Who was Joe Shear? A History of the Joe Shear Classic and Its Namesake

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Madison International Speedway and the ASA Midwest Tour has honored the late Joe Shear with the Joe Shear Classic since the 2008 season. The race started out as a 100-lap event before transitioning into a 200-lap race in 2017.

Over 40 cars entered the inaugural Joe Shear Classic on May 4, 2008, with 28 taking the green flag for the 100-lap race. In the end, it was Dan Fredrickson taking the win over Steve Carlson and Kyle Busch.

The record for most Joe Shear Classic wins is shared by Andrew Morrissey, Nathan Haseleu, and Johnny Sauter, who all have two wins each. Other drivers to have claimed wins include Carlson, Ross Kenseth, Travis Sauter, Ty Majeski, Austin Nason, Bubba Pollard, Rich Bickle Jr., and Casey Johnson.

In 2020, the Joe Shear Classic was moved to Dells Raceway Park due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Johnny Sauter won the race with a last-lap pass on Casey Johnson. Johnson won the Joe Shear Classic last season after a late battle with Dalton Zehr.

Joe Shear was born on May 8, 1943, hailing from Clinton, Wisconsin. His racing career began at Rockford Speedway in 1964, winning the track’s Rookie of the Year award that season. He won his first race at the track on his birthday in 1965, and by 1972 he had won six straight track championships at the quarter-mile facility.

He won four track championships at Capital Super Speedway, now known as Madison International Speedway, while visiting victory lane at the half-mile oval 66 times.

Over the course of his career, Shear won an estimated 600 races and at least 30 championships while racing names such as Trickle, Reffner, Martin, Wallace, and many other all-time greats in Midwest short track racing. His accolades include two ARTGO titles, four Red, White and Blue State Championships, a World Series of Asphalt title at New Smyrna Speedway in 1988, five ASA National Tour wins, and four Slinger Nationals titles.

He holds records for most wins in the National Short Track Championships (8, tied with Steve Carlson), Wayne Carter Classic (6), and Oktoberfest (5). Additionally, he is second all-time in ARTGO wins with 51.

Shear’s last win came in the National Short Track Championships in September 1997. He won four of his last five races he entered. His last start came in Oktoberfest at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in October 1997, finishing fourth. He passed away five months later on March 6, 1998 after a three-year battle with cancer.

Joe Shear’s legacy lives on today with the Joe Shear Classic, set for Sunday, May 7 at Madison International Speedway. His son Joe Shear Jr. is currently a Crew Chief for Wisconsin driver Ty Majeski in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The younger Shear won the 2016 Truck Series championship with another Wisconsin driver, two-time Joe Shear Classic winner Johnny Sauter.

The Joe Shear Classic 200 will mark race two of the inaugural ASA STARS National Tour schedule, set for 2:00PM CT on Sunday, May 7. Advance tickets are available by visiting the track website at misracing.com/tickets, or at the track office during regular business hours. Madison International Speedway is located ten minutes south of Madison, on Sunrise Road off of Highway 51 between Oregon and Stoughton.

The Joe Shear Classic will be live-streamed on Racing America, MidwestTour.tv and TRACKTV.com. MAVTV will air the event on a tape-delayed basis.

The ASA STARS National Tour opened the ten race, six-state schedule at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL on March 11. Georgia racer Casey Roderick won the Sunshine State 200.

For the full ASA STARS National Tour schedule, plus Super Late Model rules and other information, please visit the series website at starsnationaltour.com, or be sure to follow the series on social media (Facebook: STARS National Series | Twitter: @racewithstars | IG: @starsnational).

ASA STARS National Tour
The ASA STARS National Tour debuted in March of 2023 for Super Late Model racing in America. Announced last October, many of the best drivers in America will compete in the ten-race national tour with a minimum $100,000 point fund. The championship team will be guaranteed $25,000.

The ASA STARS National Tour is made up of three races from each of the regional pavement Super Late Model Series under the Track Enterprises banner; the ASA CRA Super Series, the ASA Midwest Tour and the ASA Southern Super Series.

The Team Construction Winner’s Circle program has been announced as a part of the ASA STARS National Tour for licensed drivers/teams with perfect attendance. The program provides additional financial incentives to those teams who support the Series, thanks to Team Construction.

Track Enterprises, a Racing Promotions Company based in Illinois, will operate the ASA STARS National Tour. It announced the acquisition of the CRA sanctioning body in January and followed that up with the purchase of the Midwest Tour in July. In October, Track Enterprises President, Bob Sargent announced a partnership with the Southern Super Series which set the table for the formation of the ASA STARS National Tour.