MWS: Colorado: Round four preview

Steve Carlson leads the International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series west to Colorado National. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 1, 2003) - Steve Carlson (Wilson Oil Company Chevrolet) loves Colorado National Speedway, and...

Steve Carlson leads the International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series west to Colorado National.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 1, 2003) - Steve Carlson (Wilson Oil Company Chevrolet) loves Colorado National Speedway, and with good reason. The eight-time NASCAR Elite Division, International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series champion has won the last three times the series has visited the picturesque .375-mile oval. During that three-year run, Carlson has led 89% of all feature laps contested, including every lap in the 2000 event.

"There's just something about Colorado National Speedway that I like," said Carlson. "Back in the early '90's I won a big year-end special they had and earned $10,000. At the time that was the most money I had made racing. I've liked the place ever since."

Twenty-six drivers are scheduled to take the green flag in the Auto Trader 150, Saturday, June 7 at 8:10 p.m. (MT). The fastest 16 drivers will automatically be locked in through qualifying with five additional starters transferring via the 20-lap last chance qualifier. Up to five final starters will be added based on current series points standings.

Historically, large interest from Colorado based competitors has spiced the Midwest Series' annual visit to Colorado National Speedway. The Auto Trader 150 promises to be no exception. The Colorado group will be led by 2002 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Northwest Regional Champion, Roger Avants (McDonald's Chevrolet) of Littleton. Joining Avants will be Greeley driver Bruce Yackey (General Air Chevrolet). Yackey is also a former Dodge Weekly Series Regional Champion and has several Midwest Series starts to his credit.

Colorado National Speedway is located 20 miles north of Denver on I- 25 at exit 232. The speedway's 24-hour event hot line is (303) 665-4173. The speedway's Pro-Truck division, Figure-8's and Train's will also be in action on June 7.

NEWS OF NOTE

* The NASCAR Midwest Series has visited Colorado National Speedway on 5 previous occasions.

* This year 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.

* Steve Carlson is the International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series defending champion.

* The Midwest Series last competed on May 25 at Grundy County Speedway in Morris, Illinois. Ron Breese, Jr (Breakwater Hot Tubs Chevrolet) snapped a five-year winless streak in dominating the All- Star 150. Steve Carlson was second while Bud Pole fast qualifier, Jon Lemke (K.C. Colors Chevrolet) placed third. With the win, Breese stretched his margin in the championship standings to 17 points over Carlson.

* Eric Fransen (Sonya's Rose Chevrolet) leads a very talented Victory Circle Chassis Rookie of the Year field. Jeremy Lepak (U.S. Navy Chevrolet) is the rookie runner-up, but like Fransen, is in the top- 10 in the championship standings. Clint Bowyer (Sonic Drive Ins Chevrolet), Mark Voigt (Bilstein Shocks Chevrolet) and Chris Bires (4 DC Angus Farms Chevrolet) round out the top five.

* Away from the International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series, regulars on the series continue to dominate. Eddie Hoffman (Appleton Rack and Pinion Chevrolet) has been virtually unstoppable in weekly competition at both Grundy County Speedway and Illiana (Ind) Motor Speedway. At a Memorial Day special event at Madison International Speedway, the top three positions were held by Midwest Series regulars: 1) Nathan Haseleu; 2) Jeremy Lepak and 3) Ryan Hanson. Part-time series competitor, Jamie Wallace (Dunne Deals Chevrolet) recently captured a feature win at Lake Geneva (Wis) Raceway.

* POWERade Sports Drink is a welcome addition as a new contingency sponsor with the International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series in 2003. 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.

* Hoosier Tire returns as the tire of choice for the International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series in 2003. The Indiana based company will give away over $4200 worth of their rubber at every series event. Other contingency sponsors include Anheuser- Busch, Auto Meter Products, Edelbrock Intake Manifolds, Five Star Stock Car Bodies, Flowmaster, G-Force, Goody's Headache Powder, Holley Carburetors, JE Pistons, Mac Tools, Mobil 1 Oil, Moroso, MSD, Penske Shocks, Quarter Master, Quick Car, Raybestos Brakes, "76" Racing Gasoline, Wix Air Filters and Victory Circle Chassis.

WHAT'S THE WORD?

"It's a 15-hour haul for us to get to Colorado National. If you have a good race, it makes that ride home go a lot quicker and if you have a bad race, it really makes that ride long. But then again, if I'm 45 minutes from home, and have a bad race, it makes for a long ride home."--Jon Lemke

WHAT'S IN A NUMBER?

"The #51 goes back to my first Street Stock. I always liked the look of the #5, but there was already a #5 at the track I was going to race at. So I went through the numbers from the previous year and no one had run a #51, so that was it. When I showed up for the first race, there was two other #51's, but I kept, because it was already painted on the car. It's been #51 ever since."-Brian Hoppe.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

July 16, 1991-Arvada, Colorado driver, Rick Carelli, scores one for the local drivers as his triumphs in the 150-lap main event. The trip to Colorado National Speedway was the first for the NASCAR Midwest Series and the first of two series triumphs for Carelli. Steve Carlson was second with Kevin Cywinski rounding out the top three.

Fast Facts

Auto Trader 150 (NASCAR Elite Division, International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series, Race 4 of 12).
Colorado National Speedway, Erie, Colorado.
8:10 p.m. MT, Saturday, June 7.

Schedule: 8:00 a.m. (MT) Haulers Enter; Noon-2:00 p.m. Practice; 4:50 p.m. Qualifying; 6:15 p.m. Qualifying Race; 8:15 p.m. Auto Trader 150.

Points leaders: 1) Ron Breese, Jr, 505; 2) Steve Carlson, 488; 3) Eric Fransen, 475; 4) Tim Schendel, 447; 5) Eddie Hoffman, 441; 6) Ryan Hanson, 436; 7) Justin Diercks, 427; 8) Jeremy Lepak, 418; 9) Brian Hoppe, 413; 10) Jeff Way, 395.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Rick Carelli , Clint Bowyer , Tim Schendel , Justin Diercks , Steve Carlson