WEST SALEM, Wis. (October 5, 2019) - Jerry Brickner flexed his muscle at the right time as he cruised to a dominating win in Friday's Midwest Truck Series Oktoberfest 25 at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway.
The win was Brickner's second of 2019 after capturing victory in the season's lid-lifter at Madison back in May. He said the win felt like something of a relief.
"We've had our struggles since Madison, so to pick up this win tonight feels really special," Brickner said after the race. "Our team has worked really hard to get back here all year."
Brickner secured the lead from fellow front-row starter Jason Stark on a lap-one restart. Stark led the initial lap and was afforded the opportunity to restart from the inside. Brickner decided to remain in the front row for the double-file restart and flanked Stark to the outside. The move paid dividends.
"I knew we had a strong enough truck to get it done on the restart, so I wasn't afraid to take the outside," Brickner said.
As the field roared back into turn one under green, Stark bobbled slightly. Brickner was able to use his momentum from the outside line to secure the lead and build up his advantage. In the Second spot, Stark did the same over the rest of the field.
Perhaps the most furious battle of the race was for Third. James Swan and Kevin Kneuse went toe-to-toe for nearly ten laps as they disputed the final podium spot. Eventually Swan pushed ahead and looked to track down Stark.
Kneuse would be left to deal with some other heavy hitters including John Ovadal, Mike Corvo, Chester Ave, and Fast Qualifier Levon Van Der Geest. Van Der Geest proved to have an incredibly strong truck throughout the afternoon and evening as he set a new track record during qualifying. From his 11th Place starting spot, he patiently picked his way into the Top Five.
In the second half of the race Swan was able to track down Stark and make the pass for Second around the outside. The grouping of Ovadal, Ace, and Van Der Geest would close in on Third spot in the final laps. In the four-truck tussle, Van Der Geest shot around the outside with just two laps remaining to secure Third.
Although Brickner's lead dwindled, it was still too much of a margin for Swan to overcome. Van Der Geest went on for a Third Place finish and secured the 2019 Midwest Truck Series Championship with one event still remaining.