WAUSAU, WI – A move to a new car kept Luke Fenhaus’s hopes of a track championship very much alive at State Park Speedway Thursday night.
Driving a new car after an accident did heavy damage to his previous car the week before, Fenhaus was fast from the start Thursday night. He first set fast time in Fred Mueller Qualifying and later got to the front just after the midway point in the Auto Select Super Late Models presented by C-Tech feature. Fenhaus won the 66-lap Wayne ‘Lodi’ Lodholz Memorial Race for his second division feature of the year and set the stage for a down-to-the-wire battle next week for the points championship in the class.
Fenhaus finished ahead of Gleason’s Justin Mondeik in the feature Thursday, and the 14-year old from Wausau now trails Mondeik by just 12 points entering the final race of the season next week. Both are shooting for their first-ever titles in the division at State Park.
A week earlier, Fenhaus wasn’t even certain if he’d be able to finish out the season, after heavy damage to the steering and rear end left his car needing a host of repairs. Hard work by his crew throughout the week got a second car ready, though, and it paid off as Fenhaus got past Mondeik on lap 39 and pulled away to win by a full straightaway over Mondeik and the rest of the field.
“This car was on a roll all day long,” said Fenhaus. “Just a great recovery… I’m so proud of the guys that helped with the car.”
Mondeik started on the inside pole and led the first 38 laps. Fenhaus started fifth but got to second on 14, then set his sights on the leader.
Fenhaus chased Mondeik for 10 laps before finally completing the pass. He tried the outside before settling back in behind the leader just before a mid-point competition caution, and then took advantage of Mondeik getting loose on lap 39, with the two cars banging doors but Fenhaus completing the pass and leading the rest of the way.
The feature got off to a bad start before the green flag when Jeremy Lepak’s car broke during warm-up laps. Lepak shot across the track and hard into the tires in turn one, and Mike Olson and M.G. Gajewski also were collected, with Olson getting clipped and spinning, backing into the outside wall, while Gajewski also got into the tires.
Lepak’s night was done and Gajewski could only complete one lap in the feature before pulling off, but Olson came back to finish third in the feature despite damage to his left rear. Jay Van Der Geest also made his first appearance at the track this year and was fourth in the feature.
-State Park Speedway Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51.com