The ‘Stars and Cars’ of the ARCA Midwest Tour return to action this Friday night August 16 at Madison International Speedway during the Howie Lettow Classic 100 presented by Zimbrick Chevrolet. The top Super Late Model drivers in the region, including past Lettow winners Ty Majeski and Paul Shafer, Jr, will be joined by former NASCAR and MIS Champion Matt Kenseth as he returns to ‘Wisconsin’s Fastest Half Mile’, marking his first appearance at his home track since visiting victory lane in 2014.
Kenseth, the 2003 NASCAR Cup Champion and 1994 MIS Champion, will be making just his second Super Late Model start of 2019, his other coming in July at Slinger Super Speedway when he scored his eighth Slinger Nationals title following a last lap pass of Majeski as the duo raced to the checkers. Majeski, a four-time ARCA Midwest Tour Champion is hot off three wins to start the month of August, winning both features during a clean sweep of the Blue Race at Wisconsin International Raceway and then last week’s triumph at WIR during the Midwest Tour’s $10,000 to win Dixieland 250. Currently fifth on the all-time wins chart at MIS with 27 Super Late Model wins, Kenseth last visited MIS in 2014 and added to his win total. Meanwhile, Majeski is the all-time wins leader in Midwest Tour history with nineteen, won the Lettow event at MIS in 2015 and has recorded three ARCA Menards Series National wins this season.
Just four points separate Midwest Tour point leader Casey Johnson and Austin Nason. Which one the confines of MIS favors more could be argued for either camp. Each driver has two career Super Late Model wins at Madison, while Johnson has two Super Late Model Triple Crown titles and Nason has one, which came last season, the same season Nason scored his break-through win in the Joe Shear Classic. Johnson has posted two Midwest Tour victories so far this season at Jefferson and Rockford and won the overall during the Capital Classic at MIS in May to go along with two wins in weekly Fox River Racing action at WIR, where he is the defending Champion and current point leader. Nason, wowed the Father’s Day crowd at Milwaukee, picking up the win when racing returned to ‘America’s Legendary Oval’, he was also third in the season opening Joe Shear Classic back in May, one position ahead of Johnson.
Three additional Midwest Tour Champions that intend to take home the $5,000 winner’s check are Dan Fredrickson, Andrew Morrissey and Jonathan Eilen. Fredrickson, a two time Midwest Tour Champion was also the 2017 MIS Super Late Model Triple Crown Champion and won the inaugural Joe Shear Classic back in 2008. Morrissey, a two-time Joe Shear Classic winner and the 2011 Tour Champion scored two big wins in Tour action last season and has been fast in his limited starts in 2019. Morrissey currently holds the all-time fastest Late Model track record at MIS with a lap of 16.639 seconds. Speaking of limited starts, Jonathan Eilen will be making his first Midwest Tour attempt of 2019. The 2012 Midwest Tour Champion has cut back his racing efforts this year to concentrate on his son’s budding quarter-midget career but did manage to capture the second of two twin features during the Capital Classic at MIS in May.
Also returning to Midwest Tour action will be Skylar Holzhausen, who like Eilen, recorded a feature win during the Capital Classic in May. Holzhausen has two career Midwest Tour victories and is a former Oktoberfest Dick Trickle 99 winner. Rich Bickle, Jr, who was the highest bidder for the door off of Trickle’s 67 win Mustang during the Dick Trickle Memorial Grand Opening has put his #45 machine in contention throughout the season, including a hard fought runner-up finish in May’s Joe Shear Classic after receiving damage in a mid-race multi-car incident. The former NASCAR standout Bickle, a two-time Madison International Speedway, then Capital Super Speedway, Champion last visited MIS victory lane in 2017, his 18th career victory at MIS.
