By: Paul Reichert
A much drier Saturday welcomed race fans to ‘Championship Saturday’ of the 49th Oktoberfest Race Weekend at the LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway. The Mid-American Stock Car Series was on hand to wrap up their season and crown a new champion. Last year Dan Gilster captured his second Oktoberfest Mid-American victory and wrapped up the championship. This year Gilster would witness his nephew, LaCrosse Sportsmen regular Tom Luethe, claim his first Mid-American Stock Car Series win. The driver that pursued Gilster for the championship, Ron Vandermeir, Jr., would follow up his Rookie of the Year title with the 2018 Mid-American Stock Car Series championship.
Nathan Borchardt and Andrew Meyerhofer led the field to green in the 30-lap Mid-American feature. Multi-time champion James Swan would follow Meyerhofer by Borchardt, and then drive by Meyerhofer on the outside in turns three and four to take the race lead. Rockford winner Bill Prietzel and Tom Luethe would get around Meyerhofer and move up to second and third on lap five. Paul Neisius spun in turn four on lap six to bring out the caution. Luethe stuck right with Swan on the restart, got under him down the back straight and took over the top spot. 2016 champion Ryan Gutknecht would catch Luethe and take over the lead on lap ten. Yellow flew again on lap 13 when Kenny Joosten lost it coming out of turn four and tagged the inside wall, ending his race. Gutknecht would drive away from the field on the restart, but soon a problem would allow the field to catch back up. Gutknecht would have a tire slowly going down, and that would allow Luethe to make a second run at the lead. Luethe would motor by Gutknecht for the lead with five laps to go. A lap later, Dan Gilster would take over second as Gutknecht would fall back to 13th at the finish. Back up front, Luethe would maintain a five car length lead over his uncle and score his first-ever Mid-American Stock Car Series win. Swan would take third, former LaCrosse Sportsmen champion Randy Humfeld ran fourth and Bill Prietzel completed the top five. Ron Vandermeir Jr. would finish in sixth, but that was more than he needed to do to claim the 2018 Mid-American Stock Car Series championship.
Greg Oliver would like to thank the drivers and fans for helping to make 2018 another successful season in the Mid-American Stock Car Series. We look forward to seeing everyone back in 2019.