The ARCA Midwest Tour presented by Scag Power Equipment brings the return of super late model racing to Gateway Motorsports Park for the first time since 2003 on Saturday, June 25th.
This Saturday, each of the Stars and Cars of the ARCA Midwest Tour look to be the first super late model driver in victory lane in over 12 years at Gateway. The largest track the Touring Stars have raced on since the inception of the series is the Milwaukee Mile, so winning the 40 lap, Illinois Lottery 50, may be one of the most memorable victories of his or her career.
In 1997, Mike Garvey set the track record and won the ARTGO Challenge Series event at the 1-1/4 mile oval. Garvey still holds the super late model track record, but since the first touring event held, eight other super late model drivers found victory lane, including former Midwest Tour Champion, Steve Carlson who won in July of 2000.
The Midwest Tour brings with it a new generation of drivers who have yet to see the track, with a few who have a race or two at the venue under their belts. From Minnesota to North Carolina to Florida, all of them will add their names to past notables who participated in super late model events at the track between 1997 and 2003, including Clint Bowyer, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Travis Kvapil, Erik Darnell, Jimmy Mars, and more.
The ARCA Midwest Tour is full of some of the top talent in the country and with it, carries a lot of success between many of the drivers who will come together for this weekend’s event.
Paul Shafer Jr is coming off a hot showing at Rockford Speedway on June 11th, capturing fast time and finishing in the top five. He followed it up with a strong run at Madison International Speedway last Friday night. He is also a former Illiana Motor Speedway Champion.
Brent Kirchner is quiet off the track, but when he gets behind the wheel, he’s never one to count out. Kirchner always makes some noise at the larger venues and was the Midwest Tour event winner at Iowa Speedway in 2012.
Eddie Hoffman doesn’t usually need much of an introduction. He’s a Chicagoland Champion, an ARTGO Challenge Series Champion, and the most experienced driver in a super late model at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Derek Kraus may be young, but he’s making a splash no matter where he goes. He is a current ARCA Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year contender and won a memorable event last Thursday night at State Park Speedway.
Austin Nason was the 2015 ARCA Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year and always a top contender wherever he goes. He moved through the ranks throughout his career and even secured a win at the infamous Speedweeks in 2015.
Stephen Nasse isn’t unfamiliar with victory lane. The driver from Pensacola, FL has seen victory lane more than a time or two in his career. He continues to add victories to his resume’ in 2016.
Former two-time Midwest Tour Champion, Dan Fredrickson, rarely needs an introduction. Amongst his countless wins in the Midwest, Fredrickson is a four-time winner of the historic Oktoberfest at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway.
Another Rookie of the Year contender, Jeff Holtz, captured his first ever Midwest Tour win on June 11th at Rockford Speedway, a track that could be labeled too tough to tame in its own right. He is also a Mid-American Series Champion.
Andrew Morrissey is another former Midwest Tour Champion who knows how to get the job done when it comes to big events. Morrissey most recently won the Chicagoland Showdown at Illiana Motor Speedway, an event that showcased the best of the best in the ARCA Midwest Tour, ARCA/CRA Super Series, and Chicagoland area.
Casey Johnson is a former Big 8 Series champion and continues to add to his long list of accomplishments with multiple wins already this season at Jefferson Speedway and Wisconsin International Raceway.
Ricky Baker is a two-time Grundy County Speedway Champion, a winner of the Chicagoland Showdown and just came off an impressive top three finish at Rockford Speedway.
Brothers, Chris and Jason Weinkauf, are always a threat when it comes to the Midwest. They are both Central Wisconsin track champions and both are former Midwest Tour event winners. They are a duo that can never be counted out.
Jonathan Eilen is another former Midwest Tour champion who has his fair share of wins in the series. He won the opening night at his home track of Elko Speedway this season. Eilen has overcome some challenges over the years and continues to prove he’s still one to beat.
These days, Ty Majeski certainly needs no introduction. In addition to his back-to-back ARCA Midwest Tour Championships and multitude of wins over the past couple years, Majeski most recently made his ARCA Series debut at Madison International Speedway on Father’s Day, finishing an impressive fourth. Two nights prior to his debut, he won at the track in the Triple Crown Series. Ty was voted as the Nation’s Top Super Late Model Driver in a pole by Speed 51.
North Carolina’s Zane Smith is another one of the hottest young drivers in the nation. Amongst his major accomplishments, the now 17 year old won the World Series of Asphalt Championship in 2015 and finished second in the infamous Snowball Derby that same year. He continues to be a threat no matter where he goes.
Natalie Decker may be small, but she is certainly mighty. Decker continues to add wins to her super late model resume’, most recently winning yet another feature event at State Park Speedway. Natalie continues to prove that she is a top contender in the Midwest Tour and tracks around the Midwest.
This Saturday is anyone’s game at Gateway Motorsports Park. The ARCA Midwest Tour is racing in conjunction with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and USAC. Midwest Tour qualifying begins at 2:15pm. The green flag for the Illinois Lottery 50 (40L) waves at 6:00pm.
Expected Entries Illinois Lottery presents the Gateway 50
ARCA Midwest Tour Saturday Night June 25, 2016
Gateway Motorsports Park, Madison, IL
23 as of 6/20/16
Car # Name Hometown State
7 Paul Shafer, Jr Portage IN
8 Brent Kirchner LaCrosse WI
8 Eddie Hoffman Wheaton IL
9 Derek Kraus Stratford WI
11 Andy Jones Gurnee IL
14 Austin Nason Roscoe IL
22 Nick Panitzke Lakeville MN
26 Rick Turner Racing Yorkville IN
28 Jake Finney Sycamore IL
36 Dan Fredrickson Lakeville MN
38 Jeff Holtz Franksville WI
39 Andrew Morrissey DeForest WI
43 Matt Kocourek Franklin WI
47 Casey Johnson Edgerton WI
52 Ricky Baker Plainfield IL
64 Griffin McGrath Cedar Rapids IA
75 Chris Weinkauf Merrill WI
76 Jason Weinkauf Merrill WI
77 Jonathan Eilen Hampton MN
77 Zane Smith Mooresville NC
91 Ty Majeski Seymour WI
99 Justin Oertel Lincolnshire IL
O4 Natalie Decker Eagle River WI
For the full schedule of events, go to www.arcamidwesttour.com.
Be sure to follow the ARCA Midwest Tour on Facebook (/midwesttour) and Twitter (@midwesttour).
-ARCA Midwest Tour Press Release