by Gregg Paul
Jacob Van Wazer picked the perfect time to pick up his first career victory in the SCAG Power Equipment Midwest Truck Tour. Being on the big stage of ARCA Fest, the big track at the Milwaukee Mile, and in front of a bigger crowd than he is used to, Van Wazer stepped up to the challenge by holding off veteran John Wood to take the checkers.
Van Wazer knew it was an accomplishment in holding off Wood for the win.
“They (John and Jerry Wood) are both great legends in the trucks and just in general,” said Van Wazer. “Jerry Wood is big time known everywhere. When I am out there it’s just another number to me. It doesn’t matter who it is or what it is. The pressure isn’t on me. I just have to go out there and perform like everybody wants me to and I’ve got to go out there and do my thing.”
The thing that Van Wazer did was get the jump from the drop of the green flag since he started on the front row for the feature. Although his initial lead would last barely a lap as fast qualifier Mike Corva spun in turn 3 and backed it into the wall.
That resulted in a complete restart due to not completing a full lap.
When they tried it again, Van Wazer got another great jump and took the lead coming off of turn two. This time they would complete a full lap, but they would not get to lap 2 due to a spin by Justin Oertel in turn two.
When the race resumed, Van Wazer again took off into the lead and had John Wood and Andy Jones in hot pursuit. Van Wazer pulled away by a few truck lengths while Jones and Wood would trade the second position over the next few laps. Jerry Wood had moved up into the top five, but suddenly slowed in the backstretch losing several positions before coming back up to speed.
Meanwhile back up front, Van Wazer started putting some distance between himself and Jones in second. As they came to the crossed flags signifying the halfway mark, Van Wazer’s lead had grown to seven truck lengths. Jones and Wood were battling for second behind Van Wazer as the laps were winding down.
Justin Oertel would bring out the yellow flag for the second time when he spun again in turn two. This set up a green, white, checkered finish and bunched up the field for the restart. Van Wazer elected to take to the outside for the restart and it nearly cost him the race.
When the green flag flew it would be Jones getting the jump as they headed into turn one. However Van Wazer got a great bite coming off of turn two and blew past Jones and into the lead. Van Wazer steadily pulled away from Jones leaving him to resume his battle with John Wood for second. Wood would be able to get by Jones on the white flag lap, but could not catch up to Van Wazer who flashed across the finish line six truck lengths ahead to secure his first career victory in the Midwest Truck Tour.
“The Truck was starting to get tight as the race went on,” said Van Wazer. “I figured I could get a bigger run off the corner on the high side. I guess my dad wasn’t too happy with that, but whatever, it worked and I got the win.”
He got the win despite angering his dad, but it was a relief in more ways than one.
“It feels great to get this monkey off my back,” said Van Wazer. “I felt like I should’ve had a better run here last year but we had a clutch problem so this is definitely revenge for what happened.”
There is nothing better than getting a win as revenge for past shortcomings.
The next event for the Truck Tour is Friday, July 19th at Grundy County Speedway along with the ARCA Midwest Tour.
For event details, log on to arcamidwesttour.com.
Be sure to follow the Midwest Truck Tour on Facebook (midwesttour) and Twitter (@midwesttour).
To learn more about the Midwest Truck 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 email@example.com Steve Einhaus at firstname.lastname@example.org.