KREYER SIZZLES IN MID-SUMMER TUNDRA LACROSSE CLASH
Frank Kreyer picks up the win in TUNDRA Round Three at LaCrosse (Bruce Nuttleman/Ultimate Lap Photo)
WEST SALEM, Wis. (July 3, 2013) – Fast and Furious. A simple movie title was the best way to describe Frank Kreyer’s mindset Wednesday night at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway. Kreyer vaulted to the lead on lap two and dashed away from the pack on two restarts to claim victory in TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Round Three.
The win was Kreyer’s first in TUNDRA/Alive For Five action since May 28, 2011 – the first ever event of what has now become the blossoming Super Late Model series. Since then he has claimed five second-place finishes.
After being the bridesmaid in so many events Kreyer said he needed to stay on the wheel and kept his urgency level high throughout the 40-lap feature.
“I wasn’t holding back,” Kreyer said afterward. “Those young kids are hungry behind me and I’ve got to go.”
Wasting no time from his inside-second-row starting spot, Kreyer threatened a three-wide pass for the lead not once, but twice on the opening circuit. Ultimately he waited for front row starters Adam Degenhardt and Maxwell Schultz to sort out the top spot. Degenhardt crossed the line as the leader on lap one, but Kreyer slid to his inside entering turn one to wrestle the lead away.
As Kreyer began to stretch out his advantage, the quick qualifiers were on the move. The trio of Eugene Gregorich Jr., Dalton Zehr and Nick Panitzke closed in on the top five by lap four. Gregorich was overtaken as the leader of the pack by Zehr and Panitzke followed shortly afterward.
Already in a tussle for the TUNDRA point lead, Panitzke and Zehr engaged in battle on lap five. Panitzke challenged to the inside entering turns one and two on the following circuit. He and Zehr were both going for the same plot of race track and came together. Although he made a valiant effort, Zehr could not save his racer from snapping around. The caution was thrown and both racers were sent to the tail of the field.
On the restart Kreyer quickly broke away from Schultz who was left to deal with Billy Mohn and Degenhardt with Gregorich in tow.
With the run of green flag laps progressing, Gregorich began to find his groove. Gregorich moved around Degenhardt on lap 17 and closed in to challenge Mohn at the halfway point. Gregorich would not get his chance to challenge for third before the second yellow flew. On lap 21 Degenhardt and Brandon Selle came together in an incident similar to that of Zehr and Panitzke.
The second round of Kreyer versus Schultz saw the young driver hang with Kreyer for a short while, only to see Kreyer break away again. Behind them Gregorich challenged Mohn for third and took it on lap 23. He set his sights on Schultz and grabbed second with 11 circuits remaining.
A little deeper in the pack, Panitzke was putting on a display of strength of his own. Panitzke restarted 11th and quickly started to slice his way through the top ten. With nine laps to go Panitzke cracked the top five for the first time since early in the race, he then tracked down Mohn and Maxwell Schultz with powerful moves to the inside to secure third with two laps to go.
“I’m not going to lie it was a lot of fun coming through the field, but the whole time I’m pretty upset obviously, but it was good,” Panitzke reflected. “From what we were handed, we couldn’t ask for more.”
Unfortunately for Panitzke and Gregorich, Kreyer’s lead was too stout to overcome in just two laps and he cruised to the checkered flag. Schultz held on to forth and Mohn completed the top five.
“If I could lie to you I would say yes we did,” Gregorich commented when asked if he had anything for Kreyer. “But I’m pretty sure he had us covered.”
With plenty of evidence to support his stance, Panitzke thought he might have played a factor. “I don’t know how good Frank was, but it would have been fun to get up there and do battle with him.”
As for Kreyer, he felt very comfortable in the clean air and kept focus on his machine over the final circuits to ensure that he would have something left in case the challengers did come calling.
“After a while I just had to calm it down,” Kreyer said. “I couldn’t keep running those laps like I was running. I heard a couple of 18 second laps and I thought if I keep this up I won’t have much of a car left at the end even if it’s a 40-lap feature.”
Kreyer’s win, Panitzke’s charge and Zehr’s tenth place finish gave the TUNDRA title chase a drastic facelift as the series heads into Round Four at Golden Sands. Zehr leads by one marker over Panitzke with Kreyer just 13 back of Zehr. Bryan Roach sits fourth only 20 out, and Gregorich jumped from 11th to fifth sitting just 21 points back of Zehr.
Gregorich was especially pleased with his points effort in Round Three, especially with two very familiar tracks coming up on the TUNDRA schedule.
“We just need those guys to have one more bad run to get us in there,” Gregoric said. “[We’ll] come back to Plover and Marshfield, our neck of the woods and we’ll hopefully get back in the points race here.”
Panitzke also knew the significance of his run back through the field.
“Everything is tight and that’s the way it should be. It’ll make for some good racing,” Panitzke said. “It’s a little different racing for wins versus racing for a championship. We’ve got to make sure all of our ‘I’s are dotted and our ‘t’s are crossed during the week and hopefully we’ll get it as good as it was tonight.”
As he stated on his way to a title in 2011, Kreyer likes to focus on trying to win races versus doing the points racing. However, he relishes the chance to continue to mix it up with some of the up-and-coming drivers of TUNDRA.
“It’s funny, they’re all my buddies…but at the same time they’re my arch enemy,” Kreyer said. These young kids, I’m proud of what they’re doing, but I’ve got to show them every once in a while these old guys can still do it.”
The next race for the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series is Round Four scheduled for Friday, July 19 at Golden Sands Speedway in Plover, Wis. Dalton Zehr was victorious in TUNDRA’s first visit on Memorial Day over a stout field of 40 entries.
Golden Sands Speedway is located at 10992 Hwy. 54 just outside of Plover, Wis. For more information visit www.gssraces.com.
The Unified Northern Drivers Racing Association (TUNDRA) Super Late Model Series was formed in 2011 as the Alive For Five Super Late Model Series at Dells Raceway Park. TUNDRA’s business plan is based on a sustainable program for promoters and race teams alike, while still providing high-quality Super Late Model entertainment to fans.
For more information on TUNDRA including news, results and standings, archived results and standings, the 2013 schedule and more visit www.tundrasuperlates.com. Also, interact with us on Facebook (facebook.com/TundraSuperLateModels) or Twitter (@TUNDRAslms).