The ASA STARS National Tour Sunshine State 200 had a successful debut, with 35 drivers representing 16 states and one Canadian province. Six of the 35 drivers who traveled to Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida represented the ASA Midwest Tour.
Five-time ASA Midwest Tour champion Ty Majeski took advantage of an off-weekend in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to debut a new car built by Toby Nuttleman at Five Flags Speedway.
Majeski qualified 16th, but that didn’t stop the former Snowball Derby winner from working his way to the front of the field. The Seymour, WI driver had an issue on lap 134 when the hood came loose, blocking his view. Majeski stopped on the track to bring out a caution, which led to him receiving a two-lap penalty. He fell back to 25th, then made the two laps back and worked his way to a solid third-place finish.
Gabe Sommers made his second trek from Plover, WI to Pensacola, FL to be a part of the history-making event. The 2022 Jim Sauter Classic winner struggled in qualifying and started 25th. His team focused on making the right adjustments throughout the race, breaking into the top-ten on lap 130. He would work his way up to sixth with 18 laps to go and hold on to that spot for a strong top-ten finish.
Roscoe, Illinois pilot Austin Nason also had a top-ten debut in the Sunshine State 200 with a seventh-place finish. Nason, who won last season’s Wayne Carter Classic at Grundy County Speedway in Morris, IL, started 15th and would fall back to 22nd by lap 30. He scratched and clawed his way toward the front, getting up to ninth on lap 95. He once again fell back to 22nd on lap 149, but that didn’t last long. He had a strong drive back to the front, crossing the line behind Sommers in seventh.
Dan Fredrickson was the only driver in the field who had competed in the original ASA Series. He made the long drive from Northfield, MN to compete in the Sunshine State 200. The two-time ASA Midwest Tour champion started 19th and remained in the middle of the field throughout the event. He worked his way to 10th by lap 61 and hovered around there the rest of the race, finishing 12th.
Derek Kraus, from Stratford, WI was hoping for a solid run, but was caught up in an incident with 30 laps to go in the race. Kraus started 13th and fell back in the early going, but had worked his way up to ninth when the incident occurred on the frontstretch, ending his night.
It also wasn’t a good debut for Michael Bilderback, as he was involved in an incident on lap 77 that ended the night early for the Roscoe, Illinois driver. The four-time Big 8 Series champion struggled in qualifying and started 32nd. He had worked his way up to 17th until he fell out of the race.
Many of these competitors are now getting ready for the ASA Midwest Tour season opener on Sunday, April 23rd for the Miracle on the High Banks at Slinger Super Speedway in Slinger, WI. Qualifying will get underway at 12:05 pm, with racing at 2 pm. Tickets are on sale now at midwesttour.racing/tickets.
The ASA STARS National Tour will now look to race number-2 of its 10-race, six-state schedule. The Joe Shear Classic will be held at Madison International Speedway in Wisconsin on Sunday, May 7, 2023. More details regarding the event will be announced soon.
For the full ASA STARS National Tour schedule, plus Super Late Model rules and other information, please visit the series website at starsnationaltour.com, or be sure to follow the series on social media (Facebook: STARS National Series | Twitter: @racewithstars | IG: @starsnational).
ASA STARS National Tour
The ASA STARS National Tour will debut in 2023 for Super Late Model racing in America. Announced in October, many of the best drivers in America are expected to compete in the 10-race national tour with a minimum $100,000 point fund. The championship team will be guaranteed $25,000.
The national series is made up of three races from each of the regional pavement Super Late Model Series under the Track Enterprises banner; the ASA CRA Super Series, the ASA Midwest Tour and the ASA Southern Super Series.
A Winner’s Circle program will also be part of the ASA National Tour for licensed drivers/teams with perfect attendance. The program details will be announced at a later date, but it will be in the same vein as ASA utilized in its heyday.
Track Enterprises, a Racing Promotions Company based in Illinois, will operate the ASA STARS National Tour. It announced the acquisition of the CRA sanctioning body in January and followed that up with the purchase of the Midwest Tour in July. In October, Track Enterprises President, Bob Sargent announced a partnership with the Southern Super Series which set the table for the formation of the ASA STARS National Tour.