PLOVER, Wis. (September 8, 2015) – On a steamy Central Wisconsin afternoon, Nathan Haseleu might not have been cool, but he sure was calm and collected. Haseleu persevered through an animated TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Round Six Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes Monday afternoon at Golden Sands Speedway to capture victory in his series debut.
The veteran racer endured several restarts from the front row and a near run-in with a lapped car to grab the win in his first ever TUNDRA start. Haseleu matched the effort of Skylar Holzhausen, who won in his series debut at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in July. Adding to the significance for Haseleu is that the clock is ticking on his storied career.
The three-time Wisconsin Challenge Series and one-time Midwest Tour Champion plans to retire at the end of 2015. He has been racing in select events this season.
“It feels really good to win,” Haseleu said. “Wins are hard to come by, and when you race only once in a while, they’re even harder to come by. We’re pretty excited.”
If it is one of his last races, he won’t soon forget it. With wins across the Midwest Haseleu was happy to make his way back to Victory Lane at GSS for the first time in almost ten years.
“That’s about the wildest one I’ve ever been in,” Haseleu said. “I’m pretty excited to win. I’m only going to race a few more times so I’m pretty happy to get a win here. It’s a fun place.”
A nine-car invert placed Haseleu just inside the top ten at the drop of the green flag, along with a pair of drivers who would challenge him for the win in TUNDRA point leaders Ty Majeski and Dalton Zehr.
Majeski and Zehr found a quicker avenue to the front of the field and were into the top three by the first caution on lap 20.
After an incident under yellow, the front row starters for the lap 20 restart were Zehr and Darren Jackson. Zehr, who won the Performance Diesel Fast Qualifier Award on the afternoon, was able to clear Jackson and pull away to establish a healthy lead. From his fifth-place starting spot on lap 20, Haseleu jumped up to third and captured second from Jackson by lap 25. Majeski, who restarted on the outside of the third row, quickly recovered and found third by lap 28.
A caution came out one lap later when Brian Hakala dropped off the backstretch entering turn three and spun to the outfield. Zehr selected the outside lane for the restart with Haseleu flanking him to the left.
The battle between Zehr and Haseleu raged for several laps. After Haseleu used the inside lane to clear Zehr on lap 32, Zehr immediately swung low. He was able to grab the inside line to challenge Haseleu once again for the lead. However, on lap 35 Zehr slipped off turn four and was unable to keep his machine from spinning, bringing out another caution.
Haseleu selected the inside row for the restart with Majeski to his outside. Although it seemed Haseleu had the edge and led to the line on the following lap, Majeski backed up the turn shot to the bottom of the track and grabbed the inside from Haseleu. Two laps later Majeski cleared for the lead. However, he was unable to run away from Haseleu.
Two more restarts pitted Haseleu against Majeski with the same result, Majeski securing the lead. Behind them, the battles inside the top five were furious. Jackson, Ryan Farrell, Brandon Selle, Mike Lichtfeld and Dan Lensing exchanged the positions repeatedly.
Four laps after the restart on lap 45 a lapped car, who had been warned by officials about the approaching leaders, disrupted the battle and sent Majeski spinning. Majeski’s machine was damaged, but he was able to continue the race in the top spot. Unfortunately, the incident brought the end of Brandon Selle’s third-place run.
Majeski cleared Haseleu on the following restart. The duo separated from the pack once again to settle the lead. Waiting patiently for the right opportunity, Haseleu seized his chance on lap 58. Haseleu tested the top groove as he swung past Majeski and into the lead. Shortly after, Majeski, showing some scars from the earlier incident, fell back to third behind a hard-charging Mike Lichtfeld.
One final chance came for Majeski with eight laps remaining when he passed Lichtfeld after a final restart. However, Haseleu proved to be too strong as he opened up the margin over the final seven laps. Majeski was able to hold second, Lensing was third, Lichtfeld fourth and Joel Theisen, who started 21st, rounded out the top five.
It appeared Haseleu’s car was best when the laps were clicking off on the longer runs. He also recognized that Majeski had a strong machine on the afternoon.
“I was hoping for a longer green flag run,” Haseleu said. “If that wouldn’t have happened to Ty I don’t know if we would have been able to get him or not.”
As for Majeski, another podium finish capped off a wild afternoon. “I think I had a car to beat [Haseleu],” he said. “I cooked my tires down the front stretch trying to keep it off the wall. I just didn’t have anything for him after that incident. I’m happy to bring home second place.”
Aside from the dramatics at the front of the field a major storyline of the afternoon was the hard-charging efforts of Theisen, Mike Lichtfeld and Lensing. Lichtfeld cruised from 15th to fourth. Lensing grabbed 16 spots by ascending to third from 19th.
“I’m just whooped,” Lensing said. “I probably would have had something, but I had to use up my whole car coming through the field. There is just nothing left. Our car really wasn’t the best in the feature. We just changed lines and made the best of it.”
Just outside the top five, Zehr was able to recover for a sixth-place finish. Although he lost ground to Majeski, the 24-point margin held by Majeski is anything but safe. The spread from first to seventh in the feature is 24 points, putting a major emphasis on top ten feature finish spots and qualifying efforts at Jefferson. If both Majeski and Zehr were to falter, Lensing sits 47 points back. However, that is the split from first to 19th in the feature.
The TUNDRA Super Late Model Series rounds out its 2015 season on Sunday, September 20 at Jefferson Speedway with the Championship Round. The Sunday portion of the event was added to the 35th Annual Wisconsin State Championships which take place Friday and Saturday, as well as a rain date from the June 20 postponement. TUNDRA will be joined on Sunday by the Upper Midwest Vintage Series, American Ethanol Super Trucks and Legends and Bandaleros. Racing will begin at 2 P.M.
Jefferson Speedway is located on state highway 18 between Cambridge and Jefferson, Wis. For more information, including a full schedule of events for the Wisconsin State Championships, visit http://www.jeffersonspeedway.com.