Stars and Cars Set for Battle Chicagoland’s Best at Grundy during Saturday Night Special Event
Morris, IL- The ‘Stars and Cars’ of the ARCA Midwest Tour will roll into Grundy County Speedway this Saturday night July 9 for the Wayne Carter Classic presented by Rod Baker Ford. Racing begins at 7pm on Saturday. Sitting between them and a $5,000 payday are a host of Chicagoland’s best Super Late Model drivers. Here is a breakdown of those drivers:
Expected Entries for Saturday July 9, 2022 (25 as of 7/5/22)
LM ROY 4 Quinnton Bear Avon IN Morris Transmission/Clermont Liquors Toyota -The 2015 CRA Jeg’s Allstar Tour Rookie of the Year will be making his first career ARCA Midwest Tour start this Saturday Night at Grundy County Speedway. Bear has run well in the past in prestigious events such as this, having previously finished runner-up at Kalamazoo Speedway’s Kalamazoo Klash.
SLM WINNER 4 Scott Tomasik Avon IN Morris Transmission/Clermont Liquors Toyota -Tomasik won the final Tony Bettenhausen Memorial held at Illiana Motor Speedway in 2015 and has weekly wins at Grundy County Speedway. Tomasik made his first Tour appearance of the season last month at Milwaukee but was bit by bad luck when a side window blew out at the ultra-fast mile oval.
TOUR CHAMPION 5 Casey Johnson Edgerton WI Hougan Farms/Encompass Construction/Dixon Drywall/Wise Guys Auto Chevrolet -Johnson is a throwback driver, tough to beat and a tough guy. How tough? When his ignition wire kept falling out last month at The Milwaukee Mile, the two-time Tour Champ and current point leader kept pushing it in by hand getting zapped each time. Those zaps were worth it, stating after the win at America’s Legendary Oval, “You do what you have to do to win at Milwaukee.” Johnson’s Tour season has been tough on his fellow competitors, second at Slinger, winning the Joe Shear Classic at Madison, an uncharacteristic third at Jefferson and winning at Milwaukee. Last season he won his second Red, White and Blue State Championship by winning the White and Blue races at WIR. In addition to three Jefferson titles, Johnson has amassed two championships at Wisconsin International, two in Big 8, two Tundra titles, six Wisconsin State Championships, the 2013 and 2016 MIS Triple Crowns and two National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway.
NASCAR CHAMPION 5 Johnny Sauter Necedah WI Paul’s Auto Yards Chevrolet -Sauter, the 2016 NASCAR Truck Champion sits sixth on the all-time Tour wins list with seven with his most recent Tour win coming Labor Day Weekend of 2020 at the Dells following a thrilling battle with Casey Johnson and Gabe Sommers. Sauter seeks his eighth Tour victory on Saturday night at Grundy and will be wheeling the same car that won this event in 2020. This is a rare Super Late Model start outside of Wisconsin for Sauter and it comes forty years after his father Jim won the Wayne Carter Classic on his way to the 1982 ARTGO Championship.
SLM WINNER 6 Dave Gentile Joliet IL Midwest Industrial Sales/WMC Incorp/Adler Roofing and Sheetmetal Chevrolet -Dave Gentile has done a lot of racing of various forms including on the former ASA Late Model Series and even ran a season at Wisconsin’s Madison International Speedway. Gentile now calls Grundy home and the former Appleton Memorial winner at the Morris Speedplant will make his fourth career Midwest Tour start on Saturday. His previous starts have resulted in one top five and two top ten finishes.
SLM WINNER 7 John DeAngelis, Jr Hubertus WI DeAngelis Construction/JD7 Trucking Ford -Johnny D currently finds himself third in the Midwest Tour standings, just two points out of second place. He has been in contention at each Tour event and has a pair of fourth place finishes, most recently at Milwaukee and in May’s Joe Shear Classic where he also set fast time. Still searching for that elusive first Midwest Tour win, 2022 is shaping up to be the year he stands victorious. DeAngelis has been fast everywhere he has traveled including down south and he mounted a late race charge to capture the Falloween win during Dells Raceway Park’s 2021 season closer.
