Tour Champs Look to Show Midwest Strength Versus National Stars Tuesday at WIR
Kaukauna, WI- ARCA Midwest Tour promoter Gregg McKarns often states that he would put ‘his guys’ up against anyone in the country, it appears this Tuesday night’s Gandrud Auto Group 250 at Wisconsin International Raceway will do just that. Top Super Late Model drivers from across the nation, with wins in some of Short Track Auto Racing’s biggest events such as the Snowball Derby, National Short Track Championships and All-American 400 will be competing against the ‘Stars and Cars’ of the ARCA Midwest Tour at the Kaukauna speedplant. Currently five former Tour Champions have entered the annual event which takes place on the first Tuesday of August each summer.
Defending ARCA Midwest Tour Champion and two-time WIR Fox River Racing Club Champion Casey Johnson was the 2017 winner of this event in a car he had never even sat in until the morning of the 250 lap contest. Picking up where he left off, Johnson has already won at Wisconsin International Raceway and Slinger (WI) Super Speedway in weekly action this season. He has two runner-up finishes in Super Late Model competition in July including at Slinger (WI) during the Slinger Nationals and two weeks ago at Jefferson (WI) Speedway, where he is a three-time Track Champion (2010, 2012, 2015). Johnson who won the 2016 Red, White and Blue State Championship at WIR is also a two-time Big 8 Late Model and Tundra Series Champion.
2018 ARCA Midwest Tour titlist Dalton Zehr wasted no time getting back into his winning ways as he embarks on a full racing schedule this season, collecting the winner’s trophy at Dells (WI) Raceway Park over the Independence Holiday. Dalton, who raced a limited schedule last season with his Gildan Race Team, returns to chase the Tour Championship again in 2020. A runner-up spot in last weekend’s Tour season opening Detjens Memorial 125 at State Park Speedway had the 119 win a fast heat with a pass on the outside for the win and leading early in the feature contest and battling back to a second place finish.
Likely the most well-known former Champ in four-time Tour titlist Ty Majeski who is now running full time on the NASCAR Gander Truck Series circuit. Majeski clicked off four Championships in a row from 2014-2017 and leads all drivers with 23 career Tour wins, including four in a row to conclude the 2019 season. With over 100 career Late Model wins, Majeski has already made the best of his limited Super Late Model appearances in 2020, winning the Orange Blossom 100 at New Smyrna (FL) Speedway during Speedweeks in February, a third Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway in May and last month he won his second Slinger Nationals. He is no stranger to success at WIR and is the defending race winner of the Gandrud Auto Group 250.
Another former Tour Champion that has been showing a resurgence is Hampton, Minnesota’s Jonathan Eilen. The past two seasons he has captured Alive for 5 Series wins at both the Dells and Madison (WI) International Speedway while running an extremely limited schedule while starting his son’s quarter midget racing career. Eilen, who has five career tour wins to his credit has posted finishes of 4th at LaCrosse (WI) Fairgrounds Speedway during the Oktoberfest 200 and a 5th at last weekend’s Detjens Memorial at State Park Speedway, the last two tour events contested. On April 26, 2007 Eilen became the first ever Midwest Tour feature winner, when the start-up series visited his hometrack of Elko (MN) Speedway. Eilen was named Rookie of the Year that Season before being crowned Champion following the 2012 season.
2011 Tour Champion Andrew Morrissey has five Tour wins and trails only Eilen in the total number of Midwest Tour starts 129 to 121. His wins have been on the bigger stage and Tuesday night’s Gandrud Auto Group 250 is the biggest stage of them all. With a pair of wins in the Joe Shear Classic at Madison, an Oktoberfest 200 trophy, a Chicagoland Showdown checkered flag at Illiana (IN) Motor Speedway and an Elko (MN) Speedway Thunderstruck triumph, Morrissey has been in position to win at WIR in the past seasons only to have his plans come unraveled. He looks to change that fortune Tuesday.
Advance discount tickets for the Gandrud Auto Group 250 are $20 and can be purchased online at www.midwesttour.racing through August 3. Tickets will also be available on race day at the gate for $25. Spectator gates open at 4pm, qualifying will begin at 5pm with the first race at 7pm during the Tuesday Night August 4 Special Event at Wisconsin International Raceway. As a reminder, masks are recommended but not required for outdoor events in the state of Wisconsin.
A 28 car field is scheduled to start ‘Wisconsin’s Richest One Day Race’ which pays $10,000 to the winner of the 250 lap event and $1,200 to start. Drivers from ten states and Canada are expected to attempt to make the starting grid including NASCAR Cup Champion Kyle Busch. The Midwest Truck Series will join the ARCA Midwest Tour with the trucks contesting a 35 lap feature event.