2017 TUNDRA Series Schedule

WIMMER SWEEPS AWAY INVADERS AT STATE PARK

Posted on Aug 7, 2017

WIMMER SWEEPS AWAY INVADERS AT STATE PARK

(Chuck Look Photo)

WAUSAU, Wis. (August 5, 2017) – Nearly a handful of drivers have won in their TUNDRA Super Late Model Series debut. So if Chris Wimmer was going to make some series history at State Park Speedway in Round Four Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes Saturday, he was going to have to do something spectacular.

A clean sweep did the trick.

Wimmer became the first driver to set fast time – which he did with a new TUNDRA SPS track record – win the Fast Five Dash, and secure the feature win in the 75-lap main.

“This was huge. There was such a good group of cars here,” Wimmer, who started 11th on the grid, said in Victory Lane. “This was a big race and [to win] in my first start, it’s pretty cool.”

If not for a caution on lap 27, Wimmer may have had some extra work cut out for him. Just after sliding past Derek Kraus to take the Third spot, a yellow flag allowed Wimmer to erase what was nearly a straightaway deficit to early-race leader Darek Gress.

“The 00 (Gress) got out there in front. He actually ran a really good race. I thought Skylar (Holzhausen) was going to take off on the start and that the top line was going to roll. I just kind of took my time there,” Wimmer said.

Gress jumped out to the lead after a botched start which collected several drivers deep in the field including Brent Strelka, last year’s TUNDRA State Park winner Mark Mackesy, and Round Three winner Wyatt Brooks. Braison Bennett suffered the worst of the ordeal and retired after sustaining heavy damage to the front of his machine.

On the second opportunity Gress again jumped away from the outside-pole-sitter Holzhausen. Gress started to build a healthy lead as Holzhausen was left to defend against the likes of John Beale, Paul Paine and Cole Anderson. By lap ten that trio had worked its way past Holzhausen into Second, Third, and Fourth.

The next grouping brought some more heavy hitters as Kraus and Wimmer stepped in to challenge Holzhausen. Kraus worked his way to Fifth on lap 12 with Wimmer following two laps later. Kraus eventually chased down Anderson. As he did, Wimmer went to the top groove to try to make the pass on both. However, Anderson made his move on Paine for Third, forcing Wimmer to tuck back in line behind Kraus.

Once that trio moved past Paine, Kraus and Wimmer went to work on Anderson. Kraus made his pass on lap 21 and Wimmer on lap 23. By this point Beale was nearly a half straightaway ahead and Gress was off in the distance even further. Wimmer soon challenged Kraus and slid past him using the inside line on lap 25.

Just one lap later the second and final caution of the race fell when Steve Lichtfeld was sent spinning into the infield. For the restart Beale chose the outside line on Gress with Wimmer and Kraus side-by-side in the second row.

Wimmer was able to capitalize and take Second from Beale shortly after the green flag fell. He pressured Gress for several laps until sliding to the inside and making the pass coming back to lap 34.

With Wimmer out front, Kraus and Anderson continued to do battle. Eventually Kraus would pass Anderson, Beale and Gress to secure Second and try to track down Wimmer. At that time TUNDRA point leader Dalton Zehr was hanging just outside the Top Five battling with Minnesota drivers Nick Barstad and Bryan Syer-Keske. Zehr was able to move past Barstad into Sixth on lap 42. Ten laps later he secured Fifth.

Anderson, Beale, and Zehr – three of the top four in TUNDRA points coming into the race – started to settle the score with around 20 laps remaining. Anderson swooped past Beale into Third on lap 57 and brought Zehr to Fourth. Although Zehr was close when the pass was made, Anderson was able to keep his distance.

Up front, Wimmer breezed through lapped traffic over the final ten laps. Kraus made up some ground, but it was clear he would need a caution to contend. That caution did not come. Kraus settled for Second as he did a season ago, Anderson was Third, Zehr was Fourth, and Beale rounded out the Top Five.

The 75-lap main shook up the TUNDRA points with just two races remaining in the 2017 season. Zehr’s lead over Second place grew from 19 to 26. However, it is now Cole Anderson who sits Second after gaining 11 points on Zehr and leapfrogging Beale and Colin Reffner.