ARTGO CHAMPION 8 Eddie Hoffman Wheaton IL Feece Oil/Advanced Generator Chevrolet -The eight time Chicagoland Champion (7 Grundy and 1 at Illiana), Hoffman has two career Midwest feature wins to his credit, both coming at Grundy County Speedway where he is the winningest driver in track history. Hoffman has done little touring racing since being a favorite in the late 90’s and early 2000’s when he captured three Oktoberfest titles, Hoffman has remained a favorite each time his familiar number 8 is unloaded in the pit area. A tough start to his 2022 Touring Season looks to get corrected at his home track. Hoffman is a three time Wayne Carter Classic Winner.
SLM CHAMPION 11 Anthony Danta Downers Grove IL Attorney Ray Szarmach Toyota -Driving the familiar Lisa Trgovich owned #11 Super Late Model, Anthony Danta looks to improve upon his best Midwest Tour finish, a fifth place effort during the 2018 Wayne Carter Classic. Danta was twice victorious at the Morris Fairgrounds track in 2021 and has a fast time and third place finish in two starts this season. The 2015 Illiana Motor Speedway Champion has a way of being in the mix towards the end of these extended lap specials.
TOUR WINNER 14 Austin Nason Roscoe IL Montgomery Ward/Haase Builders/JRS Shocks/Kar Korner Ford -Nason has had a resurgence as of late, placing third at South Alabama Speedway’s Rattler 250 in March and posting a fourth place effort the April at the Dells. Nason is a two-time Tour point runner-up and has big wins including the 2018 Joe Shear Classic, 2019 Father’s Day 100 at The Milwaukee Mile and Rockford’s All-Star 100 to go along with a 2018 Madison Triple Crown Championship and 2015 Tour Rookie of the Year title. Nason is currently fifth in the ARCA Midwest Tour Championship Point Standings.
TOUR WINNER 15 Gabe Sommers Plover WI WI Potato & Veg Growers Assoc/DeKalb/Kwik Trip/Rowdy Energy Toyota – His lone Midwest Tour start at Grundy resulted in a podium finish for this Central Wisconsin ace. Finishing third in the 2020 Wayne Carter Classic has the Sommers team pumped to return to Grundy during a strong season which has him second in the points. Sommers recorded his breakthrough win at the Larry Detjens Memorial at State Park Speedway in 2019. He went on to become the 2019 Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year and backed up that effort with a runner-up points finish in 2020 and fifth a season ago.
SLM WINNER 16 DJ Weltmeyer Dyer IN Engine Masters/DeNovi Heating & Cooling Chevrolet -His first Tour start came in during the 2017 Wayne Carter Classic. That night, DJ Weltmeyer wheeled his family’s #16 Late Model to a sixth place showing. His most recent Tour start came last season at Hawkeye Down in Cedar Rapids, IA where he recorded a fifth place showing. Having already visited Grundy Victory Lane this season, DJ finds himself atop the Grundy County Speedway points headed into the weekend. DJ looks to add his name alongside his Dad David’s in the Wayne Carter history books. The elder Weltmeyer was victorious in 1996.
BIG 8 CHAMPION 17 Max Kahler Caledonia IL Windsor Auto Sales/Retool/B&K Concrete Ford – Max Kahler had the car to beat at Rockford’s Spring Classic and he delivered for his family operated team, dominating the 88 lap contest to start the Big 8 Season. Since then he has added a pair of weekly wins at the Northern Illinois quarter mile oval. The young pilot had quite the week in October of 2020, charging at the end and making a late race pass to win the National Short Track Championship at Rockford and then having trailed in the Big 8 point standings he put together an impressive run at Oktoberfest to claim the Big 8 Series title.
TRUCK CHAMPION 23 Levon VanDerGeest Merrill WI Central Sawdust of WI/Breber Music/Culver’s Chevrolet -Levon VanDerGeest became the youngest winner in Milwaukee Mile history when he rolled to the Midwest Truck Series victory on Father’s Day 2019. Levon went on to become the 2019 Truck Champion and finished second in the 2021 ARCA Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year standings. Saturday night will be Levon’s first Tour start at Grundy, he did compete in a weekly event last year. He has good support behind him with Jason and Chris Weinkauf helping tutor the young budding star, Chris is the 2014 Wayne Carter Classic Winner.
