ARCA Midwest Tour Stars and Cars Take Center Stage on Father’s Day at Milwaukee

#91 Ty Majeski, #77 Jonathan Eilen [Roy Schmidt photo]

#91 Ty Majeski, #77 Jonathan Eilen [Roy Schmidt photo]

West Allis, WI- The ‘Stars and Cars’ of the ARCA Midwest Tour will once again headline the Father’s Day festivities at The Milwaukee Mile this Sunday afternoon June 19. Top Super Late Model drivers from seven states will race for 100 miles around ‘America’s Legendary Oval’ during the Father’s Day 100 presented by Hunt Brothers Pizza. Leading the regional charge is current point leader and two-time Midwest Tour Champion Casey Johnson, 2019 Father’s Day winner Austin Nason, Slinger Nationals Winner Luke Fenhaus and Tour Champ Jonathan Eilen. Former NASCAR Truck Series Champions Johnny Sauter and Erik Jones have entered their Super Lates for Sunday, both having wins at West Allis, Sauter in NASCAR competition and Jones in Midwest Tour action. Fresh off a win in Alabama last weekend, William Sawalich is joined by Jennerstown Speedway Champion Albert Francis and Redbud 400 winner Dalton Armstong in their quest to best the Midwest’s best. Former Milwaukee Mile winner Eddie Hoffman will also be one to watch alongside John DeAngelis, Jr, 2019 Truck winner Levon VanDerGeest plus Tour winners Gabe Sommers and Justin Mondeik.

Let’s take a look how these drivers stack up heading into Sunday’s feature event at The Milwaukee Mile.

Expected Entries for Sunday June 19, 2022 (31 as of 6/13/22)

BIG 8 CHAMPION 2 Michael Bilderback South Beloit IL Jim Olson Collision/Crazy Times Pub & Grub/Mastermold/Fabiano Law Chevrolet -He is a three time Rockford Speedway Track Champion and is best known for his successes at the famed quarter-mile facility, but Michael Bilderback has plenty of success outside of Rockford. The 59th Bettenhausen Memorial 100 winner at Grundy County Speedway has four Big 8 Series titles to his credit, was the Big 8 fast qualifier at Milwaukee last August and recently recorded his third weekly win at Madison International Speedway.

SLM CHAMPION 4 Luke Fenhaus Wausau WI Soda Sense/Dun-Rite Exteriors/Zilisch Asphalt/Pioneer/Central WI Vending Chevrolet -Fenhaus the 2021 Slinger Nationals winner and Slinger Track Champion won the Tour’s opening event in April at Slinger. The Tour Runner-Up and Rookie of the Year has moved to North Carolina to chase his racing dreams, finishing second in Virgina last month. Additional accolades a season ago for the 2018 State Park Speedway Champion included the Kulwicki Driver Development Championship as well as the Alive for 5 Series title. He finished twelfth at Milwaukee in 2019 and was involved in an incident while leading last year’s Father’s Day 100.

NASCAR CHAMPION 4 Erik Jones Byron MI Erik Jones Foundation Chevrolet -The last time Erik Jones climbed out of a Midwest Super Late Model at The Milwaukee Mile, he was in Victory Lane at ‘America’s Legendary Oval’ following the 2014 Howie Lettow Classic. Jones, who pilots the iconic #43 Chevrolet for Petty GMS Motorsports in NASCAR Cup Series competition is no stranger to success in Late Models. He is a two time Snowball Derby Champion, is a former CRA All-Star Tour Champion and counts victories in the Winchester 400, Rockford’s All-Star 100 and LaCrosse’s Oktoberfest 100 amongst his accolades. Jones quickly proved his worth on the big stage by winning the 2015 NASCAR Truck Series Championship. He is currently 16th in Cup Series points.

