Morrissey Declared Winner of Oktoberfest 200; Zehr Takes Championship
The Oktoberfest 200, the championship race for the 2018 ARCA Midwest Tour season and the main event of the 49th Annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, WI, will go down as one of the most memorable races of all time.
The racing on the track kept the fans on the edge of their seat. The battle for the 2018 championship was literally head to head, and the winner wasn’t officially declared until after the checkered flag.
After post-race inspection, Andrew Morrissey was crowned the official winner of the Oktoberfest 200. Morrissey finished fourth behind on track winner Ty Majeski, second place finisher Johnny Sauter and third place finisher Jacob Goede.
Majeski and Sauter were the class of the field as the two battled for the top spot throughout the 200-lap event. Majeski would get by Sauter with 44 laps to go and take the checkered flag. Goede was third with Morrissey in fourth and Paul Shafer Jr. rounding out the top five.
After the race, in post-race inspection Majeski was disqualified by ARCA Midwest Tour tech officials for intake height. Sauter was disqualified for left side weight, and Goede failed inspection for an intake. Officials then inspected Morrissey and Shafer’s car, which both passed, and Morrissey was declared the official winner.
“I’m happy but I also feel bad for everybody that got tossed too, and I don’t know. This is my Daytona 500. This is pretty crazy, not the way I wanted to win but we will take it,” an emotional Morrissey said after officials declared him the winner. “I wasn’t sitting here hoping they each get DQ’d, I wouldn’t wish bad on anybody. I am just shocked more than anything I guess.”
Shafer was also surprised with official podium finish.
“It’s pretty good huh,” Shafer said when he was asked about finishing second. “I will take it, it’s a lot easier to pass him here in the pits than it is on the track. I know our stuff wasn’t that good. It was tight on the track and we fought that all day. I couldn’t do it without my guys. They gave me a good legal piece, I can’t complain.”
Jonathan Eilen officially finish third with Dalton Zehr in fourth. Travis Sauter rounded out the top five.
Zehr’s fourth place finish was enough to earn the 2018 ARCA Midwest Tour championship, becoming the seventh different champion in the history of the Tour.
The route to championship did have a little bump with 25 laps to go, as Zehr and Austin Nason, who had a three-point lead over Zehr coming into Sunday’s event, were battling for position on a restart when the two touched in turn one causing Nason to go high and lose many positions. Nason would recover to finish officially tenth.
With a close point battle this close, along with the hard side-by-side racing on the track, emotions were shown after the race as Nason and Zehr stopped in turns three and four to talk about the incident.
After the race, Zehr understood the emotions that came from the incident.
“Nason was starting on my front bumper, got a little sideways off the exit of four and I tried to get on the inside of him, and he tried to pinch me. Casey (Johnson) went to the outside and we went down to one where he was trying to get to the bottom and I didn’t want to give it up,” Zehr explained. “We made contact and I came up the track, he lost a lot of ground and it’s hard to make positions late in the race. I know Nason is upset, but the way I saw it, we were just capitalizing on his slip, and we came away with the championship.”
Nason had his view of the incident.
“119 (Zehr) drove right through me like I wasn’t even there. I don’t know what his problem was or where he thought he was going, it was a restart, don’t try to dive bomb everyone, it’s stupid,” Nason said. “He’s got one coming, but we will see what happens here.”
The championship was a big accomplishment for Zehr and his team after repairing his car from an incident earlier in the weekend.
“We wrecked in the Trickle race on Friday night where it tore the right side of the car off and wrecked the radiator,” Zehr said. “I have a great group of guys behind me to make it possible to be on the track the first thing the next morning. It has been a long weekend, but it paid off. It is pretty sweet.”
For Andrew Morrissey, even though he wished he won the race on the track rather in post-race tech, the victory is something special not just for himself.
“I just worked my whole life to try to win this race,” Morrissey said as he was fighting back tears. “It means a lot. It sucks to win it like this. I am just more than happy for my dad and mom as they help me more than anybody.”
Morrissey joins Nason as the only two-time winners in the 2018 season.
Please stay tuned for future news including the announcement of the 2019 season schedule.
Visit midwesttour.racing for a full schedule and be sure to follow the ARCA Midwest Tour on Facebook (/midwesttour) and Twitter (@MidwestTour).