NORWAY - When the ARCA Midwest Tour heads to Norway Speedway tonight, there's one thing you can bet on, and that's the local talent giving bringing their top game and giving the Touring Stars a run for their money.
"When the tour rolls in, the local guys know the best in the Midwest have just stepped onto your turf so you better find every bit of speed out of your ride," said Norway driver Kris Kelly, "The day of being 95 percent isn't going to cut the mustard, it's 100 percent or nothing."
The Norway Speedway drivers welcome the challenge of the Touring Stars and tonight is a date some have had circled on their calendar for months.
Kris Kelly (77) will be among the local drivers challenging the ARCA Midwest Tour’s “Touring Stars” at Norway Speedway.
"I've been looking forward to this race since winter," says Kelly, "My brother Toby has worked his tail off to make sure we have a darn good car that will last 100 laps. The rest is up to me."
This marks the sixth trip the ARCA Midwest Tour has made to Norway Speedway. While many Touring Stars have raced there before, current Norway Speedway point leader Dan Lindsley hopes the extra seat time at his local track will play into his favor.
"It's always exciting to see the ARCA racers come up and see how you can compete against them," said Lindsley, "Racing at your home track is always better. You know the ins and outs and we're obviously more familiar with how we expect our car to perform, so that should be able to help us out."
Another area driver hoping for a good showing this weekend is Robbie Iverson, whose father Jamie raced locally at Norway for years and is one of two drivers to win a Tour race there.
Jamie Iverson took the checkers for the Tour's first three visits to Norway and has now handed the reins over to Robbie, who makes his Tour debut tonight.
"It's great he knows the car and track better than probably anybody and knows what it takes to compete with the Tour guys," Robbie Iverson said. "I really couldn't ask for a better coach."
Jamie Iverson says "it's been good."
"I enjoy watching him learn and improve weekly," Iverson said. "He's also learning to do all the car maintenance so that's less I have to do. So far, it's been a lot of fun."
With Jamie Iverson knowing what it takes to get to Victory Lane, his advice to his son was simple.
"Better go fast," says Iverson, "These guys are good."
Nathan Haseleu is the only other driver to win a Tour race at Norway Speedway and will be looking for his third straight this weekend. But there is nothing more the fans of Norway Speedway would like to see more than a local driver back in Victory Lane.
"People love short track asphalt racing up here," Kelly said. "And they would love to see one of their own back in Victory Lane."
Ticket prices are $15 for ages 11 and older; free for age 10 and under.
Practice begins at 3 this afternoon; qualifying, 5:15 p.m.; autograph session, 6 p.m.; opening ceremonies, 6:50 p.m., and racing, 7 p.m.
(Jana Wimmer is with the ARCA Midwest Tour)