On a week when a Wisconsin racing legend was selected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Justin Mondeik could not have scripted a better way to honor the memory of Alan Kulwicki himself.
A participant in the program that bears Kulwicki’s name, Mondeik scored his first career feature win in a super late model car Thursday night at State Park Speedway. He held off Luke Fenhaus to claim the 40-lap main in the Auto Select Super Late Models division presented by C-Tech on a hot, humid night at the track.
Mondeik led all 40 laps, getting the holeshot from the outside pole and never losing the lead. He did receive a strong test in the closing laps, though, as fast-timer Fenhaus closed in and nearly slipped by on the final lap.
Fenhaus overtook Mark Mackesy for second with 12 laps left and then chased down the leader, getting to his bumper several times on the final lap. Mondeik kept his car pinned down low before getting slightly loose in turns three and four, but he was able to keep control enough to hold off Fenhaus by half a car length, and then proceeded to take a Polish victory lap in honor of Kulwicki before parking in Brickner Family Auto Group Victory Lane.
The 21-year old Gleason racer is part of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, which was established by the family of the late NASCAR champion to support drivers in pursuing their racing dreams, while also keeping his memory and legacy alive. Mondeik is one of seven drivers from five different states plus Canada in the program this year.
“It’s absolutely amazing, being in the Alan Kulwicki Driver Development Program, and Alan Kulwicki getting into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, it’s great to continue a great week,” said Mondeik. “We got the monkey off our back with our first super late model win.
“The car kind of went away at the end,” said Mondeik. “I really appreciated Luke racing me clean.”
Fenhaus picked up his second runner-up finish in the super late model class this season. It was also his second runner-up finish this evening, as he came in second behind James Swan in the 50-lap Midwest Truck Series feature race.
Swan took the lead from Waupaca’s Danielle Behn with 10 laps to go and cruised to the win. The successful veteran driver from Lake Geneva who has won a number of track and touring championships in his career accomplished a first on this night as he won a feature for the first time at State Park Speedway.
Behn appeared in good shape to score her first feature victory in the Midwest Trucks after taking first from Kyle Chwala on lap 13 and leading for the next 22 laps, building a sizeable lead on the field. A caution for a spin by Brad Gajewski on lap 36 bunched up the field, though, and while Behn initially cleared Swan on the restart, he closed back up, got inside the leader on lap 41 and took the lead.
Fenhaus made a charge through the field after getting caught in an incident with Jeff Holtz on lap 14 that put him at the back of the pack. He came all the way from 12th to second before running out of time, while Behn added a third-place finish. Ross Christiansen-like Fenhaus, a former Bandolero class racer at State Park Speedway-finished fourth while Illinois driver Mike Corvo was fifth.
Auto Select Super Late Models pres. by C-Tech
Fast Qualifier: Luke Fenhaus, Wausau, 14.005 sec.
Heat: Justin Mondeik, Gleason; Derek Doerr, Watertown; Mark Mackesy, Wausau; M.G. Gajewski, Wausau; Fenhaus
Feature: Mondeik; Fenhaus; M. Mackesy; Doerr; Mike Olson, Dorchester