WI (April 19) -- The racing season finally opened at Madison
International Speedway last weekend with Eric Fransen (#16) capturing
the Miller Lite 100 and pocketing $5,000 on a chilly Wisconsin
evening. Hoosier Late Model Asphalt Product Manager Terry Newton
traveled from northern Indiana to watch his Hoosier tires in action at
the facility now operated under new leadership. The historic facility
known as "Wisconsin's fastest half-mile" was recently
purchased by Terry Kunes, a Chicago businessman who owns several auto
dealerships, as well as, a construction business. Roy Kenseth was
selected by Kunes as the track's new promoter/manager. One of the
many changes the two have made at the track was to change to USA-made
Hoosier tires in their premier late model division.
There were an astounding 56 cars entered in pre-race
qualifying on the 1/2-mile M.I.S. oval. Dale Nottestad was the
quickest of the group circling the track in 17.682 seconds. Andrew
Morissey, Bobby Wilberg, Travis Kvapil and Ron Breese Jr. rounded out
the top five in qualifying.
The 100-lap race began with Erik Darnell and Lowell
Bennett leading the 30-car field to the starting line. Bennett jumped
out to the early race lead with fourth starting Steve Carlson quickly
moving into second place. By lap 17, Carlson, who is no stranger to
the Hoosier brand having won many times over the years in NASCAR
Touring races, made his move for the lead. The middle stages of the
race saw Carlson build a 10 car-length lead over Eric Fransen who had charged
from ninth to second by lap 28. Despite cautions on lap 71, 77 and on
lap 94, Carlson remained the man to beat.
But a final caution on lap 95 gave track officials a
closer look at Carlson's chariot which was leaking fluid from the rear
end. This resulted in Carlson having to drop out of the race which
handed the lead over to Fransen with less than five laps to go.
Fransen held off the challenges of Ron Breese Jr. and last year's
track champion Dave Feiler to take his first-ever feature win at
Madison International Speedway.
Following Fransen, Breese and Feiler to the finish
line were Andrew Morissey and defending track co-champion Bobby
Wilberg to round out the list of top five finishers.
Hoosier representative Terry Newton commented after
the race, "The 3035 (left side) and 3045 (right side) Hoosier
tires worked extremely well tonight and I give the competitors a lot
of credit. For many of them, it was their first time racing on our
product and they did extremely well on a cold track surface. Newton
added on the trip north to Wisconsin, "I was really glad I wore
my Hoosier 'puffy coat' (Winston Jacket) tonight, otherwise I might
have froze. But seriously, I was very happy to be here and support the
opening night of racing and hopefully witness the beginning of a long
relationship between Hoosier and Madison International Speedway."
Looking ahead at M.I.S., current Winston Cup points
leader and former M.I.S. track champion Matt Kenseth is scheduled to
compete on May 9th during the Grand Re-Opening festivities at the
track. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. and racing will begin at 8:00 p.m.
Hoosier Racing Tire is proud to now include Madison
International Speedway, its competitors and fans as part of