Current ARCA Midwest Tour points leader, Casey Johnson (#47) is among the entries for Sunday’s return of auto racing to the “Milwaukee Mile.” (Kim Kemperman photo)
Stock Car Racing returns to the “Milwaukee Mile”
By Stan Kalwasinski
West Allis, Wis.— After an absence of five years, stock car racing returns to the famed “Milwaukee Mile” at the Wisconsin State Fair Park on Father’s Day, June 16, with the ARCA Midwest Tour Super Late Models highlighting the afternoon’s action. The event marks the first time in four years that automobile racing will be held at the historic, one-mile, paved oval.
The “stars and cars” of the ARCA Midwest Tour, plus a number of visiting, non-tour speedsters, will battle in a 100-lap feature race. With one series win to his credit already in 2019, Casey Johnson of Edgerton, Wis., leads the current Midwest Tour points standings, followed by Austin Nason, Rich Bickle Jr., Paul Shafer Jr. and John DeAngelis.
Entries have been received from four-time Midwest Tour titlist Ty Majeski, who has won twice this year with the ARCA Menards Series, 2018 ARCA Midwest Tour champ Dalton Zehr, 2018 ARCA/CRA Super Series champion, Kentucky’s Josh Brock, Donnie Wilson of Oklahoma City, Ok. , Colorado standout Preston Peltier and Massachusetts racer Eddie MacDonald. Two-time Midwest Tour champ Dan Fredrickson, who won a MARS series race at the “Mile” in 2004, is also entered among 44 entries so far.
Four-time Midwest Tour champion Ty Majeski (#91), shown here in 2016, has never won at Milwaukee. (Stan Kalwasinski photo)
Current NASCAR ‘Cup racer Erik Jones won the last ARCA Midwest Tour race at Milwaukee, capturing a 150-lap chase on June 8, 2014. Tuesday evening races were held in 2012 and 2013 with Travis Sauter winning a 150-lap contest in 2012 and NASCAR star Kyle Busch capturing a shortened, caused by darkness, 115-lap race in 2013. Previously, Busch had won a tour race in 2008.
Back in the day, the Milwaukee oval was a hotbed for stock car racing, beginning in 1948 when Minnesota’s Paul Bjork won a 100-lap race on August 22. AAA and USAC stock cars raced at Milwaukee, drawing large crowds for an annual four-race schedule. Record crowds and record purses were part of the tradition with the track seeing the likes of A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Butch Hartman, Norm Nelson, Jack Bowsher and Roger McCluskey win USAC stock car contests. Iowa’s Don White is the all-time winningest stock car driver at Milwaukee with the USAC driving ace winning a record 14 times.
The American Speed Association visited the “Mile” for the first time on May 7, 1978 with Michigan’s Bob Senneker winning the first annual Superamerica 150. A year later, short track legend, Wisconsin’s own Dick Trickle captured the Superamerica 150 on May 6, 1979. Mark Martin won the ASA 150 lapper in 1980. Joe Shear, Rusty Wallace, Alan Kulwicki, Butch Miller, Mike Eddy, Scott Hansen and Jim Sauter are among others that claimed ASA victories at Milwaukee.
NASCAR racing made its first appearance at Milwaukee in 1984 with Sam Ard capturing a 200-lap Busch Grand National event on May 13, 1984. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the winner of a Grand National contest in 1998 with Wisconsin’s Johnny Sauter winning one in 2005. Carl Edwards won the last two NASCAR Busch/Nationwide races in 2008 and 2009. The NASCAR truck series came to Milwaukee for the first time in 1995 with Mike Skinner scoring the victory. Jack Sprague, Ron Hornaday Jr., Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Ted Musgrave, with two wins, are among former NASCAR truck series winners at Milwaukee. Johnny Benson Jr. won three consecutive truck races from 2006 through 2008.
The last professional auto race held at the “Milwaukee Mile” was on July 12, 2015 with Sebastian Bourdais winning a 250-lap IRL Indy Car race ahead of Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal.
With auto racing returning to the track where racing dates back to 1903, the Midwest Tour Super Late Models will be joined on Sunday by the Vintage Indy Registry, Midwest Truck Series, Mid-American Stock Car Series and Upper Midwest Vintage Series.
Pits and infield gates open Sunday, June 16 at 7:00 AM, with grandstand gates opening at 9:00, practice at 9:30, qualifying at 11:00, and racing to take the green at 1:00 PM. Reserved tickets are available for $25 in advance or $30 on race day. General admission tickets are $25. Tickets for children aged 11 and under are $5. Infield tickets will be $20 each for adults and $5 for kids.
Advance sale discount tickets, as well as more information, is available at www.trackenterprises.com or by calling the office at 217-764-3200. Tickets will also be available at the gate on race day.
USAC stock car racing great Iowa’s Don White is the all-time stock car race winner at Milwaukee with 14 wins to his credit. (Stan Kalwasinski collection)