MWS: Rockford: News of note, schedule

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 ...

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 opened 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.

* Steve Carlson leads the series win column at Rockford, finding victory lane on 11 occasions.

* 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.

* 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.

* Eric Fransen has three Rockford Speedway main event wins, in various special events, and one Midwest Series preliminary victory to his credit. The victories give Fransen, by far, the most Rockford experience of any rookie driver.

* While getting the season off to a bad start at Rockford can put you behind the eight ball in the rookie standings, it is possible to come back and win the Victory Circle Chassis Rookie of the Year title. In 1999 Jimmy Mars, making the transition from dirt to pavement, failed to qualify for the Rockford opener and ended up winning rookie honors. The 2000 series opener saw Tim Schendel's (Mathews Solo Cam Bows Chevrolet) day end after just 12 laps, against the turn three wall. Schendel dug out from that hole and handily captured series top rookie glory.

* 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.

* 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?

*       "Rockford is an interesting place, wicked.  But I didn't think it was as
tough as everyone told me it was going to be."  Jeremy Lepak.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

* April 9, 1995--Cold, wind and bouts of sleet and rain greet fans and drivers as the Midwest Series (referred to then as the ARTGO Challenge Series) opens its season at Rockford Speedway. Eight different drivers took turns at the front of the field, but the win was determined by just inches as Kevin Cywinski, on the outside, held off a hard charging Ron Breese, Jr in one of the closest finishes in series history.

Freund International 250 (NASCAR Elite Division, International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series, Race 1 of 12).

Rockford (Ill.) Speedway.

Race: 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.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Jimmy Mars , Tim Schendel , Steve Carlson