Oregon, WI — The ‘Stars and Cars’ of the ARCA Midwest Tour visit Madison International Speedway this Friday night August 28 for the Howie Lettow Classic 100. They will be bringing some familiar challengers with them to ‘Wisconsin’s Fastest Half Mile’ as former NASCAR Truck Series Champion Johnny Sauter and defending NASCAR Weekly Racing Series National Champion Jacob Goede have indicated that they will challenge defending Tour Champion Casey Johnson, former Champs Dalton Zehr, Jonathan Eilen, Andrew Morrissey and Dan Fredrickson during the only Super Late Model event to be held during the shortened 2020 season at MIS.
Johnny Sauter returns to MIS on Friday night after having arguably the fastest ride earlier this month in Tour action at Wisconsin International Raceway. A late race restart mishap forced his self-prepared Super Late Model into the high line, which collected debris on his tires, after a half a lap of diagnostics, Sauter charged back to catch the field but another caution would not fall to help his efforts. A Joe Shear Classic win in 2015 and a Super Late Model win at MIS in 2018 has Sauter pinned as one of the favorites.
Just two weeks ago, Jacob Goede became the first Late Model driver to visit victory lane in 2020 at MIS. Now, the six time and defending Elko (MN) Speedway Track Champion will bring his Super Late Model to Wisconsin in search of another checkered flag. The defending NASCAR Weekly Racing Series National Champion has recorded wins at both Elko and LaCrosse this season in addition to MIS, bringing his season total to five. He has been a contender in Super Late Models here, leading during last year’s Joe Shear Classic and falling out of the top five due to mechanical issues during the 2019 Howie Lettow Classic.
Two-time MIS Triple Crown Champion and defending Tour Champion Casey Johnson is still searching for his signature win at MIS. The three-time Jefferson Speedway, two-time Fox River Racing Club Champion also has a pair of Big 8 Series and TUNDRA Series Championships. Last season he was the overall winner of the Capital Classic 100 at MIS in May. Johnson sits a mere five points out of the Tour point lead and a win on Friday night would bolster his position in a tight point battle headed into the final two events.
Just six markers out of the point lead is 2018 Tour Champion Dalton Zehr, who has returned full time to tour action after a partial season last year. Zehr has a pair of Super Late Model wins this season at Dells Raceway Park, where the Tour visits next Saturday September 5 for the $10,000 to win Joe Shear Classic. Trailing Zehr by two points is 2012 Tour Champion Jonathan Eilen, who was the fast qualifier and finished fifth last Saturday at Grundy County Speedway in Tour competition. Eilen captured his first MIS Super Late Model feature victory last May.
A pair of former Tour Champions that have entered Friday night’s Howie Lettow Classic are Andrew Morrissey and Dan Fredrickson. Morrissey, the 2011 Midwest Tour Champion has amassed twelve MIS Super Late Model wins, placing him second amongst active drivers on the all-time stat sheet. He is the only two-time winner of the Joe Shear Classic, traditionally held at MIS the first Sunday of each May. The first ever winner of the Joe Shear Classic is two-time Tour Champion Dan Fredrickson. Fredrickson, one of the more colorful drivers in the pit area recorded his second career win at MIS in 2017, winning the MIS Triple Crown that same season.
Another former Joe Shear Classic winner who is looking to become a first time Howie Lettow Classic winner is Austin Nason. Nason, who has scored big wins in his young Tour career including last June at The Milwaukee Mile, has two career Super Late Model victories at MIS, is the 2018 Triple Crown Champion and has also won a Big 8 Series feature in Dane County. Another young driver to watch is 2019 Tour Rookie of the Year Gabe Sommers who has two top five finishes in three Tour starts this year. The 2019 Detjens Memorial winner at State Park Speedway has two Super Late Model wins this season.
Twice he was crowned Madison International Speedway Super Late Model Champion, in 1985 and again in 1986. A career that saw success at the highest levels of NASCAR also includes Snowball Derby, Oktoberfest, Slinger Nationals and National Short Track Championships amongst other accolades on the short track level. Bickle, a member of the MIS Wall of Fame, returned to his short track roots and has indicated 2021 will be his final year of racing. He leads all active drivers with 18 MIS Super Late wins, his most recent coming in 2017. Two weeks ago he jumped in a Midwest Dash four cylinder car and won the heat race at MIS.
