Hello everyone. The name is Tim and I have been a huge reader of this site for four years and am the founder and administrator of the local racing hub called The Third Turn (thirdturn.wikia.com).
First, I'd like to thank Alan here at R-R for continuing his valuable work. As someone who has entered thousands of race records myself and sharing emails with him back and forth about statistical information most of you would consider trivial, I can personally assure you it is very easy to underestimate just how hard he works at this.
My blog here, The Spotter's Stand, for the forseeable future will be theme "D@mn Good Drivers", as I try to point out to many new (and even old) NASCAR fans some great drivers who you've probably never heard of but, in my humble opinion, are still among the all-time greats.
I'm kicking it off with one of the all-time legends in the Midwest, a driver by the name of Steve Carlson who has been a short-track terror for just over thirty years. A member of the over-fifty crowd, Carlson continues to add accomplishment after accomplishment onto his resume with every passing year.
This year alone, Carlson captured his first ASA Midwest Tour championship, overcoming sponsorship issues that made him miss a race to record four victories and nine top-tens and overtaking Nathan Haseleu in the season finale. Carlson now has the Triple Crown of Midwest Late Model racing: an ARTGO Championship, a NASCAR Elite Division, Midwest Series Championship, and now a championship in the three-year old ASAMWT. If those trophies alone were the measure of his accomplishments, Carlson would receive a nice mention in racing's history books.
But here's where his statistics push him from D@mn Good to legendary:
*Over a 16-YEAR period (1990-2005), starting when the series was owned by ARTGO and then bought by NASCAR in 1998, Carlson never finished worse than 2nd in the final points. Nine of those sixteen years he was the champion. Four of those nine years he was runner-up, Carlson was within fifty points of the title. Had it not been for a shortened NASCAR Midwest season in 2006, Carlson would probably have made it seventeen straight (one bad finish in a six-race season will leave you a "disappointing" third).
*67 wins between the NASCAR Midwest and ARTGO years combined, one short of legendary Dick Trickle. 40 of those wins came during an eight-year period during the NASCAR years. 27 came during an approximate ten-year stint with ARTGO (I've just started working on ARTGO statistics, so I can't provide you with much on that).
* Carlson has won the prestigious Dixieland 150 at Kaukana seven times. He has won the track championship at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway, without question one of the most competitive short tracks in the U.S., six times. He has also rounded out his resume with one championship in the prestigious Oktoberfest weekend at LaCrosse.
* In 2007, Carlson won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NASCAR's Short Track racing program) - championship, without doubt the hardest NASCAR championship to attain considering he would go against nearly 5,000 competitors during the season. Carlson is only one of two drivers to win a NASCAR Weekly Series and a NASCAR Touring Series championship. With his 2001 Weekly and 2008 Mod title, Ted Christopher is the other.
In short, if I had to come up with a list of the top-ten Late Model racers of all-time, Carlson would definitely be somewhere on the list. It's a shame that Carlson never got to show his stuff in an upper NASCAR level. Carlson decided to stick close to home, focusing on his businesses and his family (Steve has a racing brother and son, both of who were and are very talented). Without a doubt, Steve has the talent; just never the right opportunity for the big time.
Carlson is currently not in the R-R archives, so if I might be self-promotional for half a minute, I suggest you hop on over to (http://thirdturn.wikia.com/wiki/Steve_Carlson) to see his full statistics in all the series I mentioned. Like I said, hopefully I can dig up some more ARTGO information soon. ARTGO, for those of you have never heard of it, was an exception Late Model Midwest series from 1975-1998. It's definitely worth looking up.
Have a great weekend,
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