He recently collected his tenth series championship, first with the American Speed Association. He also has been a national champion and got to fly with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds flight team. But now, Steve Carlson will take his first overseas flight to compete in the American Speed Association Transcontinental Series FreeState 500 on Sunday, January 31, 2010 at the Phakisa Freeway Circuit oval in Welkom, Free State South Africa.
"I think its really neat being one of the selected drivers to be invited to this event," Carlson recently said. The thought of going to compete at Phakisa was not on Carlson's mind until the season finale at the famous Oktoberfest Race Weekend at La Crosse (WI) Fairgrounds Speedway, "We were at the drivers meeting when Dennis Huth (ASA President) told everybody about it and at that point I didn't know if I was going to win the championship or not so I really didn't think much about it. We finished second in the race and won the championship. After the race, we were talking to Dennis about it and got real excited."
The next step for Carlson was to find his ride for the event and found a car from fellow ASAMT competitor Russ Blakeley, "I finally got a car lined up and I think its going to be a pretty good car," Carlson exclaimed.
He is coming off of a great season with the American Speed Association Midwest Tour where his second place finish at their final event was enough to win the 2009 champion. He had four wins, three fast times, seven top-five and nine top-ten finishes in eleven starts. He actually missed one event, but averaged 133.45 points per event to win the championship.
With his impressive resume, there is one thing that you will not find on it and that is he has never raced outside of the United States. "I never thought that I would but I think this is a really cool deal," Carlson said. "I have never raced outside of this country so this will all be new to me but I am going to give it a shot."
"It's awesome that the motorsports fans in South Africa will get an opportunity see a talented driver like Steve Carlson compete at Phakisa," Dennis Huth, ASA President said. "He is a champion driver, has won races in the former American Speed Association National Series, and will be one of the top gun's going for the win on January 31st. Steve is a perfect example of the talent that the local tracks and regional series has in the United States and he will now be able to show it on the world stage."
Steve Einhaus, Vice-president of the ASA Midwest Tour, echoed what Huth said as well about Carlson, "Its an honor for us to send our 2009 ASA Midwest Tour Champion to South Africa for this event," Einhaus said. "Steve is fast no matter what size track he is on and there is no doubt in our minds that he could go there and win this inaugural event. Its going to be a great experience for all of us, and I'm almost sure that this will be a highlight of Steve's successful career."
He is a four-time ARTGO Series champion (1990, 91, 94, 96) and a five-time NASCAR Elite Division - Midwest Series champion (1998, 2000, 01, 02, 03). The 2007 NASCAR Weekly Series National Champion and has six track championships at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway (1978, 1979, 1982, 1984, 2007, 2008). He is also a six-time winner of the Keith Fleck Miller 100 and a seven-time winner of the famous Dixieland 150.
The weekend before the FreeState 500 event, he will be honored for his 2009 ASAMT Championship at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI on Saturday, January 23, 2010.
Along with the racing, Carlson mentioned that he is looking forward to the other events they will be participating in while in South Africa. He along with the other American drivers invited will not only get a chance to compete on one of the finest racetracks outside of the United States, but will enjoy many off-track opportunities to see the various sights of South Africa; this includes a private tour of "Savannah" the wildlife preserve that holds the distinction of being just one of three accredited worldwide breeders of the Cheetah.
To learn more about Phakisa Freeway, visit www.phakisa.com.
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