John Beale’s ten-year racing career has been gaining some serious momentum over the past few seasons. The rookie contender from Verona will be looking for his fourth ROY title since 2013 when he joins the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes this season.
Before beginning his own career in 2007 Beale was a crew member with former ARTGO and NASCAR Midwest Elite division star Brian Hoppe. After honing his skills in the 4 Cylinders, Beale moved to Late Models, then to Midwest Trucks, then back to Late Models. He won rookie of the year titles in 2013 (Columbus 151 Speedway Late Models), 2014 (Midwest Trucks), and 2015 (Madison Int’l Speedway Late Models).
After a 2016 season with three wins in the Late Models at MIS, Beale made the decision to move up this year. A full TUNDRA season is part of the plan along with some other major events such as Bristol and Gateway.
“The problem is I haven’t raced anywhere. I’ve raced the Dells and MIS,” Beale said of his Super Late Model endeavors. “It will be a big learning curve, but I’m hoping to really grow the team with the schedule we have.”
Beale knows that heading to new places will be a challenge for him and his team, but he knows it is one they are ready to face. He hopes to garner experience racing against the veterans of various tracks.
“It will be a huge challenge,” Beale said of his season. “You have to imagine racing against a guy who has been racing at that track 50 nights, 100 nights, 200 nights – a guy that’s been racing there for ten years. I’m going to roll up there and it will be my first time there.”
For Beale, TUNDRA is the perfect fit. He also had some persuasion from last year’s TUNDRA Champion, Casey Johnson, who will act as Beale’s Crew Chief this season.
“[TUNDRA’s] rules are friendly. You don’t have to change a bunch of stuff every week,” Beale said. “You don’t have to rebuild the car. We can go run and have fun. We get to run a bunch of places and get some laps and touring in. Plus, Casey told me to do it.”
Although Johnson is mostly known for his prowess behind the wheel, he’s no slouch in setting up a car, according to Beale. Johnson and his dad Jeff built and maintained their machines for all of Casey’s career. Much of the building and setup work is done at home. That is the knowledge they can help bring to Beale’s team.
“They can pretty much do anything to a car,” Beale said. “They built two cars from scratch and know how to do it all. The biggest problem for them will probably be adjusting from driver to Crew Chief which would be hard for me also.”
The first of the event could be quite an adjustment in itself. Beale has never raced at Wisconsin International Raceway. However, Johnson was a Thursday night title contender and Red, White and Blue State Champion in 2016 at the ½-mile oval. His advice could prove to be extremely valuable to Beale.
“It’s not your normal circle track where every corner is the same and it’s your normal straightaway and corner,” Beale said. “The problem is that there are so many options for lines, where do you go?”
With his eyes on the Dean’s Satellite and Security Rookie of the Year title, Beale tries to temper his expectations. He said he hopes he can contend at each race, but knows the learning curve will be steep against some stout competition.
“Everyone wants to win,” Beale said. “I know how hard it’s going to be, but the goal is to win every time we come. I don’t expect to win, we’ll just do everything we can.”
In 2017 Beale is sponsored by www.bealeracing.com.
The 2017 season for the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes begins Saturday, May 13 with Kroll’s West Round One at Wisconsin International Raceway. TUNDRA will be joined by the Midwest Truck Series and Sportsman division. Qualifying is scheduled for noon with racing to begin at 2 p.m.