MARSHFIELD, Wis. — Steve Holzhausen has a knack for knowing how to save his car for the long run and to have a decent car at the end of a long race.
That expertise paid off as he was able to get the win in the ARCA Midwest Tour presented by Scag Power Equipment and Lester Buildings Marshfield 100.
Holzhausen benefitted from a late race caution to catch leader, i-gogs Sunglasses Touring Star, Dan Fredrickson. As Fredrickson faded after another late caution, Holzhausen had to hold off i-gogs Sunglasses Touring Star, Rich Bickle and his own son, Team Vita Ice Touring Star, Skylar Holzhausen to capture the checkers.
“I know we were catching him (Fredrickson) but we still needed a yellow to get to him,” said Holzhausen. “We went into turn one after we got the green and he drove it in a little hard and pushed up and let me get under there decent and that’s all it took from there.”
However to get there, Holzhausen first had to catch Dan Fredrickson, who had all but checked out on the field in the early going.
Rich Bickle and Team Spiked Island Touring Star, Chris Weinkauf led the field to the green with Weinkauf getting the early jump. Bickle’s car struggled from the drop of the green flag and the whole inside line struggled to get by as well. As Bickle was falling back as far as the twelfth position, i-gogs Sunglasses Touring Star, Jonathan Eilen, DOC 360 Touring Star Nathan Haseleu, and Dan Fredrickson made their way past Bickle.
Eilen moved to the outside of Weinkauf on lap five and moved into the lead, while at the same time Fredrickson got past Haseleu. Team Vita Ice Touring, Star Jeremy Miller also moved past Haseleu into the fourth spot.
The first caution of the race flew on lap nine when Team Spiked Island Touring Star, James Swan looped it in turn three. Eilen would chose the outside on the restart when the cone came out, allowing Fredrickson to take the inside of the front row.
When the green flag flew, Fredrickson got the huge jump and cleared Eilen for the lead heading off of turn two. Jeremy Miller was right on Fredrickson’s bumper and tried to get by Eilen, but the defending champion would have none of that and held onto the second spot. Fredrickson, on the other hand, was setting sail and leaving everyone behind.
Fredrickson quickly stretched out his lead over Eilen and Miller. A lead that would grow to over a full straightaway at one point. Fredrickson had everything going his way as he was even able to put his closest rival in the points, DOC 360 Touring Star, Chris Wimmer, a lap down by lap 54.
While Fredrickson was on cruise control, Eilen and Miller were riding in second and third and losing ground. Further back, Steve Holzhausen and Rich Bickle were making their moves towards the front. With twenty five laps to go Holzhausen moved past Eilen into second, and Bickle got by Skylar Holzhausen to return to the top five.
With just 17 laps to go Fredrickson had a full straightway lead on Holzhausen and was seeming to cruise to the win. However, there were still laps remaining and the last thing Fredrickson needed to see, came out to ruin his night.
Fast qualifier Jacob Goede spun off of turn two with just fourteen laps to go to bring out the caution and bunch up the field.
The cone would come out and Steve Holzhausen jumped to the outside of Fredrickson for the restart. Yet when the green flag flew, it was Fredrickson who got the huge jump. He drove the car hard into turn one, but washed up the track just enough for Holzhausen to get his nose in there. By the time they came off of turn two, Holzhausen had the lead and was pulling away.
Fredrickson seemingly lost whatever magic he had in his car all night and was quickly fading. He would get a reprieve when the yellow would come out again two laps later when Ty Majeski spun in turn two to set up another late-race shootout.
Fredrickson took the outside on the restart and had Bickle on his rear bumper. This time it was Holzhausen on the inside who got the jump and would clear for the lead off of turn four with eleven laps to go. Bickle moved to the outside of Fredrickson in turn two as Bickle drove a much higher line than anyone else and gained a ton of ground. Bickle moved past Fredrickson and set his sights on Holzhausen for the lead.
As the elder Holzhausen grabbed the lead, his son Skylar moved past Fredrickson into third and was catching Bickle for second. Jeremy Miller was still trying to become a factor and moved past Skylar briefly, as Skylar was battling with Fredrickson. Coming off of turn two, Miller went wide and off the track in the backstretch as sparks flew from beneath his car. Miller gathered it back up, but Skylar was able to get by and back into the third spot.
Steve Holzhausen stretched his lead out by a few car lengths, but Bickle was not about to give in that easily. As the laps were winding down, Bickle inched closer to the rear bumper of Holzhausen’s car. With just two laps to go Bickle was right there knocking on the door, but never got close enough to use the chrome horn.
Steve Holzhausen was able to hold off Bickle’s late rally and take the checkers just a car length ahead, with his son Skylar watching closely in third.
For Steve Holzhausen it was a win that he jokingly said was a bigger win than he has had in a while.
“It’s been a long time since I had a big win like this,” said Holzhausen.
The first yellow gave him the chance to win. The second one he probably didn’t need to see.
“Not really,” said Holzhausen. “We were starting to pull away and we had everybody behind us where we needed them. The next yellow brought Bickle and Skylar in and every yellow would’ve been more difficult.”
Bickle tried to explain his up and down night.
“I just saved my stuff,” said Bickle. “I knew it would be good at the end. It was just that last yellow kind of killed me. It took us about four laps to get the car to take back off. I think in another four laps if I could’ve got my left front to his right rear, me and Steve have raced a lot of years together side by side and he’s a heck of a racer. I think it would’ve been a heck of a finish. It still was a heck of a finish. I’m glad for him to win, but I would’ve liked to have won one of these races before I quit but at least they know we were here.”
Skylar Holzhausen was in awe seeing his dad in the lead. So much so that he almost forgot he was still driving the car himself.
“I was proud of him (Steve),” said Skylar. “I don’t like to take crap from other guys who were running him all over the place. He makes me proud and I’m just as happy to see him win as I am happy to win. I didn’t have a third place car, probably a sixth place car and we were just riding it out. The caution helped the tires cool down and it was a lot better after that.”
Unfortunately for Skylar, it was not going to be good enough to beat his father on this night.
Steve Holzhausen, Rich Bickle, Skylar Holzhausen, Jeremy Miller, Dan Fredrickson, Tim Schendel, Cardell Potter, Jonathan Eilen, Travis Sauter, Jacob Goede, Nathan Haseleu, Dennis Prunty, Ty Majeski, Jeff Storm, Ryan Hinner, Chris Wimmer, James Swan, Kelsey Bauer, Eugene Gregorich Jr., Jason Weinkauf, Jesse Pokszyk, Andrew Morrissey, Chris Weinkauf, Thor Anderson, Clint Sillars.