PORTAGE, Wis. – All of the ingredients are prepared to combine, and boil over for a wildly exciting Island Resort and Casino Stateline Challenge as part of TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Round Four Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes at Norway Speedway this Saturday, July 5.
It has become habit of TUNDRA Super Late Model Series drivers to expect the very best of local competitors to show up in solid numbers whenever the series pays a visit. No fewer than a dozen of Norway’s weekly drivers will be awaiting the TUNDRA Travelers – a group consisting of past champions, point leaders, feature winners and fast qualifiers.
In the field of 36 drivers for Saturday, 18 have won a feature or set fast time at some point in 2014. Three drivers currently lead the point standings at their home facility. Five others currently sit second or third in points at their weekly track.
This Stateline Challenge holds a very special place in the hearts of Norway racers and fans. The Stateline Challenge was created in 1981 with the help of short track racing legend Dick Trickle. The clash between drivers from Upper Michigan and Wisconsin has seen such winners as Trickle, Matt Kenseth, Scott Hansen, 12-time WIR Champion Terry Baldry and 7-time Norway Champion Jamie Iverson. This season Minnesota, Illinois, Idaho and Florida will be thrown into the mix.
Thanks to Island Resort and Casino and Norway Speedway, an extra $500 bonus will be awarded to the winner of the event.
“A huge event deserves great competition, and that’s what we look forward to bringing the Norway fans,” said TUNDRA representative Matt Panure. “I was lucky enough to announce at Norway for two years and have seen the quality of their weekly competition. When you throw our TUNDRA teams into that mix, someone is going to have earned that trophy Saturday night.”
Perhaps the driver with the most momentum heading into Saturday’s event is the up-and-coming Jordan Ives. The 16-year-old Gladstone, Mich., native began the season with a large boost of confidence after claiming a $50,000 sponsorship from Champion Spark Plug. Through the first two months of his season Ives has claimed two feature wins at Norway and is the current point leader. In TUNDRA action Ives is coming off a career-best seventh-place finish at Jefferson. He sits 12th in series standings.
Last year’s Norway Champion will come in carrying the colors for TUNDRA, and is tied atop the series standings. Dalton Zehr got off to a hot start to 2014, picking up a win in TUNDRA Round One at WIR, as well as feature wins in weekly action at WIR and in the Yellow River Series at Marshfield. He knows, first hand, the quality of competition that will be on hand for Saturday.
“Having raced at Norway and with TUNDRA, I can say that this is a field full of drivers who can win this race,” Zehr said. “Hopefully at the end of the day, I’m one of the ones in contention.”
Along with the Norway favorites and the top TUNDRA Travelers, a few dark horse contenders from Central Wisconsin may emerge. Four-time State Park Speedway titlist and current point leader Mark Mackesy will make his return to Norway as he subs in for Ty Majeski. He, Jeremy Lepak and Claire and Natalie Decker may have a slight advantage on the outsiders with their experience at a similar venue, State Park Speedway.
“As with a lot of our other races, we might have someone come out of nowhere and be strong. That’s what truly is the most fun about TUNDRA,” Panure said. “We talked so much about the locals heading into WIR, and Zehr wins. We almost overlooked Michael Bilderback heading into Golden Sands, and he won. There are so many capable drivers on that entry list for Saturday that you can’t dismiss anyone.”
Fan gates open at Norway this Saturday at 5 p.m. Qualifying is set for 5:45 with a TUNDRA autograph session to follow. Racing begins at 7 p.m.
Norway Speedway is located on the Dickinson County Fairgrounds on Highway 8 just outside of Norway, Michigan. For more information visit www.norwayspeedway.com
The Unified Northern Drivers Racing Association (TUNDRA) Super Late Model Series was formed in 2011 as the Alive For Five Super Late Model Series at Dells Raceway Park. TUNDRA’s business plan is based on a sustainable program for promoters and race teams alike, while still providing high-quality Super Late Model entertainment to fans.
For more information on TUNDRA including news, results and the 2014 standings, archived results and standings, and more visit www.tundrasuperlates.com. Also, interact with us on Facebook (facebook.com/TundraSuperLateModels) or Twitter (@TUNDRAslms).