Late Model Tour To Travel Upper Midwest... But It's Not The ASA LM Tour
The American Speed Association, a Midwest staple for nearly 40 years, is taking a long look back into history as they announce the formation of the new ASA Midwest Tour.
“There seems to have been a big void in the Midwest racing scene for the past few years, and we have had numerous calls from drivers and fans looking for a Midwest touring series, sort of like the American Speed Association used to be back when it was founded,” said Tim Olson, President/Director of Operations.
The new ASA Midwest Tour is designed so that the local drivers, and fan favorites, will be able to compete against the touring stars as they pull into town. The rules package, being finalized now, will use the policies from the Upper Midwest Super Late Models paired with the crate engines as outlined at Madison (Wis.) International Speedway.
It is anticipated that the series will run a 10 to 12 event schedule, comprised of tracks in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.
Teams will run qualifying laps, qualifying races (and last chance race, if necessary), and a 100-lap main event. It's expected that the season will start in April and run through October, culminating in a Championship Invitational with the top ASA Midwest Tour drivers and, potentially, some other track or series champions.
The ASA Late Model Tour (above) that is owned by the Varneys has nothing to do with the new ASA Midwest Tour. (Bob Milner Photos)
Rules differences between the local track and ASA Midwest Tour will be equalized through weight changes. Teams will be able to purchase four fresh tires for each event, but they will be required to use them for all on-track activities.
“We will be working closely with all the tracks on the schedule to create an environment that levels the playing field as much as possible and creates parity among the local track Late Model rules and that of the ASA Midwest Tour,” said Olson. “We want to have the local track drivers in the field and have their fans cheering them on as they take on the touring guys.”
Adding valuable promotional skills is Stephen Einhaus who takes the role of Vice President /PR and Event
Several of the Minnesota guys will be running in the new ASA Midwest Tour.
“The short track scene is so strong in the region, and the demand was so high, that the stars and moons all seem aligned for us to start this new tour in 2007.”
Olson has a strong background in short track racing having been both a driver as well as a track operator. He is co-owner of both I-94 Raceway and Fergus Falls Raceway in Minnesota, as well as one of the founders of the ASA Minnesota Late Model Challenge Series.
“This is really exciting to be part of an announcement that brings a dream to reality. This is an old concept full of fresh ideas that should be a lot of fun and, hopefully, complement what is already out there in the short track world,” said Olson.
Director. He brings a wealth of experience from Madison International Speedway where he oversees everything from competition director to administrative operations.
“One of the unique things we are going to do with the ASA Midwest Tour is bring the entire promotion package to the track, meaning the event posters, radio and print ads, and everything needed to help put fans in the stands,”explained Einhaus. “My background includes event promotion, driver relations, ticket sales, as well as managing the needs of the competitor. I have gotten really excited the more we make plans for the ASA Midwest Tour and we have planned this out from every angle. There are plans for the track to prosper, plans for the competitors to race fairly and evenly, and plans for the fans to see some great racing, just like the American Speed Association has been known for in the region for so many years.”
Einhaus indicated that some initial discussions have already begun to bring in a variety of special guest drivers, some with historical significance, some past ASA champions, and others who are well known in major racing series. “We’d like to bring some names to the racetrack without an added expense to the facility hosting the event”, stated Einhaus.
Unfortunately, he declined to name anyone specific yet as negotiations are still underway with a variety of potential drivers.
“I know it sounds like a broken record, but I too am very happy to be involved with a project of this caliber and with people who have so much experience in the industry,” Einhaus said. “I really think that there are a lot of exciting ideas on the table here that will be fun for the fans, and great for the teams and tracks. Having Tim Olson as my partner in this deal will be a perfect fit as well as the ASA sanctioning body and Dennis Huth. If all works according to the plans we have outlined, this will be one of those ‘win-win-win’ deals.”
Another key participant in establishing this new series is Dennis Huth, president of the ASA Racing which includes the ASA Member Track and Regional Racing programs. Huth
brings with him years of experience, and was one of the main architects in the creation of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
“In my background, I have had time spent on both sides of the fence so hopefully I can have a clear understanding of what everyone needs, or at least wants. I have worked on the team side, the track side, and the sanctioning side and I do think that the ASA Midwest Tour is starting out with a program that should make everyone happy,” Huth claimed.
“Sometimes it is helpful to take a look at history in order to move forward, and we have done that with the formation of the ASA Midwest Tour.
Fans will see a bit of the old American Speed Association, and all of the thrilling short track racing that series was founded on. And who knows, maybe even some of the former champions might spin a wheel with us in 2007, so even the faces will look familiar,” said Huth.
“Ever since the American Speed Association was developed, it has grown into an entity with a rabid fan following thanks to the great entertainment and outstanding drivers it has generated for so many years. The ASA Midwest Tour should be a throwback of sorts, getting the American Speed Association back to those grassroots it was founded on of short track racing throughout one of the regions that consistently produces some of the finest race car drivers in the country.”
To learn more about the ASA Midwest Tour and for series information please contact the ASA Midwest Tour series office by phone- 608-884-0388 or by email contact Tim Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve Einhaus at email@example.com or visit our web site at www.asamidwesttour.com.