TOUR CHAMPION 5 Casey Johnson Edgerton WI Hougan Farms/Encompass Construction/Dixon Drywall/Wise Guys Auto Chevrolet -Casey Johnson has been tough to beat so far this season. Having won the Joe Shear Classic at Madison last month, Johnson, a three-time Jefferson Speedway Champion finished third at his home track when the Tour was in town last month, his worst Tour finish of the season, having placed second at Slinger in April. The two-time Tour Champion and current point leader won the Howie Lettow Classic at MIS last August and LaCrosse’s Oktoberfest. Last season he won his second Red, White and Blue State Championship by winning the White and Blue races at WIR. In addition to his Jefferson accolades, Johnson has amassed two championships at Wisconsin International, two in Big 8, two Tundra titles, six Wisconsin State Championships, the 2013 and 2016 MIS Triple Crowns and two National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway. The 2013 Milwaukee Big 8 winner was sixth here in 2019 and settled for tenth in a rain shortened effort a season ago.

SLM WINNER 5 Dalton Armstrong New Castle IN Meristem Toyota -Dalton started his career in open wheel midgets and found success early on winning in multiple disciplines before moving to Late Model Racing. He picked up the win at Anderson Speedway during the 2016 Redbud and has also garnered two CRA Jeg’s All-Star Tour wins. He is once again teamed up with longtime car owner Richie Wauters looking to improve upon an eleventh place showing in last year’s Father’s Day 100. Dalton finished ninth over Memorial Day Weekend in the 74th annual Lucas Oil Little 500 at Anderson.

NASCAR CHAMPION 5 Johnny Sauter Necedah WI Paul’s Auto Yards Chevrolet -Sauter, the 2016 NASCAR Truck Champion sits sixth on the all-time Tour wins list with seven with his most recent Tour win coming Labor Day Weekend of 2020 at the Dells following a thrilling battle with Casey Johnson and Gabe Sommers. Sauter seeks his eighth Tour victory on Sunday afternoon at Milwaukee. Many fans will remember the Wisconsin faithful coming to their feet when Sauter bested the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series field to win at West Allis in 2005.

SLM WINNER 7 John DeAngelis, Jr Hubertus WI DeAngelis Construction/JD7 Trucking Ford -Johnny D has been fast this year. A flat tire early in the going of the Miracle on the High Banks spoiled his plans to win his first Tour race during the Tour’s inaugural visit to Slinger, a track he has multiple Super Late Model wins at. DeAngelis has been racing his fair share in the Southern United States but has made his home region starts count including a win in last year’s Falloween at Dells Raceway Park. He topped the speed charts during qualifying at Madison for the Joe Shear Classic, eventually battling to a fourth place effort this May. DeAngelis contended for the win in last month’s Salute the Troops 100 at Jefferson Speedway and currently sits fourth in the Tour standings.

ARTGO CHAMPION 8 Eddie Hoffman Wheaton IL Feece Oil/Advanced Generator Chevrolet -The eight time Chicagoland Champion (7 Grundy and 1 at Illiana), Hoffman has two career Midwest feature wins to his credit, both coming at Grundy County Speedway where he is the winningest driver in track history. Looking to join the Midwest Tour full time in 2022, Hoffman has done little touring racing since being a favorite in the late 90’s and early 2000’s when he captured three Oktoberfest titles, Hoffman has remained a favorite each time his familiar number 8 is unloaded in the pit area. In what was likely his most recent start at Milwaukee, Hoffman was victorious in ASA North action in 2008.

TOUR WINNER 8 Brent Kirchner LaCrosse WI City Auto Sales Chevrolet -One of the most recent entries for this Sunday’s Father’s Day 100 comes from current LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway Point Leader Brent Kirchner. Kirchner has a knack at bigger tracks and his lone Tour win (with just 14 career starts) came at Iowa Speedway in 2012. Brent is also a former NASCAR Elite Winner at Oktoberfest in 2006. Tour win Iowa 2012, 2006 Fest ///N Elite winner, Current LFS Point Leader as of 6/12/22

MILWAUKEE MILE WINNER 14 Austin Nason Roscoe IL Montgomery Ward/Haase Builders/JRS Shocks/Kar Korner Ford -Nason has had a resurgence as of late, placing third at South Alabama Speedway’s Rattler 250 in March and posting a fourth place effort the April at the Dells. Nason is a two-time Tour point runner-up and has big wins including the 2018 Joe Shear Classic, 2019 Father’s Day 100 at The Milwaukee Mile and Rockford’s All-Star 100 to go along with a 2018 Madison Triple Crown Championship and 2015 Tour Rookie of the Year title. Nason backed up his 2019 Milwaukee Mile victory with a third place showing a year ago.

