The defending State Park track champion won both traveling series raced held at the facility last season, taking first-career wins with both TUNDRA and the ARCA Midwest Tour during the Larry Detjens Memorial. His strong showings have continued into 2021 – he leads the points standings and has won five straight weekly Super Late Model features going into the weekend.
He says his time spent weekly at State Park has contributed to his recent success when a touring series rolls to State Park, attributing the uniqueness of the 1/3rd mile.
“I think a lot of it is so unique because both corners are so different. Three and four, half the bottom groove’s concrete and the other half is asphalt. It’s also extremely bumpy so it’s hard to get a car to stay on the bottom in three and four,” Mondeik told Speed51. “In one and two, right on the bottom there’s a huge bump and if you’re able to get good drive at the exit that’s where you can duck under cars. It creates a couple options for passing but you just have to have a good long run car that’s good at an abrasive racetrack, and that’s what we always go for.
“I’ve turned a lot of laps there over the years. That’s where I started running 4-Cylinders and moved my way up into Late Models and now Super Late Models. It’s about finding that right line and you have to hit it right every time in practice and work on it all day.”
A big contributor to his success throughout the state of Wisconsin has been the increased presence of Toby Nuttleman. The Snowball Derby-winning crew chief has worked with Mondeik for several years now, but it ramped up starting with the World Series of Asphalt and the debut of a new Toby Car in 2020. It paid off in the Badger State as well, with Mondeik winning 14 races and track championships at State Park and Golden Sands Speedway while also finishing second in TUNDRA points and third in ARCA Midwest Tour points.
Having Nuttleman as crew chief has changed Mondeik’s confidence heading into any given race.
“I think the big thing with Toby is just the confidence of having someone that believes in you and someone that has your back. You also know that the car’s going to be good when you unload. We had a really good run against Ty (Majeski) in the Larry Detjens Memorial. That was a very exciting race because Toby is my crew chief but he’s been with Ty now for a number of years. Toby just adds that element of you know you’re going to have a good car when you unload off the truck and really knowing what we need to do with changes throughout the day.”
Along with Nuttleman’s aid, he also believes his busy schedule is a big reason for the success he’s had over the past couple years. In a state where Super Late Model racing is rampant and provides opportunity to race up to four times a week during the season, Mondeik is one of the busiest drivers in the state, if not the country.
“I think that’s what sets our team apart. Including Speedweeks, I think we’ll have 52 shows on our schedule for the 2021 season. We’re able to pass a lot at various racetracks but seat time is everything. We’re able to find that new baseline to make it better and take it from track to track and sometimes it’s better and sometimes it’s not.”
It’s that expansive Super Late Model scene that makes short track racing in Wisconsin special. On any given weekend, you can see drivers with multiple generations of racers compete at facilities that have seen drivers like Dick Trickle, Tom Reffner and Alan Kulwicki have made a name for themselves.
“I think it makes it tough just because there’s so many roots with families that go deep with racing over the years. Everybody and their dad and grandpa raced and they’ve passed that expertise down the line. It’s a really good grassroots area. I feel like anytime a Midwest driver goes down south they usually run pretty well, and there’s drivers who come up to the Midwest and don’t run very well. We have a lot of pride with racing in the Midwest.”
Saturday’s TUNDRA Super Late Model Series race at State Park Speedway will be broadcasted live on Speed51.TV. Click here to watch live.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo