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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Lyle Nowak


Matt Panure
Mid American Stock Car Series
September 11, 2010

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. (September 11, 2010) – High noon came a few hours late Saturday night in the Mid-American Stock Car Series September Showdown at Dells Raceway Park. After going toe-to-toe for the second half of the race, Lyle Nowak forced Travis Rodewald to blink first and swiped the lead on the final circuit of the 40-lap event.

Rodewald had led from the drop of the green flag and seemed assured of his first ever MASCS feature win. That was until Lyle Nowak got within striking distance and proved that patience is a virtue, and is accumulated through 32 years of short track racing.

A restart on lap 20 set up the lead battle. Nowak had moved from his seventh-place starting spot to third, negotiating both the inside and outside lines. After working his way past Bobby Gutknecht, Nowak had more than a straightaway to make up on the leader. That deficit was erased when Adam Bendzick and David McCalla made contact and spun in turn three.

The double-file restart pitted Rodewald solo on the front row with Nowak starting to the outside of second-place Matt Pyburn. Having broken away from Pyburn at the outset, Rodewald decided to throw a block to the high side. The maneuver deflated the momentum of Nowak and forced him to tuck in line behind Rodewald.

“Travis was running a really good line. I was trying to get past him the past ten or 15 laps,” Nowak said. “I would try on the outside and I couldn’t quite make the pass.”

Over the next 17 laps Nowak rode the back bumper of Rodewald, looking inside and outside. Unable to make the pass Nowak made a move that could have sealed a different fate. Nowak jumped to the outside and began to back-track. Third-place Tom McClintock slid to the inside on lap 31, allowing Rodewald to stretch his lead out. Help came in the form of a lapped car which set a pick for Nowak, who moved back into second and refocused his efforts on Rodewald.

Nowak continued to chop away at Rodewald’s lead, but knew time was running out, and knew Rodewald had a strong racer. He caught another break, however, when James Swan and Ryan Gutknecht made contact and spun on lap 37.

“I was hoping that when his tires cooled that maybe he wouldn’t be quite as good,” said Nowak.

Starting single-file Nowak kept close to Rodewald and decided to make his move exiting turn four heading to the line for the white flag.

“I wanted to try to time it coming through turn four,” Nowak said. “He drifted up the track a bit out of turn four and I was in a nice rhythm and had the throttle all the way to the floor at that time. We had enough momentum that we could get underneath him and move him off the bottom.”

The two remained side-by-side through turns one and two until Nowak powered down the backstretch and went on to win by a car length. McClintock finished third.

Mark Pluer placed fourth and earlier in the evening secured a win in the Hankscraft Inc. Dash for the Duel presented by Wintergreen Resort and Conference Center. Pluer received extra money from Hankscraft, and two meal vouchers and a room voucher from Wintergreen.

Second place turned out to be bittersweet for Rodewald. “Lyle actually had the better car than I did,” he said. “The car was fantastic tonight – the best I’ve had in a long time. At the end of the race, Lyle just had more than I had.”

With his second win of 2010, an absent Bill Prietzel and an early exit by fast qualifier Brian Back, who left with a crinkled hood and a hole in the radiator, Nowak grew his point lead to 48 markers.

“(I’m) just happy to be in the mix,” said Nowak who has claimed 16 track championships in his storied career. “To come into this touring series where you’re racing against some of the best drivers in four states, for us to be the point leader with three to go, I’m just tickled pink that we have a chance.”

Nowak will bring that point lead to a venue where he was victorious two seasons ago – Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wis. Mid-American is scheduled to compete at Wisconsin’s Fastest Half-mile on Saturday, Sept. 25 for the Capitol Classic.

Madison International Speedway is located a half mile off of WI Hwy 138 on Sunrise Rd in Oregon, Wis. For more information visit www.madisoninternationalspeedway.com

For more information about the Mid-American Stock Car Series, including the full 2010 schedule, results, standings and driver information visit www.midamericanracing.com.

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