The 2017 running of the Forest Potawatomi Dixieland 250 at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna, Wisconsin will go down as one of the more memorable events in Wisconsin Short track history.
After the checkered flag and post-race tech inspection, Edgerton, Wisconsin’s Casey Johnson took home the $10,000 check and trophy becoming a first-time winner in the ARCA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment.
Johnson made his last pit stop with 60 laps to in the 250-lap event. With his fresh tires, he battled way up to the front in the final laps in the attempt chase down race leader Kyle Busch.
Johnson would pass Ty Majeski with 35 laps to go for fourth, getting by Paul Shafer Jr. for third with 20 laps to go. With 11 laps to go, Johnson would get by Austin Nason for the second spot.
The final caution flew on lap 244 as the safety crew would rush to put out a small fire under Dalton Zehr’s car. After they put out the fire, Zehr was able to re-join the field.
With under 10 laps to go, the ARCA Midwest Tour rules state the restarts are single file.
Busch knew that Johnson was on fresher tires, and got about a car length jump on him as the green flag flew in the air.
Johnson would get within a car length of the recent winner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series but would come up short at the checkered flag.
But the official results would change in post-race inspection as Busch for not meeting the weight requirements mandated after the race.
“I’m still speechless,” Johnson said after being declared the winner. “I am definitely surprised to jump in a car that I have never seen before, I raced against it a couple of times, but its great equipment and a heck of an opportunity to drive and we were able to come away with one.”
Johnson said that the deal for him to drive the car, normally driven by Rich Schuman, Jr., was finalized around 4pm on Monday afternoon.
“Definitely have mixed emotions,” Johnson said. “This would have been the second time I finished second in this race (he finished second to Nick Murgic in 2015), and in the Midwest, this is one of the premiere events and to fall short, you have an entire year to think about it and try it again.
“I saw him (Busch) roll over the scale three times and just wondered if anyone was going to come over and talk to me,” Johnson said about post-race inspection. “We were parked next to Busch’s car and we had our car on jack stands and tear some things apart, and they just couldn’t get him off the scales after Ty (Majeski) and I have already been through them. Then the officials came over with the big check in hand and said congratulations. That was pretty neat.”
Busch didn’t speak with the media after post-race inspection but did stay and sign some autographs for the fans.
Ty Majeski, the three-time defending series champion, finished second in the official results.
“After all we ran the whole race, definitely happy with a second-place finish,” Majeski said. “I really shouldn’t say happy, obviously we are not happy but for what he had and to come away with a runner-up position is pretty good for what we had tonight. We didn’t have the car where we wanted it all night. Obviously, this is frustrating, this is one of the races we wanted to win one of the premiere races in the Midwest.”
Paul Shafer Jr. was third with defending Dixieland 250 winner Dennis Prunty in fourth. Five-time WIR track champion Jeff VanOudenhoven rounded out the top five.
For the third year in a row, Casey Johnson used the Dixieland 250 to pick up his first win in the ARCA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment. Nick Murgic did it in 2015 and Dennis Prunty won his first last year.
The 2017 Forest Potawatomi Dixieland 250 marked the eighth time that Kyle Busch came to compete in the ARCA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment. He has three victories along with four top-five and five top-ten finishes.
Every time he comes to compete with the series in Wisconsin, he is always impressed with the fans who turn out for the event along with the unique design of Wisconsin International Raceway.
“It’s a great little short track and I enjoy it, it’s just unique and there is nothing else like it,” Busch said. “The way how the bumps are here and how the wall jets out at you off of turn four, the banking and the center of the corners, it’ challenging and it takes a really good driver to win here.
“I thought the fans saw a great race, and I appreciate them sticking around, it was a long one and a lot of kids were here as well, which is great to see,” Busch said about the large crowd in attendance. “It’s really awesome to see the support of the local short tracks and come out here to see an event like this at Wisconsin International Raceway.”
Fans showed up early at WIR and many of them got the opportunity to meet and get an autograph from NASCAR Hall of Famer and two-time Dixieland 250 winner Mark Martin.
Martin was excited to come back to WIR after a long hiatus to see the track and visit with former competitors he competed with back in the old ARTGO days. You can see his interview on the Midwest Tour’s Facebook page.
The ARCA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment will be back in action on Saturday, August 12th for their first ever visit to Golden Sands Speedway in Plover, Wisconsin for the Mid-Summer Showdown. Make your plans now to be a part of this great event.
Visit midwesttour.racing for the full schedule and be sure to follow the ARCA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment on Facebook (/midwesttour) and Twitter (@midwesttour).