Shafer “Salutes the Troops” With His First ARCAMT Win at Jefferson
It has been a long time coming, but Paul Shafer Jr. and his crew finally broke through and celebrated their first ARCA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment victory during a Memorial Day weekend special at Jefferson Speedway, located between Cambridge and Jefferson, Wisconsin.
Shafer took over the lead from Dalton Zehr with 45 laps to go and then kept his distance from three-time Jefferson Speedway track champion Casey Johnson to end his long drought and get the long-awaited checkered flag.
The win, especially being the first one in the Tour, at Jefferson Speedway has a special meaning for Shafer and his longtime crew chief Chris Purdy.
“Now that the first one is out of the way, maybe we can get a couple more,” a smiling Shafer said after the race. “It’s awesome to get the first win here for a lot of reasons. One, it’s probably the short track in whole State of Wisconsin, especially with the way how they run it every week. During the Joe Shear Classic, we practiced on Saturday afternoon and we came over here and watched the races. The second is that my crew chief Chris Purdy grew up in the Janesville/Milton area and he ran here a lot. I think he won eight out of nine features one year. It means a lot to me, Chris and everyone on the team because many are from around here.”
Shafer, who was also the fast qualifier, started 13th and was up to second by lap 42 after passing Johnson was an early leader in the race. Shafer was trying to chase down Dalton Zehr for the top spot.
Shafer would inherit the lead when Zehr started to slow on the track and came to a stop to bring out the final of six cautions on the night. Zehr said after the race that he thinks the alternator went on his car and drained the battery. He would finish 17th.
Shafer would drive the final 45 laps without being challenged and capture his first win in 32 starts.
“His care must have shut off or something,” Shafer said. “I think we had a better car, but it was a matter of saving tires. If it would have stayed green, we would not have caught him. But, if we had a yellow I think we would have had a lot for him.”
Johnson was hoping to get the victory at what he would consider to be his home track.
“I thought we were going to be really good. We got going and I could start feeling the brake pedal fading and she just wanted to go on the floor on me. I don’t know if I boiled the fluid or ran it too hard or what. I think one got away from us. We lucked into second. The care was terrible once I couldn’t hit the brakes. We salvaged one tonight.”
Billy Mohn overcame a bad night at last week’s Cabin Fever 100 to finish third.
“The car was really good. We definitely turned our luck around from State Park Speedway. I can’t complain about this, and it’s a good way to end the day,” Mohn said after the race. “I didn’t expect a podium finish tonight. I know our car has been good enough and I haven’t been able to show it with our starting positions. Tonight, we were able to show it and worked out well.”
Joe Shear Classic winner Austin Nason finished fourth with Andrew Morrissey coming back from being involved in an early caution to finish fifth.
Prior to driver introductions, all active and retired service members were invited to come on the track and be a part of one of a large greeting line to meet the drivers before they strapped into their cars for tonight’s 100-lap event.
“That was awesome,” Shafer exclaimed. “To get to see all of the members of the military and shake their hands and tell them thank you for all they do, it means a lot to them and it means a lot to us.
The ARCA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment will be back in action on Satuday, June 30th for the Kar Korner All-Star 100 at Rockford Speedway in Loves Park, Il.
Visit midwesttour.racing for a full schedule and be sure to follow the ARCA Midwest Tour on Facebook (/midwesttour) and Twitter (@MidwestTour).
Lap Leaders: Lap 1 – John DeAngelis, Jr., Lap 2-12 – Jeff Holmgren, Lap 13-17 – Ryan Farrell, Lap 18-38 – Casey Johnson, Lap 39-55 – Dalton Zehr, Lap 56-100 – Paul Shafer Jr.