24 Jim Olson Harvard IL Jim Olson Collision/Pete’s Automotive/Jimmy’s Towing Chevrolet -The former Lake Geneva Raceway Truck competitor has been hopping between weekly Late Models and Super Late Models for the better part of the last decade, posting a top five at Rockford’s National Short Track Championships. He will bring his Super Late Model to Grundy County Speedway where he has made sporadic starts over the past few seasons.
SLM CHAMPION 26 Dean Cornelius Bloomington MN CVF/Refinishers Supply/Stop Tech Brakes/Phil Russell Trucking Chevrolet -Nearly twenty years ago Cornelius was an up and comer on the asphalt. The 2003 Raceway Park Champion ventured out of Minnesota and claimed the Midwest Allstar Racing Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2005 on the strength of a win at Madison. Cornelius continued to be ultra successful by racking up wins with his dirt stock car around the country and is now back concentrating on asphalt racing, teamed with longtime Minnesota Champion Mark Lamoreaux.
GRUNDY CHAMPION 30 Larry Schuler Minooka IL Rod Baker Ford Ford -It has been four years since Larry Schuler started a Midwest Tour event, but the winningest driver in America in 1976 is fast again this season, having already posted a pair of fast times in weekly competition and finished fifth a week ago. Schuler won track Championships at three tracks in three states in 1976, Thursday’s at Wisconsin International, Friday’s at Grundy and Saturday’s at Illiana Motor Speedway where he was also the 1975 titlist. Schuler is a former winner of the Wayne Carter Classic (1981).
SLM WINNER 33 Stan Zolodz Hebron IN Schupp Real Estate/King Hobbies/SDI/Hochbaum Machine/Schepel Buick Chevrolet -This former Bandolero and Legend car standout intends to make his first Tour start Saturday night. Don’t let the Bandolero and Legend car accolades fool you, he is pretty stout behind the wheel of a Super Late Model as well. Zolodz won the Lee Schuler Memorial at Grundy County Speedway just two seasons ago, the traditional Labor Day Weekend event in Morris.
LM WINNER 40 Curt Tillman Roscoe IL AllTrucksUSA.com Chevrolet -Curt Tillman is a former weekly front runner at Rockford Speedway, and was named the Speedway’s most popular driver in 1986 where he picked up multiple feature wins. Now back at it with a new found enthusiasm and the help of former Midwest Tour Champion Andrew Morrissey.
SLM CHAMPION 44 Justin Mondeik Gleason WI Powerhouse Lawn & Leisure/Metsa Machines/Merrill Manufacturing/Agra Chevrolet – This past February Justin Mondeik again took his talents to Florida during Speedweeks for the World Series of Asphalt. With four top fives and seven top tens in seven features at New Smyrna Speedway, Mondeik finished fourth in the World Series points. Having won the track Championships at both State Park Speedway and Golden Sands Speedway the past two seasons, he has also been highly successful in the UP of Michigan, posting back to back wins in the Stateline Challenge at Norway Speedway. Mondeik has one Tour win to his credit, the 2020 Detjens Memorial. He has already added to his trophy collection this season with wins at State Park and Norway.
GRUNDY CHAMPION 52 Ricky Baker Plainfield IL Rod Baker Ford Ford -Ricky Baker has two career Midwest Tour wins, one coming at Illiana in 2015 during the Chicagoland Showdown, the other came following the 2017 Wayne Carter Classic at Grundy County. Baker is a two-time Grundy Champion (2016-2017) and has a pair of Bettenhausen Classic wins at Grundy as well. A former Touring Star, Baker has five starts this season at Grundy, he has two wins, two second place finishes and one third place in those starts.
SLM WINNER 65 Steve Seligman Aurora IL SMB Auto Wrecking Ford -With a shorthanded crew, longtime Chicagoland driver Steve Seligman finished as the last car on the lead lap (23rd) last year at The Milwaukee Mile. Seligman is getting back into the Super Late Model scene, a former competitor around Chicago’s short tracks as well as in ARCA, ASA and ARTGO. Seligman twice attempted to make the Daytona 500 as well as the Brickyard 400.
