Justin Mondeik’s chase for a fourth straight Auto Select Super Late Models championship at State Park Speedway isn’t over yet.
The three-time defending champion from Gleason took the lead from points leader Brock Heinrich with 13 laps left and gained some ground in the season championship chase, continuing a superb week at the track by winning the 66-lap feature in the 15th annual Wayne (Lodi) Lodholz Memorial, in memory of a longtime SPS racer who passed away in 2007.
Mondeik won a battle with Heinrich and Jason Weinkauf, the top three cars in the class this season, to take his third feature of the season at the track, second in weekly racing and second this week after also claiming the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series 75-lap event on Sunday. Thursday night’s win also allowed him to cut into Heinrich’s lead in the season points, and he enters next week’s season finale just 13 points behind Heinrich.
Heinrich, Weinkauf and Mondeik were involved in a high-speed nose-to-tail chase in that order for more than 15 laps after the race’s halfway competition caution. Weinkauf took several brief peeks to the inside of Heinrich, but Mondeik would be the first to try the outside on lap 51 after Heinrich briefly got loose on the backstretch.
Mondeik took to the outside of Weinkauf entering the third corner, and within two laps was challenging Heinrich on the outside too. He led lap 53 by a nose, and then cleared Heinrich entering the first turn on lap 55, holding on after contact between the two.
Weinkauf also would get by Heinrich on the outside for second, but could get no closer than a car length or two in the final laps. He would finish second by just over a car length, with Heinrich coming in third.
Heinrich had taken the lead early in the feature, needing just seven laps to get to the front from his third starting spot and pulling out to a 10-car length lead early. Heinrich got inside polesitter Rayce Haase on lap 6 and made the pass a lap later, with Kole Guralski also following into second five laps later.
Mondeik and Weinkauf also worked their way forward, and with Mondeik getting by Haase on lap 14 and then going outside Guralski two laps later. He would take over second on lap 19 after three laps running side-by-side, with Weinkauf following right behind into third on lap 20.
Mondeik was able to chip away at that lead as the cars approached the planned midway break after 33 laps, and he started alongside Heinrich on the restart. Heinrich quickly cleared for the lead after less than a lap, with Weinkauf also getting inside Mondeik for second on lap 37.
Kole Guralski finished fourth with Jeremy Lepak fifth and Travis Volm sixth. Jevin Guralski finished seventh in the feature after setting fast time earlier in the night, his first fast-qualifying effort in a super late model. Volm and Kole Guralski both posted heat wins.
Mondeik won the Lodi Memorial for the second straight year, having won the race for the first time a year ago. Weinkauf finished second in the race for the second straight year.
Auto Select Super Late Models pres. by C-Tech
Fast Qualifier: Jevin Guralski, Wausau, 13.618 sec.
First Heat: 1. Travis Volm, Wausau; 2. Rayce Haase, Wausau; 3. Tucker Miller, Wausau; 4. Todd Handrick, Wausau; 5. Mark Mackesy, Wausau
Second Heat: 1. Kole Guralski, Wausau; 2. Brock Heinrich, Wausau; 3. Jason Weinkauf, Merrill; 4. Justin Mondeik, Gleason; 5. Levon Van Der Geest, Merrill; 6. J. Guralski
Feature: 1. Mondeik; 2. J. Weinkauf; 3. Heinrich; 4. K. Guralski; 5. Lepak; 6. T. Volm; 7. J. Guralski; 8. Miller; 9. Handrick; 10. Haase; 11. Van Der Geest; 12. Mackesy
-State Park Speedway Press Release
-Photo credit: State Park Speedway/@QCWilly