With Mother Nature not cooperating with local racetracks, all local racing action was cancelled last weekend. The forecasts for this week don’t sound much better, so who knows when racecars will finally find their way onto local tracks.
With no racing action so far this season, I’d like to let you, the race fans, know about how you can help bring new drivers to the World of Outlaws Late Model race at Shawano Speedway on Wednesday, Aug. 3. As many of you know the 2010 version of this race was a huge success with a jam-packed grandstand. It can be argued that part of that success was the novelty of the event because a national touring late model series hadn’t raced at Shawano Speedway since around 2004.
In an effort to keep this race fresh and new and to attract new drivers, Shawano’s Josh Effenberger, the flagman at Shawano Speedway, but also just an average race fan, has created the Shawano Fans Fund.
“The Shawano Fans Fund is basically, fans like you and me, or an average fan to try to promote and help keep a special alive and thriving if we can,” Effenberger said. “Also, to bring in new and fresh faces for hopefully a long time to come.”
This is how the fund works. Fans can donate money to the fund, with a minimum donation of $5. For that donation, fans get to vote for five drivers from a list of 11 drivers who have agreed to race at the World of Outlaw race at Shawano Speedway if they get voted in by the Fans Fund.
“I tried to make it as reasonable as I could,” Effenberger said of the Shawano Fans Fund. “In that sense, just pick 10 or 12 drivers who are regional drivers, not national standouts, in hopes that they would travel up here for the money. We called more than 30 different drivers and finally got it narrowed down to the 11 we selected.
“For the most part, I would say that 80-90 percent of the drivers I talked to have shown great appreciation for it and were very caught off guard and excited about it. I would say the reception has been really well so far.”
Depending on how much money is collected, the total will be divided up in amounts of $500. That money will then be offered to the drivers receiving the most votes. For example, if $2,000 is collected, then $500 will be offered to the top four voted drivers to help offset the travel costs to race at the Shawano Speedway World of Outlaws Late Model race in August. If more money is collected, then more drivers will be offered $500.
Here is a list of the drivers who have said they will race at Shawano Speedway for the World of Outlaws Late Model race if they are voted in via the Shawano Fans Fund.
· Josh McGuire, Grayson, Kentucky – Traveled to Cedar Lake Speedway the past two years and was easily a fan favorite with his down to earth, comedic ways. He had six feature wins in 2010 and seven feature wins in 2009. Website:www.joshmcguireracing.com.
· Chad Simpson, Mount Vernon, Iowa – The 2008 and 2009 WDRL Series champion, and the Corn Belt Clash Series champ in 2010. This 32-year-old driver just might be the most underrated driver in the Midwest. Website: www.chadsimpsonracing.com.
· Jason Feger, Bloomington, Illinois – “The Highside Hustler” is the defending UMP Summer Nationals Champion and 2010 Northern Allstars Champ. Jason is usually a crowd favorite by always riding high against the wall. Website: www.jasonfeger.com.
· Matt Lux, Franklin, Pennsylvania – Lux is a 15-year veteran in racing with 67 feature wins while racing at 47 different tracks across the country. Lux, 37, holds six track championships near his home in Pennsylvania. Website: www.mattlux21.com.
· Brian Harris, Davenport, Iowa. – Harris is a comeback story. Harris, 33, was seriously injured while racing in 2008. He was leading the WDRL points at the time of the accident. After a few stints with a few teams, he is back in his own equipment in 2011.
· Kent Robinson, Bloomington, Indiana – “K-Rod” has many saying he’s the next big thing in late models. The 24-year old was the 2009 Bloomington Speedway (IN) champ, and has 35 wins. Many tab Kent as the next big thing. Website:www.kentrobinsonracing.com.
· Bub McCool, Vicksburg, Mississippi – McCool is on the comeback trail since 2006 after a car accident sidelined him for several years. In 1996 Bub followed the then named Hav-A-Tampa series where he finished 10th in points. Website:www.bubmccool.com.
· Chris Brown, Houston, Texas – “The Big Ticket” is a former standout in the modified USMTS series. Now into his second season of late models, the 32-year old is looking to follow the Lucas Oil Series in 2011. ebsite is www.chrisbrown21.com.
· Rusty Schlenk, Jackson, Michigan – “The Jackson Assassin” was the 2010 UMP National champ and Oakshade Raceway (OH) champ. He finished third in ALMS points last year and won the ALMS title in 2008. You can keep tabs on Rusty through his Facebook page.
· Frank Heckenast Jr., Frankfort, Illinois – This 21-year old was the rookie of the year in the Northern Allstars series in 2009 and won the WDRL title in 2008. Frank is looking to travel to numerous national races this year. Website:www.frankjr99.com.
· Jeep Van Wormer, Pinconning, Michigan – “Spiderman” has 15 career UMP Summer National feature wins and won the 2007 Eldora Speedway (OH) Club Championship. Jeep, 36, is known for his radical car designs. Website: www.jeepvanwormer.com.
· The final spot is open for the fans to write-in a driver of their choice. They can write-in any driver that is not from Wisconsin, and didn’t race Shawano’s WoO show last year.
Fans can make their donations and votes at Shawano Speedway every Saturday night at the races. They can also go to the Shawano Fans Fund Facebook page. Paypal can also be used by sending donations to [email protected]. It needs to be noted that Shawano Speedway has knowledge of the Shawano Fans Fund, but other than that, has nothing to do with the fund. It is truly a fund organized by a fan for the fans to get new drivers to make the trek to Shawano Speedway, especially with the high gas prices we are experiencing.