TOUR WINNER 15 Gabe Sommers Plover WI WI Potato & Veg Growers Assoc/DeKalb/Kwik Trip/Rowdy Energy Toyota – Sommers recorded his breakthrough win at the Larry Detjens Memorial at State Park Speedway in 2019. He went on to become the 2019 Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year and backed up that effort with a runner-up points finish in 2020 and fifth a season ago. Sommers found himself in a battle with NASCAR Cup Series winner William Byron during the 2022 World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway in February, eventually finishing second. A winner last June at California’s Irwindale Speedway, the young driver placed second at Milwaukee on Father’s Day in 2021, was tenth in 2019 and is hot off a runner-up finish at Jefferson three weeks ago.

CRA ROY 18 Chase Burda Lapeer MI Magnecor Racing Wires/Asilynot Coffee/Rob’s Service Chevrolet -This multi-time Quarter Midget Champion made the jump into full bodied Late Models and made the most of it, claiming CRA Jeg’s Allstar Tour Rookie of the Year Honors. Additionally, Burda has found success on the dirt, being named the IMCA Eastern Region Rookie of the Year. The 16 year old will make his first ARCA Midwest Tour attempt this Sunday at The Milwaukee Mile.

TRUCK CHAMPION 23 Levon VanDerGeest Merrill WI Central Sawdust of WI/Breber Music/Culver’s Chevrolet -Levon VanDerGeest became the youngest winner in Milwaukee Mile history when he rolled to the Midwest Truck Series victory on Father’s Day 2019. Levon went on to become the 2019 Truck Champion and finished second in the 2021 ARCA Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year standings. In addition to his Truck Series win, the West Allis oval has been good to him, as he placed seventh a year ago in this event.

24 Jim Olson Harvard IL Jim Olson Collision/Pete’s Automotive/Jimmy’s Towing Chevrolet -The former Lake Geneva Raceway Truck competitor has been hopping between weekly Late Models and Super Late Models for the better part of the last decade, posting a top five at Rockford’s National Short Track Championships. He will bring his Super Late Model to Milwaukee this Sunday afternoon.

SLM WINNER 24 William Sawalich Eden Prairie MN Soundgear/Starkey Hearing Toyota -Coming into Milwaukee with momentum on his side, Sawalich will pilot the popular Donnie Wilson Motorsports Super Late Model in his first Midwest Tour start Sunday afternoon. Sawalich took command on the Southern Super Series race last Saturday night at Montgomery Motor Speedway and crossed the line first, adding to his win column which already included victories at North Carolina’s Tri-County and Hickory Motor Speedway. William’s mentor Dennis Setzer won a NASCAR Truck race at Milwaukee in 2005. Midwest fans can see him compete again over the Independence Holiday at Road America in the TA2 class.

MID-AM CHAMPION 25 Jeff Storm East Troy WI Great Lakes Components/3D Ranch/Oak Creek Automotive/River City Lanes Chevrolet -Jeff Storm won at the Milwaukee Mile in 1997 during Mid-American Stock Car racing. The two time Mid-American Stock Car Series Champion is still finding success, now in a Super Late Model, Stormy qualified third at Slinger and second at Madison in his last two Tour appearances, finishing the day in ninth at Madison. Earlier in April he was the runner-up at Dells Raceway Park.

