ARCA Portion By Don Radebaugh

With cars wrecking every which way in his mirror, Austin Theriault edged Christian Eckes by about two feet at the final stripe to win the wild Shore Lunch 250 Saturday night at Elko Speedway. Theriault, in Ken Schrader’s No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Toyota, nudged Eckes out of the way inside of four laps remaining before Eckes rooted Theriault off the bottom lane coming to the checkered flag. With their cars locked together off turn four, Theriault held firm on the high side just long enough to earn his second career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards victory.

“This hasn’t really set in yet,” said Theriault. “We need a little time to process this one. We were running fourth or fifth through the middle of the race. Then we put four General Tires on it…that’s when it came to life. Those last few laps were rough…definitely a lot of back and forth. We got some marks on the car but we got the win.”

Eckes, after leading 91 laps, had to settle for second in the No. 15 Venturini Motorsports Toyota.
“We had a really fast 15 car,” said Eckes. “The General Tires had plenty of grip. I hate it for my guys. We’ve led every race we’ve run this year…we’re so close. I just couldn’t put it together at the end. Congratulations to Austin. It was really fun racing with him. That was really wild. I knew it was going to come down to the end…that’s what racing is all about. Great race.”

Riley Herbst finished third in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, which was probably a hard pill to swallow after leading 130 laps. Herbst, on a different pit strategy, was part of a multi-car pile-up coming under the checkered flag.

“We were fast…faster than everybody,” said Herbst. “We were going for the win on that last corner. I saw the smoke and came around to this mess.”

The “mess” that Herbst was referring to involved several cars fighting for position, including himself, Zane Smith, Shane Lee, Bret Holmes, Cole Anderson and Gus Dean.

Holmes slid through in fourth in the No. 23 Chevrolet.

“We needed this,” said Holmes. “We weren’t good enough on longer runs, but to come out with a solid top-five after the season we’ve had almost feels like a win. We needed to break our bad luck. I don’t know how we avoided the wreck but we made it through.”

Dean, with heavy right-side damage, barely squeezed through for fifth in the No. 32 GREE Cooling Products Toyota. He finished with heavy right-side damage.
“That was a “days of thunder” moment coming to the checkered flag,” said Dean. “All I saw was smoke. I knew the stripe was close, but we came out the other side. We were fortunate to make it through.”
Local Northfield, Minnesota favorite Cole Anderson was racing among the top-five in the No. 78 Mason Mitchell Motorsports Chevrolet, but got caught up in the same melee. He was still credited with the 10th finishing position but not without a wrecked race car.

“To be honest, we couldn’t see too much through all that smoke,” said Anderson. “I did see the 18 rough-housing in front of me. We saw the smoke…tried going low…not sure what happened from there. We had a great run. Everyone at Mason Mitchell Motorsports executed really well. Overall, it was a great night…hopefully we can build off it.”
Smith, with a badly-wrecked car, finished sixth. Smith was then transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.

Herbst, the fastest qualifier, jumped out into the lead at the onset and led the first 75 laps before pitting under caution with the majority of the leaders. Herbst took right-side tires only and quickly raced his way back into the lead, taking the top spot away from Dalton Sargeant, who didn’t pit. Herbst led up through lap 125 before Smith raced his way into the lead for 19 laps. Then Eckes took his turn up front, leading from lap 145 through 196 before Herbst, on four fresher tires, reclaimed the lead for the next six laps.

Herbst’s lead would be short-lived however when most of the front-runners came down pit road under caution for four fresh tires while Herbst stayed out. After the restart, Eckes got by Herbst for one lap, but Herbst took it right back to lead laps 204 through 208. Then Eckes got back by Herbst and led up through lap 245. That’s when Eckes got the nudge from Theriault, who got underneath Eckes. But Eckes returned the favor and wiggled Theriault from the lead on the 248th lap, only to give it up over the final two laps.

Theriault extended his point lead headed to Pocono. “To be back in the ARCA Series and have a run like this is amazing,” Theriault added. “I have such a good group of guys behind me on this Ken Schrader Racing team. Donnie Richeson (crew chief) made all the right calls. We didn’t have the dominate car but we had it when we needed it most. Thanks to Federated Auto Parts for coming on board to help us with this one.”

The ARCA Racing Series has a tight turnaround for Pocono Raceway where several teams will be testing Wednesday ahead of next Friday’s race, the General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible200 at Pocono.

1. Austin Theriault
2. Christian Eckes
3. Riley Herbst
4. Bret Holmes
5. Gus Dean
6. Cole Anderson
7. Zane Smith
8. Shane Lee
9. A.J. Fike
10. Dalton Sargeant
11. Justin Fontaine
12. Robert Bruce
13. Natalie Decker
14. Willie Mullins
15. Thomas Praytor
16. James Swanson
17. Brad Smith
18. Eric Caudell
19. Bobby Dale Earnhardt
20. Con Nicolopoulos
21. Mark Meunier
22. Will Kimmel

Eternity Homes Legends Portion By Jason D Searcy

Two-time defending Eternity Homes Great North Legends Champion #71 Derek Lemke from Shakopee (MN) won his second consecutive feature event to begin the 2017 season at Elko Speedway.

Lemke started the race third row inside but quickly made his move to the front. Travis Warling #90 took the lead on lap one but Lemke had the top spot the very next lap.  The big wreck happened in turn one on lap four and eight of the twenty-one cars that started the race were involved.  Lemke was just ahead of the trouble and then held onto the top spot the rest of the 20 lap event.

Jackson Lewis #7 was in a good battle for the runner-up position, he finished ahead of #17 Jon Lemke in third and #22 Shon Jacobson in fourth with pole sitter Warling coming across the stripe in fifth.

Full results and updated point standings will be posted mid-week at

Up next at ELKO is an Eve of Destruction sponsored by the Minnesota Lottery.  In addition to the debut of the new Hiway Federal Credit Union Late Model racing division, the night will feature Genz-Ryan Thunder Cars, Pepsi Power Stocks and Hornets.  The Raging Inferno Jet Powered Fire Truck will entertain along with The ATV Big Air show, Flippenout Extreme Trampoline Stunts, Figure 8 School Bus races and much more including music by Lost Highway in Champions Bar.  Gates open at 5pm and action begins at 6pm at Elko Speedway located 30 minutes South of Minneapolis just off of I-35 and County Road 2 in Elko (MN).  Get more information by following Elko Speedway on social media, going to or by calling (952) 461-7223.