Kaukauna, WI — Dennis Prunty continued his TUNDRA Super Late Model Series dominance at Wisconsin International Raceway by capturing his third straight series feature event at the half-mile Sunday afternoon in the Transport Services LLC 75.
Much like the last two wins, Prunty stormed to the lead early in the main event then was forced to turn away strong competition. This year’s challenger was Justin Mondeik, who gave Prunty several hearty challenges throughout the second half of the race.
The matchup between Prunty and Mondeik was something to behold. The two aligned on several restarts in the second half of the race. Each time Mondeik looked to be close, Prunty was able to turn him away. Mondeik then remained right on Prunty’s bumper looking for an opportunity to pass.
“Mondeik really gave me a workout,” Prunty said in Victory Lane. “He kept making me nervous that whole race being so close. In the end we had enough to hold him off.”
The best opportunities for Mondeik came after the lap 50 break where teams were allowed to refuel and make adjustments. Mondeik had backed away from Prunty three laps prior to the scheduled stop in hopes of saving something.
“I really felt like we had the car to beat,” Mondeik commented afterward. “But hats off to Dennis, we had a heck of a battle for the win.”
Prunty stormed to the lead using the outside line from his Eighth Place starting spot. He jumped to Fifth by lap three, then swung past Dalton Zehr to take Second on lap six. Four laps later he shot around early-race leader RJ Braun and started to cruise.
As Prunty settled in up front, Mondeik’s ascent to the front was a little more deliberate. He had been hanging around his Sixth Place starting spot until the first caution on lap 27. After the restart he quickly picked his way through to grab Second. That is when he and Prunty began to joust.
Meanwhile, the battle was on for Third among Braun, Dalton Zehr, Casey Johnson, and Andy Monday. Just before the break it was Monday who would get the edge, although he was unable to shake RJ Braun until just before the lap 50 break.
After the break, Prunty and Mondeik quickly separated themselves from the pack again. Monday solidified his spot in Third when Braun and Zehr came together, causing damage to both machines. Both were able to maintain a safe pace and the caution did not fly. This brought a hard-charging Wyatt Brooks from 16th into the Top Five, as well as leading EPYK Media Rookie contender Brock Heinrich.
A final caution pitted Prunty and Mondeik against one another again with 14 laps remaining. Prunty slid up the hill in turns one and two, giving Mondeik a slight edge. However, Prunty was able to maintain on the outside line and hold the lead.
Over the final five circuits Mondeik held within a car length of Prunty, hoping for a mistake to pounce upon. Although Prunty suffered a couple of slides, it was nothing the veteran racer couldn’t handle. He was able to keep Mondeik at bay despite the heavy pressure.
Mondeik went on to finish Second, Monday was Third, leading Heinrich made a late-race move to finish Fourth, and Wyatt Brooks rounded out the Top Five.
Current point leader Casey Johnson admitted during the break that his car was not as cooperative on the day as they had hoped. He went on to finish Seventh, maintaining a 51-point lead over Mondeik.
A clutch problem and unfortunate early retirement for Mike Lichtfeld dropped him from Second to Fourth in the standings while a Sixth Place finish by Jordan Thiel moved him into the Third Place points spot.
TUNDRA will conclude its season on Friday, October 2 at Golden Sands Speedway with the 75-lap feature from the postponed Labor Day event. TUNDRA will be joined by several other support divisions that will run full programs on the night. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7:45 pm.
-TUNDRA Press Release
-Photo Credit: TUNDRA