Ryan Nuttleman Photos
Sommers Shines at Jim Sauter Classic at Dells Raceway Park
By: Kevin Ramsell
Gabe Sommers has had some close calls to making it to victory lane this season in the ARCA Midwest Tour and came into Saturday night second in the point standings.
On Saturday night, Sommers showed his muscle as he dominated the Jim Sauter Classic 200 at Dells Raceway Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
The victory would pay off big time for the 19-year old from Plover, Wisconsin as he will take home $15,555 for the win.
Sommers would get by early race leader John DeAngelis Jr. for the lead on lap 34 and would lead the last 166 circuits en route to his second ARCA Midwest Tour victory in his career.
“We have been working on this thing all year. We have had a lot of good runs, and had a lot of mechanical failures when we had a really good car,” Sommers said in victory lane. “I’m really proud of my team from where we have been, they really deserve it.”
One notable person on his team is crew chief Travis Sauter, grandson of the driver whose race was in honor of on Saturday night.
Sommers said that while the car looked stout in the race, they had their work cut out when they unloaded it at the track.
“It wasn’t great when we unloaded it, we worked on it quite a bit and made it better,” Sommers explained. “I am really happy, can’t believe we got it.”
For the second race in a row, Austin Nason finished second with Ty Majeski in third.
Nason got by Majeski on lap 139 and would cut into Sommers lead until the final competition caution flew with 29 laps to go in the race.
The final green flag flew with 23 laps to go and Sommers had Nason on his bumper for a few laps, but Sommers would pull away to a 2.504 second victory.
“I was hoping it would stay green, but I knew there would be another competition caution,” Nason said. “I felt like we would have been better on the long run. We kind of inched closer to him, but was just off a little. Not bad, this car has been fast here. I used to hate this place, not bad for second.”
The five-time champion set fast time in qualifying, and started 13th after the invert. Ty Majeski would work his way up to third, but was not able to challenge for the win.
“Gabe is a really good kid and he deserves a win like this,” Majeski exclaimed. “I know he has been trying for a long time and those guys work hard. They were the dominate car tonight, no doubt about it. We just got beat, all we had was a second or third place car tonight. Austin was a little better than us at times, we were a little bit better at times as well. We had a lot of fun tonight.”
Johnny Sauter, son of Jim Sauter, finished fourth with Luke Fenhaus rounding out the top five.
Mike Lichtfeld won the odd heat while Michael Bilderback won the even heat.
Steve Apel won the qualifier heat.
The 2022 ARCA Midwest Tour season will come to a close at the Oktoberfest 200 during the 52nd Annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend on October 8-9 at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, Wisconsin.
You can watch a replay of the Jim Sauter Classic 200 at www.midwesttour.tv.