Names such as Trickle, Miller, Hansen and Carlson have all recorded Memorial Day victories at Wisconsin International Raceway throughout the years. On Monday afternoon, the tradition returns to WIR and a new crop of drivers look to add their name alongside Midwest racing royalty. The special event will feature the Super Late Model ‘Stars and Cars’ of the ARCA Midwest Tour and the top weekly drivers in Triple 50 Feature events as well as the Midwest Truck Series and Mid-American Stock Car Series, racing is set to begin at 2pm.
The regulars of the Fox River Racing Club will be well represented, leading that list will be Midwest Tour standout and 2018 FRRC Champion Casey Johnson. Johnson smashed the track record in qualifying this past Thursday night and will pilot his #47 machine Monday. Johnson, the 2017 Dixieland 250 winner is amongst the favorites to capture the $5,000 top prize in the newly formatted Triple 50 event which will showcase a Midwest Tour Points Feature which Johnson will compete in, a 50 lap feature for the local top guns and then the top drivers from each will be seeded into a 50 lap finale.
This race format was used once before in ARCA Midwest Tour competition, during the 2015 Chicagoland Showdown at Illiana (IN) Motor Speedway. On that Memorial Day afternoon, the black #39 machine of Morrissey was on a rail, driving from his 12th starting spot to cross the stripe first. Morrissey was a two-time winner on Tour in 2018, the 2011 Tour Champion collected hardware at State Park Speedway and following Oktoberfest at LaCrosse, narrowly missing the podium during last year’s Dixieland 250. Another driver to watch is Pauly Shafer who is consistently in the top ten in Tour competition at Kaukauna including a career best third place effort following the Dixieland 250 in 2017. Shafer, the 2013 Illiana Super Late Model Champion recorded his first and only career Tour win in last year’s Salute the Troops 100 at Jefferson. The young Indiana chauffer just graduated from Valparaiso University last weekend.
In addition to Casey Johnson, Wisconsin International Raceway is well represented in the Memorial Day field. One driver not to overlook is five-time Fox River Racing Club and three-time Red, White and Blue State Champion Jeff VanOudenhoven and 2017 FRRC Champion Andy Monday who is always in contention to win at WIR. Having won the last two Red, White and Blue State Championships, second generation driver Bobby Kendall and Brent Strelka both look to capitalize on past podium runs in Tour competition at the tricky D shaped oval. 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, matching Kendall’s 2016 effort.
Rich Bickle, Jr has been on a roll, with finishes of third at the Dells Icebreaker and a runner-up effort three weeks ago during the Joe Shear Classic at Madison, will he finally be able to add his name to the Memorial Day Winner’s List alongside so many drivers he competed with? The 1989 Dixieland 250 winner could break a Midwest Tour curse and put a tally in the win column Monday, he nearly stole the 2017 Dixieland event before engine woes sidelined him late in the going. Bickle was the high bidder on a door off of Dick Trickle’s 67-win Ford Mustang last weekend at the Dick Trickle Memorial statue unveiling.
Austin 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 Madison International Speedway Super Late Model Triple Crown Title and adding the Kar Korner All-Star 100 at Rockford Speedway to his resume. Nason narrowly missed capturing the Tour title last season in a five way battle that came down to Oktoberfest. The Illinois driver is always at or near the top of the speedcharts at Kaukauna. Carson Kvapil, who along with Shafer are part of the Alan Kulwicki Driver Development Program, recorded the win last August at Golden Sands, winning in his first Tour start. The 16 year old who calls Mooresville, NC home, is the son of former NASCAR Truck Champion Travis Kvapil. The second generation driver is now in search of Rookie of the Year honors and wore his Midwest Tour T-Shirt to his first day of school last fall.
2018 Wisconsin Challenge Series Champ Ryan Farrell, 2018 TUNDRA Runner-Up John Beale, Central Wisconsin standout Justin Mondiek, World Series of Asphalt (FL) Runner-Up Gabe Sommers, two-time Grundy County Speedway Champion Ricky Baker and John DeAngelis, Jr whom led the most laps at the Joe Shear Classic and finished 5th in the 2018 Dixieland 250 are all expected entries for Monday afternoon’s Special Event.
Spectator Gates will open at noon on Monday with qualifying beginning at 12:30pm. Racing action will begin at 2pm, with a 50 lap Midwest Tour Feature, 50 lap Feature for the weekly competitors with the top 10 finishers from each feature being placed into a 50 lap, $5,000 to win Finale to conclude the racing program. Preliminary and Feature events for the Midwest Trucks and Mid-American Stock Cars will fill the afternoon racing program. Adult general admission tickets are $20 with ages 12 and under admitted free. Wisconsin International Raceway is located at W1460 County Road KK in Kaukuana, WI, for more information visit www.wirmotorsports.com or call 920-759-7456. The Midwest Tour will be in action this Saturday night at Jefferson Speedway prior to Monday’s WIR event and will then head to the Milwaukee Mile for a Father’s Day Special 100 lap contest on Sunday June 16, more details are available at www.midwesttour.racing.
PAST Memorial Day Winners at Wisconsin International Raceway
YEAR DRIVER(S) LAPS SANCTION
1984 Dick Trickle (2) 50 ARTGO
1985 Butch Miller, Dick Trickle 50 ARTGO
1986 Butch Miller (2) 50 ARTGO
1987 Butch Miller, Dick Trickle 50 ARTGO
1988 Butch Miller, Steve Holzhausen 50 ARTGO
1989 Scott Hansen, Joe Shear 50 ARTGO
1990 Joe Shear 125 ARTGO
1991 Butch Miller 125 ARTGO
1992 Tom Carlson 125 ARTGO
1993 Bobby Blount 150 ARTGO (Raindate Aug)
1994 Jim Weber 100 ARTGO
1995 Kevin Cywinski 100 ARTGO
1996 Joe Shear 100 ARTGO
1997 Steve Carlson, Jason Schuler 50 ARTGO
1998 Steve Holzhausen 150 NASCAR
1999 Scott Hansen 200 NASCAR
2000 Eddie Hoffman 200 NASCAR
2001 Steve Carlson 300 NASCAR
2004 Steve Carlson 200 NASCAR (Raindate June)
ALL-TIME MEMORIAL DAY WINS
Butch Miller- 6
Dick Trickle- 4
Joe Shear- 3
Steve Carlson- 3
Steve Holzhausen- 2
Scott Hansen- 2
Tom Carlson- 1
Bobby Blount- 1
Jim Weber- 1
Kevin Cywinski- 1
Jason Schuler- 1
Eddie Hoffman- 1