Steve Carlson Races Towards a National Championship by Bruce Nuttleman
Winning a Title is Nothing New for This Veteran
Steve Carlson and championships seem to go hand in hand.
This season, the West Salem, WI driver has already locked up two more championships—the LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway track championship and the Wisconsin championship for the NASCAR Whelen All American racing series.
While he has to wait until September 30th for it to be official, Steve will also add $25,000 and the title of 2007 NASCAR Whelen All American National Champion to his incredible racing resume.
To say that Steve had an impressive 2007 season at his home track is an understatement. He racked up 18 top five finishes and eight wins in his 19 starts at LaCrosse. And despite missing one night (while competing at the ASA Midwest Tour race at Jefferson Speedway on May 19th) Carlson still topped an exceptional weekly short track field.
“Going into the 2007 season, we were only going to race a partial schedule,” said Carlson. “The car was just so good through the first four weeks that we decided to run the rest of the season and go after the track championship. As the season unfolded, we realized that we were getting good enough finishes to have a shot at the National Championship. In 19 nights, our worst finish was sixth.”
Under the new points format for the NASCAR Whelen All-American series, competitors earn points towards the National championship at any NWRS sanctioned track in the country until September 30th. The top 18 finishes are used to determine the National Champion. The kicker is that full points for each race can only be attained with a 25-car field. That is something that the majority of NWRS tracks struggle to have.
Since the regular season ended at LaCrosse on September 1st, Carlson took advantage of the new National point’s format and raced in double features at Elko Speedway in Elko, Minnesota on September 15th and 22nd. He knocked down two top five’s in those four starts and his third place finish on September 15th added two precious points to his lead over Stafford, Connecticut’s Woody Pitkat.
“Elko is within two hours of my home track and they had the double features scheduled September 15th and 22nd,” said Carlson. “We didn’t want to get in the way of Elko’s point battle, but we also didn’t want to just sit back and watch when there was a chance to gain more points.”
Pitkat was also in action last weekend and gained back two points on Carlson. With one race for Pitkat scheduled this Sunday at Stafford Motor Speedway, the lead is still 12 points. Two race wins with a full 25-car field would be needed for Pitkat to overtake
Carlson for the National title. Unfortunately for Pitkat, the hourglass is winding down as
the September 30th deadline for earning points towards the National title looms.
It appears that Steve Carlson’s work is done.
Reflecting on the 2007 season, the understated Carlson sounds like a short track driver who has racked up over 20 local and touring titles during his career.
“I’ve been racing for championships for what seems like forever and we just go to race and have fun,” said Carlson. “This is the first time since 1987 that I have run a full weekly schedule at one track and it’s been an exceptional year. When things go your way they go your way. It’s a season that will probably be hard to match again because the competition at LaCrosse is phenomenal. I’m definitely glad that Whelen gave us this opportunity to race for the National title in our backyard.”
In an era where youth seems to get more buzz than experience, the 50-year old champion from West Salem, WI has shown once again how titles are won.
Carlson stands in a familar place - victory lane.