WAUSAU, Wis. (Aug. 23) – A competitive points race in its top division got closer last week and should come down to a compelling conclusion when State Park Speedway hosts its final night of weekly racing this Thursday at the Rib Mountain quarter-mile.
Three drivers are in the hunt in the Auto Select Super Late Models presented by C-Tech in the closest of four points races entering Thursday night. The Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks championship chase also is a close one entering the night, and the Snap-on Mini Mods and Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks also will crown season champions.
The super late model race should come down to the final feature race of the season, with Wausau’s Brock Heinrich holding a 13-point lead over Justin Mondeik of Gleason. Merrill’s Jason Weinkauf also is within striking distance in third place, 20 points behind Heinrich.
Heinrich is aiming for his first-ever super late model championship of any kind. He was the two-time State Park champion in the limited late model class in 2017 and 2018, and this year has been the strongest car in the class much of the season. Heinrich has three wins in weekly racing, most of any driver in the class, and also won the 125-lap ASA Midwest Tour Larry Detjens Memorial July 22.
“It would really mean the world… It’s been a dream of mine just to race a super late model, let alone win a race or a championship,” said Heinrich. “We’ve worked hard, and our little team has gotten better and better.
“A lot of things have put us at a disadvantage throughout the year, but we’ve been able to find ways to overcome. We’re going into Thursday with the cards stacked against us again, so if we can pull it off, not only will it be my and our team’s biggest accomplishment ever, but I foresee us all missing work the next day as a result of the party.”
Mondeik is the three-time defending champion in the class, though, and showed he won’t go quietly with a big five-day stretch last week. He won the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series 75-lap race in a special a week ago Sunday, and then last week outdueled Heinrich for the feature win in the Wayne (Lodi) Lodholz Memorial, his second feature win in weekly racing this year.
Mondeik is aiming to become just the second driver in SPS history to win at least four straight championships in the track’s top class. Wausau’s Wayne Breitenfeldt won seven straight late model titles from 1994-2000. Mondeik’s season has included some rough moments including a bad crash in a race at the Milwaukee Mile, but his team has found a way to stay in the thick of the points race at State Park.
“It’s been a really long and stressful year…unfortunately, we’ve had many setbacks between cars getting tore up, cars getting destroyed and motor problems,” said Mondeik. “It’s all part of racing and you have to just keep putting in the work. Lately it’s been better, but we’re still working hard week in and week out.”
Weinkauf also is not out of the race for the title, sitting seven points behind Mondeik and 20 behind Heinrich. The second-place finisher in the class last year, Weinkauf won two features early this season but twice had strong runs stunted after being called for contact in spins by other drivers, and he enters the final race needing a big night and likely some trouble for both of the top two.
“Some ups & downs…but we’ve had a pretty good season,” said Weinkauf. “We were able to capture another one of the ‘big three’ races with the Flip Merwin Memorial, so that was definitely exciting. We’re probably a long shot to win the championship going into the last night, but you never know, anything can happen.
“I want to say a big thanks to my wife Beth and the whole crew! We have a lot of cars in the shop and a lot of things going on all the time it seems and they did a great job. Also I need to give a big shout out to Tony D’Ambrose from Chicago for all his help getting us going in the beginning of the season at State Park.”
The pure stocks championship chase is a bit simpler, with Wausau’s Dave Cabelka sitting in a good position entering the finale. Cabelka holds a 23-point lead over Brett Breitenfeldt of Wausau going into Thursday, after holding off Breitenfeldt for his fifth feature win of the season last week.
Breitenfeldt already owns a championship at Golden Sands Speedway this year, while Cabelka is aiming for his first-ever track championship in over 20 years of racing. A flying pilot by day, he has long raced on a part-time basis due to work. After purchasing the car of the retired Butchie Schramm last year, though, he cleared his schedule enough to make a run at the points championship this year, and has held a slim lead over Breitenfeldt all season.
“Racing for a points title is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Cabelka, “but with working out of town I’ve never been able to. You could say it’s a bucket list item.
“I’m grateful to have been able to race every week this summer, and to be in contention for the title is icing on the cake. It really wouldn’t be possible without the help of (crew man) Rob Schmirler who always knows how to make the car fast and keep the driver focused. It was great racing with all the pure stock drivers this year. Whatever happens with the points, it’s been a pleasure racing Brett and the No. 19 crew.”
Pittsville’s Tim Anderson has comfortable lead in the Snap-on Mini Mods, entering the final night with a 49-point lead over his Solutionz Racing teammate Mike Meharg of Auburndale. Anderson has won four features this season and has been in the top five in all nine feature events, and he is aiming for his first-ever SPS championship. Meharg has made a late charge with two feature wins in the last month, the first two feature wins in his career.
Eric Breitenfeldt of Wausau also looks to be in good shape to win the Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks championship, holding a 53-point lead over Garret Strachota and a 66-point margin over Ashley Schoone of Gleason.
The top two have traded championships over the previous three years with Strachota winning in 2020 and last year and Breitenfeldt in 2021, and Strachota edged Breitenfeldt by 31 points for the title at Golden Sands Speedway this year. Breitenfeldt has four feature wins this season, though, while Strachota had a tough night two weeks ago when his car had issues in qualifying and he had to borrow a car for the rest of the night, eventually finishing 13th in the feature.
Racing begins Thursday night with Fred Mueller Qualifying at 6 p.m. and racing at 7:15 p.m. Pit gates open at 3 p.m. and fan gates open at 4:30 p.m. Admission is $18 for adults and $5 for youth age 6-12, with ages 5 and under free.