The 2020 Super Late Model racing season in the Midwest was scheduled to start this Saturday, April 9 when the ARCA/CRA Super Series was scheduled to take the green flag at Anderson Speedway for their season opener, but the COVID-19 outbreak put a halt to those plans.
Traditionally, the Midwest has groomed some of the top Late Model racers in America. Names like Trickle, Eddy and Senneker have all become household names after beginning their careers in the Midwest.
These days, the competition in the Midwest continues to be fierce with competitive series such as the ARCA/CRA Super Series, ARCA Midwest Tour and TUNDRA Super Late Model Series, as well as historic tracks such as Slinger Super Speedway.
Today, we undertake the daunting task of ranking the top 10 Late Model drivers from one of the most stacked regions in the country, the Midwest region.
The list consists of drivers who have competed primarily in the Midwest in recent years, so some drivers who are technically not from a Midwest state may show up at some point in the rankings. Note that these rankings are based on recent performance, not cumulative career accolades.
#1) Ty Majeski – While Majeski may be a full-time driver in the NASCAR Truck Series now, he still makes frequent trips to Wisconsin to compete in the Super Late Model. In a two-and-a-half month stretch from August 1 to October 19, he won eight of the 10 races he entered, which included wins in the Dixieland 250 and Oktoberfest. While his Truck Series duties will take precedent in the 2020 season, he will still be the favorite anytime the No. 91 makes an appearance at a race track.
#2) Casey Johnson – Johnson is poised to take over as top dog in the Badger State with Majeski competing full-time in the Truck Series in 2020. The Stoughton, Wisconsin driver won championships with the ARCA Midwest Tour, TUNDRA Super Late Model Series, and the weekly Fox River Racing Club title at Wisconsin International Raceway, and more than likely would have won a fourth title with the Alive For Five Series if it weren’t for mechanical issues in the finale last October. He will have a more ambitious schedule for 2020, with select ARCA/CRA Super Series starts planned alongside championship defenses in TUNDRA and the Midwest Tour.
#3) Travis Braden – The two-time ARCA/CRA Super Series champion won the Snowball Derby last December, now having claimed wins in two of the biggest Super Late Model races in America to go along with his Winchester 400 win in 2016. 2020 will see Braden step back into Late Model racing full-time, already having made starts for three different teams in the early months of the season.
#4) Brian Campbell – Campbell won the Money in the Bank 150 at Berlin Raceway for the second year in a row, while also claiming wins in an ARCA/CRA Super Series race at Toledo Speedway and a JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour event at Baer Field Motorsports Park in back-to-back weeks. While he doesn’t travel too often, the Michigan driver has already competed at CRA SpeedFest in Georgia in 2020, which leaves the possibility for him to run in more big races over the course of the season.
#5) Jacob Goede – The Minnesota driver did something that no Midwest driver since Steve Carlson in 2007 had done: win the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship. Goede scored 10 wins between Elko Speedway and LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway, including sweeping twin features on the final weekend to steal the National Championship away from the Late Model Stock Car world. He will look to repeat as champion again in 2020.
#6) Johnny VanDoorn – “Stan Donner” scored an emotional win in the Redbud 400 last July, leading well over 300 laps all while battling heat exhaustion during the final stages of the race. VanDoorn also won a JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race at Birch Run Speedway and the ARCA/CRA Super Series portion of the Glass City 200, winning the latter by over eight seconds.
#7) Josh Brock – The 2018 ARCA/CRA Super Series champion scored a statement win by leading wire-to-wire at the North/South Super Late Model Challenge at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. He scored another series win at Baer Field Motorsports Park in July before finishing runner-up in the series points standings by mere car lengths at the Winchester 400. Last season also saw Brock venture outside CRA a little bit, having made starts with the ARCA Midwest Tour, CARS Super Late Model Tour and Southern Super Series.
#8) Austin Nason – Nason finished runner-up in the ARCA Midwest Tour standings for the second year in a row after a back-and-forth battle with Casey Johnson throughout the season. The Illinois driver did pick up the biggest win of his career, however, when he visited victory lane in racing’s return to the Milwaukee Mile in June.
#9) Steve Apel – Apel scored his fourth Slinger Super Speedway track championship off the heels of four wins throughout the season. He also set fast time and led the most laps during the Slinger Nationals before finishing fourth against a stout field.
#10) Boris Jurkovic – It was a resurgence year for the repo-man out of Illinois, who scored six victories at Berlin Raceway during the 2019 season. Among those wins included the Battle at Berlin 251, his biggest victory since winning the 2011 Winchester 400. Jurkovic also turned it up during big-race season at the end of the year, finishing third at the All American 400 and 10th in the Snowball Derby.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51