ASA gears up for date at Grundy Speedway
Stock car racing at the local oval will likely not get better than it will be on Friday night when the green flag flies. That's because the ASA Midwest Tour is coming to the Grundy Speedway for the Wayne Carter Classic ECHO Bearcat 100-lap main feature, and both the local regulars and Tour regulars will be vying for the win.
"I truly believe the drivers of the ASAMT are above any other series. You know that you are going to go home with your fenders on when you race in this series," Grundy County Speedway regular Eddie Hoffman told ASAMidwestTour.com. "The drivers are at a high level of competition and are a pleasure to race with."
Hoffman would know since he has raced in the series before in the past. Like Hoffman, fellow Grundy regular Pat Kelly has also been regularly amongst that level of competition, however he says it been a while.
"I raced in the ASA but there are a lot of new guys out now, so I don't really know how it will be," he said. "But I can tell you that I'm excited to be there. The car is running really good right now and we're excited."
Qualifying for the event starts at 5 p.m. with racing starting at 7 p.m. In between, from 6-6:45, both ASA and NASCAR stars alike will be signing autographs. Tour notables that are scheduled to appear are past NASCAR regular Nathan Haseleu along with Skylar Holzhausen, Chris Wimmer, Andrew Morrissey and both Chris and Jason Weinkauf. Points leader Jonathon Eilen is also will be looking to extend his lead. Locally, many of the Grundy Late Model regulars are expected to be on hand including Hoffman, Kelly, Dave Gentile, Tracy Schuler and Mike White. Additionally, NASCAR journeyman Erik Darnell is also slated to appear.
And that's just scratching the surface.
"Many guests from NASCAR have contacted us to come over and watch the event, including Joe Nemechek, Ron Hornaday and numerous owners in NASCAR to scout our competitors," ASA Midwest Tour Vice President Steve Einhaus said.
Einhaus is a local product and he said that he is looking forward to being home.
"Grundy is my home. It's where I started and it's where my heart will always be, along with getting some home cooking from my family," he said. "Last year was amazing to see so many fans come out and this year I expect it to be no different. The history of this event is amazing and we are excited to be a part of such a fantastic event for the fans.
Last year it was a standing room only event with over 3,000 people cramming into the stands and long lines to get in," he added. "This year we encourage fans to get there early because racing begins at 7 p.m. However, we will have additional ticket windows open to help with the lines."
There will actually be three divisions of racing that night, including the ASA Midwest Tour Super Late Model and Truck Division (50 laps) features. Not to mention a standard Friday night Grundy Street Stock 25-lap feature, as well as couple of "Grudge Matches". One will be between Nathan Kelly and John Senerchia of Grundy's Street Stock Division and the other will be between Hoffman and Eilen.
"It will be a best two-out-of-three match race to settle their grumbles," Einhaus said of the street stock match race.
Pat Kelly, Nathan's dad, said he likes the match-race idea and that he's seen it before.
"I've seen it done with Hoffman and (D.J.) Weltmeyer before. It's kind of neat for them to do a grudge match," Pat Kelly said. "I know my son is loving nothing more right now. I think it's cool. It's going to be a standout race and fun for them."
Prices for the night of racing are $17 for anyone 12 years of age or older with 11-under be admitted for free.
The night will be capping with the Super Late Model feature which will pit the strengths of the locals as well as the ASA invaders.
First the advantages for the locals.
"Even if my car isn't that good, I understand the track well enough to make that work and still be highly competitive," Hoffman told ASAMidwestTour.com said. "I think that's definitely an advantage."
The disadvantage is the kind of tire that is used on the ASA tour that has to be used on Friday.
"It's certainly a disadvantage for us not to be racing on them (the tires) each week, but what we do have working to our advantage is that we get to race Grundy every week and we're hoping that evens things out," Pat Kelly said.
Einhaus thinks that even the "disadvantage" of the different tire will work to someone's advantage on the 1/3-mile paved oval at Grundy.
"The tire they will be on is amazingly better than their current tire, so they will have a ton of bite and it will be about three-tenths faster," he said. "There is a good shot that the track record may fall Friday night."
For more information on the race, go to www.asamidwesttour.com