In a state that has seen drivers like Dick Trickle, Alan Kulwicki, Matt Kenseth, and most recently Ty Majeski hone their skills against some of the best drivers in the country on their path to the upper ranks of NASCAR, a 15-year-old racer from Wausau, Wisconsin is attempting to become the next Wisconsin short track racing sensation.
Luke Fenhaus has spent the first half of 2019 traveling more and competing in the bigger races Wisconsin has to offer, most recently finishing 12th in a 30-plus car field at the Milwaukee Mile and eighth in the Slinger Nationals. However, the next race on his 2019 schedule will take him back home to a track he’s very familiar with: State Park Speedway.
The 15-year-old is the defending Super Late Model track champion at the 1/3-mile oval located in his hometown of Wausau. This Saturday, he'll battle the stars of the ARCA Midwest Tour in the Larry Detjens Memorial.
“State Park is really, really hard to pass,” Fenhaus said on Speed51.com’s The Morning Bullring. “You can only pass off turn two, off four it’s really tight. You’ve got to have a good car late in the run to get past a lot of guys because right away, everybody’s all gripped up and it’s hard to get by somebody. The outside lane is kind of iffy right now. I don’t know, I think it’s going to be but we just got to do our own thing and try to get a win.”
As a teenager going up against some of the best drivers in the state of Wisconsin, he has spent 2019 going to as many big races as he can to get more experience. With some of the stiffest competition in all of Super Late Model racing hailing from the Badger State, he has learned to run his own race and let everything come to him.
“I think it comes with a lot of experience,” he said. “I don’t think these guys think I go into this just to race. I’ve tried to get my experience level up running at State Park and the Slinger Nationals and all these big races. I don’t think taking anybody out gives me a lot of respect, so I try to run my own race and do as best as we can.”
As part of the 2019 Kulwickl Driver Development Program, Fenhaus has spent time volunteering at a local church. He says the whole experience volunteering has been a good one for he and his family and it has helped him both on and off the track.
“It means a lot, it’s really helping me out this year,” he stated. “It’s helping me on and off the track, I’ve been doing stuff off the track at churches for homeless people. It means a lot to be in the program and to participate in all these races and all these community services.
“That’s a whole fun experience for me and it’s a really good experience for my whole family,” Fenhaus continued. “I try to do as much as I can off the race track and on the race track. All-around, it’s a great program and it helps me going into races and off the track. I think it’ll help us a lot going into the ARCA Midwest show at State Park Speedway.”
Looking forward to this weekend’s ARCA Midwest Tour Larry Detjens Memorial, Fenhaus thinks he will have a good car for when the Tour stars come to town despite their admitted recent struggles at the track. With the amount of good competition expected, their plan remains the same as any local Thursday night show.
“I think we’ll still have a good car,” he said. “I don’t know who will be good for the win, Morrisey’s been good lately at that race track. There’s going to be tough competition there, we’ll just do our own thing and try to get a win.”
Race fans unable to make it out to State Park Speedway this weekend will be able to watch Fenhaus and the rest of the ARCA Midwest Tour stars live on Speed51’s Summer Thunder TV presented by PFC Brakes. Only a monthly or yearly subscription is needed to watch this broadcast and over 100 other live broadcasts in 2019. Click here to join today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Bruce Nuttleman