Win number nine on the season was a big one for State Park Speedway points leader Justin Mondeik. After earning just one top-five finish in 31 previous ARCA Midwest Tour starts, the Gleason, Wisconsin driver broke through for his first-career win with the series Saturday night in the Larry Detjens Memorial.
Mondeik had to do it the hard way, starting 13th after missing the invert. The former Kulwicki Driver Development Program competitor had worked his way to fourth before jumping to the outside front row for a restart with 44 laps to go by virtue of the choose cone. After a fierce battle with Brock Heinrich for the race lead, the yellow came out three laps later with Mondeik just ahead on the last completed lap.
It was a crossover move during that quick battle that gave him the edge and allowed him to pick up win number four at State Park in 2020 in front of the home crowd.
“I think we were the better car. With the No. 52 (Heinrich), I knew if we were going to get it we were definitely going to have to do it on that restart,” Mondeik said in victory lane. “I had a good crossover move on him, it’s always fun running with him. We’re excited for the rest of the year here.”
Mondeik was nearly speechless while in victory lane, exhausted from his effort during the 125-lap main event. With former series champion Dalton Zehr closely behind for the final seven-lap restart, he kept the field at bay for the maiden win with the Tour.
“It’s a hell of a feeling, we brought a good car again,” he said. “What a race between the No. 119 (Zehr) and us and the No. 52 here.”
After taking a year hiatus from full-time ARCA Midwest Tour competition, Zehr started his true 2018 title defense with a second-place finish. He fell back early after losing the lead on a restart, but he had just enough to reel in the leaders and have a shot at the Detjens Memorial.
“Second is never a bad day but it’s not a day you want. I was real happy with the car in practice; botched qualifying a little bit but we had a really good car during the race,” Zehr said. “I took care of the right rear and that’s the only reason why I got back to those guys, they were racing each other pretty hard. I had nothing for the No. 44 so second’s going to have to be a pretty good day.”
Local favorite Brock Heinrich impressed in just his second Midwest Tour start at his home track, leading the most laps before finishing third. The multi-time Limited Late Model track champion had impressed early in the TUNDRA Super Late Model season, but Saturday night proved to be his coming out party with one of the toughest regional Super Late Model series in the country.
“We always show up with high expectations but we weren’t sure where we were going to be. I thought we had something for him and we did, it was just a matter of getting all those consecutive green flag laps and getting the race done much sooner,” Heinrich said. “We’ll probably get them next time, just baby steps and figuring it out.”
Defending Detjens Memorial winner Gabe Sommers and former ARCA Midwest Tour champion Jonathan Eilen rounded out the top-five.
Next up for the ARCA Midwest Tour will be the tour’s longest race of the season, the Dixieland 250 at Wisconsin International Raceway on August 4.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo
ARCA Midwest Tour – Larry Detjens Memorial Results:
- Justin Mondeik
- Dalton Zehr
- Brock Heinrich
- Gabe Sommers
- Jonathan Wilen
- Chris Weinkauf
- Ryan Farrell
- John DeAngelis Jr.
- Casey Johnson
- Luke Fenhaus
- Jason Weinkauf
- MG Gajewski
- Eric White
- Jeff Storm
- Dave Satorius
- Jake Gille
- Gregory Borchardt
- Mark Mackesy
- Jeremy Lepak
- Rich Bickle Jr
- Austin Nason
- John Beale
- Skylar Holzhausen
- Dan Fredrickson
- Paul Shafer Jr
- Travis Volm
- Dillon Hammond