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Hiatus from Mid-American Doesn’t Faze Haese in Vercauteren Memorial

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Gregg Haese

Hiatus from Mid-American Doesn’t Faze Haese in Vercauteren Memorial

Matt Panure
Mid American Stock Car Series
June 27, 2009

FRANCIS CREEK, Wis., (June 27, 2009) – Gregg Haese spent Saturday morning preparing for the Mid-American Stock Car Series’ running of the Vercauteren Memorial just as any racer would – soaking up the sun along the shores of Lake Michigan. The relaxing sounds of the waves coupled with Haese’s already calm demeanor made for a smooth run into victory lane and Haese’s second Vercauteren Memorial win in ten years.

The 1998 MASCS Rookie of the Year picked up his first Vercauteren Memorial win in 1999 at Wisconsin International Raceway. Since that time, Haese has picked up prestigious super late model wins at tracks around the Midwest. His last MASCS race was April 13, 2008 in the Spring Classic at Rockford Speedway.

A second engraving of Haese’s name on the Harold and Regina Vercauteren traveling trophy allowed him to reflect upon his first Vercauteren Memorial win. “That was a real special moment,” said Haese. “It was one of my first big wins in Mid-American before I went on to racing super late models.”

Wheeling the Monte Carlo driven on a weekly basis at 141 by Jesse Fuller, Haese looked as though he had not lost the form which he used to capture three Mid-American championships at the venue earlier in his career. The vehicle, itself, certainly proved capable earlier this season when Fuller took a feature win on May 23.

When the green flag fell on the 21-car starting field, the outside line was fair game for anyone who dared to test it. Josh Sand shot into the lead to the outside of Mike Beyer, with Crystal Wood and Haese to follow four laps later.

With Wood and Haese trying to make up ground on Sand, the only caution of the 50-lap event fell for a spin on lap six. Haese restarted on the outside of Wood with Sand alone in the front row. Behind them, 141 standout Jimbo Schleis had moved into fourth.

On the restart, Haese moved around Wood into second. At that time, Beyer’s troubled machine began to fade as he fell outside of the top five and eventually pulled into the pit area. The scramble which ensued allowed Bill Prietzel to sneak into third by lap ten.

After securing second on lap seven, Haese began to dance in the rear view mirror of Sand. Over the next 15 laps, Haese dove low, swung high and rode the bumper of Sand’s machine. Finally, on lap 26, Haese was able to pull even with Sand on the outside.

“I kept working on him and he got a little sore in the center,” Haese analyzed. After a three-lap side-by-side battle, Haese wrestled the lead away from Sand for good and checked out.

Sand stayed put in second, Prietzel was third, Schleis grabbed fourth and Travis Rodewald rounded out the top five. Other Mid-American regulars who finished in the top ten were Mark Pluer (sixth), Norway winner Lyle Nowak (ninth), and Crystal Wood (tenth).

As is the case whenever Mid-American competitors challenge the tough local contingent of the 141 Speedway, feature spots were difficult to obtain. Of the 21 starting the Vercauteren Memorial, eleven were Mid-American travelers.

MASCS point leader Paul Neisius had to accept a provisional to make the main, but made the most of it by moving from 19th to 11th. Entering the evening, Neisius held a slim lead over Prietzel in Mid-American standings.

Scott Null was awarded the Wehrs Machine Hard Luck Award. Null was cruising out front of qualifying heat two when his car stalled under caution, costing him a sure transfer spot into the Vercauteren Memorial.

Earlier in the evening, Daryl Gerke set fast time with a lap of 12.343 seconds.

The Mid-American Stock Car Series will take a month-long break before its next event, Dells Duel Part Two, at Dells Raceway Park on Saturday, July 25. For more information on DRP, visit its website www.dellsracewaypark.com

For more information about the Mid-American Stock Car Series, including results, the current 2009 standings, the 2009 schedule and driver information please visit www.midamericanracing.com.

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