Long time race fans will easily recall the days when they would receive a bright colored flyer in the mail from the ARTGO Challenge Series announcing an upcoming event. Another item fans would recall seeing in the flyer was the “Stars & Cars” that appeared, an idea created by the late promoter John McKarns to help promote not only the event, but the top Midwest drivers that are guaranteed to be competing at that event.
When the ARCA Midwest Tour was created in 2007, John McKarns was part of a group to create the “Touring Stars” program that has become a staple with the ARCA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment.
Today, his son Gregg McKarns is the owner/operator of the tour as it enters its 11th season on Sunday, May 7th with the Joe Shear Classic at Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wisconsin.
The ARCA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment Touring Star program has over $60,000 in Touring Star bonuses, travel incentives and point fund this season in addition to over $40,000 in product certificates from their supporting contingency partners, making this Tour the most prestigious Super Late Model tour in upper Midwest.
Four ARCA Midwest Tour veteran drivers will lead the Class of 2017 Touring Star program. Two of them are former ARCAMT champions while the other two are brothers adding their last name to the legends of champion drivers to come out of central Wisconsin.
Jonathan Eilen leads the list entering the 2017 season. The Hampton, Minnesota veteran is the 2012 Champion and surpassed Nathan Haseleu last season with the most starts in the ARCA Midwest Tour. He has 92 starts in the 117 events to date in the series. Hi record includes five victories, one fast time, 25 top-five’s and 46 top-ten finishes. Eilen also holds the special record of winning the first ARCA Midwest Tour race on April 28, 2007 at his home track at Elko Speedway in Elko, Minnesota.
Andrew Morrissey from DeForest, Wisconsin is not that far behind Eilen on the most starts list in the Tour. The 2011 Champion has 90 starts with two victories, three fast time awards, 22 top-five’s and 43 top-ten finishes. Morrissey has already kicked off his 2017 season with a third-place finish in the Icebreaker 100 at Dells Raceway Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. One of his two ARCAMT victories came at the 2012 running of the Joe Shear Classic.
Chris Weinkauf from Merrill, Wisconsin, will be making his 62nd start in the ARCA Midwest Tour at the season opener at Madison International Speedway on May 7th. The 2010 State Park Speedway Champion has 61 starts with one victory (Grundy County Speedway in 2014), one fast-time award, 17 top-five’s and 30 top-ten finishes. Weinkauf could be one to watch in the Joe Shear Classic. He led late in both the Dixieland 250 and Oktoberfest 200 and could be prime to kick off his 2017 season with a big victory.
Jason Weinkauf also from Merrill, Wisconsin, joins his brother as a Touring Star again in 2017. The defending Yellow River Racing Series champion and two-time Marshfield Motor Speedway champion has 51 starts with one victory that came in 2011 at Marshfield Motor Speedway. He also has three top-five’s and 12 top-ten finishes in the top Midwest touring series.
These four drivers will join more soon to be announced Touring Stars for the 2017 season that will have 12 events throughout Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Spectator gates for the 10th Annual Joe Shear Classic will open at 11:30am on Sunday, May 7th, racing begins at 2pm. The afternoon will also feature a post qualifying fan autograph session in the new Turn 4 Party Pavilion. Adult general admission tickets are $25. Whelen Heroes, Seniors and Students (ages 12-17) $22, Kids (6-11) $10 with Children (5 & under) Free. Family pricing is also available for $60 which includes up to two adults and up to four admissions for those ages 17 & under. For additional information visit www.misracing.com or call 608-835-9700.
Visit arcamidwesttour.com for the full schedule and be sure to follow the ARCA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment on Facebook (/midwestour) and Twitter (@midwesttour).