MORRISSEY AND BEAN BATTLE FOR SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR HONORS AS NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, MIDWEST SERIES HEADS "HOME" TO WISCONSIN * Midwest Series makes 16th visit to Lake Geneva Raceway Aug. 6 * Trickle Watch: Steve Carlson approaches...
MORRISSEY AND BEAN BATTLE FOR SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR HONORS AS NASCAR AUTOZONE ELITE DIVISION, MIDWEST SERIES HEADS "HOME" TO WISCONSIN
* Midwest Series makes 16th visit to Lake Geneva Raceway Aug. 6
* Trickle Watch: Steve Carlson approaches record
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 3, 2005) -- The NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series is headed home. After consecutive trips to Colorado and Ohio, the Midwest Series makes its first appearance in Wisconsin, Aug. 6 at Lake Geneva (Wis.) Raceway. The Badger State is home to many teams, and Wisconsin tracks have hosted 231 series events since 1975 -- more than half the series' total races.
Two of the state's youngest stars are hoping to make headlines at Lake Geneva. Andrew Morrissey, of DeForest, Wis., leads the Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year standings over Dexter Bean, of Westby, Wis.
Morrissey made his Midwest Series debut at LaCrosse (Wis.) Fairgrounds Speedway in June 2004, and made four additional starts last season. This year, he's logged two top-five finishes and is ranked third in the championship point standings, behind top talents Justin Diercks and Steve Carlson. He is coming off a third-place finish Sunday at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Speedway and makes his Lake Geneva debut, in a stock car, this weekend.
"I raced go karts at [Lake Geneva] when I was younger, but I've never been there in a 'big car' at all," said Morrissey. "I think we'll do pretty well. I've watched races there. It looks like there's room. It's a good two-groove track."
Like Morrissey, Bean has never raced at Lake Geneva either. He'll be relying on memory and family experience when he takes on the 1/3-mile track.
"I've seen the track, back a few years ago when my Dad raced," said Bean. "From what I can remember, it's flat."
Bean also has his sights set on the $1,500 Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year prize, which is awarded to the highest-finishing eligible rookie in the series. Rookie drivers are awarded points, based on their finishing position relative to the other rookies. The highest-placing rookie in each race receives 10 points, the second-highest rookie nine points, and so on.
After five events, Morrissey leads with 49 rookie points, followed by Bean (44 points), Josh Bauer (42 points) and Nick Schumacher (7 points). Morrissey has been the top-finishing rookie driver in four of five events this season. Bean finished sixth at Mansfield, one position short of his first top-five finish. The 2005 Westby High School graduate began racing in the Late Model class at LaCrosse in 2003, at the age of 16.
"We're trying to get ahead in the rookie standings," said Bean. "We're taking one race at a time and trying to do the best we can and finish ahead of the other rookies. We're also trying to get top-five finishes and run with Carlson, Diercks, [Tim] Schendel and those guys up front."
The Midwest Series has raced at Lake Geneva on 15 previous occasions, dating back to 1979 when it was known as the ARTGO Series. Carlson, a nine-time series champion from West Salem, Wis., leads all drivers with four victories at Lake Geneva. Travis Kvapil, a native of Janesville, Wis. now competing on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, set the Midwest Series track qualifying record with a 15.917 second (75.391 mph) lap in 2000.
Other Wisconsin drivers slated to compete in Saturday's race include Bauer (Random Lake), Schumacher (Hartford), Russ Blakeley (Whitewater), Mark Kraus (Stratford), Tim Schendel (Sparta), Jeff Way (Burlington), David Bean (Westby), David Tomczak (Franklin) and Brent Kirchner (LaCrosse). After Lake Geneva, the Midwest Series will race at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis. Aug 28, marking its first trip to that track since 2001.
* Carlson Countdown ... Steve Carlson's resounding victory in last weekend's Mansfield Motorsports Speedway 150 was the 67th of his career. Carlson's total includes 27 wins during the ARTGO era and 40 victories during the years the series has been sanctioned by NASCAR (1998 -- present). His next victory will place him in some very select company. Carlson is now just one win shy of tying the series' all-time win record of 68 victories, held by Dick Trickle. Trickle, a native of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., won seven ARTGO championships from 1977-87 and enjoyed a highly successful NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career, winning the series' Rookie of the Year title in 1989 at the age of 48. Trickle continued to race at NASCAR's highest level through the 2002 season, but was always well known in the Midwest as one of the region's greatest short track drivers.
What: Al Schill Jr. Memorial 150 (Race No. 6 of 8 in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series).
Where: Lake Geneva (Wis.) Raceway
When: Sat., Aug. 6 at 8:00 p.m.
Track layout: 1/3-mile oval.
Race length: 150 laps / 50 miles.
Posted awards: $52,572.
Top 10 in points: 1. Justin Diercks 870, 2. Steve Carlson 841, 3. Andrew Morrissey 747, 4. Brent Kirchner 742, 5. Tim Schendel 714, 6. Dexter Bean 678, 7. Russ Blakeley 673, 8. Greg Fowler 654, 9. Josh Bauer 651, 10. Eddie Hoffman 645.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): 2:00 p.m. Registration & inspections begin; 4:30 -- 6:00 p.m. practice; 6:45 p.m. Time trials (2 laps).