Returning to Madison is the driver that led the most laps during the 2019 Joe Shear Classic, John DeAngelis, Jr. DeAngelis and his team continue to make gains on the field, with a career best second place showing during last week’s Dixieland 250 as proof. The #7 Chevrolet was stout at MIS in May and the team has had Friday’s Howie Lettow Classic circled on their calendar, as crew chief Travis Dassow is a former ASA Late Model Champion under Lettow’s leadership. Dassow will also have another interest in the field, as former Late Model front runner and 2011 Illiana Motor Speedway Late Model Champion Blake Brown will pilot Dassow’s Super Late Model when he makes his first oval track appearance in five years.
2017 Howie Lettow Classic winner Paul Shafer, Jr has become one of the favorite visitors at each track he attends. Shafer who recorded his first and only Tour win to date last season, was the 2013 Illiana Motor Speedway Champion and is now part of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program. Shafer will be joined by fellow KDDP participants Luke Fenhaus and Carson Kvapil. In what will be Fenhaus’ fifth career Tour start, the former Midwest Truck standout has already began to impress race fans across the badger state, recording a career best fifth place tour effort in last month’s Larry Detjens Memorial. Fresh off a fifth place performance in the Dixieland 250, current Tour Rookie of the Year point leader Carson Kvapil is in search of his first tour win of the season, having won in his first career tour start one year ago.
Trailing Kvapil by just three markers in the Rookie of the Year hunt is Gabe Sommers. Sommers became the latest driver to add his name to the Midwest Tour record books as he scored his first ever tour feature victory at State Park Speedway during July’s Larry Detjens Memorial. Having placed second in the overall standings following the World Series of Asphalt Racing at New Smyrna Speedway during Speedweeks in February, many knew a win in the Midwest was in the cards. Yet another multi-generation driver to watch is Bobby Kendall. Kendall is a two-time Red, White and Blue State Champion at WIR where he has won this season. Mechanical gremlins have gotten the best of Kendall during his recent visits to MIS but he has shown plenty of speed around the high banked half mile oval.
Another name found scattered throughout the MIS records is John Beale. Beale is a former Late Model Rookie of the Year at MIS where he has recorded four feature wins. Joining forces with 2018 Midwest Tour Champ Dalton Zehr, Beale has three Super Late Model wins in 2019. 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 Friday. Touring Star Justin Mondiek who was the season points runner-up at State Park Speedway last season, looks to build upon his 10th place showing at the Joe Shear Classic. He will be joined by Dillon Hammond who just recorded his best Tour finish at State Park with a finish of fourth and Central Wisconsin Champion Jason Weinkauf.
Fresh of the win Saturday night at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway, five time Champion and current Elko Speedway point leader Jacob Goede plans to take a night off from chasing NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points in order to chase the Howie Lettow Classic trophy. Goede, who currently sits fourth in the National NASCAR Point Standings, was battling for the lead with Austin Nason in May in search of the Joe Shear Classic win when the two racers made contact, relegating both drivers to the tail of the field. 2018 Wisconsin Challenge Series Champion Ryan Farrell has his car ready to go following mechanical issues which sidelined him last week during Dixieland 250 practice and two time Grundy County Speedway Champion Ricky Baker has his Ford ready to compete Friday night as well.
The race honors one of the great names in short track racing, Howie Lettow, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 62 following a battle with cancer. Lettow was a highly respected crew chief who led eight different drivers to rookie of the year honors in the American Speed Association. Best known of that group is seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson. Other drivers included Pat Schauer, Scott Hansen, Ken Lund, David Stremme, Ted Musgrave, Steve Holzhausen, Steve Carlson, and Ricky Johnson. Lettow won an ASA championship in 1996 as crew chief for Tony Raines. He also won three straight championships from 2005-2007 in the ASA Late Model Challenge Series with Stephen Leicht, Kelly Bires, and Travis Dassow behind the wheel.
