Haseleu holds off Zehr in tight ARCA race at Norway
By GREGG PAUL
For The Daily News
NORWAY – Nathan Haseleu captured his second consecutive ARCA Midwest Tour win Friday at Norway Speedway.
A fitting triumph not only as it was a 100-lap race sponsored by DOC 360, but in the way that Haseleu spent two-thirds of the race fending off Dalton Zehr for the checkers.
A clean, well fought battle that Haseleu knew he was in the thick of.
“It was a lot of work,” said Haseleu. “He (Zehr) was there and a little bit faster at times, then we’d get away a little bit, like a car length or whatever. They kept counting the laps down and it got to 10 and to five and I thought if he doesn’t hit me to move me out of the way I think I can hold him off.”
Before Haseleu had the chance to hold off Zehr, he had to work his way to the front from his ninth starting position.
Jeremy Miller brought out the yellow when he spun in turn 3 and several cars piled in trying to avoid. The Weinkauf brothers both got a piece of the accident, along with NASCAR veteran Rich Bickle. Jason Weinkauf and Bickle went through the grass to the outside of turn three.
There were ten laps to go and Haseleu could not shake off Zehr. Haseleu continued to be better off the corners whereas Zehr made up ground entering the corners. With the laps winding down, Zehr knew he had to make a move soon.
Every time Zehr tried to make that move, Haseleu had the perfect counter move. Zehr would dive to the bottom and Haseleu pinched him just enough to hold him back. Finally Zehr just ran out of time as Haseleu made it to the checkers a mere .02 seconds ahead of Zehr.
“He drove me real clean,” said Haseleu. “We were able to beat him to the checkers. He might have bumped me a little bit, but not enough to move me completely out of the way. We’ve built a lot of traction into the car the last couple of years to try to get down the straight-aways and it seemed to work out pretty good.”
Not only did Haseleu have to hold off Zehr, but he had to navigate through the constant dust storm from the many cars running their wheels off the racing surface.
“I’ve never raced on dirt before but I’m assuming it is something like that,” said Haseleu. “Every year when we come here there’s a lot of people dropping off. There’s a lot of dirt and rocks and everything flying around.”
Zehr tried everything he could to get around Haseleu, except for merely punting him out of the way.
“I made the wrong choice picking the inside, whenever I lost the lead,” said Zehr. “Normally the inside has a pretty good start here but it seemed like side by side the outside was the place to be. It was impossible to get out there and actually start a pass, so it made for a tough, tough track to get next to a guy.”
Jeff Storm of Waterford, Wis., Dan Fredrickson of Lakeville, Minn., and Chris Wimmer of Wausau rounded out the top five.
From the area, Escanaba’s Jamie Iverson placed eighth; Bark River’s Shawn Majkrzak, 15th; Tom Lindquist, Escanaba, 17th; Dillon Kralovetz, Bonduel, 18th; Dan Lindsley, Norway, 19th, and Joey Pontbriand, Norway, 20th.
Wisconsin Sport trucks will join the Norway Speedway program this week along with the Coca-Cola late models, Auto Value super stocks and DQ-Dog four cylinders.
Feature – 1. Nathan Haseleu; 2. Dalton Zehr; 3. Jeff Storm; 4. Dan Fredrickson; 5. Chris Wimmer; 6. Jonathan Eilen; 7. James Swan; 8. Jamie Iverson; 9. Chris Weinkauf; 10. Tom Gee Jr
Fast qualifier -Chris Weinkauf, time of 14.302, average speed of 83.904.
Qualifier – Jamie Iverson.
Dash – Dan Lindsley.
Feature – 1. Tanner Kelly 2.Ron Jenshak 3. Brett Bray 4. Mark Jenshak 5. Tim Schultz.
Fast qualifier – Mark Jenshak, time of 16.415, average speed of 73.104.
Heat – Tim Schultz.
Feature – Cody Skog.
Fast qualifier – Trevor Cronick, time of 18.211, average speed of 65.894.
Feature – 1. Derek Kraus 2. Kaleb Winter 3. Baily Bootz 4. Luke Fenhaus 5. Rock Christiansen.