WAUSAU, Wis. (Aug. 22) – Once again, Luke Fenhaus is heating up at State Park Speedway as August winds down.
The defending champion in the Auto Select Super Late Models presented by C-Tech used a late surge to win a championship last year, and he is making his best bid to come from well back in the standings to double up this season. Fenhaus won his second straight feature and crept closer in the points race by taking the 75-lap feature for the 11th annual Wayne ‘Lodi’ Lodholz Memorial Thursday night.
For the second straight week, Fenhaus made it look easy, leading the final 54 laps and finishing nearly half a lap ahead of his nearest competitor in the feature. He dodged a lap 2 spin that nearly bunched up much of the field and then had little trouble with a restart with 19 laps to go.
Along with setting fast time also for the second straight week, it was another productive night as Fenhaus moved past a snake-bitten Justin Mondeik into second in the point standings, 22 points behind leader Jay Van Der Geest. Fenhaus missed one night of racing early in the season and appeared out of the points race, but has surged back into contention with his two feature wins that come one year after he won the final two features of the 2018 season-including the Lodi Memorial-on his way to winning the championship.
While Fenhaus’s dominance eliminated the drama up front at the end, a racy field provided plenty of jockeying and side-by-side racing.
Mondeik and Brock Heinrich traded the lead up front for the first 15 laps, and they would spend much of the race fighting for position. An already rough night for Mondeik got worse after a restart with 19 laps to go, when rubbing with Heinrich resulted in him fading back all the way to ninth at the finish. Mondeik was driving the car of Derek Kraus for the evening, which his team hustled to get to the track and get ready after the throttle stuck on his regular No. 44 during practice laps, with his car going hard into the turn one wall.
While Mondeik and Heinrich spent most of the race fighting for second, it was Van Der Geest in that position the final laps after he got inside Heinrich on lap 63. Van Der Geest seemingly spent much of the race fighting off charges from the likes of Travis Volm, Jeremy Lepak and Mike Olson, but he held on and now is on the doorstep of his first-ever track championship, leading Fenhaus by 22 points and Mondeik by 28 entering the season finale.
Heinrich finished third, while Lepak came in fourth and Olson finished fifth. Lepak’s fourth-place finish came after he took the brunt of a lap 2 incident between front row starters Nate Steif and Ryan Hinner, when both spun and a stack up behind them resulted in the entire right side sheet metal torn off of Lepak’s car.
Super Late Models
Fast Qualifier: Luke Fenhaus, Wausau, 13.657 sec.
First Heat: 1. Justin Mondeik, Gleason; 2. Ryan Hinner, Stevens Point; 3. Jay Van Der Geest, Merrill; 4. Travis Volm, Mosinee; 5. Nate Steif, Wausau
Second Heat: 1. Jeremy Lepak, Ringle; 2. M.G. Gajewski, Wausau; 3. Fenhaus; 4. Brock Heinrich, Wausau; 5. Mike Olson, Dorchester
Feature: 1. Fenhaus; 2. Van Der Geest; 3. Heinrich; 4. Lepak; 5. Olson; 6. T. Volm; 7. M.G. Gajewski; 8. Hinner; 9. Mondeik; 10. Steif