WAUSAU, Wis. (Aug. 13) – After three years as one of the winningest drivers in Wisconsin, it’s been a rather quiet year for Justin Mondeik in 2023.

Mondeik is still a three-time defending champion at State Park Speedway, though, and entering Sunday also was the defending winner of the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series race at the track, albeit from 2020 after the previous two years’ races were rained out. A TUNDRA visit provided him some spark this year, though, as Mondeik won the 75-lap feature for the Rib Mountain Rumble presented by Mr. Brew’s Taphouse, the fourth stop on TUNDRA’s six-race tour.

The Gleason native took the lead from Rayce Haase on lap 23 and led the rest of the way comfortably even through a number of restarts for his second feature win at State Park this season, including a victory in weekly racing July 14. He won under overcast skies that included brief sprinkles affecting practice laps earlier in the day, but eventually subsided to allow the completion of the SPS TUNDRA show for the first time in three years.

Mondeik also led a trio of SPS regulars who protected their home turf and swept the top three spots in the feature. Brock Heinrich of Wausau finished second and Wausau’s Travis Volm finished third, making up a top three that included this year’s SPS points leader and has combined for seven feature wins at the track in 2023.

Mondeik started seventh in a 16-car field for the feature and used the inside to quickly move into the top five. He got by Mitchell Haver of West Bend for fifth on lap 6, and then completed the pass of TUNDRA traveler Riley Stenjem of Utica on lap 12 after four laps racing side-by-side.

Mondeik then swooped past Jordan Thiel of Darboy on lap 14, and he was pressuring the leaders when Haase slipped inside early leader Braison Bennett of Neenah for the top spot on lap 19.

Mondeik also got inside Bennett for second a lap later, and three laps later he made the pass for the lead on the inside out of turn 4, with Haase drifting high on the track out of the corner to open the door.

The race’s first caution flag would come out three laps later when Wausau’s Kole Guralski spun between turns 3 and 4 after contact from fast qualifier John Beale of Verona. Mark Mackesy of Wausau also spun, and the two-time past TUNDRA winner at State Park would go to the pits and not return.

Mondeik quickly got away from Bennett on the restart, and he would face a total of four restarts in all, quickly taking the lead on all of them. He held a comfortable lead when the last came with 16 laps left, when Haver and Colin Reffner of Wisconsin Rapids tangled in turns 1 and 2, right in front of Mondeik.

Heinrich was running second to Mondeik at the caution, having gotten by Haase for the runner-up spot on lap 30 and staying there. The hottest car at SPS this year with four feature wins, including three in weekly racing plus the ASA Midwest Tour Larry Detjens Memorial last month, Heinrich stayed solidly in second but had little for the leader, including on the final restart, when he quickly fell in behind Mondeik.

Volm would finish third after a number of side-by-side battles, including holding off Beale while running the outside for six laps before the lap 60 caution, and then by getting around Stenjem on the outside for third on lap 66 after a six-lap fight. Beale would recover from the early incident to finish fourth with Thiel edging Stenjem for fifth. Bennett would finish seventh after leading the first 18 laps, making the outside groove work early in the race to take the lead from polesitter Thiel.

TUNDRA Super Late Models
Fast Qualifier:
John Beale, Verona, 13.560 sec.
First Heat: 1. Jordan Thiel, Darboy; 2. Rayce Haase, Wausau; 3. Braison Bennett, Neenah; 4. Mitchell Haver, West Bend; 5. Riley Stenjem, Utica
Second Heat: 1. Mark Mackesy, Wausau; 2. Mark Eswein, Wisconsin Rapids; 3. Colin Reffner, Wisconsin Rapids; 4. Travis Rodewald, Manitowoc; 5. Mickey Schallie, Darboy; 6. Dan Thomson, Neenah
Fast Five Dash: 1. Brock Heinrich, Wausau; 2. Justin Mondeik, Gleason; 3. Travis Volm, Wausau; 4. Kole Guralski, Wausau; 5. Beale
Feature: 1. Mondeik; 2. Heinrich; 3. Volm; 4. Beale; 5. Thiel; 6. Stenjem; 7. Bennett; 8. Guralski; 9. Haase; 10. Reffner; 11. Haver; 12. Eswein; 13. Rodewald; 14. Schallie; 15. Mackesy; 16. Thomson

Thomson, Duchow, Vander Loop and Paasch all win in SPS visits

Sunday’s TUNDRA program also included support divisions with the Wisconsin International Raceway Quarter-Mile Late Models, Wisconsin Sport Trucks and Dairyland Vintage Series all a part of the show.

