Sunday, July 15, 2018

Gus Dean with emotional ARCA win at ELKO

Gus Dean #32 from Bluffton (SC) scored an emotional win for owner Kevin Cywinski and Win-Tron racing on Saturday night during the ARCA racing series presented by Menards Sioux Chief PowerPex250 presented by CW Metals and MatrixCare at Elko Speedway.

His crew chief Jamie Jones made a daring call to not pit for tires on lap 60 of the 250 lap race when almost all the other cars on the lead lap did so, the only other car not to pit was the #77 of Joe Graf Jr.

Gus Dean had the lead after that first caution period and led the race for 9 laps but then the strategy almost backfired as there was a long green flag run after that caution, Gus Dean went a lap down on older tires and then actually spun on the track on lap 160 putting him two laps down.  Dean then pitted for tires with the rest of the teams, but the difference was that his team had an extra set of tires as a result of not pitting on that first caution.  Dean did a great job of racing hard and being in position for the free pass.  Numerous cautions mid-race made it possible for him to get back on the lead lap and with those extra tires in the pits he had the advantage the last race run.

Here is the audio recap of the race with interviews included ARCA Recap

Sixteen year old Chandler Smith #20 was dominant for a large portion of the race and at one time had a half lap lead, he led 160 of the 250 laps in total.  Chase Purdy #8 and Chandler Smith  had a great battle for the lead after multiple restarts, after one of the restarts Smith spun, he went to the tail of the field and the car never seemed to be the same, he finished 6th.

Chase Purdy #8 had the lead for 31 laps and looked to be on the way to his first career win until disaster struck with less than 10 laps remaining in the race, in dramatic fashion his car erupted into flames and the race was red flagged.

Here is the Race Call of that event by Elko Speedway announcers Jason Searcy and Dean Reller.  Chase Purdy fire Race Call

After a lengthy cleanup the final few laps of the race was very exciting and the large crowd rose to it's feet in unison.  Here was the race call with Jason and Dean.  Final Laps of 2018 ARCA race at ELKO

Gus Dean #32 was the winner, the margin of victory was .857, this was his first win for Win-Tron racing.
Here is our interview with an excited Gus Dean Winner interview at ELKO

The only other car on the same tire strategy as Gus Dean was the #77 car driven by Joe Graf Jr who drove a Bando car at Elko Speedway ten years ago when lived in Medina (MN) up until the age of 11, then the family moved to New Jersey.   Graf Jr drove a great race but was disappointed to finish in 3rd place after getting moved up the track by Gus Dean on the final restart.

The second place finisher was #15 Christian Eckes from Middletown (NY), he also finished second in this race at Elko Speedway in 2017.  Earlier in the evening Eckes earned his first career General Pole fast time award.    Here is his post race interview Christian Eckes interview

Local favorite #25 Natalie Decker drove a very smart race, she stayed on the lead lap and was aggressive late and moved up to finish a tie for her career best of 5th place.  Here is our post race interview with her Natalie Decker Interview

Point leader #28 Sheldon Creed had a tough night and finished 15th, second in points #41 Zane Smith started up front but faded back quickly, he finished a disappointing 12th.  Joe Gibbs developmental driver #18 Riley Herbst was in contention all night and finished 4th after starting the race last due to a part failure in qualifying, here is our post race interview with him Riley Herbst ELKO interview

Final Results:

1- #32 Gus Dean
2- #15 Christian Eckes
3- #77 Joe Graf Jr
4- #18 Riley Herbst
5- #25 Natalie Decker
6- #20 Chandler Smith
7- #27 Travis Braden
8- #78 Blaine Perkins
9- #55 Eddie Fatscher
10- #2 Robert Bruce
11- #34 Mike Basham
12- #41 Zane Smith
13- #3 Willie Mullins
14- #8 Chase Purdy
15- #28 Sheldon Creed
16- #11 Dick Dohney
17- #48 Brad Smith
18- #10 Darrell Basham

The time of the race was 1hr 29min.

Former Viking player and current Vikings radio Color Commentator Pete Bercich is a big motorsports fan and was in attendance at the race.  MavTV broadcast the race LIVE.

