Michigan and Wisconsin race fans poured into Norway Speedway to see the 38th Annual Stateline Challenge. While this version didn’t have the duel we saw last year between Justin Mondeik and Dalton Zehr, the 2021 Stateline Challenge had fireworks early‐on in front a huge crowd in Norway, Michigan.
Chaos struck on the second lap, scattering the field in turn three. A total of four cars were collected in the wreckage, which ultimately shuffled Zehr and Mondeik toward the front of the field. 2018 Stateline Challenge winner and NASCAR Truck Champion, Johhny Sauter made contact with Dan Lindsley on lap 39, sending Lindsley to the pits and Sauter to the back of the field. Sauter seemed to have a contending pace prior to this, however, this loss of track position proved to be a pivotal moment in the race.
Mondeik was patient with Zehr, stalking him for many laps. On lap 26, Mondeik pounced, and made his move to sneak under the #119 in turn one. The capacity crowd roared as the two raced door‐to‐door down the backstretch. Mondeik completed the pass coming to the stripe with 48 laps remaining and soon pulled away as they both navigated through lap‐traffic. Taking the checkers with a comfortable margin, Mondeik was excited to defend the Stateline Challenge.
“Today we just threw the kitchen sink at it – making some pretty big changes after qualifying,” explained Mondeik in Victory Lane. “It all worked out, and I couldn’t be more proud of our team from Gleason. What an incredible piece we had tonight!”
Winning seven of his last eight races at Norway Speedway, Mondeik now has his sights set on a busy month of July. “We are leading the track points at both State Park Speedway and Golden Sands (Speedway) right now. Being consistent at our weekly shows and defending those track championships is very important to us,” said Mondeik. His busy schedule will also include ARCA Midwest Tour stops at Grundy County Speedway next Saturday, and back at his home track at State Park Speedway to defend the Larry Detjens Memorial.
-Story by: Ernest Hinner, Rollspeed Media
-Photo Credit: QCWilly