Former NASCAR Canadian Champion Cayden Lapcevich will make his first ever appearance at MIS on Friday night. A battery issue spoiled a strong showing last Saturday at Grundy, which followed a runner-up finish in his first career ARCA Midwest Tour start, during the Gandrud Auto Group 250 at WIR. 2017 WIR Fox River Racing Club Andy Monday, 2018 Tour Rookie of the Year and recent LaCrosse feature winner Billy Mohn, 2019 MIS Super Late Model victor Skylar Holzhausen, two-time Grundy Champion and two-time Tour winner Ricky Baker, 2020 Dells winner Ryan Farrell, former MIS Super Late Winner Jeff Storm and touring star John DeAngelis, Jr are all amongst the contenders on Friday night.
The race honors one of the great names in short track racing, Howie Lettow, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 62 following a battle with cancer. Lettow was a highly respected crew chief who led eight different drivers to rookie of the year honors in the American Speed Association. Best known of that group is seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson. Other drivers included Pat Schauer, Scott Hansen, Ken Lund, David Stremme, Ted Musgrave, Steve Holzhausen, Steve Carlson, and Ricky Johnson. Lettow won an ASA championship in 1996 as crew chief for Tony Raines. He also won three straight championships from 2005-2007 in the ASA Late Model Challenge Series with Stephen Leicht, Kelly Bires, and Travis Dassow behind the wheel.
The ARCA Midwest Tour Super Late Models will be joined by the Midwest Trucks and 602 Late Models. 21-time track Champion Bobby Wilberg will be making his first ever MIS 602 Late Model start Friday night. It is believed that Wilberg, the 2019 MIS Late Model Track Champion has won at least one feature at MIS every season since 1992.
Hilltop VIP and infield parking begins at 3pm for this Drive-In Live Racing Event. The popular southern method of watching races has been adopted in order to allow racing at MIS this season, as the infield of the half mile paved oval has been reconfigured to allow 400 cars to park, allowing fans to enjoy the racing action from inside, next to or near their vehicle. Hilltop VIP spaces are $200 and infield parking is $100 per vehicle and allows admission for all in vehicle. Additionally, a $50 infield parking pass is also available which allows up to two people per vehicle. Practice sessions start at 4pm, qualifying at 6:05 with racing at 7:30pm. Spectator vehicle will be able to fill the infield throughout the day and crossings will take place roughly every fifteen minutes once on track activities start. Parking passes can be purchased in advance at www.misracing.com/tickets/ or on Friday starting at 3pm. For additional information visit www.misracing.com or call the Speedway at 608-835-9700. Madison International Speedway is located at 1122 Sunrise Road in Oregon.
The Howie Lettow Classic
ARCA Midwest Tour
Friday August 28, 2020
Madison International Speedway, Oregon, WI
21 as of 8/25/20
Jeff Holmgren, Jr
Transport Services/Rhode’s Towing & Repair/G&G Specialized
Montgomery Ward/Hougan Farms/UAW Region 4
Deppe Enterprises/Sal’s Towing/Pathfinder Chassis
John DeAngelis, Jr
DeAngelis Construction/D+H Demolition
Airgas/Print Lab Wraps
Monday & Assoc/B&B Engines/Darboy Corner Store
American State Equipment
Montgomery Ward/Haase Builders/JRS Shocks/Kar Korner
DeKalb/Kwik Trip/Tasteful Selections Potatoes/Allied Co-op
A Services/AP Race Engines/All-Star Perf
Great Lakes Components/Duramax Trucking/All Pro Mechanical
Herman’s Landscape Supply/Justman Freight
B&B Racing Engines/MRI, Inc Chassis & Fabrication
Rich Bickle, Jr
T1 Racing/Wegner Automotive/Barnyard to Brickyard
Rod Baker Ford/Illinois Truck and Equipment
Baby Gowdy/Goetz Trucking/Northern Racing Products
Eilen & Sons Trucking & Landscape/Graber Auto Body
Kempf Logging/Wehrs Machine/Fechner Motors
Tiry’s Race Engines/R&R Associates/Oak Creek Automotive
Hableman Brothers Cranberrys/Kurts Shop/Modern Disposal Sys
Gildan/American Apparel/Comfort Colors/Prim + Preux/AMS
-ARCA Midwest Tour Press Release
-Photo Credit: ARCA Midwest Tour