BRINGING BACK A TRADITION TO THE FOX VALLEY Friday, July 26, 2007 (Daytona Beach, FL) -- Since 1982, race fans in the Fox Valley area were accustomed to going to Wisconsin International Raceway on the first Tuesday in August for a big racing ...
BRINGING BACK A TRADITION TO THE FOX VALLEY
Friday, July 26, 2007 (Daytona Beach, FL) -- Since 1982, race fans in the Fox Valley area were accustomed to going to Wisconsin International Raceway on the first Tuesday in August for a big racing event. After a one year hiatus, the ASA Kwik Trip Midwest Tour presented by Echo Outdoor Power Equipment will re-ignite a tradition with the running of the Factory Motor Parts 150 on Tuesday, August 7th at 7:00 p.m.
John McKarns and his famous ARTGO Challenge Series wanted to bring a big racing event to Wisconsin International Raceway, located just outside of Kaukauna, WI, featuring a top NASCAR Winston Cup driver. So he created the Dixieland Race.
The first event was held on Sunday, May 31st with the late Neil Bonnett as the featured Winston Cup driver. The race was a Twin 50-lap feature event. Larry Schuler won the first while Jim Sauter won the second. But, the overall winner was a young Arkansas driver named Mark Martin. His second place finish in the first and his third place finish in the second race, gave him the overall win.
Since 1979, ARTGO ran an All-Star 100 event at the Rockford Speedway on a Tuesday night. ARTGO saw the success of what a Tuesday night show did, that McKarns decided to have the 2nd Annual Dixieland Race on the first Tuesday in August. That first event took place in August 3, 1982.
"It made sense, the Cup stars were available, no weekly paved track ran on Tuesdays and the midweek special didn't interfere with WIR's Red, White and Blue Series, their Saturday drag races or their weekly Thursday night Fox River Racing Club programs," McKarns recently stated.
Jim Sauter, who received injuries six weeks earlier from a wreck at WIR, had a classic see-saw battle with Joe Shear to win the first traditional Tuesday event. From that point on, a tradition was established.
The event kept growing year after year. Soon it became the "Richest One Day Asphalt Race in Wisconsin." The event became so popular that in 1987 and 1988 the Southern drivers from the NASCAR All-American Series made the trek to the Fox Valley to compete in a 200-lap and a 250-lap feature event with live pit stops.
The last "true" ARTGO Dixieland 250 was in 1997 with Steve Carlson taking the win. After that, McKarns sold the rights of ARTGO to NASCAR, but the event stayed at its traditional date until 2004. The 1998 event was promoted through ARTGO Promotions and then through GameDay Sports Marketing from 1999 to 2004.
In 2005, the late Gary Vercauteren leased the track and hosted a "Tuesday Night Shootout" for his American Stockcar League division, the series that used the former American Speed Association National Tour stock cars. A young driver by the name of Stephen Leicht won that 150-lap event.
There was no event in 2006 as WIR played host to the National Fireworks Convention.
That brings us to 2007 and the return of the tradition of a big racing event on the first Tuesday in August at Wisconsin International Raceway. Even though it is no longer called the Dixieland Race, the tradition is still alive as the Touring Stars and competitors of the ASA Midwest Tour returns with their 500 horsepower Super Late Models to challenge the unique designed "D"-shaped half-mile oval along with a great lineup of NASCAR stars.
Joining the ASAMT drivers will be Kyle Busch, who recently visited WIR and won the Thursday night feature event, Ron Hornaday Jr, Ken Schrader, Johnny Sauter, Rich Bickle Jr. and four-time Dixieland winner, Dick Trickle.
"We are looking forward to bring the ASA Midwest Tour to WIR," Steve Einhaus, VP of Operations/Event Director of the ASA Midwest Tour stated. "For us to bring our Series on this date is very special to all of us involved and we look forward to a great night of racing. This will be one event that a race fan cannot miss."
Joining the ASA Midwest Tour will be the Big 8 Series. Fans will have the opportunity to see the best Super Late Model drivers compete in a 150-lap event along with the best Limited Late Model drivers compete in a 38-lap feature event all in one night.
Advance tickets and VIP packages are on sale now through the ASA Midwest Tour's website at www.asamidwesttour.com.
Qualifying will begin at 4:00 pm. Autograph session at 5:30 p.m. and the racing action will get underway at 7:00 p.m.
Wisconsin International Raceway is located on Highway KK just east of Highway 55 in Kaukauna, WI.
"This was the cornerstone event for the ARTGO Challenge Series for many years," McKarns stated. "We wish the ASA Midwest Tour all the best in restoring the drama and excitement of the BIG RACE at WIR on the first Tuesday in August."