It's been the Carlson and Hoppe show at the "New" Elko Speedway in International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series action. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 16, 2003)--NASCAR Elite Division, International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest...
It's been the Carlson and Hoppe show at the "New" Elko Speedway in International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series action.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 16, 2003)--NASCAR Elite Division, International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series action at the Elko (Minn) Speedway dates back to 1981, but prior to the 2001 season the speedway went through a series of major renovations. Since then, the series has competed at the ultra-fast .375-mile oval just four times and the only Midwest Series regulars to find victory lane have been Steve Carlson (Wilson Oil Company Chevrolet) and Brian Hoppe (Gildan Activewear Chevrolet).
Saturday, June 21, the International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series returns to Elko Speedway for the running of the AC Delco 250 and Hoppe and Carlson will once again look to dominate at the familiar speed plant.
"Since they refurbished the facility, I think it's once of the nicest places we go to," said Carlson. "I can't speak for the fans, but from a drivers standpoint, I don't think there is one thing Elko is missing."
Twenty-six drivers are schedule to fill the field for the AC Delco 250, Saturday night. The fastest 16 competitors in time trials earn an automatic starting berth in the main event, with four additional starters transferring via the 25-lap last chance qualifier. Up to six additional starters will be awarded provisional starting spots. Qualifying is slated for 5:00 p.m. (CT) with the green flag slated to fly over the main event at 8:00 p.m.
With the new pavement put down prior to the 2001 series race have come new speeds and a renewed raciness.
"Running 250 laps at Elko is almost a sprint race, not as much as the 150-lap races we run are, but it's close," said Hoppe. "If the leader gets out front and sets a torrid pace, you can't wait around, you've got to go get him. The laps can click off in a hurry at Elko."
In addition to the AC Delco 250, a full program for the Coca-Cola Thunder Cars is also on tap. Elko Speedway is located on Highway 2, one mile west of I-35, just minutes south of Minneapolis. Contact them at (952) 461-7223 or go to www.goelkospeedway.com.
NEWS OF NOTE
* The International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series has visited Elko Speedway on 12 previous occasions. Jim Sauter lapped the field the first time the series visited Elko, July 26, 1981. The series most recently visited Elko on September 29, 2002.
* 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.
* NASCAR Midwest Series rules call for a green flag finish, even if it means running more than the advertised distance. In the series first four races of 2003, two have gone into overtime.
* The Midwest Series last competed on June 7 at Colorado National Speedway in Erie, Colorado. Eddie Hoffman (M.R. Lee Building Supplies Chevrolet) became the first repeat winner on the series in 2003 as he came out on top of a rough and rugged battle with Brian Hoppe. For the second week in a row, Steve Carlson was second while Justin Diercks (Adrian Carriers Chevrolet) completed the top three. Carlson moved to within 7 points of Ron Breese, Jr (EWT, Inc. Chevrolet ) in the year-long championship standings.
* Ron Breese, Jr has been atop the NASCAR Midwest Series point standings for three consecutive weeks. In the five years that the series has been sanctioned by NASCAR, Steve Carlson has won four point titles. It may seem like Carlson is at the head of the standings every week. But actually, Carlson title winning years 1998 and 2001 each had stretches where he was mired back in the standings for at least three consecutive weeks before making a late season point charge.
* As he has done from week one, Eric Fransen (Sonya's Rose Chevrolet) continues to lead a very talented Victory Circle Chassis Rookie of the Year class. Jeremy Lepak (U.S. Navy Chevrolet) closed in somewhat, however, with a sixth place run at Colorado National. Clint Bowyer (Sonic Drive Ins Chevrolet), Mark Voigt (Bilstein Shocks Chevrolet) and Chris Bires (4 DC Angus Farms Chevrolet) round out the top five.
* 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 IN A NUMBER?
"Sorry, no good story here. The 01 was my dad's number when he ran. I've been running it ever since I started racing."--Ron Breese, Jr
FROM THE ARCHIVES
June 25, 1993--Weather reeked havoc on the NASCAR Midwest Series event at Elko Speedway, but not in the usual way. What some dubbed "the 500 year flood" closed all but one bridge over the Mississippi River and made just getting to the track a challenge for many. Nonetheless, an enthusiastic crowd of over 3,800 fans filed in to watch Bobby Blount score the first of three career series wins. Steve Holzhausen was second with the late Joe Shear third.
AC Delco 250 (NASCAR Elite Division, International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series, Race 5 of 12).
Elko (Minn) Speedway.
8:00 p.m. CT, Saturday, June 21.