Haseleu Has Norway’s Passport To Victory
NORWAY, Mich. — Nathan Haseleu captured his second consecutive ARCA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment and Lester Buildings win at Norway Speedway Friday night.
A fitting triumph not only as it was a race sponsored by DOC 360, but in the way that Haseleu spent two thirds of the race fending off Dalton Zehr for the checkers.
A clean, well fought battle that Haseleu knew he was in the thick of.
“It was a lot of work,” said Haseleu. “He (Zehr) was there and a little bit faster at times then we’d get away a little bit, like a car length or whatever. They kept counting the laps down…20,15,10 and it got to 10 and to 5 and I thought if he doesn’t hit me to move me out of the way I think I can hold him off.”
Before Haseleu had the chance to hold off Zehr, he had to work his way to the front from his ninth starting position.
Haseleu finally took over the lead on lap 34.
Haseleu then creeped out to a few car lengths advantage over Zehr, but he could not pull very far away from Zehr. As the race neared the halfway point, Haseleu’s lead was at best two car lengths and at worst had Zehr all over his rear bumper.
A yellow for debris on lap 57 bunched up the field again, and it would be Haseleu picking the outside when the cone came out. It proved to be the right move, as Haseleu got another great restart and pulled ahead of Zehr.
The cat and mouse game between Haseleu and Zehr was now on as Haseleu would sneak out a few car lengths before Zehr would reel him back in. When the leaders approached lapped traffic, it appeared that Zehr would have the opportunity to make up lost ground, but Haseleu maneuvered the traffic like the veteran that he is should do.
Zehr proved to be no slouch through the traffic and remained glued to Haseleu’s bumper.
Haseleu seemed to be getting off of turn two much better, but Zehr made up the ground in turns one and three. Haseleu inched ahead, then Zehr would fight back. The duo kept up the same maneuvers for nearly thirty laps.
There were ten laps to go and Haseleu could not shake off Zehr. Haseleu continued to be better off the corners whereas Zehr made up ground entering the corners. With the laps winding down, Zehr knew he had to make a move soon.
Every time Zehr tried to make that move, Haseleu had the perfect counter move. Zehr would dive to the bottom and Haseleu pinched him just enough to hold him back. Finally Zehr just ran out of time as Haseleu made it to the checkers a mere .02 seconds ahead of Zehr when the checkers flew.
Haseleu could have thought that Zehr might make more of a banzai move to make a late race pass, but he was happy that it never got too dirty despite all the dust on the track.
“He drove me real clean,” said Haseleu. “We were able to beat him to the checkers. He might have bumped me a little bit, but not enough to move me completely out of the way. We’ve built a lot of traction into the car the last couple of years to try to get down the straightaways and it seemed to work out pretty good.”
Not only did Haseleu have to hold off Zehr, but he had to navigate through the constant dust storm from the many cars running their wheels off the racing surface.
“I’ve never raced on dirt before but I’m assuming it is something like that,” said Haseleu. “Every year when we come here there’s a lot of people dropping off. There’s a lot of dirt and rocks and everything flying around.”
Dalton Zehr tried everything he could to get around Haseleu, except for merely punting him out of the way.
“I made the wrong choice picking the inside, whenever I lost the lead,” said Zehr. “Normally the inside has a pretty good start here but it seemed like side by side the outside was the place to be. It was impossible to get out there and actually start a pass, so it made for a tough, tough track to get next to a guy.”
Nathan Haseleu, Dalton Zehr, Jeff Storm, Dan Fredrickson, Chris Wimmer, Jonathan Eilen, James Swan, Jamie Iverson, Chris Weinkauf, Tom Gee Jr., Rich Bickle, Cardell Potter, Jacob Goede, Dennis Prunty, Shawn Majkrzak, Jason Weinkauf, Tom Lindqust, Dillon Kralovetz, Dan Lindsley, Joey Pontbriand, Jeremy Miller.