Adult general admission tickets for the Howie Lettow Classic presented by Zimbrick Chevrolet are just $20, with Whelen Heroes and Senior tickets $18, students ages 12-17 are $15, ages 6-11 $5 with kids ages 5 and under admitted free. Take advantage of the MIS Family Ticket and get up to two adult admissions and up to four youth admissions ages 17 and under for $50. A limited number of VIP Matt Kenseth Meet and Greet tickets are available for $108 each. Spectator gates will open at 3:30 p.m., practice begins at 4 p.m. with qualifying getting underway at 6:15pm. A full racing program which includes the ARCA Midwest Tour Super Late Models, Midwest Trucks and Midwest Dash Series begins at 7:30 p.m. Madison International Speedway is located at 1122 Sunrise Road between Oregon and Stoughton, WI. Visit www.misracing.com or call 608-835-9700 for additional information.
2012 Travis Sauter Milwaukee Mile
2013 Kyle Busch Milwaukee Mile
2014 Erik Jones Milwaukee Mile
2015 Ty Majeski Madison International Speedway
2016 Rained Out
2017 Paul Shafer, Jr
2018 Rained Out
4Luke FenhausWausauWIKulwicki DDP/Accu-Mix Concrete & Trucking/Ave MtsptsChevrolet
5John BealeVeronaWIWI Corn Growers Assoc/Evenson Farms/TJ Harron PhotographyChevrolet
7John DeAngelis, JrHubertusWIDeAngelis Construction/D+H DemolitionFord
7Paul Shafer, JrPortageINPaul’s Auto Yards/ClassyChassisTrucks.comChevrolet
8Billy MohnNew MarketMNAirgas/Print Lab WrapsChevrolet
9Tim LampmanOak CreekWIBarricade Flasher Service/Wegner Automotive/Lane AutomotiveChevrolet
11Bobby KendallMontelloWIInterstate Sealant & Concrete/Tabitha Pierce American FamilyChevrolet
13Andrew BrockerJeffersonWIAmerican State EquipmentChevrolet
14Austin NasonRoscoeILMontgomery Ward/Haase Builders/JRS ShocksFord
15Dean LaPointeMarshfieldWIKen Edwards Construction/Chips Hamburgers/K&K AutoFord
15Gabe SommersPloverWITasteful Selections Potatoes/Kwik Trip/Wysocki FarmsToyota
34Brandon HillGenoa CityWIQwik Mag/Stinebrink’s Piggly Wiggly/Spectrum CoatingDodge
35Carson KvapilMooresvilleNCCorvetteparts.net/WehrsMachine/B&B Race EnginesFord
36Dan FredricksonLakevilleMNHerman’s Landscape Supply/Justman FreightToyota
39Andrew MorrisseyDeForestWIClub LaMark/B&B Racing Engines/MRI, IncFord
44Justin MondeikGleasonWIAgra Industries/Aqua Finance/Schaeffer’s Oil/A&A Lock ServiceChevrolet
45Rich Bickle, JrEdgertonWIT1 Racing/Wegner Automotive/Barnyard to BrickyardChevrolet
47Casey JohnsonEdgertonWIValley Gasket/Lake Park Pub/VanZeeland Collision & PaintFord
52Ricky BakerPlainfieldILRod Baker Ford/Illinois Truck and EquipmentFord
71Blake BrownTwin LakesWIKunes Country Stoughton/Uline/Club LaMark/Dave’s White RockChevrolet
72Jacob GoedeCarverMNBaby Gowdy/Goetz Trucking/Northern Racing ProductsChevrolet
75Dillon HammondGrand MarshWIHammond Auto Mauston, WIChevrolet
76Jason WeinkaufMerrillWIProfessional Drywall/VanDerGeest Cattle/Tiry’sChevrolet
77Jonathan EilenHamptonMNEilen & Sons Trucking & Landscape/Graber Auto BodyFord
78Skylar HolzhausenBangorWIKempf Logging/Wehrs Machine/Fechner MotorsFord
80Ryan FarrellBig BendWILingford Construction & Transport/Able PlumbingChevrolet
88Rick CorsoMcHenryILAdams Auto Body/R.A. Adams Ent/Performance UnlimitedChevrolet
91Ty MajeskiSeymourWIiRacing.com/LeJeune Bolt/Black Diamond/Ken’s SportsFord