Johnson Holds Off Nason for Thrilling Home Track Victory at Jefferson
Jefferson, WI- Three-time Jefferson Speedway Champion Casey Johnson once again proved his worth at ‘Wisconsin’s Action Track’ as he held off a late charge from fast qualifier Austin Nason to record the ‘Salute the Troops 100’ victory Saturday night in front of his home track fans. The win was Johnson’s second career ARCA Midwest Tour feature event win, his other coming after the 2017 Dixieland 250 at Wisconsin International Raceway.
Rich Bickle and Gabe Sommers led the field to green, with Bickle grabbing control of the early stages of the race. Last year’s event winner, Paul Shafer worked his #7 machine to the front and challenged Bickle for a handful of laps during a frantic opening to the race which saw battles for position throughout the field. Shafer wrestled the lead away from Bickle on the high side on the race’s seventeenth circuit.
Following the event’s second caution for a solo spin, Johnson found himself alongside Shafer battling for the top spot, with Shafer surrendering the lead to Johnson with 77 laps remaining. The two touring stars built a sizeable lead over Bickle, Carson Kvapil and defending track Champion Dale Nottestad.
Fast qualifier Austin Nason and former TUNDRA Series Jefferson winner John Beale weaved their way into the top five during a tremendous green flag run that saw great saves by Ryan Farrell and Bickle to keep the race at full speed. The final caution period came at lap 86 after a battle that lasted nearly a dozen laps between Bickle and Beale for the fourth position resulted in contact sending both drivers to the rear of the field.
Shafer had never lost sight of Johnson over the long green flag run and Nason had continued to close the gap, the restart had all three bunched together, with Johnson regaining the advantage. Nason and Shafer battled for five laps before Nason secured the second spot and set his sights on Johnson. Nason dove to the inside of Johnson out of turn 4 with three laps remaining but was unable to complete the pass, keeping pressure on the rear bumper of Johnson’s #47 ride to the checkered flag. Nason was followed by Shafer who bested Kvapil in a spirited battle for third, Andrew Morrissey completed the top five.
Midwest Tour Preliminary event victories went to Scott Koerner, Morrissey and Nottestad. Nottestad was involved in the race of the night, he and Shaun Scheel had the fans on their feet during the final lap of the Semi-final round of the Showdown Match Races, with each driver trading paint on the way to Scheel’s win. Jason Erickson bested Scheel in the best two out of three final round, Will Rece captured the 30 lap Late Model Throwdown feature. The twenty lap Road Warrior feature event was won by AJ Accardi. Nason set fast time on the evening with a 13.661 second lap.
The ‘Stars and Cars’ of the ARCA Midwest Tour will return to action during the Father’s Day 100 on Sunday afternoon June 16 at The Milwaukee Mile. For additional information visit www.midwesttour.racing.