SLM CHAMPION 71 Blake Brown Twin Lakes WI J.R.R./McCloskey Farms/Olson’s Iron & Disposal/Terry’s of Peotone Ford -Unlike many of the up and coming drivers who talk about how iracing got them into racing, iracing during the pandemic got this driver turned fisherman back into the sport in which he found much success. Brown was the 2011 Illiana Super Late Model Track Champion and then went traveling with the Midwest Trucks, becoming their Champion in 2014 alongside a Championship in the Trucks at Madison. Brown is the 2021 Grundy Sportsman Champion and won the weekly LM feature two weeks ago.
TOUR CHAMPION 77 Jonathan Eilen Hampton MN Eilen & Sons Trucking & Landscape/Graber Auto Body Ford – Of all of the tracks on the Tour schedule, Grundy may be at the top of the list of favorites for this Minnesota driver. Eilen, the 2013 Wayne Carter Classic winner was second in 2012, third in 2014 and 2015 before placing second again in 2018. During the last Wayne Carter Classic, he set fast time and overcame a deep invert to finish fifth. The 2012 ARCA Midwest Tour Champion and 2007 Tour Rookie of the Year has a total of five career feature victories including the first ever Tour event in 2007 held at his home track, Elko Speedway. Eilen, who is seventh on the all-time wins list will make his 147th Tour start on Saturday Night.
SLM CHAMPION 77 Riley Stenjem Utica WI Sreamin’ Norwegian/Hausz Contractors/Hougan Farms/Direct Networks Chevrolet -Stenjem has adopted quickly to Late Models, the three-time Legend Wisconsin State Champion won the Jefferson Speedway Late Model Rookie of the Year Award along with winning two out of the three Wisconsin State Championship feature events in 2019. With limited Tour starts, he has posted three top ten finishes, with top tens coming during last year’s Howie Lettow Classic and Oktoberfest 200. The 2021 Tundra Series Champion and 2022 Kulwicki Driver Development Program Driver posted top ten finishes in his last two tour starts, fifth at Madison and sixth at Jefferson.
LM WINNER 95 Harley Jankowski Sparta WI Hableman Brothers Cranberrys/Kurts Shop/Modern Disposal Sys Chevrolet -The former LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway competitor has made the move to Super Late Models and has found victory during Central Wisconsin Racing Association action. Having recently acquired the former Skylar Holzhausen mount, Jankowski plans on running for the ARCA Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year in 2022.
TRUCK CHAMPION 100 Tristian Swanson New Market MN Marthaler.com/Country Joe Homes/Gumm Farms/Hamke Toyota -A second generation driver, Tristian has his sights set on the Tour Rookie of the Year Award and is the current Rookie point leader. Last season, a win at Madison’s Joe Shear Classic put him on everyone’s radar in the Midwest Trucks. Swanson went on to win four features and was crowned Midwest Truck Champion and Rookie of the Year at season’s end. Tristian is a former Legends Track Champion at Dells Raceway Park and started his Super Late Model season by competing in the Chilly Willy at Tucson Speedway in AZ. He has back to back tenth place finishes in Tour action at Jefferson and Milwaukee.
Past Wayne Carter Classic Winners
1975 Tom Reffner
1976 Dave Watson
1977 Larry Phillips
1978 Mike Miller
1979 Mike Miller
1980 Mark Malcuit
1981 Larry Schuler
1982 Jim Sauter
1983 Tom Reffner
1984 Dick Trickle
1985 Butch Miller
1986 Joe Shear
1987 Dick Trickle
1988 Joe Shear
1989 Ted Musgrave
1990 Steve Carlson
1991 Kevin Cywinski
1992 Steve Holzhausen
1993 Joe Shear
1994 Joe Shear
1995 Joe Shear
1996 Dave Weltmeyer
1997 Joe Shear
1998 Eddie Hoffman
1999 Steve Carlson
2011 Ross Kenseth
2012 Eddie Hoffman
2013 Johathan Eilen
2014 Chris Weinkauf
2015 Eddie Hoffman
2016 Ty Majeski
2017 Ricky Baker
2018 Dalton Zehr
2020 Paul Shafer Jr.