This Sunday afternoon May 5, Madison International Speedway will host the 11th annual ARCA Midwest Tour Joe Shear Classic. This 200-lap, $10,000 to Win event honors the memory of Joe Shear, one of the greatest short track racers in the country who won four track championships (1973,1974,1980,1982) and 66 features at ‘Wisconsin’s Fastest Half Mile’ along with hundreds of other wins and championships throughout the region. Last year’s winner Austin Nason leads a strong contingent of ARCA Midwest Touring Stars against Champions and challengers from across the region and from as far away as Georgia and North Carolina.
Nason had a stellar season in 2018, not only recording his first tour triumph in the Joe Shear Classic but also laying claim to the MIS Super Late Model Triple Crown Title and adding the Kar Korner All-Star 100 at Rockford Speedway to his resume. Rich Bickle, Jr has also found recent success at MIS, the two-time track champion (1985, 1986) recorded his most recent of 18 wins in 2017 and led late in the Joe Shear Classic that year, bringing the Wisconsin faithful to their feet. The first Midwest Tour event to be held at MIS was won by Brandon Hill, he will look to add to his July 2007 win this Sunday. Another name found scattered throughout the MIS records is John Beale. This season, Beale will have 2018 Tour Champ Dalton Zehr as a crew chief starting with the Joe Shear Classic. Beale is a former Late Model Rookie of the Year at MIS where he has recorded four feature wins and led early in the 2017 Shear Classic.
Hot off his win the Icebreaker 100 at Dells Raceway Park two weeks ago, Casey Johnson returns to settle some unfinished business in the Joe Shear Classic. Johnson led in the late stages before mechanical woes sidelined his efforts. The 2013 and 2016 MIS Super Late Model Triple Crown Champion cruised to the 2018 Fox River Racing Club Championship in his Dennis Chase owned #47, the same car he will pilot Sunday afternoon. Another former MIS Champ in the field is 2004 Super Late Model and 2012 and 2014 Late Model Champion Dale Nottestad. Nottestad is the five-time and defending Jefferson Speedway Champion and is known throughout the state as one of the toughest weekly racers.
In addition to Casey Johnson, Wisconsin International Raceway is well represented in the Joe Shear Classic field. Leading the charge is five-time Fox River Racing Club and three-time Red, White and Blue State Champion Jeff VanOudenhoven who has three career Super Late Model checkered flags at MIS. Having won the last two Red, White and Blue State Championships, second generation driver Bobby Kendall will be one to watch as he mixed it up with the leaders in the middle stages of last season’s Joe Shear Classic. A driver with limited Midwest Tour starts but a strong pedigree is Brent Strelka. Strelka captured the 2015 Late Model title at WIR and has 31 career Late Model wins, he turned many heads last August when he battled his way to a third place effort in the Dixieland 250.
Winners of the last four Tony Bettenhausen Classics will lead the Chicagoland contingent. Paul Shafer, Jr has become quite popular not only at MIS but across the nation with Dale Earnhardt, Jr taking notice of this front running driver who finally recorded his first Tour win last May at Jefferson. Shafer is the 2013 Illiana Motor Speedway Champ and sped to victory last September in the Bettenhausen. Two-time Grundy County Champ Ricky Baker will be back in action after an abbreviated season, the 2016-2017 Betttenhausen winner has two Tour wins to his credit. Two new names to the tour are Grundy regular Joe Vinachi and Scott Tomasik. Tomasik is fresh off a top five effort in CRA action at Anderson, the former ICAR Modified Champ captured the final Bettenhausen to be run at Illiana in 2015.
Last weekend he rallied to a fourth place finish in the ARCA Menards Series event at Talladega, this weekend four-time Tour Champion Ty Majeski will look to add to his all-time win total in Tour history (19) and add his second Joe Shear Classic win (2016), which would tie him with Andrew Morrissey. Morrissey quietly continues to add to his ever-expanding trophy mantle, the 2011 Tour Champion recorded two wins last season in Tour action, including the Oktoberfest 200 at LaCrosse. The 2008 and 2013 Tour Champion is looking to get back into his dominant ways, a fast time at Dells two weeks ago did not end well for Dan Fredrickson as he pulled off early with damage. Much work has been done to the 36 machine, Fredrickson captured a win in Triple Crown action in 2017 at MIS and is looking to better his runner-up finish in the Joe Shear Classic from one year ago. Having just welcomed their third child into the world last weekend, 2012 Midwest Tour Champion Jonathan Eilen will be a game-time decision. The Hampton Hustler returned to victory lane in non-tour action and was scratching at victory throughout 2018.
