How the Choose Cone Flipped the TUNDRA Points Race

Going into last Monday’s TUNDRA Super Late Model Series race at Golden Sands Speedway, Casey Johnson held a 12-point lead over Riley Stenjem in the series points standings.  By the end of the day however, Stenjem had taken away the points lead from the four-time and defending series champion.


What was a major deciding factor for this?  The choose cone.


Stenjem had chosen the outside line on just about every restart throughout the 75-lap feature Monday afternoon, but would be freight trained and fall to the outer edges of the top-10 while Johnson spent most of the race in the top-five.  Then on the final restart of the race with less than 20 laps to go, he took the outside once again and this time made it work.


Stenjem would finish third, while Johnson ended the race in seventh.  Between that and the results from qualifying and the fast heat, Stenjem now has a four-point edge over Johnson with just one race remaining at Dells Raceway Park on Sunday, September 26.


“We had to keep taking the top.  I started on the top and fell back a ton, I think ninth or 10th early.  There wasn’t anything out there and we were pretty loose, which made it even harder up there,” Stenjem told Speed51.  “It was a plus four or five rows every cone for every restart there was so we kept taking it.  It never really worked and we got down to seventh a couple times and felt like whenever we got down there our stuff would cool off and we could start making ground.

Casey must’ve got bottled up there.  I think he took the top and probably realized it wasn’t going to work the restart before.  We caught a quick caution and he took the bottom and tried to protect.  I took the top and i was able to get down and that was enough to get a couple cars in between us.

Stenjem made his first starts in a Super Late Model last season before jumping into it on a more regular basis in 2021.  His biggest success has come with TUNDRA, where he won his first-career Super Late Model race at Marshfield Motor Speedway in June and now holds the points lead going into the final race of the year.  He has yet to finish outside the top-five in his TUNDRA starts this year.


One major addition to his team in 2021 have been the arrival of defending Snowball Derby champion driver and crew chief Ty Majeski and Toby Nuttleman.


“It’s been really good, we ran four or five Super shows last year and changed our program up a little bit this year.  We got hooked up with Ty Majeski and Toby Nuttleman and got one of their chassis.  The technical support there has been huge, they’ve got a notebook at all these racetracks and they’ve been a lot of help.  We’ve had top-five speed at one point at every racetrack we’ve been to, just at the bigger shows we’ve been struggling to put a full race day together.”


He now finds himself in position to win the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series championship in his first full-time Super Late Model season.  However, he will have to fend off Casey Johnson, a four-time series champion and one of Wisconsin’s top drivers in the last several years.


“Casey has won lots of titles all over the Midwest the last couple of years, to be able to race him for it is really cool.  We grew up about a mile or so from each other.  To race a driver of that caliber for a championship means a lot, especially in only our second year.  We’re just going to go out there and try our best to win the race and set fast time so that way we don’t have to worry about points.”


-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51/Mojo Photos

How the Choose Cone Flipped the TUNDRA Points Race