WAUSAU, Wis. (June 27) – Between championships, big wins and track records, Brock Heinrich has checked off a number of bucket list accomplishments in his racing career at State Park Speedway, and he nabbed one of his most meaningful yet Thursday.

Heinrich won the 21st and final running of the Flip Merwin Memorial at State Park, holding off Rayce Haase at the finish of the 100-lap Auto Select Super Late Models presented by C-Tech feature. The Wausau native won for the first time the event in honor of a former snowmobile and stock car racer who lost his life in 2003 in a snowmobile racing accident.

Heinrich took the lead from Luke Fenhaus on lap 45 of the feature and held it the rest of the way. He fended off challenges first from Justin Mondeik of Gleason and at the end from a charging Haase, winning by two car lengths at the end.

Heinrich and his family have long had the Merwin Memorial marked on their schedule, as Brock’s dad Mark used to pit for Flip Merwin and was good friends with the popular racer. Brock Heinrich races with the No. 52, similar to Merwin’s No. 525 on his snowmobile, and Flip Merwin’s name has been carried on the passenger side of Heinrich’s car for years and was on the hood again Thursday night.

Flip Merwin passed away when Brock was young, but the 26-year old racer has said in the past there is no race he wanted to win more. Heinrich has won three track championships at State Park, including last year’s super late model title, and last year he took SPS’s Larry Detjens Memorial, but the Merwin race has eluded him until this year’s final running of the event.

Heinrich chased down and then passed Fenhaus in the laps just before a scheduled competition caution after 52 laps, in honor of Merwin’s No. 525, and he quickly cleared Fenhaus just over a lap after the restart.

Mondeik also got by Fenhaus for second, and it looked like the two drivers who have combined for the last four super late model championships at State Park would eventually have a showdown for the lead as the laps ticked away. Mondeik was within two car lengths of Heinrich on lap 67, but from there Heinrich began to pull away. He led by five car lengths by lap 73 and eight car lengths five laps later, and Haase eventually passed Mondeik on the outside for second on lap 81.

Heinrich appeared to be home free with a comfortable lead, but as tire wear and lapped traffic came up late Haase began catching the leader. Consistently using a high line around the track well, Haase got to within three car lengths with four laps left, and was within two car lengths on the last lap as the top two entered the final two turns before Heinrich held on for the win.

Fenhaus took the lead from the outside of the front row at the start and held it for most of the first half of the race.

Fenhaus is the 2018 State Park super late model champion at age 14 who now races out of North Carolina, and earlier this year made his first start on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series circuit, and his car was strong early. Heinrich made his way to second on lap 3, though, and after Mondeik moved inside Haase on lap 20 the top three cars raced for the next 20 laps separated by 4-5 car lengths each.

Heinrich started reeling in Fenhaus by lap 40, and got inside Fenhaus on lap 44 and cleared him two laps later. Fenhaus stayed in second with Mondeik third and Haase fourth going into the scheduled caution, the only yellow flag of the race.

Travis Volm of Wausau finished third in the feature, and the previous week’s feature winner made the biggest move of the race, coming from the ninth starting spot and getting by Mondeik for third with four laps remaining. Mondeik finished fourth with Jevin Guralski of Wausau fifth. Fast qualifier Gabe Sommers of Plover was sixth in his first appearance at the track this season, while last year’s Flip Merwin Memorial winner Jason Weinkauf of Merrill was seventh, Chris Weinkauf eighth and Fenhaus ninth.

Auto Select Super Late Models pres. by C-Tech
Fast Qualifier: Gabe Sommers, Plover, 13.649 sec.
First Heat: 1. Luke Fenhaus, Wausau; 2. M.G. Gajewski, Wausau; 3. Rayce Haase, Wausau; 4. Mark Mackesy, Wausau; 5. Jevin Guralski, Wausau; 6. Noah Gajewski, Marathon
Second Heat: 1. Travis Volm, Wausau; 2. Brock Heinrich, Wausau; 3. Justin Mondeik, Gleason; 4. Jason Weinkauf, Merrill; 5. Sommers; 6. Chris Weinkauf, Merrill
Feature: 1. Heinrich; 2. Haase; 3. T. Volm; 4. Mondeik; 5. J. Guralski; 6. Sommers; 7. J. Weinkauf; 8. C. Weinkauf; 9. Fenhaus; 10. M.G. Gajewski; 11. Mackesy; 12. N. Gajewski