KAUKAUNA, Wis. (May 13, 2023) – For the first time in the ten trips the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series has made to Wisconsin International Raceway, the trophy won’t be traveling far to be displayed in its new home. Sawyer Effertz “protected the house” for the hometown racers, by powering to the front of the field and outlasting the field on a late restart.
The win also snapped a long drought for the racer from nearby Darboy.
“It was a lot of hard work over the winter with help from a lot of great people. It’s nice that after nine years it finally paid off. I’m glad I was able to defend the house today,” Effertz said.
The win did not come without its challenges from the outsiders. Effertz had a lengthy tussle with Brock Heinrich in the middle portion of the race and had to keep an eye on a fast-closing Dalton Zehr, who had set fast time earlier in the day.
Fresh off a win in the Mid-Am Racing Series main just prior to the green flag, Maxwell Schultz seized the top spot from Heinrich from the front row. Just as the field was starting to sort out contact between Jeff VanOudenhoven and Lowell Bennett resulted in the first caution of the day. Both would continue.
Schultz elected to take the outside line for the restart. Although he held the lead for five more laps, Heinrich found a surge and grabbed the lead going down the front stretch. Schultz was not yet in the clear as he was feeling pressure from Effertz – who had already charged into the Top Five from his Tenth Place starting spot – Andy Monday, Grant Griesbach, and Jeff Storm.
After a save coming out of turn two Schultz surrendered Second with Storm and Griesbach charging past, as well. The field then began to settle into place until another caution fell for a spin on lap 12.
On the restart Heinrich elected the inside line, which is uncommon at WIR. Effertz went to the outside.
“I thought I got an early birthday present when Brock went to the bottom on the restart, then he beat me,” Effertz said. “I thought that was going to be a problem.”
After 7 laps of side-by-side battling, Effertz fell back to Second and was able to slide just in front of Griesbach. Meanwhile, Zehr was slicing through the field, having moved up to Seventh. He then moved past Schultz for Sixth on lap 22.
Zehr eventually slipped past Colin Reffner and followed past Jeff Storm at the halfway point. Now in Third and Fourth, the duo had some ground to make up on the leaders. At the same time, Effertz began to close the gap on Heinrich. The battles were paused with 27 laps remaining as an oil line let go on VanOudenhoven’s machine. Mitch Haver spun on the same lap, bringing out the yellow.
On the restart Effertz went to the outside of Heinich again, seeing if it would work how it normally does at WIR. This time Effertz was able to outduel Heinrich and secure the lead. Heinrich was then left to deal with Zehr in a scrap for Second.
Another caution paused the action on lap 45 when a suspension piece broke on Colin Reffner sending him to the outside wall. He hopped out of the car, but it was a disappointing end to a day that looked like it would end with a Top Five finish.
A single-file restart allowed Effertz to jump away while Heinrich was left to fend off Zehr. After three laps, Zehr was able to move his way past Heinrich, but by this point Effertz had build a strong advantage. Zehr was unable to close in on Effertz. In fact, Heinrich reeled him back in to battle for Second.
With six to go Heinrich tried an all-out blitz to steal Second back. His gamble did not pay off as he got sideways and washed up. He and Storm were somehow able to save their machines, but Schultz slipped past and grabbed Third again. A final caution came out as the field came back to the line for lap 63 due to a tangle between Jeremy Lepak and Justin Mondeik.
A final restart brought Zehr to Effertz for one final show down. As the green fell, Effertz surged away. That left Zehr under pressure from the rest of the field. A host of cars would pass as Zehr battled a right side tire going down.
Effertz cruised to a win, Schultz held Second, Heinrich recovered for Third with Storm in Fourth and Andy Monday making a late charge to Fifth.
The next event for the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series is the Bev Aschenbrenner Memorial on Saturday, June 10 at Marshfield Motor Speedway. More information about the event will be available through the TUNDRA web site soon.