Beale is now Third, 42 points back. Reffner, who struggled with a 14th Place finish, is now 46 points back of the lead in Fourth. Beale and Reffner are also chasing the Dean’s Satellite and Security Rookie of the Year title.

CONSISTENCY WINS IT FOR VOLM
The Sportsman division returned for two 20-lap features. Greg Back captured the first 20 lapper and fast qualifier Dave Trute dominated the second. By virtue of two Second Place finishes, Travis Volm was awarded the overall win.

The most dramatic moment of the evening for the Sportsman came with just five laps remaining in the first feature. Back, Trute, and Volm were battling for the lead when contact was made and Back went spinning. Trute invoked the “Gentleman’s Agreement,” taking blame for the incident. He went to the tail of the field and Back retained his spot, which allowed him to secure the win.

For the second 20 lap feature, the field was aligned based off finishing position in the first feature. Because of his misfortune, Trute started on the outside pole. He took off in a hurry and left little doubt. Volm had to pick his way through the field to finish Second. Back remained in Fourth throughout the race, leaving him one spot shy of the overall win.

UP NEXT…
The TUNDRA Super Late Model Series is back in action Monday, September 4 (Labor Day) at Golden Sands Speedway. TUNDRA will be joined by the Midwest Truck Series and Sportsman. Racing is scheduled to begin at 2 PM. More times and information about the event will be available through the TUNDRA web site in the coming weeks.

Golden Sands Speedway is located on Highway 54 between Plover and Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. For more information visit www.gssraces.com

BROOKS SHINES IN SHOWDOWN AT JEFFERSON

BROOKS SHINES IN SHOWDOWN AT JEFFERSON

JEFFERSON, Wis. (July 23, 2017) – It was a night for the up-and-coming standouts of Super Late Model racing to shine.  But no one quite had the glimmer of Wyatt Brooks, as he picked up his first TUNDRA Super Late Model Series win in Round Three Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes at Jefferson Speedway Saturday night.

The 22-year-old Amherst, Wis. native took control of the 75-lap feature from the outset and withstood two hearty challenges in the final 14 laps from Dean’s Satellite and Security Rookie contenders Jordan DeVoy and John Beale.

Perhaps the most impressive facet of Brooks’ win was how the racer with very little experience at the tricky quarter-mile mastered the outside lane – especially on restarts.  With his choice of either lane each time the barrel was placed to double up the field, Brooks chose the outside.

“My car was so tight the entire day,” Brooks said in Victory Lane. “I couldn’t have started in a better spot than the outside pole with the car I had.”

Brooks secured the lead from fellow front-row starter Grant Griesbach just two laps after the green flag dropped.  Behind him, teammate Jordan Thiel slid to Second and looked to close in to challenge for the top spot.  A caution on lap six gave Thiel the opportunity to start alongside Brooks, but Brooks stepped away.

The complexion of the race took a major turn on lap eight.  Brent Strelka and Adam Peschek touched wheels going into turn three, sending Strelka sideways.  With nowhere to go, and little time to react, several possible contenders slid into the melee.  The incident collected Mike Lichtfeld, Corey Jankowski, Jeremy Lepak, point leader Dalton Zehr, Cole Anderson, and fast qualifier Justin Mondeik.  Both Mondeik and Anderson were able to continue.  Anderson would nurse his machine to a Sixth Place finish and Mondeik would finish Ninth.

After the track was cleared, Brooks and Thiel were again set to bring the field to green.  Once more, Brooks was able to hold off Thiel and retake the lead.  Unfortunately for Thiel – just two laps later – he was forced to drop out with a mechanical issue.

Brooks stretched out a comfortable lead over Darek Gress, DeVoy, Griesbach, and Colin Reffner.  As he did, all eyes turned to Beale.  In the second half of the race Beale – who started second-to-last on the grid – began to climb to the front of the pack.  He made his way past Reffner on lap 40.  Then, after a seven-lap dispute, he moved past Griesbach into Fourth on lap 55.  Before he could close in on the top three, a caution fell for a Braison Bennet spin on lap 61.

By this time DeVoy had moved past Gress into Second.  Once again Brooks chose the outside and DeVoy the inside.  DeVoy held even for several laps, forcing a side-by-side scrum with Brooks.  Behind them, Beale secured Third over Gress.

The battle was halted a final time for a spin with eight laps to go.  Just before the field was sent to the green flag, DeVoy slowed.  A melted wire ended his day without an opportunity to challenge for the win again.  That, however, would send Beale to the front row with Brooks for the final showdown.

Beale held strong on the inside as Brooks tried to wheel his way back to the front.  With five laps to go, Brooks sealed the lead spot, but the battle was not over.  Beale continued to peek into the inside line and hope for an opening.  That opening did not come as Brooks kept the door shut and went on to secure the victory.

Behind Beale, Peschek made several moves late in the race to secure the final podium position.  It was Peschek’s first race as a Super Late Model.  His Third Place TUNDRA debut is the best since Nathan Haseleu and Skylar Holzhausen won in their series debuts in 2015.

Griesbach continued a successful week, as well.  After scoring a Top Ten in the Slinger Nationals on Tuesday, he held on for Fourth – his best TUNDRA finish.

Leading rookie Colin Reffner enjoyed yet another solid day at a new race track.  Reffner scored a Fifth Place finish and cut Zehr’s point lead from 44 to 19 markers.

The next event for TUNDRA takes place at State Park Speedway on Saturday, August 5.  TUNDRA will be joined once again by the Midwest Truck series and the Sportsman division will return, as well.  More information about the event will be available through the TUNDRA web site.

State Park Speedway is located at 5711 N Mountain Rd. in Wausau, Wis.  For more information visit www.stateparkspeedway.com

APEL SCORES THRILLING ROUND ONE WIN WITH LAST TURN PASS

Posted on May 14, 2017

APEL SCORES THRILLING ROUND ONE WIN WITH LAST TURN PASS

=KAUKAUNA, Wis. (May 13, 2017) – There is a cliché in sports about playing until the last buzzer. In Saturday’s TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Krolls West Round One Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes, Steve Apel showed why it’s not over until the checkered flag falls.

Apel chased down an ill-handling Dalton Zehr over the final four circuits of the DUKE FM 50 at Wisconsin International Raceway. He then made his move into the lead at the exit of turn four on the way to the checkered flag. It was Apel’s first TUNDRA win and his second Super Late Model victory to kick off the 2017 season.

“I knew I couldn’t get to him unless something happened,” Apel said. “Guys on this team never give up. Two wins in a row from Slinger to here, it’s been one heck of a start to the season.”

Zehr, who broke the WIR track record with a lap of 19.018 seconds earlier in the day, looked to be in position for his second TUNDRA win at the facility. However, a broken sway bar bolt left Zehr trying to nurse his ride to the finish. When Apel and Zehr exchanged handshakes in Victory Lane, Apel commented that he could see sparks from ahead with four laps remaining.

It wasn’t the first time Apel has been a threat for the win in TUNDRA’s events at WIR. Apel led a portion of the race last season, but settled for a Third Place finish behind Ty Majeski and Casey Johnson. Two seasons ago Apel set fast time and came up just short of a last-lap move on Majeski for the win.

“The TUNDRA Series is awesome,” Apel said. “They put on a heck of a show for all the fans that came out. We’re glad to win here. We’ll try to be back more this year.”

Apel secured the initial lead when he surged past fellow front-row starter Alex Prunty. The outside line proved strong at the outset with Travis Sauter moving to Second and Brent Strelka to Third. On lap two Bobby Kendall slid to Fourth and Zehr (who had started Tenth behind Kendall) dashed to Fifth.

As Apel opened up his advantage, Kendall and Zehr went to work on Strelka. Kendall took third with Zehr in tow on lap six. On lap later Jordan Thiel moved toward the Top Five by following Zehr past Strelka. On lap 11 Zehr made his move past Kendall and set his sights on the Top Two.

While the battles in the Top Five raged on Maxwell Schultz and Andy Monday started ascending through the Top Ten. Schultz moved to Fifth on lap ten and Monday began to pressure Jordan Thiel for Sixth on lap 13.

The first caution of the race came for a spin on lap 17. By this point Zehr had made his way past Travis Sauter for Second and had the opportunity to joust with Apel on the front row for the restart. Apel and Zehr stayed side-by-side for two laps after the restart, racing in close quarters. Zehr made the move past Apel on lap 18, just before the yellow flag fell again when Monday was sent spinning in turn Four. Defending Thursday Night Champion Jeff Van Oudenhoven was also collected. Unfortunately, neither he nor Monday were able to return.

Just as they had on the previous restart, Apel and Zehr reset on the front row. With some space to work on the outside Zehr jumped away at the drop of the green. Apel held within several car lengths to keep pressure on the leader, but would not get another chance to challenge until a restart after Brent Strelka broke a brake line on lap 22.

Once again Zehr was able to escape Apel, but could not shake him. Apel closed the gap on several occasions, however he was unable to make a move.

While the leaders continued their cat-and-mouse chase up front, two drivers continued their moves toward the front. Maxwell Schutlz settled into Fourth at the midway point then closed the gap on Third-Place Travis Sauter. Schultz continued to peek to the inside on Sauter over the final 20 circuits.

Behind that battle, Dean’s Satellite and Security Rookie contender Colin Reffner enjoyed a solid run. After settling in at the back of the Top Ten earlier in the race, Reffner came to life. He moved to Sixth by the midway point and grabbed Fifth away from Kendall on lap 19. Reffner then chased down the duo of Sauter and Shultz with less than ten laps remaining.

As attention turned to the scraps for Third, Fourth, and Fifth, Zehr and Apel hit lapped traffic in the final ten laps. It appeared as though Zehr would have no problem negotiating the traffic even though Apel was closing the gap again.

With two to go it became very apparent that Apel was the faster of the two. He chewed up nearly ten car lengths on lap 48 and was within striking distance on the final circuit. Apel had to clear one final lap car after the white flag fell, then made his move through three and four to catch and eventually pass Zehr.

Behind the stunning finish Sauter was able to hold off Schultz for Third. Reffner, still hot on the heels of those drivers, secured Fifth in his first ever appearance at WIR.

TRUTE SWEEPS SPORTSMAN TWIN 20s
Dave Trute sure doesn’t mind making trips to the D-shaped half-mile of Wisconsin International Raceway. With his win in the two 20-lap Sportsman features on Saturday, Trute is now a perfect three for three.

John Zuch and Dylan Wenzel led the first feature to green with Wenzel getting a jump. Some space opened quickly for Trute and Dusty Mann. Mann tracked down Wenzel and took the lead on lap five. Trute followed into Second, then took the lead on lap seven.

Behind Trute and Mann, fast qualifier Greg Back made his move to Third. Once he put Mann in his rear view mirror, Back tried to track down Trute. Unfortunately for Back, there was not enough time to catch up in the final circuits.

With the field inverted for the second 20-lapper Back and Trute started at the tail end of the field to settle the overall win. Brett Bray and Ryan Manthei exchanged the lead in the early going, but Bray settled into and built the lead.

The top four from the previous 20 – Jason Stark, Mann, Back and Trute – had to wait patiently for things to open up. While they raced in close quarters contact was made which caused a flat right rear on Back’s machine. Back then spun in turns one and two bringing out the yellow. He was unable to continue.

After the restart Trute made some daring moves on the way to the front. He went three wide to move into Fourth, then again to move into Second. By the time he moved to the runner-up spot Stark had built a large lead. That lead was erased, however, when Ryan Manthei spun with less than five laps remaining.

An opportunity to close the gap under yellow was all Trute needed as he hounded Stark and eventually made his pass with two laps to go. Stark went on to finish Second in the second 20-lap feature and overall. Dylan Wenzel secured third in the overall with a move past Andy Casavant on the final lap of the second 20 lapper.

Up Next…
The TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes heads to the western portion of Wisconsin with a stop at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem on Friday, June 30. More information on start times will be available shortly through TUNDRA’s web site and social media pages.