The ARCA Midwest Tour is set to role into Grundy County Speedway. (ARCA Midwest Tour Photo)

Stars And Cars Set For Battle At Grundy

MORRIS, Ill.- The Stars and Cars of the ARCA Midwest Tour will roll into Grundy County Speedway this Saturday, July 9 for the Wayne Carter Classic presented by Rod Baker Ford.

The race will be broadcast LIVE by SPEED SPORT affiliate MidwestTour.TV.

Racing begins at 7pm on Saturday. Sitting between them and a $5,000 payday are a host of Chicagoland’s best Super Late Model drivers. Below is a breakdown of some drivers to watch. 

Late Model Rookie of the Year: Bear Avon 

The 2015 CRA Jeg’s Allstar Tour Rookie of the Year will be making his first career ARCA Midwest Tour start this Saturday Night at Grundy County Speedway. Bear has run well in the past in prestigious events such as this, having previously finished runner-up at Kalamazoo Speedway’s Kalamazoo Klash.

Tour Champion: Casey Johnson 

Johnson is a throwback driver, tough to beat and a tough guy. How tough? When his ignition wire kept falling out last month at The Milwaukee Mile, the two-time Tour Champ and current point leader kept pushing it in by hand getting zapped each time. Those zaps were worth it, stating after the win at America’s Legendary Oval, “You do what you have to do to win at Milwaukee.” Johnson’s Tour season has been tough on his fellow competitors, second at Slinger, winning the Joe Shear Classic at Madison, an uncharacteristic third at Jefferson and winning at Milwaukee. Last season he won his second Red, White and Blue State Championship by winning the White and Blue races at WIR. In addition to three Jefferson titles, Johnson has amassed two championships at Wisconsin International, two in Big 8, two Tundra titles, six Wisconsin State Championships, the 2013 and 2016 MIS Triple Crowns and two National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway.

NASCAR Champion: Johnny Sauter

Sauter, the 2016 NASCAR Truck Champion sits sixth on the all-time Tour wins list with seven with his most recent Tour win coming Labor Day Weekend of 2020 at the Dells following a thrilling battle with Casey Johnson and Gabe Sommers. Sauter seeks his eighth Tour victory on Saturday night at Grundy and will be wheeling the same car that won this event in 2020. This is a rare Super Late Model start outside of Wisconsin for Sauter and it comes forty years after his father Jim won the Wayne Carter Classic on his way to the 1982 ARTGO Championship.

ARTGO Champion: Eddie Hoffman

The eight time Chicagoland Champion (7 Grundy and 1 at Illiana), Hoffman has two career Midwest feature wins to his credit, both coming at Grundy County Speedway where he is the winningest driver in track history. Hoffman has done little touring racing since being a favorite in the late 90’s and early 2000’s when he captured three Oktoberfest titles, Hoffman has remained a favorite each time his familiar number 8 is unloaded in the pit area. A tough start to his 2022 Touring Season looks to get corrected at his home track. Hoffman is a three time Wayne Carter Classic Winner.

Super Late Model Champion: Anthony Danta

Driving the familiar Lisa Trgovich owned No. 11 Super Late Model, Anthony Danta looks to improve upon his best Midwest Tour finish, a fifth place effort during the 2018 Wayne Carter Classic. Danta was twice victorious at the Morris Fairgrounds track in 2021 and has a fast time and third place finish in two starts this season. The 2015 Illiana Motor Speedway Champion has a way of being in the mix towards the end of these extended lap specials.

Big 8 Champion: Max Kahler

Max Kahler had the car to beat at Rockford’s Spring Classic and he delivered for his family operated team, dominating the 88 lap contest to start the Big 8 Season. Since then he has added a pair of weekly wins at the Northern Illinois quarter mile oval. The young pilot had quite the week in October of 2020, charging at the end and making a late race pass to win the National Short Track Championship at Rockford and then having trailed in the Big 8 point standings he put together an impressive run at Oktoberfest to claim the Big 8 Series title.

Truck Champion 23: Levon VanDerGeest

Levon VanDerGeest became the youngest winner in Milwaukee Mile history when he rolled to the Midwest Truck Series victory on Father’s Day 2019. Levon went on to become the 2019 Truck Champion and finished second in the 2021 ARCA Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year standings. Saturday night will be Levon’s first Tour start at Grundy, he did compete in a weekly event last year. He has good support behind him with Jason and Chris Weinkauf helping tutor the young budding star, Chris is the 2014 Wayne Carter Classic Winner.

Grundy Champion: Larry Schuler

It has been four years since Larry Schuler started a Midwest Tour event, but the winningest driver in America in 1976 is fast again this season, having already posted a pair of fast times in weekly competition and finished fifth a week ago. Schuler won track Championships at three tracks in three states in 1976, Thursday’s at Wisconsin International, Friday’s at Grundy and Saturday’s at Illiana Motor Speedway where he was also the 1975 champion. Schuler is a former winner of the Wayne Carter Classic (1981).

Tour Champion: Jonathan Eilen

Of all of the tracks on the Tour schedule, Grundy may be at the top of the list of favorites for this Minnesota driver. Eilen, the 2013 Wayne Carter Classic winner was second in 2012, third in 2014 and 2015 before placing second again in 2018. During the last Wayne Carter Classic, he set fast time and overcame a deep invert to finish fifth. The 2012 ARCA Midwest Tour Champion and 2007 Tour Rookie of the Year has a total of five career feature victories including the first ever Tour event in 2007 held at his home track, Elko Speedway. Eilen, who is seventh on the all-time wins list will make his 147th Tour start on Saturday Night.

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