PLOVER, Wis. (September 2, 2019) – In front of a spirited hometown crowd, Gabe Sommers smoothly sailed to his second win of the season with the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes on Labor Day at Golden Sands Speedway.
Sommers became the first driver since 2016 to claim multiple TUNDRA wins in a year. He secured the lead from the pole and showed the way for 106 of the 108 laps in The Cleaver 108 Presented by RacePal. His first win came in the North American Cup Dedicated to Carl Wegner on July 6 at Dells Raceway Park.
It was a solid ending to the year for the young driver, who enjoyed a memorable sophomore campaign. His performance on Monday locked him in as the runner-up in the 2019 TUNDRA season standings. However, Casey Johnson had a nearly insurmountable lead entering the day. By qualifying into the dash and starting the feature, Johnson grabbed his second straight (and third overall) TUNDRA Championship. He would quietly maneuver his way to a Third Place finish late in the race.
While yellows may have benefitted Johnson in his run to Third, the caution flag was causing Sommers to cringe. Sommers seized the top spot from fellow front-row starter Justin Mondeik and started to build a lead until the first pause of the action came on lap seven.
The field settled in after the next restart and Sommers was able to build a lead over the next 40 laps. As he did, Jordan Thiel, Wyatt Brooks, and Darek Gress began to work through the field. Another caution on lap 48 brought Thiel to Sommers’ outside. Although Thiel was able to lead a lap, Sommers wrestled the top spot back. Thiel was left to deal with a speedy Gress, who secured Second and looked to run down Sommers in lapped traffic.
A debris caution brought Gress to the front row with Sommers with 33 laps to go. It also brought a cascade of yellows. Gress would have opportunities on Sommers’ outside again with 30 to go, 26 to go, and 18 to go. Each time, Sommers was able to get away from Gress. With 15 laps remaining Brooks was able to slide around Gress and secure Second just before another yellow flew.
Once again Sommers was too strong on the restart. He survived two more restarts – one with Brooks on his outside and one single file – to dash away to the win. Brooks held strong for Second, Johnson secured Third, Gress held Fourth, and Fast Qualifier Colin Reffner rounded out the Top Five.
Although marred by caution, the race had plenty of intrigue for Brooks, Johnson, Gress, and Reffner. Each driver passed seven cars on their way into the Top Five. The finishes also helped drivers improve their points positions. Brooks jumped from 13th to Seventh, Gress from 12th to Eighth, and Reffner to 11th.
For Sommers the win was an exclamation point on a strong season with only one major hiccup in the first race at WIR. He ends the season Second in points, 70 behind Johnson, but with two wins and a Second Place finish in five events.
Johnson again was the model of consistency. Along with his win at Wausau in Round Five, Johnson scored two Second Place finishes, a Third Place, and a Fourth Place finish. He also set fast time twice and had four dash appearances in five races.
With a measure of his own consistency, Rich Schumann Jr. wrapped up the Rookie of the Year title. He concluded the season with a Tenth Place finish at Golden Sands.
The TUNDRA Super Late Model Series ends it 2019 season with 53 races competing in five events and 21 teams running all five races (a sixth, scheduled race at Jefferson was rained out).
More information about the 2019 Awards Banquet and 2020 season will be available in the coming weeks through the TUNDRA web site.