SLM CHAMPION 26 Dean Cornelius Bloomington MN CVF/Refinishers Supply/Stop Tech Brakes/Phil Russell Trucking Chevrolet -Nearly twenty years ago Cornelius was an up and comer on the asphalt. The 2003 Raceway Park Champion ventured out of Minnesota and claimed the Midwest Allstar Racing Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2005 on the strength of a win at Madison. Cornelius continued to be ultra successful by racking up wins with his dirt stock car around the country and is now back concentrating on asphalt racing, teamed with longtime Minnesota Champion Mark Lamoreaux.

LM CHAMPION 27 Travis Rodewald Manitowoc WI Abbey Ridge/Cretton Enterprise/WI Nationwide/JSL Real Estate Chevrolet -Back in 2013, Travis Rodewald surprised many in the paddock area at The Milwaukee Mile by posting a sixth place effort in Big 8 Series action. Now, the former Fox River Racing Club Champion at Wisconsin International Speedway looks to do the same to the ARCA Midwest Tour Super Late Model garage.

SLM CHAMPION 33 Albert Francis Painesville OH Rack Hunter/Francis Engineering/Habco Tool and Dev/Levon Trucking Chevrolet -The Ohio racer will once again spend Father’s Day at Milwaukee. After having to transfer out of the last chance race in 2019, he set the sixth quickest time during qualifying a year ago before settling for a fifteenth finish in 2021. The 2020 Jennerstown Champion looks to continue his marked improvement.

35 Greg Dreher Saxon WI GD Trucking Ford -Looking to make his first feature event in his third Midwest Tour appearance, Dreher and his Super Late Model embark on the Mile.

LM WINNER 40 Curt Tillman Roscoe IL Chevrolet -Curt Tillman is a former weekly front runner at Rockford Speedway, and was named the Speedway’s most popular driver in 1986 where he picked up multiple feature wins. Now back at it with a new found enthusiasm and the help of former Midwest Tour Champion Andrew Morrissey.

SLM CHAMPION 44 Justin Mondeik Gleason WI Powerhouse Lawn & Leisure/Metsa Machines/Merrill Manufacturing/Agra Chevrolet – This past February Justin Mondeik again took his talents to Florida during Speedweeks for the World Series of Asphalt. With four top fives and seven top tens in seven features at New Smyrna Speedway, Mondeik finished fourth in the World Series points. Having won the track Championships at both State Park Speedway and Golden Sands Speedway the past two seasons, he has also been highly successful in the UP of Michigan, posting back to back wins in the Stateline Challenge at Norway Speedway. Mondeik has one Tour win to his credit, the 2020 Detjens Memorial. He has already added to his trophy collection this season with wins at State Park and Norway.

MILWAUKEE MILE WINNER 64 Griffin McGrath Cedar Rapids IA Chevrolet -With his attention mainly on INEX Legend Car racing these days, McGrath will return to Super Late Models this weekend and at a track he has been known to run quite well at. With flat sweeping corners like his hometown track, Hawkeye Downs, The Milwaukee Mile has been favorable to the Iowa driver. McGrath scored an ASA Late Model Series North victory at West Allis in 2010. McGrath scored the win earlier this month at Hawkeye Downs when the Big 8 Late Model Series visited Iowa.

SLM WINNER 65 Steve Seligman Aurora IL SMB Auto Wrecking Ford -With a shorthanded crew, longtime Chicagoland driver Steve Seligman finished as the last car on the lead lap (23rd) last year at The Milwaukee Mile. Seligman is getting back into the Super Late Model scene, a former competitor around Chicago’s short tracks as well as in ARCA, ASA and ARTGO. Seligman twice attempted to make the Daytona 500 as well as the Brickyard 400.

SLM CHAMPION 71 Blake Brown Twin Lakes WI J.R.R./McCloskey Farms/Olson’s Iron & Disposal/Terry’s of Peotone Ford -Unlike many of the up and coming drivers who talk about how iracing got them into racing, iracing during the pandemic got this driver turned fisherman back into the sport in which he found much success. Brown was the 2011 Illiana Super Late Model Track Champion and then went traveling with the Midwest Trucks, becoming their Champion in 2014 alongside a Championship in the Trucks at Madison. Sunday will mark Brown’s first Midwest Tour appearance since last August, which came at Madison.

