WAUSAU, Wis. (July 29) – A start further back in the pack proved no problem for Justin Mondeik to continue his winning streak at State Park Speedway.
Mondeik remained red-hot this summer, winning his fifth straight feature in weekly racing at State Park. The Gleason native took the 60-lap Auto Select Super Late Model feature on Wausau Noon Optimists Club Kids Night and Christmas in July Night at the Rib Mountain 1/4-mile track.
Mondeik started ninth in the field and slowly made his way near the front, then darted to the lead midway through the race.
Mondeik’s big break came when running third with Wausau drivers M.G. Gajewski and Brock Heinrich racing for the lead on Lap 29. Gajewski was leading and Heinrich was in second when the two got together, with Gajewski getting loose and Heinrich having to back off.
Mondeik took advantage to drive to the outside of both on Lap 30, and he led Gajewski by half a car length when he also received some help with a lapped car on the inside allowing him to clear Gajewski. He would cruise from there, building a full straightaway lead and able to back off considerably to save the car the rest of the way as he won his ninth feature race of the season at Wisconsin and upper Michigan tracks.
The race’s biggest battle the rest of the way came for second, with Gajewski fighting off Heinrich for a time before Heinrich slipped up on the outside after contact with Gajewski again. Dillon Mackesy of Athens later got his chance and would pass Gajewski for second on Lap 37.
Gajewski would hold on to finish third with Travis Volm close behind in fourth. Jordan Thiel finished fifth with a strong car in his first appearance at the track this season, as the Appleton area driver prepared for the upcoming TUNDRA race next week at State Park and won the second heat race.
Gajewski led the first 29 laps of the caution-free race, starting on the inside pole and first building a lead, then holding off Heinrich and Mondeik after the two moved into second and third, respectively, on Lap 15. Heinrich appeared poised to challenge for the top spot before contact with the leader.
Heinrich would slip back to sixth at the finish with Mark Mackesy coming in seventh after also challenging for a top-four finish late. The race also marked the return to racing of Mike Cox Jr., a former late model feature winner at State Park and a strong contender on the Central Wisconsin Racing Association circuit who retired from racing in 1999 and was back on the track for the first time in 22 years.
Auto Select Super Late Models pres. by C-Tech
Fast Qualifier: Justin Mondeik, Gleason, 13.942 sec.
First Heat: 1. Mark Mackesy, Wausau; 2. M.G. Gajewski, Wausau; 3. Jason Weinkauf, Merrill; 4. Dillon Mackesy, Athens; 5. Mike Cox Jr., Hazelhurst
Second Heat: 1. Jordan Thiel, Darboy; 2. Travis Volm, Wausau; 3. Rayce Haase, Wausau; 4. Mondeik; 5. Wyatt Blashe, Pella; 6. Brock Heinrich, Wausau
Feature: 1. Mondeik; 2. D. Mackesy; 3. Gajewski; 4. T. Volm; 5. Thiel; 6. Heinrich; 7. M. Mackesy; 8. Haase; 9. Blashe; 10. Weinkauf; 11. Cox
Schramm, Seliger, Strachota all pick up Kids Night feature wins
WAUSAU, Wis. (July 29) – Christmas in July at State Park Speedway provided Wausau’s Brian Schramm a present of its own, and the veteran driver knew just what to do with it.
Schramm assumed the top spot in the Advance Auto Parts Pure Stock feature Thursday after the top two cars were involved in a spin racing for the lead. The three-time defending class champion rolled from there, winning his second feature of the season on Wausau Noon Optimists Club Kids Night and Christmas in July Night at the 1/4-mile speedway.
Schramm was running third on Lap 15 behind Jeff Spatz and charging Mitch Stankowski in second when Stankowski made contact with the leader, spinning Spatz on the front stretch. Both drivers were sent to the back of the field, giving Schramm first place, and he drove away after the restart to win the 20-lap race.
Schramm started fifth and made a slow climb to the front while Spatz and Brett Breitenfeldt raced for the lead early, with Breitenfeldt leading the first two laps on the outside of the front row before Spatz took the lead and soon drove away. Schramm passed Breitenfeldt for third on Lap 6 but fell back a spot after fast qualifier Stankowski got by him shortly after.
Stankowski trailed Spatz by eight car lengths at the midway point but quickly cut that margin in half in three laps, while Schramm moved back into third on Lap 10 passing Brian Plisch. Stankowski reached Spatz’s bumper two laps later but got too much of his bumper soon after, resulting in the race’s only caution. Stankowski would rebound to come back to finish second while Mosinee’s Alex Volm finished third.
