WAUSAU, Wis. (June 9) – Just when it appeared Justin Mondeik would be frustrated for a second straight week in his attempts to get to the front in feature racing at State Park Speedway, the door finally opened.
Mondeik found an opening inside Parker Retzlaff to take the lead on the 39th lap of the Auto Select Super Late Models pres. by C-Tech feature, and he would go on to take the 50-lap feature race that capped an extra-large third racing show of the season at the Rib Mountain quarter-mile, one that also included the return of Legends cars to the track for the first time in 20 years.
Mondeik held off Merrill’s Jason Weinkauf by two car lengths at the finish to earn his second feature win of the season at State Park. The win was also the fourth feature win of the season for the Gleason driver, the two-time defending super late models champion at SPS who also has two wins at Norway (Mich.) Speedway this year.
Mondeik finally won a hard-fought 15-lap battle with Retzlaff, the Rhinelander native who races part-time on the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He got inside Retzlaff on the back stretch with 11 laps left, pulled away from him on a restart with seven laps left and maintained a slim lead the rest of the way over Weinkauf.
Retzlaff, driving the Wayne Brevik-owned 7-11 car for the first time this season at State Park, had impressed for much of the race, taking the lead from the inside pole and leading the first 25 laps before a competition caution. He then fought off Mondeik after the caution, with the two going door-to-door for five laps before Retzlaff cleared for the lead on lap 30.
Cautions on lap 31 and 35 for spins set the two cars side-by-side again, but Retzlaff took the lead both times. Just as he did two weeks earlier when he was stymied lap after lap by Travis Volm in the feature, Mondeik was right in the leader’s tracks, and he received the break he needed when Retzlaff slipped high on the backstretch on lap 39. Mondeik elbowed his way in, and cleared Retzlaff one lap later.
Weinkauf also got by Retzlaff quickly on the final restart with seven laps remaining, and was within striking distance but unable to get to the leader in the final laps. Rayce Haase of Wausau also got by Retzlaff late to finish third with Retzlaff finishing fourth and Volm coming in fifth in a 10-car field.
Thursday night also marked the return of Legends cars to one of the tracks instrumental to bringing the cars to Wisconsin in the 1990s, and Tristan Swanson of New Market, Minn., won the 20-lap feature.
A past winner on the Midwest Truck Series who now competes on the ARCA Midwest Super Late Model Tour, Swanson started ninth of ten cars but needed just three laps to move to third. He then followed Levon Van Der Geest of Merrill past early leader Adam Hansen of West Salem, and after three laps looking inside was able to get alongside Van Der Geest for the lead on lap 8. Swanson drove away from there to win on the first of three straight nights of Legends cars racing in Central Wisconsin, with the cars appearing at Golden Sands Speedway Friday night at Marshfield Motor Speedway Saturday.
Van Der Geest finished second in his first time racing a Legends car with Minnesota’s Tyler Ledbetter placing third. The scaled down replicas of cars from the 1930s and 1940s raced weekly at State Park from 1995-2002 under longtime promoter Phil Bickley.
Auto Select Super Late Models pres. by C-Tech
Fast Qualifier: Justin Mondeik, Gleason, 13.861 sec.
First Heat: 1. Travis Volm, Wausau; 2. Parker Retzlaff, Rhinelander; 3. Mike Cox Jr., Hazelhurst; 4. Aaron Marthaler, Glenwood, Minn.; 5. Ryan Kemnetz, Oshkosh
Second Heat: 1. Dillon Mackesy, Athens; 2. Mondeik; 3. Jason Weinkauf, Merrill; 4. Rayce Haase, Wausau; 5. Jerry Brickner, Wausau
Feature: 1. Mondeik; 2. J. Weinkauf; 3. Haase; 4. Retzlaff; 5. T. Volm; 6. Brickner; 7. Marthaler; 8. Mackesy; 9. Kemnetz; 10. Cox
Fast Qualifier: Tristan Swanson, New Market, Minn., 15.375 sec.
First Heat: 1. Adam Hansen, West Salem; 2. Russ Weiler, Marshfield; 3. Rose Borntreger, Elroy; 4. Elliott Weiler, Marshfield; 5. Jason Harnisch, La Crosse; 6. Michele Kreyer, Wisconsin Dells
Second Heat: 1. Ayrton Brockhouse, Shakopee, Minn.; 2. Tyler Ledbetter, Stillwater, Minn.; 3. Tim Brockhouse, Shakopee, Minn.; 4. Swanson; 5. Levon Van Der Geest, Merrill; 6. Jon Kemp, Meredith, N.Y.
