By: Jana Wimmer
Austin Nason’s win Saturday night at Elko Speedway was no easy feat.
After jumping out to the early lead, Nason held off two of the best the Big 8 has to offer, but he did so successfully and picked up his second Big 8 Series win of the year.
“It was a pretty exciting race,” said Nason, “I didn’t think I could hold off two of the best people in the series.”
Nason, who qualified fifth, took the lead early and held it until the first caution flew on lap 12. Minnesota’s Joe Neisius got a good jump on the start next to Nason when the race resumed and took the lead, yet Nason didn’t let him get away. Just two laps later, Nason was all over the bumper of Neisius looking for a way to take the lead back. Nason stalked Neisius for three more laps then jumped to the outside line to make his move. The two then raced side by side before Nason got a good run and was able to reclaim the top spot just two laps later
As Nason took the lead, John DeAngelis then pressured Neisius for second. DeAngelis made an effort for second, but soon both he and Neisius had a mirror full of Chris Marek. Marek, the two-time and defending Elko Speedway champion, first made the move to the inside of DeAngelis for third on lap 23 and then set his sights on Neisius for second. Within two laps, Marek moved past Neisius and placed himself into second.
One lap after Marek moved to second, the caution flew as Jerry Mueller spun out in the corner. The stoppage allowed Marek to close himself up to the leader Nason. On the ensuing restart, Nason helped himself with a great start and held stepped back into the lead. Marek, however, stayed within a car length of the leader Nason. Lap after lap, Marek stalked Nason, unable to find a way around. With eight laps to remaining, Nason opened his lead up to three car lengths, the his biggest margin of the race, but the lead was short lived as the yellow flag waved for the final time with six laps to go.
The yellow flag allowed Big 8 Series point leader Casey Johnson, who had been working his way through the field, to close up on Nason and Marek. On the restart, Nason jumped to the lead again but this time Johnson, who restarted third, followed Nason past Marek and into second place.
Johnson closed to the bumper of Nason and pressured for the lead as the laps wound down. When the while flag flew, there was contact between Johnson and Nason, but Nason held off Johnson’s charge to win the 58 lap feature event
“If he would have gotten to me sooner I don’t think I could have held him off,” said Nason, “It took patience and for me to hit the right line every lap and protect the bottom.”
Johnson holds a 38 point lead over Nason in the Big 8 Series standings with two races remaining (September 27 at Rockford Speedway and October 4 at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway).