By: Paul Reichert
October 26, 2019
The battle for the 2019 Mid-American Stock Car Series championship came down to the reigning series champion going up against a long standing veteran of the series. Both were determined to add a victory in the final race of the season at the 54th annual National Short Track Championships at the Rockford Speedway. Reigning series champion Ron Vandermeir, Jr. battled Cody Clubb for much of the race, then Bobby Gutknecht over the final four lap shootout to capture his third win of the year. The win also locked up the season championship for Vandermeir, Jr. over Gutknecht.
Starting on the outside of the front row, Ron Vandermeir, Jr. powered past Jason Thoma to take the lead at the start of the 50-lap feature. Thoma would fall back into the field as he was stuck on the inside groove. Cody Clubb would power past Thoma for second on lap two, then Kyle Shear would drop Thoma another position on lap three. Bobby Gutknecht took fourth away from Thoma in turns one and two on lap four, then in turns three and four former Rockford winner Mark Pluer would crack the top five. Vandermeir, Jr. and Clubb slowly started to open some distance on the field as they continued their battle over the lead. Gutknecht would dive under Shear on lap 17 to take over the third spot. As the field closed in on the halfway mark, Thoma found new life as he returned to the top five at Pluer’s expense. A lap later, Thoma drove around Shear to move into fourth place. Jeff Wakeman had a strong Mid-American car today as he got around Shear to enter the top five on lap 23. The leaders encountered lap traffic just before halfway, and that allowed Clubb to close up on Vandermeir, Jr.’s rear bumper.
Once the leaders got through the lap traffic, Vandermeir, Jr. began to open his advantage on Clubb up once again. Wakeman’s strong race continued as he powered under Thoma to settle into fourth on lap 36. The lone yellow flag of the race came out with four laps to go when Ryan Gutknecht spun out in turns three and four. Dale Lecus, Jr. and Shear also spun to avoid Gutknecht’s machine. That would set up a single file four lap shootout. On the restart, Vandermeir, Jr. got a bit sideways in turns one and two. Clubb had to check up, which allowed Bobby Gutknecht to dive under Clubb and take over the runner-up spot. Now the two drivers fighting over the season championship would also settle the race win between them. Vandermeir, Jr. would maintain his advantage over Guktnecht over the final few laps to not only win the battle, but also win the war and capture his second straight Mid-American Stock Car Series championship. Clubb held onto third, Wakeman took fourth and Madison winner Thoma came home in fifth.
Jeff Holtz picked up the Wehrs Machine “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” award after turning a quick lap in group qualifying of 14.145 seconds. Trying to claim one of the eight spots in the feature from the last chance qualifier was a war in itself. While the race was cut short at the halfway mark due to a high rate of attrition, Rockford Sportsmen regular Adam Cartwright scored the win. He was joined by John Ventrello, Tristan Batson, Andrew Meyerhofer, Vince Kuebles, Aaron Shelton, Luke Baldwin and Dale Lecus, Jr. in advancing to the A-main. Two provisionals were awarded to Nick Clubb and veteran Kenny Joosten. Now we celebrate the 2019 season with our Championship Banquet. The Mid-American Stock Car Series will join the competitors at Tomah-Sparta Speedway in celebrating the season just completed at Club 16 in Sparta on November 9. Visit gopromo.racing and look for the banquet form to order your tickets today and select the drivers for the awards that will be handed out.