Feature: 1. Swanson; 2. Van Der Geest; 3. Ledbetter; 4. Hanson; 5. Ayrton Brockhouse; 6. Kemp; 7. Borntreger; 8. R. Weiler; 9. Kreyer; 10. Tim Brockhouse
Stankowski, Strachota win close ones again, Kuehn and Hartwig bag first SPS features of 2022
WAUSAU, Wis. (June 9) – The competition at the top in the Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks at State Park Speedway got even tougher Thursday night, but Mitch Stankowski found a way to stay just a cut above the pack again.
Stankowski foiled Brett Breitenfeldt’s bid for a first-ever SPS pure stock feature win, taking advantage when Breitenfeldt slipped high with three laps left. The defending pure stocks champion went on take the 20-lap main for his second straight feature win of the season.
Stankowski waded his way through traffic that caught up other fast cars, getting inside Bo Bennish of Gleason for second on lap 13. It appeared he may have to settle there, though, as Breitenfeldt continued his best-ever feature run in the class at State Park. He held the inside while leading the first 17 laps, including holding off previous SPS feature winner Jevin Guralski of Wausau in a seven-lap side-by-side battle earlier in the race.
Stankowski stayed right behind in the battle between Wausau natives, though, and finally received an opening on lap 18 when Breitenfeldt drifted high on the backstretch. Stankowski cleared him one lap later and went on to finish tops of a nine-car field that also included the return of Bennish, a former limited late model frontrunner at State Park and Tomahawk Speedway who also got by Breitenfeldt late for second. Brian Schramm of Wausau finished third with Breitenfeldt fourth and Guralski fifth.
Garret Strachota and Eric Breitenfeldt have been the dominant cars in the Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks at SPS the last year-plus, and the two put on a show in the class’s 20-lap feature that resulted in Strachota winning his third straight feature to start the season.
The inside groove was where most feature-winning work was done on Thursday, but Strachota took to the outside of Breitenfeldt on lap 10 to begin a side-by-side battle between the two friends off the track that lasted the entire second half of the race.
Strachota made strong runs on the back stretch and finally inched ahead on lap 14. He appeared ready to clear for the lead when Breitenfeldt closed back in on the corners and charged back to lead at the line on lap 18 and again coming to the white flag. Strachota edged back ahead on the final lap and finished half a fender ahead at the finish.
Fast qualifier Brad Abt of Schofield was in the tracks of the leaders the final ten laps and finished third. Branden Sischo of Stratford won the semi-feature to qualify for the feature and then charged up with a strong run to finish fourth in the feature with Ashley Schoone of Gleason fifth.
Joe Kuehn of Wausau made it three different winners in three weeks in the Snap-on Mini Mods, taking the caution-free 20-lap feature.
Kuehn ended the bid of first-time SPS visitor Carson Strese of Jefferson, who took the lead from Dale Louze of Mosinee on lap 8. Strese was making his car work on the high side until getting too high on lap 15, allowing Kuehn to get inside and drive away to join Josh Willhite and Chad Ferge as feature winners this season. Ferge came in second with Strese third, Louze fourth and Willhite fifth.
Alex Hartwig of Portage bided his time through a number of cautions to best a competitive 14-car field in the Bandolero feature, the Bandos’ first appearance at State Park this season.
Hartwig slipped inside Penn Sauter of DeForest for the lead on lap 10 and led the rest of the way to claim the 15-lap feature. He held off a fast-closing Ayrton Brockhouse of Shakopee, Minn., at the finish, with Sauter taking third, Wausau’s Paxton Benz fourth and Lincoln Cain of Slinger fifth.
Hartwig came from the 10th starting spot and prevailed in a race that included four cautions, one including early leader Sauter and Axel Oldenhoff of Lake Mills getting together on an unsuccessful restart with nine laps to go. With no laps completed both cars received their spot back, but the damage to Oldenhoff’s car eventually was too much to continue, allowing Hartwig to move into second and start alongside Sauter on a final restart with eight laps left.
