By: Paul Reichert
May 5, 2019
After being snowed out at Rockford a few weeks ago, the Mid-American Stock Car Series finally kicked off their season as part of the Joe Shear Classic at Madison International Speedway on Sunday. During the banquet back in January, there was a ‘spirited’ discussion about letting the cars from the former Great Northern Sportsmen Series be a part of the Mid-American series. 2018 GNSS champion Jason Thoma led that discussion. Thoma would capture the first win of the season, although the rain ended the race a little early.
Champions occupied the front row as Madison Sportsmen champion Jay Kalbus and multi-time Mid-American champion Bill Prietzel brought the field to the first green flag of the season. ‘The Franklin Flyer’ wasted little time charging by Kalbus and taking command of the race. Jason Thoma started sixth and jumped up to third by lap two. Veteran Bobby Gutknecht got around Jeff McClintock and took over fifth spot. When Kalbus ran wide in turns one and two on lap three, Thoma shot by him and took over second. That also allowed Gutknecht, reigning series champion Ron Vandermeir, Jr. and former series champion Jeff Holtz to dismiss Kalbus from the top five. Thoma closed down on Prietzel, and by lap five got his nose under the 5 machine to surge into the lead. Gutknecht again followed Thoma and dropped Prietzel back to third. A lap later, Vandermeir, Jr. and Holtz both got by Preitzel and sent him back to fifth. The front five would hold their positions until with seven laps to go. Vandermeir, Jr. got around Gutknecht to claim second. A lap later, Holtz would drop Gutknecht back another position. Meanwhile, veteran Mark Pluer took fifth from Prietzel in turn one but then lost the position to former series champion Ryan Gutknecht. Rookie Mitch Haver spun out in turn two to bring out the caution, and then the rain arrived. The rain forced officials to call the race five laps from the end and prevented a Mid-American vs. GNSS shootout from happening. Thoma was credited as the winner, with Vandermeir, Jr. Holtz, Bobby and Ryan Gutknecht completing the top five. Holtz claimed the top spot in qualifying with a 19.229 second lap.
The Mid-American Stock Car Series will now take a few weeks off before returning to action on Memorial Day. They will again join the ARCA Midwest Tour, this time at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna and be a part of their Triple 50s show. Keep up to date on what’s happening with the Mid-American Stock Car Series by checking out their Facebook page or visit gopromo.racing/midam/.