Dan Thomson of Neenah and Appleton’s Jim Duchow both were feature winners in the WIR 1/4-Mile Late Models, with Thomson taking the first 15-lap feature and Duchow winning the second.

Thomson started on the inside pole and led all but one lap of the first feature. He did so while running side-by-side with Henry Neerdaels of Greenleaf the first six laps and then Sawyer Effertz of Kimberly the final nine laps. Thomson held a slim lead over Effertz, the WIR 2023 Red, White & Blue Series champion, the whole time and won by a car length.

Duchow recovered from a spin and slight contact from Effertz in the first feature to win the second feature in convincing fashion. He got by Neerdaels on the backstretch on the second lap and went unchallenged the rest of the way with Wayne Posselt of Greenville second and Effertz third.

Kasey Vander Loop of Freedom won the 20-lap Wisconsin Sport Trucks feature, surviving some hairy moments up front early in the race to drive away.

The race saw several frontrunners in the opening laps fall to the wayside, including outside polesitter Mason Calmes of Freedom stalling on the track after one lap and Kyle Quella of Appleton spinning on lap 2. Worse fate struck for early leader Cadyn Liedke of Fond du Lac, whose truck broke loose coming out of the fourth turn on lap 5 and stopped just shy of the outside wall. Appleton’s Cameron Hadley was running side-by-side in the pack and had nowhere to go coming out of the corner and slammed into Liedke’s truck in the back, ending the day for both drivers, who both walked away uninjured.

Vander Loop assumed the lead on the restart and quickly pulled away from brother Brady Vander Loop. Quella would rally from his early spin to overtake Brady Vander Loop for second on lap 8 and would finish there, with Brady Vander Loop coming in third.

Darrell Paasch of Marshfield won the Dairyland Vintage Series feature, edging Larry Bolster of La Crosse. A late model competitor at State Park Speedway in the 1970s, Paasch led all 15 laps of the feature, including the last lap by less than a car length after Bolster challenged on the outside.

Weekly racing at State Park Speedway continues this Thursday with the 15th annual Wayne (Lodi) Lodholz Memorial. Super late models, pure stocks, mini mods and mini stocks all will race and it’s also Bandoleros season championship night. Qualifying starts at 6 p.m. with racing to follow at 7 p.m.

WIR 1/4-Mile Late Models
Fast Qualifier:
Sawyer Effertz, Kimberly, 14.124 sec.
Feature #1: 1. Dan Thomson, Neenah; 2. Effertz; 3. Wayne Posselt, Greenville; 4. Jim Duchow, Appleton; 5. Hendry Neerdaels, Greenleaf; 6. Pete McVey, Neenah
Feature #2: 1. Duchow; 2. Posselt; 3. Effertz; 4. Thomson; 5. Neerdaels; 6. McVey

Wisconsin Sport Trucks
Fast Qualifier:
Dallas Laramore III, Waukau, 15.645 sec.
First Heat: 1. Cadyn Liedke, Fond du Lac; 2. Mason Calmes, Freedom; 3. Masyn Liedke, Fond du Lac; 4. Cameron Hadley, Appleton; 5. Alex Ruedinger, Larsen; 6. Courtney Anderson, Marinette; 7. Beth Craig, Appleton
Second Heat: 1. Kyle Quella, Appleton; 2. Brady Vander Loop, Freedom; 3. Kasey Vander Loop, Freedom; 4. Laramore; 5. Landon Braatz, Shawano; 6. Grant Gilbert, Hortonville; 7. Owen Voight, Shiocton
Feature: 1. K. Vander Loop; 2. Quella; 3. B. Vander Loop; 4. M. Liedke; 5. Voight; 6. Laramore; 7. Ruedinger; 8. Craig; 9. Anderson; 10. Braatz; 11. C. Liedke; 12. Hadley; 13. Calmes; 14. Gilbert

Dairyland Vintage Series
Fast Qualifier:
Sean Herzog, Wausau, 15.451 sec.
Heat: 1. Herzog; 2. Larry Bolster, La Crosse; 3. Darrell Paasch, Marshfield; 4. Roger Peterson, Wisconsin Rapids; 5. Tim Lind, Waupun; 6. Jason Torney, Wausau
Feature: 1. Paasch; 2. Bolster; 3. Peterson; 4. Lind; 5. Torney; 6. Herzog