Racing continues at State Park Speedway next Thursday, June 16, with the 19th annual Flip Merwin Memorial. A full show will include super late models, pure stocks, mini mods, mini stocks and Bandoleros. Qualifying begins at 6 p.m. with racing to follow at 7 p.m.
Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Alex Volm, Mosinee, 15.285 sec.
Heat: 1. Brett Breitenfeldt, Wausau; 2. Jeff Spatz, Wausau; 3. Bo Bennish, Gleason; 4. Jevin Guralski, Wausau; 5. Mitch Stankowski, Wausau; 6. A. Volm; 7. Brian Plisch, Athens; 8. Brian Schramm, Wausau
Feature: 1. Stankowski; 2. Bennish; 3. Schramm; 4. B. Breitenfeldt; 5. Guralski; 6. A. Volm; 7. Spatz; 8. Plisch; 9. Kyle Check, Shantytown
Snap-on Mini Mods
Fast Qualifier: Joe Kuehn, Wausau, 15.752 sec.
First Heat: 1. Josh Willhite, Wausau; 2. Gary Garand, Weston; 3. Kuehn; 4. Chad Ferge, Wausau; 5. John Lietz, Mosinee; 6. Keagen Benz, Wausau; 7. Dale Louze, Mosinee; 8. Hunter Landwehr, Stratford; 9. Carson Strese, Jefferson
Feature: 1. Kuehn; 2. Ferge; 3. Strese; 4. Louze; 5. Willhite; 6. Landwehr; 7. Garand; 8. Lietz; 9. K. Benz
Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Brad Abt, Schofield, 16.503 sec.
First Heat: 1. Branden Sischo, Stratford; 2. Brian Duranceau, Tomahawk; 3. Zack Rogers, Wausau; 4. Willie Watts, Amherst; 5. Max Manowski, Wausau; 6. Kendra Baumann, Wausau
Second Heat: 1. Clayton Phillips, Marathon; 2. Brad Lecher, Wausau; 3. Tyler Muller, Sun Prairie; 4. Amanda Rowe, Mosinee; 5. Joey Blaschka, Wausau; 6. Luke Mikula, Wausau
Third Heat: 1. Ashley Schoone, Gleason; 2. Eric Breitenfeldt, Wausau; 3. Garret Strachota, Wausau; 4. Zach Budleski, Wausau; 5. Abt; 6. Tom Lecher, Wausau
Semi Feature: 1. Sischo; 2. Duranceau; 3. Rogers; 4. Watts; 5. Manowski; 6. Baumann
Feature: 1. Strachota; 2. E. Breitenfeldt; 3. Abt; 4. Sischo; 5. Schoone; 6. T. Lecher; 7. Muller; 8. Blaschka; 9. Rowe; 10. B. Lecher; 11. Mikula; 12. Budleski; 13. Duranceau; 14. Phillips
Fast Qualifier: Ayrton Brockhouse, Shakopee, Minn., 16.033 sec.
First Heat: 1. Lincoln Johnson, Ixonia; 2. Ace Oldenhoff, Lake Mills; 2. Mason Oleson, Mosinee; 4. Laci Stargardt, Neillsville; 5. Harley Johnson, Ixonia; 6. Casie Brabant, Marshall
Second Heat: 1. Axel Oldenhoff, Lake Mills; 2. Jayden Johnson, Ixonia; 3. Ayden Brockhouse, Shakopee, Minn.; 4. Lincoln Cain, Slinger; 5. Oliver Weinkauf, Merrill; 6. Mark Anderson Jr., Arden Hills, Minn.
Third Heat: 1. Paxton Benz, Wausau; 2. Ayrton Brockhouse; 3. Cohen Henze, Juda; 4. Danny Mann, Elko, Minn.; 5. Penn Sauter, DeForest; 6. Alex Hartwig, Portage; 7. Bentley Thompson, West Salem
Semi Feature: 1. J. Johnson; 2. Stargardt; 3. L. Johnson; 4. H. Johnson; 5. Ace Oldenhoff; 6. Oleson; 7. Brabant
Feature: 1. Hartwig; 2. Ayrton Brockhouse; 3. Sauter; 4. P. Benz; 5. Cain; 6. Mann; 7. Ayden Brockhouse; 8. J. Johnson; 9. Thompson; 10. O. Weinkauf; 11. Stargardt; 12. Henze; 13. Axel Oldenhoff; 14. Anderson