Heading into Friday’s Midwest Open Wheel Association (MOWA) season finale at Jacksonville Speedway, Paul Nienhiser needed to put together a near perfect night to overcome a 26-point deficit to claim his second career series title. In front of him home crowd, Nienhiser handled his business as his second-place finish in the feature event propelled him to the top of the point standings as he was able to erase the gap and claim the championship.
“There were a lot of ups and downs for us in 2022, but with the season just about over I think Scott Bonar and I executed everything we wanted when we combined forces over the winter,” Paul Nienhiser said. “We were able to secure the MOWA title, the Sprint Invaders Owner’s Title, and won some races along the way.”
Entering the night 26 points out of the lead, Nienhiser had a great draw as he lined up on the front row of his heat race. Needing to finish out front, Nienhiser was hard on the throttle as he raced to early lead and put the field on notice as he won the heat by a ½ of a lap.
When heat races were complete, Nienhiser had cut eight points off his deficit, and entered the feature event 18 points out of the Championship.
Taking the green flag from the fifth starting position, Nienhiser knew he needed to finish up front to give himself a shot, but also knew he had to keep his nose clean in doing so. When race came to life, the Chapin, IL driver had a great opening lap as he worked his way forward aboard the CAM2 Lubricants/Buffalo Wild Wings/Innovative Design backed No. 9x.
With a very strong car underneath him, Nienhiser worked into second late in the race and closed in on the race lead as they flew through traffic in the closing stages. A late restart set up a two-lap shootout for the win, but rather than risking his season long body of work, Nienhiser played it safe and settled for second, which was more than enough to celebrate as the series champion.
“I think we had a shot at the win, but I had to play it safe,” Nienhiser said with a smile. I really have to thank my dad, Scott, Caleb, Drake, CJ, Roger, Ralph, Tom, Bob, Eldon, West and Grimsley for their help all year long. They all played a huge part in our season, and this championship would not have been possible without all of their help.”
Nienhiser would like to thank CAM2 Lubricants, Buffalo Wild Wings, Innovative Design, Mason Sound, Bradshaw Custom Pumping, Signature Signs & Design, Sunstoppers Window Tinting, American Rental Center, Fierce Herbicide, Guse’s Pub & Eatery, Wessler Bros Agency, Willhite Mowing, T&K Tree Services, Engler Machine and Tool, FK Indy, Rider Racing Engines, Midland Performance, Simpson Race Products, Smith Titanium, and Premier Powder Coating for their continued support.
Nienhiser would also like to thank Midland Performance, Kinney Racing Engines, Rockstar Wraps, Heartland Trailer Manufacturing, Robert’s Tire Center, and Stronghurst Collision for their support of the No. 50 car.
BY THE NUMBERS: Races-29, Wins-6, Top 5’s-18, Top 10’s-22
ON TAP: Nienhiser has one final race on his schedule as he will return to Jacksonville Speedway on October 22nd.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay updated with Paul Nienhiser by following him on Twitter @Paul_Nienhiser or by clicking over to www.paulnienhiser.com.