Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louisan Mittler an Owner in Truck Series since It Started

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louisan Mittler an Owner in Truck Series since It Started

Article excerpt

MADISON * Twenty years ago when NASCAR announced it was going to start a SuperTruck Series, local businessman Mike Mittler was one of the first owners to jump on board.

Mittler, 63, who owns Mittler Brothers Machine & Tool business with his youngest brother Paul, in Foristell, Mo., couldn't wait for his first race of 1995 at The Milwaukee Mile. The late Tony Roper was his driver.

"When the series first started, it was really built around guys like us," Mittler recalled. "Medium-sized, successful businessmen that were involved in racing and wanted to race at a higher level."

Mittler was prepared to race at that higher level Saturday night at Gateway Motorsports Park when he had two trucks in the field in the rain-delayed NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin' For Linemen 200 on the 1.25-mile oval.

Both driving Chevrolet Silverados, Tyler Tanner drove the No. 63 and Justin Jennings drove No. 36.

Even though that first season may seem like an eternity for most (some of the drivers now weren't even born yet), it is like yesterday for Mittler.

He quickly remembered his first driver. Roper, who was born in Springfield, Mo., was one of four used that season. The other three were Andy Brass, Rick Beebe and St. Louisan Mike Wallace, the middle brother of the three Wallace drivers.

One of the main reasons Mittler liked NASCAR's newest division was because it was built to his liking. No pit stops. Drivers raced until a halfway break, then battled it out to the end.

But that all ended in 1997 when NASCAR started allowing fuel stops and chassis adjustments. But no tires could be changed unless there was an emergency.

Then in mid-1998, teams could change two tires during caution periods. Later on the rules changed again allowing teams to make four-tire changes.

Those changes didn't bother Mittler because he knew he was outgunned.

"For the dollar we're spending versus the dollar of other teams, we're doing a great job," he said. …

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