Sunday, May 28, 2023

1983 – Gawlinski Overall Victor in Illiana ARTGO Show

Frank Gawlinski holds the checkered flag after winning the second 50-lap feature in the Chicagoland Showdown at Illiana Motor speedway. The win, coupled with a runner-up finish in the first 50-lapper, clinched the overall crown for Gawlinski. – Don Thies Photo

By Stan Kalwasinski

Schererville, Ind. (May 28, 1983) – Frank Gawlinski nailed down first and second place finishes in the twin 50-lap features to take the overall title in ARTGO Racing’s fourth annual Chicagoland Showdown late model event at Illiana Motor Speedway on Saturday night.

Driving his 1982 Firebird, the 36-year-old Lynwood, Ill., charger evened up the score between Chicago-area drivers and Wisconsin racers in the annual event.

Gawlinski, a two-time Illiana track champion, claimed his first ARTGO feature win of the year, sharing his 50-lap victory honors with three-time ARTGO champion and current point leader Dick Trickle.

A field of 20 started the first 50-lapper with Jay Sauter pushing his Firebird into the lead. Gawlinski, who started seventh, moved up quickly to challenge for the top spot and began to work the outside to get around Sauter. Gawlinski drove hard into the third turn on lap 22, taking the high side around for first place.

In the process, Gawlinski made contact with Sauter’s right front fender, ripping it off and bringing out the yellow flag for debris on the track.

The slowdown allowed the likes of two-time ARTGO titlist Jim Sauter and Trickle to bunch up behind the new leader for the restart.

“I must have run over something on the track,” is how Gawlinski explained his car’s losing traction as he came out of turn four on the restart with Sauter and Trickle quickly moving by. Sauter, who won the Chicagoland event in 1981, stayed up front for three laps with fast qualifier Trickle making his move into the top spot on lap 26. The 34th circuit saw Gawlinski slip by Sauter for second and begin his quest for first place.

Complaining of a bad push after the race, Trickle held off the challenging Gawlinski to score his third main event on the circuit for 1983 and his 31st ARTGO career triumph. Rounding out the top five were Sauter, Tom Musgrave, and Tom Jones.

Polesitter Mike Chase brought the pack of 21 cars to the green and took the early lead over Bob Iverson, Joe Shear, and Gawlinski, who started eleventh. Trickle would fall off the pace and slide into the wet infield, bringing out the yellow flag.

With Trickle restarting at the rear of the field, Chase continued to show the way, with Iverson, Gawlinski, Shear, and Musgrave running like they were tied together. Gawlinski moved into second place on lap 29 and then moved in on Chase to put the pressure on the California pilot for the top spot.

Coming off turn four on lap 33, Gawlinski got along Chase on the frontstretch, with the pair exchanging paint, and Gawlinski taking over first place as they entered first turn. Coming out turn two, Gawlinski began to pull away and would never relinquish the lead, pacing the final 17 circuits and winning by almost a quarter-lap.

Chase settled for second with Iverson, Shear, and Musgrave completing the top-five. Trickle worked his way back through the field to finish eighth.

Results –

Feature #1 –

1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
2. Frank Gawlinski, Lynwood, Ill.
3. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
4. Tom Musgrave, Glenview, Ill.
5. Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
6. Mel Walen, Shakopee, Minn.
7. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
8. Joe Shear, Beloit, Wis.
9. Burt Weitemeyer, Lansing, Ill.
10.Bob Iverson, Hyde, Mich.

Feature #2 –

1. Frank Gawlinski
2. Mike Chase, Bakersfield, Calif.
3. Bob Iverson
4. Joe Shear
5. Tom Musgrave
6. Jim Sauter
7. Tom Reffner
8. Dick Trickle
9. Burt Weitemeyer
10.Steve Burgess, Eau Claire, Wis.

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