KNUESE ROLLS TO OKTOBERFEST MIDWEST TRUCK WIN
WEST SALEM, Wis. (October 12, 2020) – Any racer will tell you there is nothing more satisfying than a win at a track that is normally trouble for them. Veteran racer Kevin Knuese finally tamed a track he’s been testing throughout his career.
Knuese broke away from Danielle Behn on a restart with ten laps remaining in Saturday night’s Midwest Truck Series Clutch Energy Oktoberfest 25-lap feature at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway.
“This track normally is a struggle for us, but we worked on it and worked on it, and it came in for us,” Knuese said. “It’s not too often you can say you’re an Oktoberfest winner, so I’m very excited about that.”
Persistence was key for Knuese in picking up the victory. He attempted to take the lead from Behn on a lap-six restart only to see Behn pull away. His second foray to the outside on the lap-15 restart proved to be worth the gamble.
“I knew there was 10 to go and the trucks behind us were super fast, so we were going to do whatever Danielle didn’t,” Knuese said of his lane choice for the restart. “She had been getting good starts so we just had to anticipate a little bit more because I knew if she got gone, we’d be in trouble.”
“I rolled, rolled and closed my eyes. When I opened my eyes, we were side by side, so it worked out well.”
Behn grabbed the initial lead by darting away from fellow front-row starter Jake Arneson. As Behn began to build her advantage, Knuese made a quick move into second around the outside of Arneson. He brought top Midwest Truck Series rookie Bryce Miller along for the ride into the top three.
Miller soon was challenged by James Swan. The two raced side-by-side for three laps until making contact heading into turn one. Miller spun and backed into the outside retaining wall, while Swan was sent to the tail. He would charge back to a Ninth Place finish.
On the restart Knuese jumped away from Behn, but the green flag was short lived as Bradley Gajewski had the hood flop up on his truck. The second time the green fell Behn was able to get away, leaving Knuese to deal with Joe Valento and Fast Qualifier Levon Van Der Geest.
As Behn built up her advantage, Knuese fought furiously to hold off Valento. The two made contact entering turn one on lap 11. Valento was able to hold on as Knuese secured second. Four laps later the final caution fell setting up the duel between Knuese and Behn.
In the final circuits, Behn started to reel in Knuese while holding off the advances of Van Der Geest. Both were able to close in on Knuese, but simply ran out of time and would settle for Second and Third.
After experiencing transmission issues earlier in the day, Behn was pleased with a Second Place finish, and curious if a longer run at the end of the race may have played into her favor.
“This truck was getting better the longer the runs went, but Knuese was pretty quick, so I’m not really sure,” Behn said when asked if she could pose a late challenge to Knuese.
Behind her, Van Der Geest rounded out a solid day that will see him leave with the point lead. He entered 19 points back. A fast time, Fifth Place finish in the heat, and Third Place feature finish left the defending Midwest Truck Champion with a jump in his step heading into the season-ending event on October 24 at Dells Raceway Park.
“I was just in it to not do anything crazy,” Van Der Geest said. “I didn’t need the win, so I was just trying to get a top three and extend that point lead. I was trying as hard as I could at the end, but they had some fast trucks.”
The Midwest Truck Series will round out the 2020 season on Saturday, October 24 at Dells Raceway Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., as part of the Falloween event. Qualifying is at 1:30 with racing beginning at 3 pm. For more information visit www.midwesttruckseries.com or www.dellsracewaypark.com