KALWASINSKI: Chicago Chips


Sixty-three cars attempted to qualify for the Trickle 99 with Johnny Sauter grabbing fast time honors. Sauter also was the fastest qualifier on Saturday for the ARCA Midwest Tour action, besting 42 other competitors.

Chris Marek enjoyed a really successful weekend at LaCrosse as he won the 68-lap Big 8 Series finale on Saturday night and then on Sunday took home overall top honors in the three-segment John McKarns 63. The 24-year-old Marek made off with victories in first and second 21-lap legs with Brett Wenzel winning the third 21-lap chase. The race is held in the memory of John McKarns, longtime Midwest racing promoter, who for years headed up the ARTGO Challenge Series Late Model series. McKarns died in 2010.

Wisconsin drivers Casey Johnson and Dale Nottestad started the 68-lap Big 8 feature only one point apart in a battle for the Big 8 Series crown. Both drivers missed making the starting lineup through time trials With both drivers lining up in the 11th row for the start, Johnson came home 10th to grab the championship.

Danny Gilster, a former five-time sportsman division champion at LaCrosse, won Saturday night’s 40-lap headliner for the Mid-American Stock Car Series. It was Gilster’s second win of the season with the first one coming only a few weeks ago in Elko, Minn. Finishing third, Brad Keith wrapped up the overall Mid-American title. Keith won two feature races during the season and won the championship over last year’s titlist, Jeremy Spoonmore.

On Friday night, 19-year-old Andy Jones won the Midwest Truck Tour 30-lap event, scoring his third series win of the season in his Chevy pickup ahead of Chad Wood and Justin Oertel. Jones is the son of longtime Chicago area stock car favorite Tom Jones. Veteran Wisconsin driver Jerry Wood took the overall Midwest Truck title.

Thursday night’s races saw veteran Steve Carlson claim his second late model track championship at the five-eighths-mile LaCrosse oval. The championship was worth a reported $5,000. Carlson also competed in the Trickle 99, but did not attempt to compete in the ARCA Midwest Tour racing.

Rich Bickle Jr., a second-generation racer, made his final short-track appearance in his home state. Bickle, whose career included stints in NASCAR Sprint Cup and Truck Series competition, is retiring from driving after the conclusion of this season.

Bickle, who finished 23rd in Sunday’s Midwest Tour 100 lapper, almost didn’t make the starting field as a faulty alternator needed to be replaced just before the main event.

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Stan Kalwasinski
Stan Kalwasinski has been involved in auto racing for nearly 50 years as both a writer and photographer. He has a particular interest in Chicagoland auto racing — primarily stock car racing. Look for him at tracks in the Chicagoland region of Illinois.