Justin Mondeik’s goal in 2018 is to bring the Kulwicki Cup, the trophy given to the winner of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program championship, back to Wisconsin, the homestate of the program’s namesake, Alan Kulwicki. On Thursday night, Mondeik helped his cause by scoring his first Super Late Model victory at State Park Speedway in Wausau, Wisconsin.
 
 
Mondeik held off Luke Fenhaus to score the victory by just 0.082-second on Thursday, one day after Alan Kulwicki was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.
 
 
“It’s a big deal for him to be in there, and we’re very proud of that and very proud to be a part of his program,” Mondeik said. “For us to win at our home track one night after that happens, that was the good luck. Hopefully we can keep the luck going for the rest of the week here. We run (Saturday) at Jefferson so hopefully we can keep it going.”
 
 
In tribute to Kulwicki, Mondeik turned his No. 44 Super Late Model around and did a “Polish Victory Lap” to celebrate, a tradition started by Kulwicki.
 
 
“It was very cool to do a Polish Victory Lap at our home track, especially one night after he was inducted,” said Mondeik. “I definitely felt like he was riding with me there. It was very cool. It was cool to see all of the fans.”
 
 
The Gleason, Wisconsin native has gotten his 2018 season off to a strong start, but he hasn’t been able to race as much as he’d have liked to so far because of what was a very strange couple of months for weather in Wisconsin.
 
 
“We had over two feet of snow that fell up here in April, which is kind of unorthodox,” he said. “But out of our first six races we have three top fives. And out of those three we have the win from last night. That’s as many top fives as we had in over 40 races last year. I think it’s definitely going to be a good year for us. I’m excited to win early this year and keep the momentum going all year.”
 
 
Keeping that momentum going throughout the season will be a key factor in bringing that Kulwicki Cup trophy “home” to Wisconsin for the third time in the program’s four-year history. Ty Majeki and Alex Prunty, both from Wisconsin, won the first two years before Cody Haskins of Georgia took the Kulwicki Cup to the Peach State last year.
 
 
“Cody took it away from Wisconsin last year, but he was very deserving,” said Mondeik. “But I’d love nothing more than to bring the Kulwicki Cup back to the Midwest. I think in the country it’s the powerhouse of racing. I’d love to bring it back to Wisconsin because this is where Alan is from. We’ve been doing a lot of off-track community events as much as we can spread Alan’s legacy across the country, but we really needed to win some races. We’ve got the first one and now we’ve got to continue to do it. If we can win four to races and do as much as we’re doing off the track then I think we’re really in a good position to win it.”
 
 
The 2018 Kulwicki Driver Development Program champion will be crowned at the KDDP Banquet later this year.
 
 
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: State Park Speedway/QC Willy

Mondeik Pays Tribute to Kulwicki After First SLM Victory