WEST SALEM, Wis. — Race fans got a break from the rain, and were treated to an exciting night of racing on day three of the 49th Oktoberfest Race Weekend at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway.
Drama was the theme on this Championship Saturday as titles were decided in the Big 8 Late Model Series, the Mid-American Stock Car Series and the Midwest Dash Series with Michael Bilderback capturing the 38-lap Big 8 series headliner after Ty Majeski was disqualified.
Front row starter and former series champion Bilderback surged by Cole Howland to take the lead early on in the Big 8 feature.
After a yellow flag on lap six, Bilderback build up a huge lead and looked like he would score a runaway win. A little further back, Majeski would work his way through the field from his 11th starting spot. Majeski would break into the top five by the halfway mark. Majeski would get around Bobby Wilberg, Cole Howland and Jacob Goede to move into second by lap 25. Now the chase was on to track down Bilderback.
With seven laps to go, lap traffic would slow up Bilderback and allow Majeski to close the gap. They would encounter more lap traffic with four to go. Majeski made a daring move to surge by Bilderback to assume command of the race with three laps to go. Majeski would drive away with his third straight Oktoberfest Big 8 feature.
Following the race, Majeski’s car failed post-race inspection by Big 8 Series tech officials. As a result, Bilderback was declared the winner of the race.
Goede was elevated to second ahead of Steve Carlson, who completed the podium.
While Jeremy Miller ran 14th in the end, Miller would go out in style in his final race claiming his record fifth Big 8 championship.
The final feature event for the Mid-American Stock Car Series had a lot of excitement also. James Swan would lead the opening five laps of the 30 lapper, but LaCrosse Sportsmen regular Tom Luethe would charge by the veteran for the lead on lap six.
A few laps later, former Mid-Am champ Ryan Guktnecht would take over the top spot. Guktnecht was pulling away from the field, but Luethe caught a second wind and slowly started to reel in the leader. Luethe would pass Gutknecht with five to go.
Dan Gilster would move up to second a lap later as Gutknecht fell backwards through the field. Gilster would watch his nephew claim his first Mid-American victory. Ron Vandermeir Jr. wound up in sixth place, and that was good enough to wrap up the 2018 Mid-American Stock Car championship.
The Midwest Dash Series 20-lap season finale had plenty of drama. It started before the racing with Brandon DeLacy’s mechanical issues during practice that put his car on the shelf. In the feature, George Seliger quickly built a huge lead.
Veteran Dash competitor Phil Malouf would track down Seliger and made things very entertaining. The leaders encountered lap traffic with six to go, and they would be joined by George Sparkman.
The Loves Park veteran got by Malouf for second with four to go. The final laps would be a battle of the Georges, with Seliger holding off Sparkman for the win. With Seliger winning and DeLacy finishing 10th in Lyle Phillip’s car, Seliger captured the 2018 Midwest Dash championship.