TUNDRA TO OPEN 2014 AT WISCONSIN INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
PORTAGE, Wis. (November 14, 2013) – After a successful first campaign on the road in 2013 the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series will again branch out in 2014. TUNDRA and Wisconsin International Raceway officials announced Thursday the series will open 2014 on Saturday, May 10.
TUNDRA Round One will have a 2 p.m. start time, and also will serve as a preview to WIR’s Thursday Night program, which kicks off two weeks later. Joining TUNDRA will be the Mid-American Stock Car Series with the Vercauteren Memorial and another division to be named later.
“TUNDRA did really well last season, and basically we’ve just been running our weekly show and felt it was time to bring in some outside guys and a traveling series,” said WIR owner Roger Van Daalwyk.
Four-time WIR Champion Jeff Van Oudenhoven has already committed to running the event. As a long time veteran of the track, he said he’s excited to see Spring racing return.
“I definitely missed the early season races at Kaukauna, and I think the fans did too. I think a lot of the drivers want it too,” Van Oudenhoven said. “To come out with an early race, we should see a lot of fans and a lot of people anxious to see racing for the first time in the season.”
In years past, WIR played host to several spring time events, special events such as the Red, White and Blue State Championship Series and the Dixieland Challenge. Recently the Thursday Night Thunder program, sanctioned by the Fox River Racing Club, has been the lone host of circle track events including the RW&B. With one of the strongest weekly programs in the country, Van Daalwyk felt comfortable with TUNDRA’s approach to bringing in a special event.
“We would like to get back into having those special events to create some more interest,” he said. “It’s good for the local guys to get their cars out and race against some outside competition and showcase their cars for their sponsors. It gets the fans excited for the racing season.”
TUNDRA itself has roots in WIR. TUNDRA representative Frank Kreyer is a former Rookie of the Year at the D-shaped half-mile. TUNDRA rep Matt Panure serves as the announcer on Thursday nights. On any given Thursday night fans will see the TUNDRA “pick a lane” barrel utilized, as well.
“After laying out the details, something like this made a ton of sense for TUNDRA,” Panure said. “This will be a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow our series after a stellar year in 2013. Plus, as a life-long WIR fan, I’m extremely excited to see more racing on their schedule.”
Although he’ll have to tow across the Badger State, 2013 TUNDRA Champion Nick Panitzke also said he can’t wait to make the trip from Lakeville, Minn. Panitzke last raced at WIR in the ARCA Midwest Tour race in May 2011. He finished fifth.
“Personally I’m beyond excited because it’s something to build on for next season. It’s not your average track, so it will give us something to think about all offseason,” Panitzke said. “By not racing there the last couple years, it’s going to be exciting to go back. I always want to go there, but it’s so tough to make it on a Thursday night.”
If last year is any indication, Panitzke could be bringing quite a few travelers with him. TUNDRA’s average car count in 2013 was just a shade under 35. TUNDRA had 40 Super Late Models for the opener at Golden Sands and 41 at Slinger for the Championship Round. Along with Van Oudenhoven, many WIR locals have expressed strong interest in joining the TUNDRA Travelers for the event – including Maxwell Schultz, Brett Piontek, Andy Monday and Brent Strelka.
Van Oudenhoven said he’s seen what the TUNDRA drivers have brought to the table, and is excited to race with a new group of Super Late Model racers.
“We always like to see new competition coming in. It raises the bar higher,” he said. “It definitely is going to put on one of the best touring races at Kaukauna in a long time. It’s welcoming having someone new come in.”
TUNDRA’s Champion, Panitzke, said he’ll be happy to lead the charge on behalf of the travelers.
“The TUNDRA guys will be good there, and a lot more of them have raced at WIR than Slinger,” he said in reference to the meshing of locals versus outsiders in the final round of 2013. “It’s a really tricky track. It’s a drivers’ track. It’s tough to go there and be good. It throws a curveball at you, every different aspect of it.”
Van Daalwyk offered his thoughts, as well. “This track was designed after Daytona. It has some higher speeds and there are actually five corners to race around. They’re going to have some fun.”
The remaining 2014 TUNDRA schedule is under construction and should be available in December. TUNDRA’s projected schedule will feature eight races at eight different tracks.
Wisconsin International Raceway is located at W1460 County Road KK, just past the roundabout at Hwy 55 and KK outside of Kaukauna, Wis. For more information visit www.wirmotorsports.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 the final 2013 standings, archived results and standings, and more visit www.tundrasuperlates.com. Also, interact with us on Facebook (facebook.com/TundraSuperLateModels) or Twitter (@TUNDRAslms).