SCHENDEL WRAPS UP PERFECT SEASON by Jeremy Troiano
Things Don’t Get Much Better For Final Midwest Series Champion
If there was ever a time to go to Las Vegas, now would be it for Tim Schendel. Things are just going really, really well for the 27-year-old right now.
What has happened to him in the last few months? He won the Midwest Series race at Colorado National Speedway. He made his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut. He finished second at The Milwaukee Mile in the ARCA Series in only his second-career start. He finished second at Oktoberfest. He won the final NASCAR Midwest Series Championship. He won the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown for the Elite Division cars. He made his NASCAR Busch Series debut.
Yeah. Things are going very good right now for Schendel.
“Things are just kind of a happening so fast, it is all blurry right now,” said Schendel after winning the Showdown.
“It’s been a fun year. Things are going good. We’ve had a pretty successful year in everything we’ve run. The Late Model, Elite Car and the ARCA car are my parents’ team. It’s been stressful and it takes a lot of effort to do (what we do). Thankfully, it all has worked out well this year.”
The year has been a long time coming for the Wisconsin-kid.
Schendel started racing with the Midwest Series in 2000. He won the Rookie of the Year title that year and started chasing his dream of winning the Midwest Series title.
Its been a good year for Tim Schendel, who recently won the Toyota All Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway. (Getty Images)
He finished 10th. He finished fifth. He finished sixth. He finished fourth. He finished third.
Finally, in 2006, he finished first. And he finished first by a mere three points over Dan Fredrickson.
“It was the last (Midwest Series) championship and my last chance to do it. Fortunately, I was in a position to do it. We lost some ground the week before, but I was able to still hold on to things. It was close.
“And we won the championship at my home track (LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway), so that is pretty neat.”
But things didn’t stop there. Before you knew it, Schendel was headed to Irwindale Speedway for the All-Star Showdown, a place he’d been three other times, representing the Midwest Series.
Before that, he took part in the NASCAR Elite Division Banquet, where he was officially crowned the Midwest Series Champion and received his championship ring.
Then it was back to business at the racetrack. He finished 11th in the Showdown the first year, but struggled the last two years. He wanted to turn it around this year, as the Elite Division was coming to an end. And he did that in a big way.
Schendel dominated the Showdown, earning what was his biggest victory to date, and beating the very best that the Elite Division had to offer.
“It’s a huge win. There is some prestige of winning the last ever Elite race. I don’t think it has set in yet. Really, winning the championship is just beginning to set in with having the banquet this weekend and all. Now, we did this. It’s just huge.
“This is the biggest short track race of this time of the year. We won the (MWS) championship at LaCrosse. Now, I’m going to make my Busch Series debut at Memphis. I’m just trying to get the job done, while looking for a job too. Hopefully, this shows I’m ready.”
Schendel’s Busch debut didn’t go quite as well as he’d have liked (Schendel got wrecked after contact with Kevin Harvick), but that is water under the bridge compared to the season Schendel’s had.
“I just want to win races. I have watched Steve Carlson and Matt Kenseth and people win races growing up. Steve never really cared about winning championships, he just wanted to win races. That has been my motive all year long. Out here, there is so much on the line.”
Tim's year consisted of runs in his Midwest Series car (top) and his ARCA RE/MAX Series car (bottom). (51 photos)
Schendel’s season isn’t over yet though. The youngster is still planning to make the trip to Phoenix to compete in what really will be the final Elite Division Series event (a non-points Southwest Series event at the one-mile track in Phoenix).
There is also a chance he might compete in a couple of the big Super Late Model shows at the end of the year.
“We’ve been running some ARCA races and finished second in Milwaukee. We’ve been running top-10, but usually something weird strikes us. We’ve been running decent. But it costs a lot of money to run it and we’re a family-owned team. We have one car and we’re really kind of scraping for everything we can to keep our
Schendel is looking for bigger and better things.
program alive with the Late Models we have and then running that ARCA car.
“I’ve always had a lot of support from my family and from my sponsors. Mathews and Tex-Par Energy have been with me for a long time and supported me and I’m glad we’ve been able to pay them back with such success this year. But it takes a lot to run competitively in the upper echelons.
“I really want to get into a Truck or Busch car or a full-time ARCA ride and whatever I can and race every weekend. That’s what I love to do and I know I can do a good job for somebody. They just need to give me the right opportunity.”
And so closes Schendel’s dream season. And along with that ends his NASCAR Midwest Series Division career. But that won’t keep Schendel on the sidelines much.
“These cars are a good deal and I’m really sad that NASCAR is getting rid of it. There are some good racers here. It is really a good stepping stone or a good place to stay and race. Hopefully, something can happen and we find a place to run these cars. I’m going to miss it; that’s for sure.
“But we are not going to stop when these cars stop. We’re going to keep racing. This is what I know and this is what I do. I just want to keep racing.
“Hopefully, we showed them something this year.”
Tim gets his Championship ring from NASCAR's Jim Hunter at the Elite Division banquet.