WAUSAU, Wis. (July 13) – Thirty-five laps turned out to be just right for Justin Mondeik at State Park Speedway Thursday night.
A few laps more might’ve been a problem with Jason Weinkauf in hot pursuit, but instead it was Mondeik snapping a rare drought with his first feature win of the season at State Park. The three-time defending Auto Select Super Late Models champion from Gleason held off Weinkauf in a 35-lap feature on Women Concerned for Auto Racing (WCAR) Gifts From Heaven Night.
Mondeik took the lead from Weinkauf on lap 9 and led the rest of the way. It was far from a runaway, though, as Weinkauf lurked behind Mondeik over the final 25 laps, trailing by no more than two car lengths and getting to the leader’s rear bumper several times.
Weinkauf also inched closer over the last five laps and made a last-ditch attempt on the final lap, taking a peek to the inside on the backstretch. Mondeik held on to win at the finish line by three-quarters of a car length.
“We were just missing a little roll speed on entry, through the center, we had really good drive off (the corner),” said Mondeik. “Happy to get one…it was good racing with Jason, good clean racing, that’s the way it should be. We’re just really happy to get our first win.”
The feature was run at a shorter length with a number of SPS’s regular super late models out of commission for the night after recent incidents or with mechanical issues. Super late drivers were asked in a pre-race meeting for their preferred feature length and Mondeik indicated in the meeting his preference for 40 laps, before a compromise of 35 laps was settled on.
Mondeik has been one of the most frequent super late model feature winners in the Upper Midwest over the past three years, including 18 feature wins at State Park alone in that time. His 2023 season has been challenging, though, including several near misses at State Park as well as a crash at the Milwaukee Mile on Father’s Day that severely damaged a car he was using for touring events and planned to run at Slinger Speedway. The five races without a win to start this season also were his longest stretch without a feature win at State Park since 2018.
Jevin Guralski of Wausau finished third in the feature, getting by Wausau’s Brock Heinrich with three laps left. Heinrich came in fourth, and the two-time feature winner this year saw his points lead shrunk to just 10 markers over both Mondeik and Weinkauf with four weekly shows remaining in the season.
Auto Select Super Late Models pres. by C-Tech
Fast Qualifier: Justin Mondeik, Gleason, 13.658 sec.
Heat: 1. Jason Weinkauf, Merrill; 2. Brock Heinrich, Wausau; 3. Mondeik; 4. Mark Mackesy, Wausau; 5. Jevin Guralski, Wausau; 6. Travis Volm, Wausau
Feature: 1. Mondeik; 2. Weinkauf; 3. Guralski; 4. Heinrich; 5. Volm; 6. Mackesy