Johnson Wins A Thriller at The Milwaukee Mile

ARCA Midwest Stock Car winner Casey Johnson and #24 William Sawalich. [Roy Schmidt photo]

ARCA Midwest Stock Car winner Casey Johnson and #24 William Sawalich. [Roy Schmidt photo]

By: Kevin Ramsell

Two-time ARCA Midwest Tour champion Casey Johnson celebrated a special day in victory lane with his three daughters after winning the Father’s Day 100 presented by Hunt Brothers Pizza at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin.

The victory, his second of the season, was a nail biter for him and his team and they battled a mechanical gremlin throughout the race, that almost cost him the victory. But he was able to hold off 15-year-old William Sawalich by 0.032 seconds to get the checkered flag.

Sawalich got a run on Johnson in the last lap and the two made contact coming off of turn four and it was a drag race to the finish line.

“Yeah it was too close,” Johnson said in victory lane. “In that first stint, we had a coil wire that was not making its connection. It kept popping and banging. So the guys put a new one on there during the stop and with about three to go, she showed back up again popping and banging. I was doing everything I could to stay in front of William (Sawalich). He didn’t wreck me there at the end, and I really appreciate it. I know I was all over the place. But I think that kid has a bright future.”

Sawalich, making his first appearance in the ARCA Midwest Tour, made an impressive debut.

“I think I had the momentum and he drew a really good block. I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same. Good job to him, it was a good clean race,” Sawalich said after the race. “It was a good race for us, I can’t thank my crew enough for bringing me a good car. I think we paced the race pretty good.”

Jeff Storm paced the early going of the 100-mile race until John DeAngelis Jr. got by him on lap 7 to take over the top spot. DeAngelis held on to the lead until Sawalich got by him for the lead on lap 10.

Sawalich would pace the field until the competition caution on lap 45.

The caution flag flew on lap 47 after Dalton Armstrong made contact with the turn two wall.

Sawalich continued to lead until lap 59 when he was battling with DeAngelis for the lead in turns three and four when Sawalich and DeAngelis went up a groove allowing Johnson to make a three-wide move on the inside coming out of turn four to take over the lead of the race.

The final caution flew on lap 79 for debris in turn one.

Johnson continued to lead with the green flag flew with 18 laps to go. He would have about three car length lead over Sawalich until about three laps to go, when his car started having issues again. Sawalich got up to his bumper as the white flag flew around “America’s Legendary Oval,” but Johnson held off the charge as the checkered flag flew with the fans on their feet to see the exciting finish.

Griffin McGrath made a charge to the front after starting 21st. McGrath would get by DeAngelis with 10 laps to go and get the final podium spot.

“We were good on the long runs,” McGrath said. “The car was just rolling, it just kept turning and rotating, while everyone else was getting loose or tight off and we could just motor under them. It’s a testament to how hard their work was the few chances we get to race this car.”

DeAngelis would hold on to fourth while fast qualifier Johnny Sauter rounded out the top five.

Sauter’s fast time was 29.259 seconds (123.04 mph).

The ARCA Midwest Tour will be back in action on Saturday, July 9th for the Wayne Carter Classic at Grundy County Speedway in Morris, Illinois.

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