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Wisconsin International Raceway, Home of Future Stars, Renews With IHRA

Wednesday, 10 January 2024

KAUKAUNA, Wisc. — Wisconsin International Raceway has been a fertile ground for the future stars of motorsports, whether you’re talking about the 1/4-mile, IHRA-sanctioned drag strip or the 1/2-mile oval track.

WIR, which has agreed to a renewal of its IHRA sanctioning agreement, has produced two of the last five IHRA Summit SuperSeries Junior Dragster World Champions. A.J. Leung won the IHRA Summit SuperSeries Junior Dragster World Championship in 2023, following Kyla Feit in 2019.

“It was great to have another World Champion representing the class,”  said Dan VanDaalwyk, who owns the 120-acre facility along with his wife Ginger. “It says a lot about our junior program. They’re a good group of kids who have been racing here a long time. We usually have between 20-25 cars and more than that for special events. Some of them are second and third generation racers, whose families have raced with us forever.”

VanDaalwyk’s family has been a part of Wisconsin International Raceway since the start. It was founded by Joe VanDaalwyk, Connie DeLeeuw, and Clyde Schumacher. Dan’s father, Roger, later took ownership of the property until selling it to Dan and Ginger in 2017.

Over the past six years, Dan and Ginger have constantly been working on improvements,

“Since we bought the track, we put in a whole new timing system and then new scoreboards in,” VanDaalwyk said. “We’ve continued the upgrades. We’re working on the parking area to give more room for our traveling drivers.”

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Wisconsin International Raceway has seen plenty of success with its IHRA programs. WIR drivers who qualified for the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals through the track standings included: Cameron Emmer (Top), Brayden Londerville (Mod), Aaron Evers (Sportsman), Eric Hansen Sr. (Motorcycle) and Leung.

Jersey Pautz also qualified for the World Finals by winning the Junior Dragster race at the IHRA Division 5 (Thunder) Summit Team Finals.

“Our drivers like doing the team finals every year,” VanDaalwyk said. “They always have fun at those and the World Finals. We also do an Ironman (race) every year where a lot of drivers come up trying to win the Ironman.”

At the oval, they feature Super Late Models and five other classes. It has been a home track of legends. Wisconsin natives and NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Alan Kulwicki and Matt Kenseth are amongst the former track champions.

Dick Trickle and Mark Martin were some of the track’s most prolific winners, while three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser and longtime NASCAR Cup Series competitor Dave Marcis won USAC Stock Car races in 1971 and ’72. Ty Majeski, one of the top Super Late Model racers in the country and a star on the NASCAR Truck Series, is among the recent WIR winners.

Click here to check out the Wisconsin International Raceway webpage which includes the 2024 schedule of events for both the oval and drag strip. For the straight liners, be sure not to miss out on the fun of the IHRA Summit SuperSeries. You can click here for the IHRA membership center or call membership coordinator Heather Roth at 85-JOIN-IHRA.

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