A variety of series will bring asphalt racing specials to central and eastern Wisconsin
By Bert Lehman
Editor, Full Throttle Magazine
Fans of asphalt racing won’t be have a shortage of events to attend this summer. No less than four touring series will be visiting area tracks. That is in addition to the local specials some of the individual tracks are hosting.
One of the most popular events held at Road America is the WeatherTech Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints, held June 12-15. This is Road America’s longest running annual sports car event.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series Gardner Denver 200 Fired Up by Johnsonville, Pirelli World Challenge Series, and SCCA Trans-Am Series roll into Road America on June 19-21, brining racing action to the intimidating road course.
The newly formed IMS Continental Sports Car Challenge and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship take over Road America’s four-mile circuit, Aug. 7-10. Fans will get to see the IMSA Continental Sports Car Challenge Series race on Saturday, Aug. 9, with the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race on Sunday, Aug. 10.
After starting as Dells Raceway Park exclusive series The United Northern Drivers Racing Association (TUNDRA) made its debut as a traveling tour in 2013. The tour included a six-race schedule at a variety of Wisconsin asphalt tracks. The average car count in 2013 was 35, with 21 teams attending all six races.
The 2014 TUNDRA schedule will include eight races at eight tracks — seven in Wisconsin and one in Upper Michigan.
The tour gets underway, Saturday, May 10 at a new venue for the tour — Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna. After a three week break the tour travels to Golden Sands Speedway in Plover, Monday, May 26. This race will have special meaning as Golden Sands Speedway has dubbed this race the Dick Trickle Memorial Fund Race. In addition to enjoying the TUNDRA race, fans can see people from Trickle’s past.
The tour travels to Jefferson Speedway on Saturday, June 21. Norway Speedway is next on the schedule with a race in Norway, Michigan, Saturday, July 5.
Saturday, July 26, will see the tour invade La Crosse Speedway . The tour has two races on its schedule in August. The first is at Marshfield Motor Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 2. The second is at Dells Raceway Park in Wisconsin Dells, on Saturday, Aug. 23.
The tour concludes its season at Slinger Speedway, Sunday, Sept. 7.
ARCA Midwest Tour
The ARCA Midwest Tour covers 12 races held in seven states — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
The tour was formulated after the old ARTGO Series. In addition to traveling throughout the upper Midwest, it has a group of drivers who are contracted to come to every event. Having some of the drivers contracted to appear at each event gives fans an idea of what to expect at each event.
The contracted drivers in 2014 include: Casey Johnson (Edgerton), Chris Weinkauf (Merrill), Donny Reuvers (Dundas, Minn.), James Swan (Lake Geneva), Jason Weinkauf (Merrill), Joel Theisen (Maple Grove, Minn.), Jonathan Eilen (Hampton, Minn.), Matt Kocourek (Franklin), Nathan Haseleu (Marshall), Ty Majeski (Seymour), and Nick Barstad (Prior Lake, Minn.).
The first ARCA Midwest Tour race in Wisconsin will be the 6th annual Joe Shear Classic scheduled for May 3-4. The next race is scheduled for Saturday, May 17 at State Park Speedway in Wausau.
The largest event of the year will be held June 6-8 when ARCA Fest is held at the Milwaukee Mile. This event has been moved from a weekday show to a weekend show in 2014.
The next Wisconsin date is Saturday, June 28 at Dells Raceway Park in Wisconsin Dells. In August the tour makes an appearance at Wisconsin International Raceway, Saturday. Aug. 9. This will be the first trip to WIR in two years for the tour.
The tour wraps up its season at the 45th annual Oktoberfest at La Crosse Speedway, Oct. 4-5.
Mid American Stock Car Series
The Mid American Stock Car Series will host 11 events in 2014, with seven of them at Wisconsin tracks. The first Wisconsin event is scheduled for Saturday, May 10 at Wisconsin International Raceway in conjunction with the TUNDRA Tour. The Mid American Stock Car Series portion of the event will be the Vercauteren Memorial.
The series is also part of ARCA Fest at the Milwaukee Mile, June 6-7. The series rejoins the TUNDRA Tour at Jefferson Speedway, Saturday, June 21.
It makes stops at State Park Speedway, Thursday, July 10; Slinger Speedway on Sunday, July 13; and La Crosse Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 16. The final race of the season will also be held at La Crosse Speedway at Oktoberfest.
