madison International Speedway.
Johnson got the early lead, but Kenseth took a look to the inside of Johnson on lap 11 securing the top spot as they came to line. Nathan Haseleu was hot on Johnson’s tail and eventually secured the second spot followed by Jeremy Miller. Haseleu was able to get under Kenseth and take over the top spot.
Kyle Shear, making an impressive ARCA Midwest Tour debut, moved up into the fourth spot as last year’s winner, Travis Sauter was methodically making his way to the front moving into sixth by lap 15. Uncle Johnny Sauter followed him right through the pack.
Shear was on a mission and made the move inside of Miller for the third spot causing Miller to get stuck on the outside and shuffled back into seventh.
Chris Weinkauf sat patiently in the fourth spot as Shear made the move under Kenseth for second. Kenseth closed the door on Weinkauf and Travis Sauter snuck under Weinkauf for the fourth spot.
Travis and Johnny Sauter were on the move passing Kenseth on the outside and taking over third and fourth. Nathan Haseleu and Kyle Shear were pulling away from the field with Shear slowly closing in on Haseleu. Nathan started to get a little bit of a comfortable lead over Shear as the Sauters continued to slowly reel them in.
The first caution of the day came out when Donny Reuvers spun in turn four with 31 laps in.
At the restart, Nathan Haseleu chose the inside line with Shear on the outside. Travis Sauter and Johnny Sauter made up the second row. Kyle Shear got the jump on the outside of the restart snagging the lead from Haseleu.
Joel Theisen spun in turn one bringing out the caution allowing Shear to choose the lane once again. Shear chose the inside line for the restart with Haseleu on the outside and once again a row of Sauters in their mirrors. The start was waved off and they set up to do it again.
This time it was Haseleu taking the lead as Shear got a little sideways. This allowed Travis Sauter to sneak up on the outside. He couldn’t get the job done as Johnny Sauter snuck to the inside of Travis snagging the third spot away. Shear again tried to close the gap on Haseleu as Nathan set the pace.
Michael Bilderback was all over the back of Kenseth for the sixth spot, but Kenseth shut the door. The rest of the field remained single file.
Jason Weinkauf and Austin Nason got together in turn one bringing out the third caution of the day and ending the day for both of them.
With 15 laps until the break, Haseleu continued to lead the field followed by Shear, Johnny Sauter, Travis Sauter and Jeremy Miller.
At the restart Haseleu once again chose the outside taking the lead over Shear. The Sauters were side by side for third as Bilderback tried to sneak into the mix. Johnny was able to close the gap on Shear giving Haseleu a little room to breathe.
Johnny got a little loose losing a bit of ground to Shear. Travis was trying to hold off Bilderback who was feeling the heat from Miller.
Haseleu continued to pace the field as Shear kept a safe distance. The field was settling in. Shear was able to make a final attempt for the lead at the break as he closed the gap on Haseleu once again. Five laps to the break Haseleu was still hanging on. Travis made the move under Johnny getting the third spot.
Haseleu led at the break followed by Shear, Travis Sauter, Johnny Sauter, and Jeremy Miller rounding out the top five.
All that remained of the race was a 36 lap shootout. Haseleu chose the outside with Shear to the inside, once again followed by Travis and Johnny Sauter.
Haseleu got a great jump. Johnny Sauter was flying on the outside for the lead as Bilderback made the bold move to third. Sauter took the lead followed by Haseleu, Bilderback, Shear, and now Nick Murgic.
Johnny Sauter and Haseleu were still nose to tail but pulling away from the rest of the field. They were side by side going into turns one and two with Haseleu having the advantage on the backstretch. Haseleu took the lead again, but Shear was closing in on the back of Sauter. Murgic was up to fourth. Second through fourth were nose to tail giving Haseleu a chance to pull away.
The caution fell with 23 laps remaining when Potter and Kenseth got together on the backstretch. Once again Shear and Haseleu lined up side by side. This time Murgic was alongside Johnny Sauter in fourth.
Nathan got a great start and Murgic moved into third. Travis Sauter’s winning streak came to an end as he spun in turn two and unfortunately gathered up Chris Weinkauf whose day also came to an end.
Once again Haseleu lined up on the outside and Shear on the inside. Nathan grabbed the lead yet again while Johnny Sauter and Murgic battle it out behind Shear.
The yellow flag flew again, this time for Cardell Potter and Paul Shafer Jr. who spun in the middle of turns one and two. Yet again, Haseleu took the outside.
With 21 laps to go, the green flag dropped and Haseleu once again got a pretty good restart, but Shear was right on his bumper. Murgic was pressuring Shear for second allowing Haseleu to get away a little bit. Johnny Sauter slipped back to fifth.
Haseleu had a pretty comfortable lead with 15 laps to go but Shear was slowing gaining on him. Shear stretched out about 12 car lengths over Murgic who was followd by Michael Bilderback. Skylar Holzhausen moved into the fifth spot followed by Jeremy Miller and Johnny Sauter.
Haseleu and Shear approached lap traffic with six laps to go. A battle for fourth between Holzhausen, Bilderback and Miller was starting to heat up. With five to go Haseleu and Shear got into heavy traffic allowing Shear to close in right on Haseleu’s bumper, but it wasn’t quite enough as Haseleu became the first two-time Joe Shear Classic winner.
Shear ran as hard as he could and while he wasn’t able to put the Shear name in victory lane, he was all smiles. “It’s awesome. You really can’t explain these feelings. I know a lot of people came out here that really miss Joe. For my first time in a super late, I can’t complain too much,” said Kyle Shear.
Shear was followed by Skylar Holzhausen, Jeremy Miller and Nick Murgic rounding out the top five.
The next event for the ARCA Midwest Tour is Saturday, May 17th at State Park Speedway in Wausau, WI.
Be sure to follow the ARCA Midwest Tour on Facebook (midwesttour) and Twitter (@midwesttour).
To learn more about the Automobile Racing Club of America Midwest Tour, log on to arcamidwesttour.com. For questions call the ARCA Midwest Tour office at (262) 729-4111 or Tim Olson at (612) 327-5831 or Steve Einhaus (630) 212-6022 at or e-mail Tim Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org Steve Einhaus at email@example.com.
The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is among the leading auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country. Founded in 1953 by John and Mildred Marcum, the organization administers more than 100 events each year in multiple racing series, including the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the ARCA Truck Series and the ARCA Midwest Tour, plus weekly racing at Toledo and Flat Rock Speedways.