Listen to Speed Talk on 1360 radio Saturday 10-11am for a full recap of this event.  Listen on the free Tunein app by searching KRWC or

*Jason Searcy and Tom Venturini photos

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Mullins proving a small team can have success in ARCA

By Jason D Searcy

Willie Mullins #3 from Fredricksburg (VA) is looking to prove a point, that a small team can have success in the big money world of ARCA racing.

Mullins is a former Road Racer who raced at his local track at Summit Point in Jefferson County in West Virginia for years before making the jump to the ARCA series. "We wanted to make the next step and do something a little bit different," said Mullins.  His team started racing old ARCA cars at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville (NJ) beginning in 2008, he had moderate success and eventually scored a Top 15 finish in 2012.

The team acquired an old NASCAR series car that was once from the Robert Yates stable, it was one of the cars raced by Elliott Sadler, then it came to the ARCA series and reached victory lane with Grant Enfinger behind the wheel.  Willie and the team went Super Speedway racing and they scored an 8th place finish the very first time he raced at the high banks of Daytona International Speedway in 2016.

They are a very small team that has had success racing against some big budget operations like Venturini Motorsports and Driver Development programs from Joe Gibbs and Jack Roush.  This February Mullins scored a career best finish at Daytona by avoiding the wrecks and staying out of trouble the first 2/3rds of the race, then getting aggressive and moving up at the end to finish in second place.

Mullins says that ARCA has made some changes that have helped even the playing field, including the new engine package. "The first key is the Ilmor 396, when we brought that out the first year we finished 8th at Daytona, before that if we would've had a Triad engine, we would've been at Top 20 car at best," said Mullins.

The new Five Star body package has also benefited the smaller teams who made the investment in a new body, "that has closed up the field a little more," said Mullins "you don't have to have wind tunnel time and you don't have to have all the tricks on the body to be competitive."

The team has also stayed competitive by limiting their schedule to the biggest tracks on the schedule, (Daytona and Talladega) and now coming to the smallest track on the schedule, the 3/8th mile oval at Elko (MN) Speedway.  "ELKO is such a short track you have to be up on the wheel, you've got to attack every corner and have to be trying to get to the front, if not the leader will catch you" said Mullins "if we can stay on the lead lap the first 3/4 of the race, then we can run to the front at the end."

Willie Mullins had problems during a pit spot and finished fourteenth at Elko Speedway in 2017 but is looking for a better finish this year.  They have hired pit crew members that all have experience in the NASCAR Cup Series and they will pit both his car and his teammate Robert Bruce who is driving the #2 car.  Kevin Belmont, brother of long-time NASCAR driver Andy Belmont, will be the spotter for Willie at Elko Speedway.

Expectations are high for the Willie Mullins and Robert Bruce teams as they go into the Elko Speedway race on Saturday July 15th.  Gates open at 1pm, General Pole Qualifying at 5:45pm, Autograph session at 7:15pm and the Race will begin at 9pm.  It also will be broadcast LIVE on MavTV.  Get more information at or

Both cars this weekend racing at the ARCA Sioux Chief PowerPex 250 presented by CW Metals and MatrixCare at Elko Speedway will be sponsored by CW Metals in Monticello (MN).  Willie and Robert Bruce will be at CW Metals for an Open House on Friday July 13th 2018 from 10am-2pm.  Free Food and Prizes will be given away plus tours of the facility.

Both Dean and Jason will be at this event reporting for Speed Talk on 1360 radio and will be doing a LIVE remote broadcast on KRWC radio 1360am.

Here is an interview done with Willie on KRWC in 2017 Willie 2017 on Speed Talk
Here is an interview done with Willie on KRWC in 2018 Willie Interview on Speed Talk 2018

Listen for Speed Talk on 1360 Radio every Saturday 10-11am on or search KRWC on the free Tunein app.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Hinchcliffe Wins IndyCar Iowa Corn 300

The mayor of Hinchtown takes his second win at Iowa.  James Hinchcliffe made a late race pass of dominant Josef Newgarden to win the IndyCar Iowa Corn 300 at the Iowa Speedway.