Fredrickson and Eilen will be joined by other top Minnesota drivers Sunday afternoon. Nick Murgic has recorded three top-five efforts in this event and finished third behind Nason and Fredrickson after 200 laps last year. Murgic surprised everyone when he recorded the biggest win of his career in the 2015 Dixieland 250, he has proven time and again that longer races are a strength of his. The past two Tour Rookie of the Year recipients also hale from the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Michael Ostdiek has been a force in everything he has driven, from Legend Cars to Big 8 Late Models, he has adapted well to Super Late Models and looks to improve on what looked to be a strong sophomore season before engines troubles sidelined the family owned team. Billy Mohn wasn’t even expecting to run a full season last year, but the strength of seven top ten efforts catapulted him to Rookie of the Year honors and a chance to test an ARCA car at Daytona International Speedway this past January.
Chris and Jason Weinkauf finished in the top five of MIS Triple Crown Points last season and both spent time at the front of the 2018 Joe Shear Classic. With one Tour win a piece, the Central Wisconsin Championship winning brothers (Marshfield, Wisconsin Challenge Series) will be joined by MIS LongHaul recipient Dean LaPointe, World Series of Asphalt (New Smryna, FL) runner-up Gabe Sommers, and State Park feature winner Justin Mondiek.
The Flyin’ FIB Steve Rubeck returns to action Sunday, the former Dells Raceway Park and Big 8 Series Champion would like to add the Joe Shear Classic win to an impressive career in racing which includes two National Short Track Championships. Former Slinger Super Speedway Rookie of the Year and Snowball Derby front runner John DeAngelis will be one to watch as will 2018 Wisconsin Challenge Series Champ Ryan Farrell and former Mid-American Stock Car Champion and Big 8 winner Rick Corso. Dipping his toes back into the Touring water will be 2011 Tour Rookie of the Year Skylar Holzhausen. Holzhausen has two career Tour wins and is a former winner of the Dick Trickle 99 at Oktoberfest.
Two drivers will be making a long voyage from their hometowns for the Joe Shear Classic. Former Southern Super Series and Slinger Nationals Champion Bubba Pollard officially filed his entry for the Joe Shear Classic on Monday. Fans will remember that Pollard nearly dominated the 2018 event, leading 114 laps before engine gremlins wrestled the win away from the Georgia driver. Pollard has had a strong start to 2019, winning the World Series of Asphalt during Speedweeks in Florida as well as recording CARS Tour and Dirt Late Model victories. Victory was found by Carson Kvapil in his first career Midwest Tour start last August. Now the North Carolina native will return to his Dad’s (Travis) roots to hone his racing skills, having won just about everything there is to win in open karts, including last weekend.
Nason of Roscoe, Illinois, won last year’s race. Past winners of this event include Andrew Morrissey (2012 and 2017), Ty Majeski (2016), Johnny Sauter (2015), Nathan Haseleu (2009 and 2014), Travis Sauter (2013), Ross Kenseth (2011), and Steve Carlson (2010).
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the half-mile track that was built by the legendary Sam Bartus in 1969. The racing program will also include the Midwest Truck Series, Mid-American Stock Car Series and Upper Midwest Vintage Series. Spectator gates open at 11:30, Time Trials are set for 12:45pm with the first race at 2pm. The fastest 16 Midwest Tour qualifiers will be signing autographs prior to racing under the Turn 4 Party Pavilion. Adult general admission tickets are $25, Whelen Heroes/Seniors and Students (12-17) are $22, Kids ages 6-11 are $10 with ages 5 and under admitted free. Get up to two adult admissions and up to four admissions for ages 17 and under for $60 with the MIS Family Pass. Madison International Speedway is located at 1122 Sunrise Road in Oregon, WI, just south of Highway 138. For additional information including tickets please visit www.misracing.com.
Expected Entries Joe Shear Classic 200 ARCA Midwest Tour Sunday May 5, 2019 Madison International Speedway, Oregon,WI
32 as of 4/29/19
Car # Name Hometown State P1 Steve Rubeck Kirkland IL 4 Scott Tomasik Avon IN 5 John Beale Verona WI 7 John DeAngelis, Jr Hubertus WI 7 Paul Shafer, Jr Portage IN 8 Billy Mohn New Market MN 11 Bobby Kendall Montello WI 12 Nick Murgic Rosemount MN 14 Austin Nason Roscoe IL 15 Dean LaPointe Marshfield WI 15 Gabe Sommers Plover WI 18 Michael Ostdiek Lakeville MN 26 Bubba Pollard Senoia GA 34 Brandon Hill Genoa City WI 35 Carson Kvapil Mooresville NC 36 Dan Fredrickson Lakeville MN 39 Andrew Morrissey DeForest WI 44 Justin Mondeik Gleason WI 45 Jeff VanOudenhoven Appleton WI 45 Rich Bickle, Jr Edgerton WI 47 Casey Johnson Edgerton WI 51 Dale Nottestad Cambridge WI 52 Brent Strelka Freedom WI 52 Ricky Baker Plainfield IL 73 Joe Vinachi Morris IL 75 Chris Weinkauf Merrill WI 76 Jason Weinkauf Merrill WI 77 Jonathan Eilen Hampton MN 78 Skylar Holzhausen Bangor WI 80 Ryan Farrell Big Bend WI 88 Rick Corso McHenry IL 91 Ty Majeski Seymour WI