STANDINGS BATTLE TIGHTENS AS NOWAK CAPTURES NSTC FEATURE
Topics: National Short Track Championship
NEWS RELEASE SPORTS/MOTORSPORTS
Contact: Matt Panure – Public Relations Director
Mid-American Stock Car Series
LOVES PARK, Ill. (October 2, 2011) – Having trimmed nearly 90 points off his deficit in standings over the past three races, the defending Mid-American Stock Car Series is just happy to be in the title conversation. He was even happier to be back in victory lane Sunday afternoon.
For the third time in his Mid-American career Lyle Nowak captured a win at Rockford Speedway. With two previous wins in the Spring Classic, it was Nowak’s first time etching his name in the record books as a winner of the National Short Track Championships MTN Dew 75-lap feature event.
“I just love Rockford Speedway,” Nowak said. “Today we had a really good race car and it didn’t fade. It was as good when we started as when we finished today.”
With his win Nowak cut James Swan’s point lead from 73 points to 47 points. Swan’s advantage over Nowak just two races ago was over 130 points.
“We’re thrilled to be in the mix,” Nowak said, claiming he thought he lost a title shot in spring after a DNF at Rockford. Content to be in the hunt, Nowak knows future business is at hand. “We’re going to go to La Crosse and race James as hard as we can and we’ll see what happens.”
Nowak’s ascent from his tenth-place starting spot began early in the 75 lapper. Scott Null quickly disposed of pole-sitter Frank Slabenek Jr. and brought the entire outside line with him – including Nowak who started on the outside of the fifth row.
By the time the first caution fell for a spinning Jeff Olson on lap five, Nowak already had secured a spot in the top five.
With a heavy preference for the outside line at the historic Rockford Speedway, Nowak emphasized the importance of track position and being placed on the top side.
“Track position here is key. Any time you can get to the front here and ride, it’s better than trying to pass,” Nowak said. “It’s not too often that the whole row is going to go to the front. Even if it didn’t, it’s still advantageous to start (on the outside).”
On the lap-five restart Nowak was fortunate enough to start on the top line behind Scott Null. Null again took advantage of the high line to keep Mike Lange at bay. Nowak followed into the second spot swiftly, setting up a battle between the MASCS veterans.
As Null stood his ground to keep Nowak in check, the duo broke away from a frantic battle for third. Kyle Shear had also used the outside line to his advantage to jump from his 14th-place starting spot to third by lap ten. He, Swan and fast qualifier Mark Pluer swapped third, fourth and fifth place to the midway point of the feature.
As the trio tested inside and outside, Nowak was relentless on the bumper of Null. Nowak had several tests of the inside line fall by the wayside as Null used the momentum of the high line. On lap 37 Nowak seized his opportunity. Null slipped ever so slightly and opened the door for the Wausau, Wis. racer. Nowak swiped the lead coming to the cross flags, utilizing the inside line.
“Rockford Speedway is a rhythm track where you need to be in rhythm and you need to try to make the pass where your competitor is struggling,” Nowak said. Even though he said the inside line was not the preferred choice, Nowak said the grooves tend to even out at a certain point. “Once you get wheel to wheel you can dictate a little position too. Fortunately for us that’s what happened.”
Fortune for Nowak quickly turned to misfortune for Null. Just one lap after surrendering the lead, Null’s racer snapped to the outside retaining wall entering turn three. Sustaining heavy damage on the right front of his machine, Null had his day come to an end. He was unharmed.
On two subsequent restarts Kyle Shear was given the inside line of the front row and a chance to take an elusive MASCS win at his home track. Nowak proved to be too stellar on the top line and sailed away from Shear and the pack on each restart.
As Shear started to fade he was left to deal with Swan, Pluer and an upstart Ryan Farrell. Farrell’s car owner Dan Church also entered the mix as the field hit the 50-lap mark.
The grouping worked past Shear and set Farrell up with a chance to chase down Nowak. His chase was short-lived as a caution fell on lap 53 when Chris Storey looped his machine in turn two.
Farrell, with only a handful of MASCS starts, had his chance to go toe-to-toe with Nowak on the restart. The two engaged in some gamesmanship returning to the green flag with the veteran Nowak coming out on top and securing a car-length lead by the time he hit turn one.
Over the next ten laps, Farrell’s machine began to fade. With ten laps remaining Pluer took the runner-up spot and the trio of Church, Swan and Shear moved in to challenge.
The final caution of the event fell on lap 68 when Shear was sent into the outside retaining wall, making hard contact through turns one and two. He was also unharmed.
Shear’s misfortune gave Pluer a shot to capitalize. Pluer stuck close to Nowak on the restart, but could not mount a challenge over the final seven circuits. He settled for the second spot. Church crossed the line in third just half a car-length over a late and hard-charging Tyler Bauknecht. Swan rounded out the top five.
In next week’s Oktoberfest at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway, there are two areas where Nowak can chop further into Swan’s lead and potentially surpass him. In qualifying a total of 18 points can be gained from the fast qualifier to the 11th-place qualifier. All other things being equal, up to 48 points can be gained in the feature event.
Mid-American will participate as part of the Saturday race program at the 41st Annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend. Qualifying is scheduled for 12:20 p.m. with racing slated to begin at 4 p.m.
La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway is located on the La Crosse Interstate Fairgrounds.
The Fairground is located at the intersection of Hwy 16 and County Road M, next to the town of West Salem, Wis. For more information visit www.lacrossespeedway.com or www.oktoberfestraceweekend.com
For more information about the Mid-American Stock Car Series, including the full 2011 schedule, results, standings and driver information visit www.midamericanracing.com.
For full race results and standings visit www.midamericanracing.com/results or www.midamericanracing.com/standings
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