MWS: Mansfield: Round six preview

Event is first NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series event at track DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 14, 2004) - Justin Diercks (Iowa-Illinois-Taylor Insulation Chevrolet) is a young racer who is in the middle of one of the most dominating ...

Event is first NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series event at track

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 14, 2004) - Justin Diercks (Iowa-Illinois-Taylor Insulation Chevrolet) is a young racer who is in the middle of one of the most dominating streaks in recent NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series history. In five races run in the 2004 campaign, he has scored three wins, a second place finish, a sixth place showing while also notching one Bud Pole fast qualifier award. And perhaps more impressively, he finds himself atop the Midwest Series championship standings and ahead of nine-time series titlist Steve Carlson (XP Performance Lubricants Chevrolet) . With credentials like that, Diercks should be flying sky-high, right?

"We're just focusing on winning races," said Diercks. "Right now we're not even looking at the points."

Diercks leads the talent heavy Midwest Series to Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Speedway, Sunday, July 18 for the inaugural running of the Mansfield 150. The event marks the farthest east the series has ever run.

"I've never been to the track, but as we speak, I'm watching a tape of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race run there earlier this year," said Diercks.

Qualifying for the Mansfield 150 is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. (ET), July 18, with the green flag slated to fly over the field at 7:00 p.m.

Diercks was the 1998 Midwest Series Rookie of the Year at age 18. Entering the 2004 season, he had posted two wins on the series, a mark already eclipsed this year in just five races.

"I'm just more focused now in the race car than I ever have been," said Diercks. "I'm 24 years old, and if I want to advance my career in NASCAR, I feel I have to start winning races and get my name out there. This is my year to make some noise."

Joining the Midwest Series at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway on Sunday will be the Mountain Dew Xtreme Sprints. The speedway is located three miles north of US Highway 30, just east of Highway 13, on Crall Road, in Mansfield. For more information, call (419) 524-0183 or visit the online at


* 2004 marks the 30th year of racing for the Midwest Series and seventh under the NASCAR banner. The series was most recently known as the International Truck and Engine Corporation, Midwest Series and previously the RE/MAX Challenge Series. Prior to that it was known throughout the Midwest as the ARTGO Challenge Series.

* The Midwest Series has never raced at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway.

* The most recent Midwest Series event was held July 4 at I-94 Raceway in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Justin Diercks took the lead from Steve Carlson on lap 15 and held off the late race charge of Erik Darnell (AMI Trailer Leasing Chevrolet) to score his third win of the 2004 campaign and retake the championship point lead. The runner-up finish by Darnell was his best career Midwest Series run. Carlson settled for third place. Bud Pole fast qualifier Eddie Hoffman (Redken 5th Avenue NYC Chevrolet) and Joey Miller (Great Clips Chevrolet) rounded out the top five.

* Steve Carlson sits second on the Midwest Series all-time win list, just four behind leader Dick Trickle.

* Twenty-one-year-old Erik Darnell was scheduled to compete for the championship in both the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series and Southeast Series in 2004. Rain outs and the subsequent make-ups have forced Darnell to miss one Midwest Series event, however. Darnell currently sits 11th in the Midwest Series championship standings and 3rd in the Southeast Series. Darnell claimed his first career NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division win, July 7 while competing on the Southeast Series. He scored his best career Midwest Series run, a second-place finish, July 4 at I-94 Raceway.

* Justin Diercks has five Midwest Series wins to his credit with three coming this season.

* Hoosier Tire returns as the tire of choice for the Midwest Series in 2004. The Indiana based company will give away over $4300 worth of their rubber at every series event. Other contingency sponsors include AutoZone, Anheuser-Busch, Auto Meter Gauges, Competition Cams, CV Products, Edelbrock, Featherlite, Five Star, G-Force, Holley, JE Pistons, Mac Tools, Mechanix Wear, Mobil 1 Oil, Moroso, POWERade, Quarter Master, Raybestos Brakes, and Timken.

Fast Facts

What: Mansfield 150 (NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series, Race 6 of 13).

Where: Mansfield (OH) Motorsports Speedway.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET, Sunday, July 18.

Track layout: .5-mile banked paved oval.
Race length: 150 laps, 75 miles.

Posted awards: $51,094.

2003 Event Winner: None held, this is the inaugural event.

Schedule: July 18, 9:00 am (ET), Registration opens and haulers enter; 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm, Practice; 5:00 pm, Qualifying; 7:00 pm, Mansfield 150

2004 Championship Standings: 1) Justin Diercks 860; 2) Steve Carlson 855; 3) Tim Schendel 769; 4) Brian Hoppe 766; 5) Eddie Hoffman 733; 6) Ryan Hanson 694; 7) Nathan Haseleu 643; 8) Dave Finney 633; 9) Bryan Roach 633; 10) A.J. Rhoades 614

Tickets: General admission, Adults $15; Children (5-13) $5


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Drivers Dick Trickle , Tim Schendel , Joey Miller , Erik Darnell , Justin Diercks , Steve Carlson