On Sunday, Madison International Speedway will host the 11th annual ARCA Midwest Tour Joe Shear Classic.
The 200-lap, $10,000-to-win event honors the memory of Joe Shear, one of the greatest short track racers in the country who won four track championships (1973,1974,1980,1982) and 66 features at ‘Wisconsin’s Fastest Half Mile’ along with hundreds of other wins and championships throughout the region.
To honor his memory, over 30 of top Super Late Model teams in the country, and especially the upper Midwest, have descended upon Madison to pursue victory in the opening race of the Midwest Tour season.
The most notable national names entered into the race are Bubba Pollard and Ty Majeski. Pollard is, of course, the de facto face of the discipline with victories in nearly every major Super Late Model event in the country not named the Snowball Derby.
Majeski has a similar resume, also having come close in the Derby, and has already won this year in January’s Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway.
Austin Nason will return in the hopes of repeating his Shear Classic victory.
Five-time Snowball Derby winner Rich Bickle Jr. has also found recent success at Madison, as a two-time track champion (1985, 1986) who led laps in the 2017 event in throwback fashion.
Fresh off his win the Icebreaker 100 at Dells Raceway Park two weeks ago, Casey Johnson returns to settle some unfinished business in the Joe Shear Classic. Johnson led in the late stages before mechanical woes sidelined his efforts.
Winners of the last four Tony Bettenhausen Classics will lead the Chicagoland contingent. Paul Shafer Jr. has become quite popular not only at MIS but across the nation with Dale Earnhardt, Jr taking notice of this front running driver who finally recorded his first Tour win last May at Jefferson.
Shafer is the 2013 Illiana Motor Speedway Champ and sped to victory last September in the Bettenhausen. Two-time Grundy County Champ Ricky Baker will be back in action after an abbreviated season, the 2016-2017 Betttenhausen winner has two Tour wins to his credit.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the half-mile track that was built by the legendary Sam Bartus in 1969.
The racing program will also include the Midwest Truck Series, Mid-American Stock Car Series and Upper Midwest Vintage Series.
Spectator gates open at 11:30, Time Trials are set for 12:45pm with the first race at 2pm. The fastest 16 Midwest Tour qualifiers will be signing autographs prior to racing under the Turn 4 Party Pavilion. Adult general admission tickets are $25, Whelen Heroes/Seniors and Students (12-17) are $22, Kids ages 6-11 are $10 with ages 5 and under admitted free.
The race will also air live on Speed51.com. The complete entry list can be found below.