WAUSAU, Wis. (June 8) – As Jason Weinkauf and Justin Mondeik pulled away late, Travis Volm’s chances at winning his first feature of the 2023 season at State Park Speedway appeared to have slipped away.
Everything changed with eight laps left in the Auto Select Super Late Models feature on the second night of racing this season at State Park. The top two were involved in a racing incident entering the first turn, Volm inherited the lead, and the Mosinee native now residing in Wausau took full advantage, pulling away on the restart to win the 50-lap feature event of the first Thursday night show of the season at the Rib Mountain quarter-mile.
Weinkauf was leading with Mondeik in hot pursuit in the race’s final laps when Mondeik dove inside the leader on the front stretch on lap 43 heading into the first turn. Weinkauf shut the door entering the turn and Mondeik spun into the infield, ending up nose-first in the mound surrounding a light pole.
Mondeik went to the back of the field due to the spin but Weinkauf also was ruled to be part of the incident due to the track’s contact rule, with Mondeik having gotten past the leader’s rear wheel before entering the turn. The result left third-place running Volm in first, but still with a challenge in the final laps with opening night feature winner and track record holder Brock Heinrich of Wausau on his outside on the restart.
Volm cleared Heinrich quickly on the restart, but Heinrich’s chance of settling in behind Volm for a possible run in the closing laps was thwarted by rookie Jevin Guralski. The Wausau native in just his second super late model race also muscled inside Heinrich and cleared him on lap 44. Volm was able to pull away with the second- and third-place cars battling and would win comfortably with Guralski second and Heinrich third.
Volm picked up his first feature win this year after winning three features at State Park a year ago. He led the first 27 laps of Thursday night’s feature, taking the lead from Guralski quickly from the outside pole before Weinkauf and Mondeik were in his tracks by lap 12, with the top three nose-to-tail.
Weinkauf would take to the outside of Volm on lap 16 in an attempt to lead, but Volm won the battle of No. 76 cars initially with Mondeik now lurking inside trying to take second. Weinkauf would continue to work the outside, and the Merrill veteran got back outside Volm on lap 26 and after a four-lap battle cleared him for the lead on lap 30.
Mondeik would get by Volm for second on a lap 31 restart, but Weinkauf appeared in good position for his first feature win since 2021, holding a 3-4 car length lead for the next 10 laps. Mondeik began to close in late, though, cutting the lead to two car lengths by lap 39 and getting to the leader’s rear bumper a lap later.
Mondeik came back after the late caution to finish fourth with Weinkauf rounding out the top five. Fast qualifier Rayce Haase of Wausau finished sixth.
Super Late Models
Fast Qualifier: Rayce Haase, Wausau, 13.700 sec.
First Heat: 1. Brock Heinrich, Wausau; 2. Mark Mackesy, Wausau; 3 Jevin Guralski, Wausau; 4. James Swanson, Pembine
Second Heat: 1. Justin Mondeik, Gleason; 2. Travis Volm, Wausau; 3. Jason Weinkauf, Merrill; 4. Haase
Feature: 1. T. Volm; 2. Guralski; 3. Heinrich; 4. Mondeik; 5. J. Weinkauf; 6. Haase; 7. Mackesy; 8. Swanson