Josef Newgarden took the lead early on and dominated most of the race, but it was Hinchcliffe who made a great run in the last 50 laps that really locked up his bid for the win.  With 50 remaining, Hinch moved by second running Pigot and then 5 laps later, he moved by Newgarden to take the lead.  The blistering pace set by Newgarden coupled with only one caution (on lap 139) for Zach Veach put all but five cars on the lead lap headed into the stretch run.  It looked all but certain for Hinchcliffe, but Ed Carpenter spun to bring out the yellow with seven laps remaining.  With too little time remaining, the race ended under yellow giving the win to Hinchcliffe.  Pigot would finish second, Takuma Sato took home third, while Newgarden finished a disappointing fourth.

Results Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway

1. James Hinchcliffe
2. Spencer Pigot
3. Takuma Sato
4. Josef Newgarden
5. Robert Wickens
6. Will Power
7. Graham Rahal
8. Simon Pagenaud
9. Alexander Rossi
10. Ed Carpenter
11. Sebastian Bourdais
12. Scott Dixon
13. Ed Jones
14. Charlie Kimball
15. Max Chilton
16. Marco Andretti
17. Tony Kanan
18. Zachary Claman De Melo
19. Ryan Hunter-Reay
20. Zach Veach
21. Gabby Chaves
22. Matheus Leist

Time of Race: 1:47:32.4666 seconds
Average Speed: 149.636
MOV: Under Caution
Lead Changes: 4
Cautions: 2 for 17 laps
Lap Leaders: Josef Newgarden 229, James Hinchcliffe 45, Will Power 23, Takuma Sato 3

Listen to Speed Talk on 1360 radio Saturdays 10-11am on or on the free Tunein app by searching KRWC

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Creed Wins ARCA Fans With Benefits 150 at Iowa Speedway

ARCA Racing Series Points leader Sheldon Creed added a few more to the talley as he won the Fans With Benefits 150 at the Iowa Speedway.  Creed started from the pole and was at or near the front most of the race as he recorded his 3rd career ARCA win and his third win of the season.

Michael Self took the lead from Creed and after a pit stop that put him back a few spots it was a restart tangle with Riley Herbst who had a similar fate that knocked both out of contention for the win.

Hear from race winner Sheldon Creed here

Chandler Smith came home in second.
Hear from 2nd place Chandler Smith here

Chase Purdy finished 3rd

Zane Smith finished fourth.
Hear from 4th finishing Zane Smith here.

Harrison Burton finished in 6th.
Hear from 6th finishing Harrison Burton here

Natalie Decker had a rough going as she finished 16th.  She is looking forward to the next race at Elko Speedway.
Hear from Natalie Decker here

Results:  ARCA Racing Series Fans With Benefits 150 at Iowa Speedway
1. Sheldon Creed
2. Chandler Smith
3. Chase Purdy
4. Zane Smith
5. Joe Graf Jr.
6. Harrison Burton
7. Mason Mitchell
8. Bret Holmes
9. Travis Braden
10. Sam Mayer
11. Christian Eckes
12. Max Tullman
13. Rick Clifton
14. Darrell Basham
15. Brad Smith
16. Natalie Decker
17. Riley Herbst
18. Michael Self
19. David Sear
20. Gus Dean
21. Dick Doheny
22. Con Nicolopolous
23. Wayne Peterson

Margin of Victory: .239 seconds
Cautions: 5 for 30 laps
Time of Race: 1:19:56
Average Speed 98.521 mph
Lap Leaders:  Sheldon Creed 1-18, 74-85, 87, 96, 101-109, 111-150 (81); Michael Self 19-37, 39-63 (44); Riley Herbst 38, 64-66 (4); Harrison Burton 67 (1); Zane Smith 68-73, 86, 88-95, 110 (16); Joe Graf Jr. 97-99 (3); Travis Braden 100 (1)

Listen to Speed Talk on 1360 Radio Saturdays 10-11am on or on the free tunein app by searching KRWC