PORTAGE, Wis. – For the first time in its brief history the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series will jump outside the friendly confines of the Badger State this Saturday, July 5 when the series visits Norway (Mich.) Speedway.
The TUNDRA Travelers are set to mix with a stout field of Norway Speedway Super Late Model drivers for the Island Resort and Casino Stateline Challenge as part of TUNDRA Round Four Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes. Past winners of the prestigious race include Dick Trickle, Scott Hansen, Matt Kenseth, 12-time WIR Champion Terry Baldry and 7-time Norway Champion Jamie Iverson. Qualifying begins at 5:45, with racing beginning at 7 p.m.
Leading the TUNDRA contingent into Norway is last year’s Track Champion and current TUNDRA co-point leader Dalton Zehr. Zehr dominated the 2013 season at Norway in the Racetech Chassis house car, claiming nine of 11 races. His effort was also good enough to capture the ASA Member Track National Championship. In this year’s event Zehr will be piloting the familiar Coleman Racing Products 119.
He will be joined as a favorite by another TUNDRA Traveler with plenty of experience on the third-mile – Jordan Ives. The 16 year old from Gladstone is a two-time feature winner at Norway. Carrying some momentum from a TUNDRA best seventh-place finish at Jefferson, Ives took a win in a solid 25-car field for the Roy Allard Memorial last Friday. Ives also sits toward the top of the standings in weekly action.
While Zehr and Ives have recent experience at Norway, the facility will be largely unfamiliar territory for most TUNDRA Travelers. Eugene Gregorich Jr., who is tied with Zehr in standings, will be hoping for a bounce back at the third-mile after a tough run at Jefferson. For the second race in a row Bobby Kendall, who sits third in TUNDRA points, will be making his first trip a new race track. Defending TUNDRA Champ Nick Panitzke, currently fourth in standings, last ventured to Norway on Labor Day weekend of 2010. He recorded a 12th-place finish. Mark Mackesy, who has past experience at Norway, will sub in again for Ty Majeski. The team sits fifth in standings.
The Dean’s Satellite Rookie battle also continues to brew. Reagan May and Tom Gee lead the rookie class into Norway, sitting eighth and ninth in points respectively. Both drivers have recent experience and success at the facility. They will hope to separate themselves from fellow rookies Mike Lichtfeld and Wyatt Blashe, who will both be racing at Norway for the first time.
Although points will be on the mind of the TUNDRA Travelers, the Norway racers will get a break from worrying about their heavily disputed point battle. As locals at WIR and Slinger have said before, the Norway racers have “nothing to lose” and can gamble on the win.
Dillon Kralovetz led the point standings for most of the season at Norway. He and his team tow from Bonduel, Wis., each week and will be seen as a major threat to turn the travelers away.
Scott Stanchina and Dan Lindsley may also pose a heavy threat. Stanchina has kept close to Kralovetz all season long, as has Lindsley. Lindsley already has experience with TUNDRA this season, joining the series in Round One at WIR.
Other local competitors who could spoil TUNDRA’s invasion include: Brian Stanchina, 15-year-old rookie Cody Cootware, and past feature winners Mike D’Angelo, Craig “Batman” Schei, Mark Miller, Shawn Majkrzak and Tom Lindquist.
Also of note, Reedsville, Wis. Driver Tyler Bauknecht will make his TUNDRA debut. TUNDRA fans will recognize Bauknecht as the winner of the Mid-American portion of Round One at WIR on May 10.
Norway Speedway is located on the Dickinson County Fairgrounds on Highway 8 just outside of Norway, Michigan. For more information visit www.norwayspeedway.com
Expected Entry List for Round Four (Stateline Challenge) – July 5
33 as of 6/30/14
TUNDRA PR –[TT] = TUNDRA Traveler [R] = Rookie
2 – Michael Bilderback, South Beloit, Ill. [TT]
2K – Dillon Kralovetz, Bonduel, Wis.
5 – Brian Stanchina, Quinnesec, Mich.
7 – Kelsey Bauer, West Bend, Wis. [TT]
8 – Billy Mohn, Lakeville, Minn. [TT]
11K – Bobby Kendall, Montello, Wis. [TT]
11 – Chris Grimes, Pulaski, Wis. [TT]
12 – Mark Mackesy, Wausau, Wis [TT]
13 – Cory Cootware, Kingsford, Mich. [TT]
14 – Eugene Gregorich Jr., Amherst, Wis. [TT]
18N – Frank Nitzke, Berlin, Wis. [TT]
18I – Jordan Ives, Gladstone, Mich. [TT]
22 – Nick Panitzke, Lakeville, Minn. [TT]
31 – Corey Jankowski, Tomah, Wis. [TT]
32 – Steve Lichtfeld, Portage, Wis. [TT]
33 – Reagan May, West De Pere, Wis. [R]
33 – Mike D’Angelo, Gwinn, Mich
33 – Tyler Bauknecht, Reedsville, Wis.
35 – Travis Dassow, West Bend, Wis. [TT]
36 – Tom Gee Jr., Sobieski, Wis. [R]
40 – Jeremy Lepak, Ringle, Wis. [TT]
38 – Shawn Majkrzak, Menominee, Mich.
41 – Scott Stanchina, Kingsford, Mich.
44 – Mike Lichtfeld, Pardeeville, Wis. [R]
44 – Craig “Batman” Schei, Menominee, Mich.
52 – Brent Strelka, Freedom, Wis. [TT]
52 – Tom Lindquist, Bark River, Mich
78 – Wyatt Blashe, Clintonville, Wis. [R]
79 – Morgan Rasmussen, Twin Falls, Idaho [TT]
79 – Dan Lindsley, Vulcan, Mich.
98 – Brandon Selle, Dale, Wis. [TT]
119 – Dalton Zehr, Daytona Beach, Fla. [TT]
141 – Mark Miller, Niagra, Wis.