WAUSAU, Wis. (August 2, 2015) – Sometimes TUNDRA Super Late Model Series victories come with a few battle scars. Dalton Zehr’s machine showed some wounds after Saturday night’s 75-lap feature at State Park Speedway, but he was able to capitalize, grabbing his first win of the season in Round Five Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes.
The win was Zehr’s ninth of his TUNDRA career and came in Zehr’s second-ever appearance at State Park Speedway. Last week he finished second to NASCAR driver Johnny Sauter in the Larry Detjens Memorial. This week the defending TUNDRA Champion was not to be outdone.
“Last week was a huge learning experience,” Zehr said. “We didn’t make any changes to the car today. That was big for me to have the experience of last week.”
Two wild mid-race incidents left their mark on both the event itself and the cars involved. Those incidents just so happened to take place in heated battles for the lead on lap 28.
After Ryan Farrell cut a tire and spun on lap 28, the field was bunched up and put into side-by-side formation for the restart. Mike Lichtfeld, who had grabbed the lead from Jeremy Lepak on lap five, was to go toe-to-toe with Zehr.
Fresh out of a spirited tussle with Dean’s Satellite and Security Rookie of the Year contender Cole Anderson, Zehr chose to restart on the outside of Lichtfeld. As they raced out of the second turn, Zehr surged ahead. When entering turn three both racers went for the same plot of real estate and came together, sending Zehr spinning and the remainder of the field scrambling to avoid contact.
Under caution, Lichtfeld pulled to the front stretch and tapped on his hood, invoking the gentleman’s agreement. By Lichtfeld accepting responsibility for the caution, Zehr and all others involved in the incident were awarded their spots back. Lichtfeld sustained some heavy damage to his front suspension and radiator, and was forced to retire.
“Tons of respect to Lichtfeld there for tapping and giving me my spot back. I don’t think we would have been here without that,” Zehr said.
Under yellow, Zehr’s teammate Reagan May, who had moved from 13th to fourth, experienced a fire under the hood of her machine. May quickly exited her racer unharmed and the SPS safety crew members extinguished the flames. A red flag was required for the cleanup before the race was to continue.
Although he avoided a near-calamity with Lichtfeld, the threat to Zehr’s chances of victory were far from over. The following restart, still on lap 28, brought TUNDRA point leader Ty Majeski and Performance Diesel Fast Qualifier Dan Lensing.
At the drop of the green Zehr was able to use the inside line to try to hold onto the top spot. As they entered turn three, again contact was made. However, this time, both drivers were able to carry on and maintain their positions under green.
“Ty was capitalizing on a situation. I got a little crossed up going into three,” Zehr said. “I might have overcooked it a little on my own and there might have been some contact. Plus, Dan was there. It was a crazy couple of laps where I thought, ‘oh boy, this race could really boil over.’”
Majeski was caught in the sticky spot of trying to pass for the lead and hold off Lensing. “It was just good tight racing. I was trying to clear Danny and (Zehr) checked up just a little bit more than I anticipated,” Majeski said.
As both cars skated to the high line, Lensing stayed low. He pulled even with Zehr, but was unable to complete the pass for the lead. “That looked like free candy right there. I was hoping they would tangle and I would run off,” Lensing said.
Lensing continued to pressure Zehr on the inside line until another yellow fell on lap 33 when Wyatt Brooks went up into the outside retaining wall in turn three. The caution saw Lensing choose to stay behind Zehr on the inside while Majeski returned to the top, and the front row.
It was a short-lived battle after the restart as Majeski desperately tried to find grip on the high side. However, it wasn’t meant to be as he filed back into second in hopes to keep pace with Zehr. The restart was as close as Majeski would get, as Zehr pulled away to victory. “It’s so tough to make the outside work here especially with his car as good as it was. I just didn’t have the forward drive off the corner,” Majeski said.
Behind Zehr, Majeski held a comfortable advantage over Lensing, who went on to finish third. Brandon Selle saw a late race resurgence pay off with a fourth-place finish. Anderson rounded out the top five.
With the win, and a slightly better qualifying effort Zehr was able to carve away ten points from Majeski’s advantage. The point lead now sits at just nine markers with two races remaining in the 2015 season.
“We needed this more now than ever,” Zehr said. “Ty was running away with the points show and he finished second tonight so we didn’t gain a lot on him but we still gained. We couldn’t afford to lose more.”
The next event for the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes is scheduled for Labor Day Monday, September 7. Racing action is scheduled for a 2 P.M. start time. More information will be available soon through TUNDRA’s web site and social media pages. TUNDRA will be joined by the Midwest Truck Series, Upper Midwest Vintage and another class to be announced.
Golden Sands Speedway is located on Highway 54 between Plover and Wisconsin Rapids, 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 the point standings, archived results and standings, and more visit http://www.tundrasuperlates.com. Also, interact with us on Facebook (facebook.com/TundraSuperLateModels) or Twitter (@TUNDRAslms).