The fifth annual Howie Lettow Classic hits the track at Madison International Speedway (WI) this Friday night. Lettow was a well-known crew chief, who led eight different drivers to Rookie of the Year honors in the American Speed Association (ASA) series, including six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.
The event spent the first three years at the Milwaukee Mile, before transferring to Madison International Speedway, and the list of past winners reads like who’s who of racing. Kyle Busch, Erik Jones and Travis Sauter inked their names in Milwaukee, while Ty Majeski drove to Victory Lane in 2015.
“Howie Lettow was a great crew chief and worked with a few of the guys that I race with today, like Steve Carlson,” Ty Majeski told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It’s great and well deserved that they are honoring his memory by having this race dedicated to him. It would be an honor to win this race again and have my name associated with his in this capacity.”
“Howie was a big part of short track racing in the Midwest,” Jeremy Miller said. “Whenever his cars showed up you knew they were the car to beat. It’s always a special race of the year and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
The Howie Lettow Classic also serves as the final race of Madison’s Triple Crown, a series of three Super Late Model races held throughout the summer. Heading into the finale, Casey Johnson leads Jeremy Miller by nine points and Austin Nason by 11 points. Miller is the defending Triple Crown winner, while Johnson grabbed the honors in 2012.
Though Johnson holds an advantage in the points, he has yet to find Victory Lane in a Triple Crown event this year, and that’s something Miller did back in July.
“I need to beat Casey in qualifying and heat races then it’s whoever finishes better in the feature,” said Miller. The car was really good last time there, so I’m confident it will be this time as well.”
“It will take a really balanced race car to win this Friday with guys like Majeski, Miller, Shafer and many other top tier teams being there,” said Johnson. “As far as winning the overall title, we have to be able to put together the perfect night right from the beginning with qualifying. I know with Jeremy Miller right on my heels he won’t give up an inch in any part of the race night, so I’ll have to be on my game. But my focus will be to go out and just try and win the race, if I can do that then the points will take care of themselves.”
While Johnson and Miller duke it out for the title and possibly a win, Majeski could play the role of spoiler. The Seymour, Wisconsin driver is the defending winner of the Howie Lettow Memorial and also grabbed a win in the first Triple Crown race of the year.
“It’s always a challenge we are up for,” said Majeski. “It would really be special to win this race again. It Looks like there will be another stout field so we will have our work cut out for us. We always try to be on our A game and we will do the same for this race.”
Speed51.com will have Speed Central coverage of the Howie Lettow Classic, as well as post-race video highlights on the Speed51 Network.
-By Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Editor – Twitter: @JWimm22
-Photo credit: Track Photo