A race night that hit a foul note earlier on for Wausau’s George Seliger turned to turned to roses later on, as Seliger bounced back from a heat race accident to win his sixth Snap-on Mini Mods feature of the season.
Seliger was racing Joe Kuehn for the lead in the second heat race when the two cars made contact going into turn three, causing Kuehn to spin hard into the outside wall tires and Seliger to slip up into the outside wall as well. Both cars received significant damage, including Seliger driving off with a mangled right rear wheel.
Both drivers and their crews hustled to repair their cars for the 20-lap feature, and Seliger needed just two laps to drive from his sixth starting spot to the lead. With the inside lane slow early he moved to third on the first lap and passed both John Lietz for second and then Kole Ferge for the lead on the second lap and led the rest of the way, including driving away after a Lap 15 restart. Shawn Kemnetz of Hancock finished second and Jim Lietz of Mosinee came in third.
Defending Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks champion Garret Strachota has knocked on the door of a feature win all season and finally broke through for his victory of the year.
Six times a runner-up in feature races this year, Strachota won for the first time after taking the lead just past the midway point of the 20-lap event. He assumed the top spot after leader Branden Sischo of Stratford drifted high out of turn four on Lap 11, and Strachota held off five-time feature winner Eric Breitenfeldt of Wausau.
Joey Blaschka of Wausau also won the mini stocks semi-feature, his first-ever semi win. He held off Amanda Rowe of Mosinee to win the 12-lap race, and the top two finishers both advanced to race in the feature.
State Park Speedway’s weekly classes are off next week as there will be no regular Thursday night show. Racing does return to the speedway next Saturday, Aug. 7 when the TUNDRA Super Late Model series visits. Fan gates open at 4:30 p.m. with Fred Mueller Qualifying at 5:45 p.m. and racing to follow at 7 p.m.
Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Mitch Stankowski, Wausau, 15.346 sec.
Heat: 1. Jeff Spatz, Wausau; 2. Brian Schramm, Wausau; 3. Stankowski; 4. Brian Plisch, Athens; 5. Alex Volm, Mosinee; 6. Brett Breitenfeldt, Wausau
Feature: 1. Schramm; 2. Stankowski; 3. A. Volm; 4. B. Breitenfeldt; 5. Plisch; 6. Spatz
Snap-on Mini Mods
Fast Qualifier: Chad Ferge, Weston, 15.801 sec.
First Heat: 1. Kole Ferge, Edgar; 2. John Lietz, Mosinee; 3. Dale Louze, Mosinee; 4. Brian Marquardt, Weston
Second Heat: 1. Jim Lietz, Mosinee; 2. C. Ferge; 3. Shawn Kemnetz, Hancock; 4. Kevin Tessmer, Wausau; 5. Joe Kuehn, Wausau; 6. George Seliger, Wausau
Feature: 1. Seliger; 2. Kemnetz; 3. Jim Lietz; 4. C. Ferge; 5. Kuehn; 6. Tessmer; 7. John Lietz; 8. Louze; 9. Benz; 10. Marquardt; 11. K. Ferge
Rockstar Mini Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Hunter Landwehr, Stratford, 16.532 sec.
First Heat: 1. Kendra Baumann, Wausau; 2. Joey Blaschka, Wausau; 3. Wayne Gauger, Kronenwetter; 4. Amanda Rowe, Mosinee; 5. Steve Koepke, Edgar; 6. Josh Dublin, Weston
Second Heat: 1. Ashley Schoone, Gleason; 2. Eric Breitenfeldt, Wausau; 3. Branden Sischo, Stratford; 4. Brad Lecher, Wausau; 5. Kyle Check, Shantytown; 6. Dave Lembke, Germantown
Third Heat: 1. Garret Strachota, Wausau; 2. Chris Boykins, Wausau; 3. Landwehr; 4. Brad Abt, Schofield; 5. Zach Budleski, Wausau; 6. Tom Lecher, Wausau
Semi-Feature: 1. Blaschka; 2. Rowe; 3. Baumann; 4. Gauger; 5. Koepke; 6. Dublin
Feature: 1. Strachota; 2. E. Breitenfeldt; 3. Sischo; 4. Boykins; 5. Schoone; 6. B. Lecher; 7. Landwehr; 8. Lembke; 9. Budleski; 10. T. Lecher; 11. Blaschka; 12. Rowe; 13. Abt; 14. Check