By Charles Krall ARCA
Jason D Searcy ELKO

July 14th, 2018 – Elko, MN

Gus Dean used a unique – if risky – pit strategy and had help from some well-timed caution flags to score his first ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards victory of 2018 in the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 250 at Elko Speedway presented by CW Metals and MatrixCare.

Dean stayed out under the first round of pit stops for the leaders at lap 60, and led until lap 68 before the drivers that took tires eventually caught him and worked their way past. Dean would eventually fall a lap down to leader Chandler Smith before spinning in turn two on lap 160, falling two laps off the pace. Dean pitted for four tires and took advantage of the cautions to regain track position and get back onto the lead lap.

Dean took the No. 32 Gree Cooling Products/Baker Distributing Chevrolet to lead for the first time on lap 237 and held off a strong challenge by Joe Graf, Jr. on a restart with three laps to go to score the victory. He defeated Christian Eckes, who started the No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota from the General Tire Pole, by 0.857 seconds to pick up his second career ARCA win. His first came in 2016 at Talladega Superspeedway.

“Joe (Graf, Jr.) got a little better restart that we did,” Dean said in victory lane. “We went down into one and he tried to crowd me down a little but I wasn’t going to give. It’s a couple of laps to go and we’re fighting for the win and we really needed this. I owe it all to my crew chief Jamie Jones. We needed to do something a little different and we tried some tire strategy. We were two laps down at one point but the cautions fell just right and we got back on the lead lap, got the two right side tires and here we are.”

The restart was setup after Chase Purdy’s No. 8 Bama Buggies Toyota erupted in flames down the backstretch and keyed an accident that also ensnared Eddie Fatscher in the No. 55 Jenel Construction Toyota. Purdy had led 21 laps, but contact with Dean as they battled for position left his car wounded, and he was dropping back through the field before eventually erupting into flames. Purdy was examined in the infield and released; he was uninjured.

On that restart, Graf got the jump and his No. 77 Big Tine Ford was scored as the leader on lap 247, but he and Dean made contact going into turn one and Graf was forced up the racetrack. He lost two positions, but regained one coming to the checkered to finish third.

“He did what he had to do, and I can’t say that I wouldn’t do the same thing,” a dejected Graf said after the race. “We’ll remember that one and go on to the next race. Chad Bryant and the guys gave me a great racecar and we ran really strong all night long. But it sure would be nice if one of these close races goes our way before too long.”

Riley Herbst finished fourth after starting from the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments after qualifying. Natalie Decker picked up her first career short track top-five finish in the No. 25 N29 Capital Partners Toyota.

There were eight caution flags for 62 laps, and one red flag. The yellows held the average speed to 62.570 miles per hour in a race that lasted one hour, 29 minutes and 54 seconds. There were 12 lead changes among four drivers with Chandler Smith leading 160 of the race’s 250 laps. Smith spun while battling for the lead with Purdy; he finished sixth.

The local portion of the race program had the Hiway Federal Credit Union Late Models take the stage and put on a great show in front of a huge crowd in attendance with 40 consecutive laps of racing at Elko Speedway without a caution. Adam Bendzick #21 led the first half of the race until #3 Chris Marek from Lakeville (MN) drove up from his 6th starting position and challenged for the lead. These two competitors raced side by side until Marek took over the point with 10 laps to go. Fast qualifier #71 Derek Lemke, who is from Minnesota but now lives in Charlotte (NC), started in the back of the field and was racing his way towards the front along with Dylan Moore #54 who was making his first start of the year. Marek fought back #6 Owin Giles and won by 0.817 seconds, Giles finished second, four time defending champion #72 Jacob Goede finished third after a spirited battle with Adam Bendzick in fourth and #7 Paul Paine in fifth. Steve Anderson #50 was sixth, #31 Ryan Varner seventh, Derek Lemke eighth, Dylan Moore ninth and #14 Devyn Stocker in tenth out of the 14 cars entered.

It was the third victory of the season for Chris Marek who is now second in the Late Model standings, 94 points behind Jacob Goede.

The NASCAR Whelen All American series racing continued at ELKO with an exciting Genz-Ryan Thunder Car 35 lap main event. Dave Reed #52 led the early portion of the race until #07 Dillon Sellner grabbed the lead on lap 6. Sellner led the way until #25 Eric Campbell from Lonsdale (MN) challenged him for the top spot, Campbell raced Sellner door to door until passing him with 10 laps remaining in the race. Good hard racing throughout the 13 car field but the yellow flag was never displayed in the race to the checkers. Campbell beat #3 Conrad Jorgenson to the finish line by 1.776 seconds, #99 Brent Kane was third, #37 Bryce Blohm fourth, #9 Adam Wiebusch fifth, fast qualifier #32 Jeremy Wolff sixth, Dillon Sellner dropped to seventh, Dave Reed to eighth, #14 Tony Holm ninth and #92 Norm Grabinger was tenth. It was the third victory of the season for Campbell.

Jeremy Wolff continues to lead the Thunder Car standings with a 50 point lead over Eric Campbell and Dillon Sellner 58 points behind in third.

The Pepsi Power Stocks had a 30 lap feature event that also went cautionless. Julie Jorgenson #83 had a big lead early but was run down by the #6 car driven by Joey Prusak from Minnetonka (MN) who started the race 10th on the grid, the two raced side by side for a few laps before Prusak took over the top spot on lap 16. The great racing was then back in the pack as #8 Taylor Goldman, who started 14th, was driving her way up to the front. Goldman passed everyone on the track except the winner Joey Prusak, who won for the second time this year at Elko Speedway. Goldman tapped the back bumper of Prusak a couple times but couldn’t get around him, she finished just 0.185 seconds behind at the finish line. Defending Champion #10 Dusty Mann was third, Julie Jorgenson dropped to fourth, #27 Darin Patnode fifth, #41 Ben Gannon sixth, fast qualifier #88 Nick Oxborough seventh, #08 Michael Stoer eighth, #41 Jason Michaud ninth and #40 Josh Gernentz was tenth of the 15 cars entered in the race.

Taylor Goldman retains the lead in the standings with a 52 point lead over both Jason Michaud and Nick Oxborough.

All results and point standings are unofficial at this point, official results will be posted at or

Up next at Elko Speedway is a concert event on Saturday July 21st. There will be no racing during this event. The headliner Hairball, the premiere tribute band in America with opening acts from Lost Highway and Neptune Cocktail. Gates open at 6pm and music begins at 7pm. Get more information at or by following Elko Speedway on social media.

Elko Speedway is a 3/8th mile NASCAR sanctioned asphalt oval race track with stadium seating located 30 minutes South of the Twin Cities just off of I-35 and county road 2 in Elko-New Market (MN).