Jonathan Eilen in victory lane. (ARCA Midwest Tour photo)
RIB MOUNTAIN, Wis. — Jonathan Eilen ended a 9-year, five-day drought in the ARCA Midwest Tour by winning the Larry Detjens Memorial 125 Sunday afternoon at State Park Speedway.
The Minnesota driver inherited the lead with three laps to go, after five-time Midwest Tour champion and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoff contender Ty Majeski and two-time defending Midwest Tour champion Casey Johnson got together in turn one while battling for the lead causing Majeski to spin.
Majeski took over the top spot on lap 23 from early leader Chris Weinkauf after being the first to choose the outside lane after the first caution for a spin.
Johnson would get by Weinkauf for the second spot three laps later, but Majeski was able to pull away and hold on to a solid lead.
Eilen would stay in the top ten all race long, working his way up to third by lap 59. He fell back to fourth on lap 90, but got back to third on lap 113.
Up front, Johnson continued to try to track down Majeski for the top spot.
On the restart after the final caution with 14 laps to go, Majeski and Johnson put on a battle that had the fans on the edge of their seats. Lap after lap, Johnson was looking for a way to get by Majeski.
With three to go, Johnson got to the back of Majeski going into turn one, causing Majeski to spin and bring out the final caution. Both drivers were sent to the rear of the lead lap cars for their involvement.
Eilen inherited the lead and held off Jeremy Lepak over the final three circuits to get the victory.
He wasn’t the only member of the Eilen family to win on Sunday, his son Kelby won his first feature in the senior Honda quarter midget division at Little Elko Speedway.
“Oh man, it means the world to me to get this win today. Words really can’t describe how this feels, it felt good to get back into victory lane,” Eilen said after the race. “What is really cool is that while I was here racing, my oldest son got his first big win today in a quarter midget. This will be a day I won’t forget. This will be one we will be looking back at for years.”
Immediately following the race, Johnson, who finished ninth, went over and talked to Majeski, who finished eighth.
“I don’t know what to say, I honestly don’t think I poked him but if I did it wasn’t intentional,” Johnson said. “We had a great race going and I would have liked to continue the battle.”
Majeski shared the same mutual feeling.
“It was two hard racers going at it,” Majeski explained. “I couldn’t get my car to fire and I knew I was vulnerable on that last restart 14 to go. I was fighting a car that was free on entry and he got in the back of me, which didn’t take much with how my car was handling. In my opinion it was two hard racers going at it. We talked about it like we should and we are good. I’m not mad at Casey, we both wanted to win.”
Luke Fenhaus recovered from an early spin to finish in the final podium position. Travis Volm was fourth, with Kolten Guralski rounding out the top five.