Zehr Poised To Strike In Tundra Points Battle
WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. (August 22, 2012) – Dalton Zehr admits running for points is a foreign concept to him. However, the 21-year-old Daytona Beach, Fla. driver is very much in the thick of the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series point battle.
With a win in TUNDRA Round Three on July 21, Zehr jumped to within seven points of leader Corey Jankowski. However, with Rich Bickle, Dennis Prunty and Frank Kreyer in front of him, and Bobby Kendall just 10 points behind, Zehr knows he’s in for a dog fight.
“If you put six pit bulls in a pen, only one comes out alive. It’s a battle,” Zehr said. “You can make that up pretty easily if you have an excellent day, but you have to be on your ‘A’ game seeing as how there are five guys within seven points. To beat them all, you pretty much have to sweep it – that’s no easy task at that track with the guys who are there.”
Going back to TUNDRA’s predecessor, the Alive For Five Super Late Model Series, Zehr boasts an impressive résumé having competed in seven of the eight races. He is the only repeat winner, grabbing two wins in four starts last season and one this season. His worst finish is sixth in TUNDRA Round One of the 2012 season.
Zehr admits that he would like to have that particular race back. “We missed (it in) the first race; that’s the way points battles go. I feel like we’re moving forward now and if we keep moving forward we’ll be really strong for the last race.”
To keep in the points battle Zehr will have to overcome a handicap put into place prior to Round Four. Because of his win in Round Three, Zehr is destined to start behind the invert and fast qualifier, as is the fate of every feature winner at DRP. While some may see that as a curse, with DRP’s passing point system, Zehr sees it as a blessing.
“I’m actually looking forward to it,” Zehr said. “Honestly I wish they inverted the whole field because of the points system. I know that being behind the invert gives me a chance to gain points even if I don’t come in first.”
In his first appearance last season Zehr quickly captured the attention of the DRP faithful. Working the outside line on several restarts Zehr dashed to a quick lead and went on to win a caution-marred event. Although it was not Zehr’s first trip to DRP, he didn’t nearly have the amount of laps as most of his competitors.
“Dells is similar to a track I know well back in Florida,” Zehr said, even though he felt that wasn’t the greatest influence on his early success. “The biggest thing is that we’ve been strong everywhere we went. The reason why is the equipment and the people we work with.”
Zehr stunned the Super Late Model Field just a few weeks later when he returned and won from behind the invert. His said his confidence was still sky-high from his win earlier in the month.
“As a driver when you show up the first time and win, the driver is going to like the track right away,” Zehr explained. “It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t have the laps, he’s going to going to have the confidence.”
Unfortunately, Zehr’s success only seemed to be a side story in those two events. Most of the buzz around the races involved the amount of wrecks, although they happened well after Zehr had made his charge to the front.
By fortune or design, Zehr has yet to find any sort of major trouble over the past two seasons. He contributes that to his earlier racing days.
“Racing in Florida gives you lots of practice dodging wrecks,” Zehr said. “The roughest race we’ve had this year is pretty much like any race down there. You get used to driving around that. There is no secret. I would just say we’ve been lucky.”
Most of Zehr’s experience dodging carnage in Florida came earlier in his career, which now spans 14 of his 21 years. Over the past few seasons Zehr has spent his summers residing and racing in the Midwest. His career made the move north after meeting his now car owner Gene Coleman.
Zehr raced an astounding 72 times (including a trip to DRP) in 2005 at the age of 14. The subsequent year he hooked up with Coleman to drive one of his machines. It was that season when Zehr last raced for some sort of title. Running a full season in the ASA Late Model Series Southern Division Zehr captured a runner-up spot in the title chase.
Without point titles to bolster his résumé further, Zehr has instead chased feature wins. However, his breaks to hit the higher echelons of racing may be coming soon. Zehr plans to run a race in South Africa this offseason then will be getting into a K&N Pro Series Car for Speedweeks – what he hopes to be the first of many starts in 2013.
Only time will tell if a TUNDRA Championship will be added to his list before that time.
Qualifying for this Saturday’s TUNDRA Super Late Model Series race at Dells Raceway Park is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. with racing slated for 7. TUNDRA will be joined by all four DRP weekly divisions.
Special ticket pricing applies this Saturday: $15 for adults (16 and up), $13 for seniors (62 and up), $10 for youth age 10-15, $5 for kids age 6-9 and kids 5 and under receive free admission. Qualifying is scheduled for 5:15 with racing beginning at 7 p.m.
Dells Raceway Park is located at N1070 Smith Road, five minutes north of downtown Wisconsin Dells, Wis., off highway 12-16. For more information including the latest news, the 2012 schedule and more visit www.dellsracewaypark.com.
Expected TUNDRA Round Four Entrants – www.dellsracewaypark.com/stars/article/082212/tundra-super-late-model-se…