TOUR CHAMPION 77 Jonathan Eilen Hampton MN Eilen & Sons Trucking & Landscape/Graber Auto Body Ford – Eilen was the Hard Charger of the race, charging his way to an eighth place effort after starting twenty-first at Slinger in April. He then put together another strong showing, finishing sixth during Madison’s Joe Shear Classic. The 2012 ARCA Midwest Tour Champion and 2007 Tour Rookie of the Year has a total of five career feature victories including the first ever Tour event in 2007 held at his home track, Elko Speedway. Eilen, who is seventh on the all-time wins list will make his 146th Tour start on Sunday afternoon.

SLM CHAMPION 80 Ryan Farrell Big Bend WI Tiry’s Race Engines/Adams Heavy Duty Tow/Jacoby Waterproof Chevrolet – He started his season with a fast time at the Dells Ice Breaker. Farrell’s luck on the Midwest Tour scene thus far in 2022 has been non-existent, a preliminary event wreck and radiator failure in the feature at Slinger was followed by a strong qualifying effort only to be thwarted by brake issues at Madison and an oil pump failure at Jefferson. The 2018 Wisconsin Challenge Series Champion looks to turn his luck into fortune at Milwaukee, where he finished seventh in 2019. With various Super Late Model wins throughout the state including at Dells Raceway Park, Farrell is still in search of his first Midwest Tour victory.

SLM WINNER 81 Bryan Syer-Keske Lakeville MN Advanced Diesel Power/Fredrickson Signs/Bros Jorgenson Chevrolet -The former Elko Speedway weekly Super Late Model winner has a strong Oktoberfest last fall finishing eighth overall in the Dick Trickle 99 and qualifying for Sunday’s ARCA Midwest Tour 200 lap Championship Feature. Syer-Keske believes he is in the best position he has ever been in to compete with the ‘Stars and Cars’ of the ARCA Midwest Tour and will join them Sunday in West Allis.

SLM WINNER 87 Colin Reffner Custer WI deBoer Transportation/BEST Excavating/D&D Amusement/Mada Custom Chevrolet -It has been five years since this third generation Central Wisconsin driver has been part of an ARCA Midwest Tour field but he looks to change all of that this Sunday. Reffner, whose Grandfather Tom is a short track icon won the Super Late Model Futures event at Oktoberfest in 2011 and raced beneath the checkered flag first in the 2018 Bev Ashenbrenner Memorial at Marshfield.2011 Fest Futures Winner, 2018 Bev Ashenbrenner Memorial Winner. Colin’s uncle Bryan won the ASA National Tour event at The Milwaukee Mile in 2004.

LM WINNER 95 Harley Jankowski Sparta WI Hableman Brothers Cranberrys/Kurts Shop/Modern Disposal Sys Chevrolet -The former LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway competitor has made the move to Super Late Models and has found victory during Central Wisconsin Racing Association action. Having recently acquired the former Skylar Holzhausen mount, Jankowski plans on running for the ARCA Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year in 2022.

TRUCK CHAMPION 100 Tristian Swanson New Market MN Joe Homes/Gumm Farms/Hamke Toyota -A second generation driver, Tristian looks to make his fourth Midwest Tour start on Sunday and has his sights set on the Tour Rookie of the Year Award. Last season, a win at Madison’s Joe Shear Classic put him on everyone’s radar in the Midwest Trucks. Swanson went on to win four features and was crowned Midwest Truck Champion and Rookie of the Year at season’s end. Swanson raced to a fifth place finish last June at Milwaukee in his Truck. Tristian is a former Legends Track Champion at Dells Raceway Park and started his Super Late Model season by competing in the Chilly Willy at Tucson Speedway in AZ.

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