NEWS OF NOTE * This event marks the first under the series' new name: International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series. For the past five seasons, the series was known as the RE/MAX Challenge Series. Prior to that it was known...
NEWS OF NOTE
* This event marks the first under the series' new name: International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series. For the past five seasons, the series was known as the RE/MAX Challenge Series. Prior to that it was known throughout the Midwest as the ARTGO Challenge Series.
* This marks the 17th consecutive year the series has tried to begin its season at Rockford Speedway. While Mother Nature has been a major story line on no less than 10 occasions, the event has been postponed just twice.
* A talented rookie class led by 2002 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series Midwest Region Champion Clint Bowyer (Sonic Chevrolet) travels to Rockford Speedway to begin the battle for International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series, Victory Circle Rookie of the Year honors. Joining Bowyer will be Eric Fransen (Sonya's Rose Chevrolet) and Jeremy Lepak (E-Z Lube Chevrolet). Both Fransen and Lepak tested the series waters in 2002, including stops at Rockford.
* Steve Carlson won the series crown in 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2002. In each of those years, Brian Hoppe was the championship runner-up. Hoppe claimed the crown in 1999 while, you guessed it, Carlson finished second in the year-long tally.
* POWERade Sports Drink makes its debut as a contingency sponsor with the International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series in the Rockford Speedway opener. POWERade will put $750 up for grabs at each event to the eligible driver who advances the most positions during the course of the race.
* While the Rockford Speedway is only 20 minutes from his race shop, Ryan Hanson (Magic Construction Ford) does not consider the tricky high-banked oval to be his home track. Nonetheless, he has posted four consecutive top-10 finishes there, including a 2002 season best fifth place run in the series finale.
WHAT'S THE WORD?
* "At the Rockford opener you put last year's body on the car, because you know it's gonna get roughed up. When you leave there you just hope your hot rod is in one piece and that you haven't made too many enemies." Justin Diercks (Adrian Carriers Chevrolet).
FROM THE ARCHIVES
* April 5, 1998--After 23 years as the ARTGO Challenge Series, the Midwestern based touring series merges with NASCAR to form the International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series. Rockford Speedway played host to the first event of the "new" series. Forty-eight cars were on hand for the 150-lap race. Jim Weber started on the pole, but Steve Carlson was first to the checkered flag.
Freund International 250 (NASCAR Elite Division, International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series, Race 1 of 12).
Rockford (Ill.) Speedway.
2 p.m. CT, Sunday, April 13.
Schedule: Friday, open practice (free grandstand); Saturday, qualifying 5:00 pm (CT), racing 7:00 pm; Sunday, Fan Photo 11:00 am, racing 12:30 pm.
Tickets: Saturday, Adults $10, Kids $5; Sunday, Adults $20, Kids $10. Reserved Seating on Sale Now.