Defending ARCA Midwest Tour champion Dalton Zehr has not done much racing outside the upper Midwest ever since he moved from his home state of Florida. That will change this weekend as he prepares to make his ARCA/CRA Super Series debut at Toledo Speedway this weekend as part of the Glass City 200.
Now residing in Verona, Wisconsin, Zehr has made sporadic starts behind the wheel in the Badger State throughout 2019 while taking on the role of Crew Chief for fellow Wisconsin racer John Beale. With an off-weekend for Super Late Model racing in the state, it allowed him the opportunity to search around for races to compete in, and Toledo Speedway made it an easy decision for him.
“It was an open weekend for us up here, that was a big contributing factor,” Zehr told Speed51.com. “I was sitting here looking up races to go to and the reason we picked Toledo over all the others was because I saw a picture of the track and was like, ‘That’s the one we’re going to.’ It just looks cool, looks fast.”
The half-mile situated just a mile-and-a-half from the Ohio-Michigan state line is known for its blazing fast speeds. The race track is no stranger to upper Midwest competitors, stemming from the Border Wars races with the ARCA Midwest Tour and the ARCA/CRA Super Series. The September race has also seen Wisconsin drivers Natalie Decker and Dennis Prunty make the trip east in the past two years.
“I’ve never seen the place, I’ve never been there,” he said. “I’ve asked a couple of my competitors who have to try to get an idea or a feel of what that place is like by track association; what track is it like, what track does it compare to, things like that to try to get an accurate description of it so I have an idea of what I’m setting up for.”
While Zehr has never seen the track in person, he plans on taking race day just like any other race at a familiar track.
“It’s just like any other track I’m setting up for, you take what you think is the best. I think we’re all about the same, we have aggressive setups and more complying setups. It’s all the same baseline though. It’s just another racetrack.”
Crew chiefing throughout the majority of race season in the upper Midwest has allowed Zehr to write down bigger races he has not been able to go to. To this point of the season, he has competed in all four Alive for Five Series races that have been contested at Dells Raceway Park and Madison International Speedway, as well as ARCA Midwest Tour events at the Milwaukee Mile and at Madison for the Howie Lettow 100. His 2019 race season is far from over, and it starts this weekend at Toledo Speedway.
“I’ve raced about ten times this season up here in the Midwest basically to stay sharp,” he said. “Part of the crew chiefing deal with John (Beale) was that I’d get to go to some bigger races during the offseason. I’ll be showing up at some big shows in the offseason. I don’t know at the end of the year if I’d call it scaling back as much as changing the focus toward the races I’m going to run.”
“We’re going to be at Toledo and then we’ll be at the Nashville 400. After that, we plan on going to the Snowball Derby,” he continued. “These are some bigger shows that I’ve never been to or seen. It’s going to be a great opportunity to run some big shows.”