Chris Weinkauf is probably one of the most excited drivers in the ASA Midwest Tour to race at State Park Speedway in Wausau, WI in the River Valley Bank Flip Merwin Memorial 150 this Thursday night, June 23rd.
Weinkauf was the 2010 State Park Speedway champion and his racing roots were established at that very track. Chris's dad has been a life-long race fan and was taking Chris from the time he was very little to Wausau for the races. It was that time spent with his dad at the track that turned his life into one of getting behind the wheel.
"I still can't believe that all these years later I am one of those guys in the seat of a race car. I went from a little kid sitting on the grass watching the Detjens Memorial race to being a race car driver with the honor of saying that I have won the Detjens Memorial race," said a very humble Weinkauf.
Thursday's race is in memory of Flip Merwin who had a love for anything racing. Flip was a close friend to many including the Wimmer family, who now owns and operates the track, so this race means a lot to many people. Weinkauf had the honor of winning the Flip Merwin Memorial last year.
"It was such an honor to win the Flip Merwin Memorial. Any one who knew Flip knew his love for racing, whether is was a stock car or snowmobile. To keep his legacy alive by having a memorial race yearly and to see the turn out every year at SPS shows what an amazing person he was and the love that people had for him," said Weinkauf.
State Park Speedway is known for its tight, two-groove racing and that is what the fans love about it. According to Chris, once drivers figure out there are two grooves they use it to their advantage. Last year SPS had some of the best side by side racing in the Midwest. Add the talent of drivers in the ASA Midwest Tour to SPS, and the fans are going to get a show they will never forget.
Drivers who have never been to State Park Speedway or any track experience a different level of stress. It takes time to gauge what tracks a driver can compare the current track to and figure out the right set-up in order to be competitive, especially when racing against veterans. "You definitely don't want to go out there and make a fool of yourself," joked Weinkauf.
Is there a difference between weekly racing and when a touring series like the ASAMT comes in? According to Weinkauf....yes. Chris acknowledges that the level of racing is very high in the the ASAMT and the caliber of drivers is very competitive. However, he also admits that whether he is racing weekly at State Park Speedway or in the ASAMT, the competition is high and the racing is hard, but the thrill of the win is always sweet.
Drivers enjoy it when the ASAMT comes to their home track. Chris is looking forward to racing at his home track and welcoming all of the ASAMT drivers, fans and families. In fact, that is probably what he is looking most forward to....family. Chris is so appreciative of everyone involved in his racing career. But he is also so thankful for what the Wimmer family has done for short track racing in Wausau, WI.
The track is only 20 minutes from Chris's home and one of the greatest parts about that is being able to have all of his family come and watch him race. His grandmother, Miriam, and his wife Wendi's grandparents, Jerry and Joan, were all able to come to the races last year and that is the most important thing of all for Chris.
"Knowing that I have my biggest supporters, my family, in the stands makes me very proud. Also, joining forces with Jay VanDerGeest this year has been great. Having Jay, myself and my brother all racing for the same team and under the same roof has also been a wonderful transition and having Jay bring us both into his family has been amazing. He has allowed me to do things that I would not have been able to do without his support. Once again, it is like we are a big family, a big family of racers," admitted a very appreciative Weinkauf.
The American Speed Association® Kwik Trip Midwest Tour presented by ECHO Outdoor Power Equipment and GrandStay Hospitality will be joined by State Park Speedway's Super Stocks, Pure Stocks, and Snap-on Mini Mods.
Gates open at 4:00PM. Qualifying begins at 5:00PM followed by an autograph session at 6:00PM and racing at 7:00PM. For more detailed information log on to asamidwesttour.com.