PETERSEN MEDIA: Getting an opportunity to do some indoor Midget racing over the winter, Paul Nienhiser kicked the winter season off on Saturday night at the Junior Knepper 55 where he would make the show out of the 70 drivers entered in the event, and finish 13th in his first night aboard the Joe Roosevans owned entry.
“It was a great first night, and I am really excited with how things went and to make the show against a really stout field of cars,” Paul Nienhiser said. “It was a great shakedown for the Chili Bowl, and I am just really appreciative that Joe Roosevans gave me such a great opportunity this winter.
With the ‘heat race draft’ format in place, the Chapin, IL pilot would elect to start seventh in his heat race looking for some early passing points to set the tone for the night ahead.
Battling some gremlins in practice, Nienhiser did not let the lack of hot laps hinder him in heat race action as he would make the bottom work to his advantage as he carved his way up to finish third.
Sitting 10th in points after all drivers ran heat races, Nienhiser moved into his qualifier where he would line up 10th looking to again accumulate points and transfer into the 55-lap feature event.
Holding down the fourth position, Nienhiser would admittedly make a mistake on a late restart and it would prove to be costly as he gave up some spots but still salvaged a seventh place finish, which would put him in a manageable position in the semi.
Gridding the field from the fifth position in his semi with four cars earning a berth into the feature, Nienhiser would go to work on the bottom of speedway again but he would struggle to make up ground and would actually lose a few spots.
Abandoning the low groove, Nienhiser would let it all hang out as he went to work on the cushion. With a little luck on his side, Nienhiser would grab the final transfer position out of the semi and earn a spot in the 55-lap feature event where he would line up in the 19th starting position.
With 55-laps on tap, Nienhiser had the mindset of making laps, continuing to adapt to a new car and learning all he could about a midget being as he has limited midget experience.
Though he would go down a lap and not race the leaders, Nienhiser did admit to learning a bit while following behind the likes of ‘T Mez’, Tyler Courtney, and CJ Leary. When the race came to a close, Nienhiser was pleased with how the night went as he finished in the 13th position.
“I was able to get a good feel for the car, and really learn a few things as I got mixed in with the leaders,” Nienhiser said. “It was a great firs night, and I cant wait to get back in this car again in a few weeks.”
With 2018 now in the books, Nienhiser looks forward to kicking off 2019 at the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals where he will again pilot the Roosevans machine, but will work out of the Loyet Motorsports camp, the same team he drove for at the 2018 Chili Bowl.
“I am excited to have Brad Loyet in my corner again at the Chili Bowl,” Nienhiser noted. “We will be a little different with our Toyota Engine package opposed to what Brad and his team run, but our Spike Chassis are very similar and I am very confident in Brad’s midget knowledge. I am also thankful to have a partnership with FRA Trust for these races. We are also looking for additional marketing partners for the Chili Bowl.”
Nienhiser would like to thank CAM2 Blue Blood Racing Oil, Mason Sound, Innovative Design, Bradshaw Custom Pumping, Wessler Bros. Agency, Bob Hawks Auto Body, Littleton Storm & Timber, Fierce Herbicide, Sunstoppers Window Tinting, Engler Machine and Tool, FK Indy, Rider Racing Engines, Kaeding Performance, JRC Transportation, Signature Signs and Design, Team Simpson, and Steve Thomas Racing for their continued support.
2018 BY THE NUMBERS: Races-58, Wins-9, Top 5’s-15, Top 10’s-26
ON TAP: Nienhiser will kick the 2019 season off at the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals. He is scheduled to hit the track on Thursday January 17th, 2019.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay updated with Paul Nienhiser by following him on Twitter @Paul_Nienhiser or by clicking over to www.paulnienhiser.com.
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