Big 8 Series
The Big 8 Series features the top weekly short track Late Model drivers from Northern Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin in marquee events each season. Seven of the nine races on the 2014 schedule will be at tracks in Wisconsin.
The series kicks of its season, Monday, May 26 at 151 Speedway in Columbus. A month later the series travels to Madison International Raceway, Friday, June 27.
There are three races scheduled for July. The first set for Friday, July 4 at Dells Raceway Park. The second race will be Sunday, July 13 at Slinger Super Speedway. This race is being dubbed “Prelude to the Nationals.” The third race will be Friday, July 25 at State Park Speedway.
After two out-of-state races, the season concludes at Oktoberfest at La Crosse Speedway.
Other dates of note
The 35th annual Superseal Slinger Nationals presented by Miller Lite will be held, Tuesday, July 15 at Slinger Super Speedway. The ever-popular event will feature NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth. The rain date is Wednesday, July 16.
The fabled Red, White & Blue Series will once again be held at Wisconsin International Raceway. This year’s dates include: Red Race – Thursday, June 12; White Race – Thursday, July 17; and Blue Race – Thursday, Aug. 14.
State Park Speedway has a couple of memorial races fans won’t want to miss. The two-day Larry Detjens Memorial is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, July 25-26. This is a race every Super Late Model driver wants to win.
Other memorial races at State Park Speedway include the Flip Merwin Memorial Race, Thursday, June 19 and the Wayne “LODI” Lodholz Memorial, Thursday, Aug. 21.
Marshfield Motor Speedway will host three Yellow River Racing Series races this season. They will be held on May 24, July 12 and Sept. 12-13.
(This article first appeared in the April 2014 issue of Full Throttle Magazine)
The Muellers were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.
In 1997, life changed for the Reisers when they hired Matt Kenseth to race for the team. Kenseth and Robbie Reiser, who would be Kenseth’s crew chief, were rivals on the short tracks.
When Reiser asked Kenseth to race for him, Reiser admitted in 2011 it was “super weird” to award a former rival the unique opportunity of racing in NASCAR. But Reiser was happy with the decision, even if it was met with some animosity.
“He also realized what we had at stake,” Reiser recalled about his dad’s reaction.
The Reisers pinned all their hopes and dreams on Kenseth, who won the 1994 Slinger Nationals when he was 22.
“We still miss not having John around,” Kenseth said in 2011. “He’s meant a lot to me, not just on the racing side, but also the personal side.”
“When I used to race against Robbie, we weren’t really friends, we didn’t really talk,” he added.
Kenseth became a full-time then-Winston Cup driver in 2000 after he and Reiser won seven races and had 50 top-10s in their first 85 career starts in the Busch Series.
They reached the pinnacle in 2003, winning the Winston Cup championship together.
“That was special,” Ken Reiser said adding most of the people on the race team were from Wisconsin.
Robbie Reiser and Kenseth enjoyed great success for the next four years, consistently contending for NASCAR’s top championship.
In 2007, Reiser moved from the top of the pit box and into the offices of Roush Fenway Racing. They went out in style: winning their last race together at Homestead.
“When I was 18 years old and started racing cars, I never thought I would’ve gotten to the point where I am today,” Reiser said. “Who envisioned a kid from Allenton, Wisconsin to run Roush Fenway Racing?
“There’s more employees there than in my hometown.”
When Reiser does give his induction speech, he admitted it’ll be far easier this time around, rather than trying to tell a group of people – friends and idols – what it was like to be John Reiser’s son.
“My dad was my hero,” Robbie Reiser said. “To stand up in front of all those people, I wish he would’ve been able to do it himself. I just got to watch.”
“My dad never made racing a career,” he added. “My dad did it as a hobby because he loved to do it.”
Reiser said his dad had a way of being blunt. When asked what he thought his father would tell him about his latest accomplishment, Reiser said his father would look at the negatives.
But it’d be in a good way.
“He’d tell me about all the stuff I wrecked,” Reiser said with a laugh. “I was never very talented. I was just a guy that wanted to race and wanted it worse than the people around me.”
“I think he’d be proud of me,” he added. “But in my dad’s way he’d remind me of all the trouble to get there.”
For tickets and event information, call Bill Behm at 920-269-4729.