PORTAGE, Wis. — When Utica’s Riley Stenjem welcomes his fellow TUNDRA Super Late Model Series travelers to Jefferson Speedway next Saturday, July 17, he’ll have plenty of confidence coming from his camp.
Stenjem enters as the most recent winner with the series and will be looking to accomplish a rare feat in Transport Services LLC Round Three at Wiscsonsin’s Action Track – picking up back-to-back series wins. The scenario could play out in his favor after grabbing his first win at a track where he struggled last year, Marshfield Motor Speedway, and heading to a track where he has a lot of experience.
After a strong debut with a podium finish at Jefferson last season, it would have been fair to predict Stenjem’s first win may have come there. However, he and his team were able to persevere at a track where they struggled in 2020 to pick up their first checkered flag. The win may have been surreal, but it didn’t take long for Stenjem to refocus on the year ahead.
“I’d say it has sunk in, we struggled in our local car at Jefferson the next weekend so we didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time celebrating,” Stenjem said. “But it definitely has given us a boost of confidence to go up to the other lower grip central Wisconsin tracks later on the TUNDRA Schedule with a good baseline package.”
To have another good showing at home would continue the momentum for Stenjem. As a racer who keeps good notes, he’ll have a strong baseline from last season’s TUNDRA race at Jefferson. He knows another strong showing could help him continue to get noticed.
“The Jefferson TUNDRA race last year was a great debut for us to be able to run with guys like Casey, and Dalton and was a great confidence booster that we were ready to jump to that level,” Stenjem said. “I don’t think it effected my career personally. I just think it got me noticed quicker than people were anticipating.
It’s no secret that having previous experience helped Stenjem know the fast way around Jefferson in his debut. Although the Super Late Models drive much differently than the weekly Late Models, there is still plenty that can translate, including driver composure.
“It takes a car that can come off the bottom of two while maintaining roll speed down there, as well as a car that has the security for a lot of on throttle time off of turn four,” Stenjem said. “It also takes a lot of composure because with the tight racing things are going to happen, and you can’t get worked up about it.”
Ultimately that composure may be the biggest factor as Stenjem says it will take patience and skill to have a successful day.
“It’s going to take a fast car, as well as a clean car at the end of the race to win at Jefferson. If you can stay out of trouble, and have a pretty good car, you will be in the hunt at the end.”
Now sitting Second in TUNDRA standings, Stenjem is poised to hang with the top runners in the TUNDRA title hunt. With a finish of Fifth to go with his win at Marshfield, he is well within reach of the points lead, but knows there is still room for improvement.
“Looking at the points format we are going to need to start qualifying better to catch Casey, but we are just going to take it race by race,” he said. “If we can keep finishing in the Top Five and get in the dashes, we should be in contention.”
Stenjem and the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series head to Jefferson for Transport Services LLC Round Three next Saturday, July 17. TUNDRA will be joined by the King of the Cornfield Challenge, Bandits, and Road Warriors. Racing begins at 7 pm.
Jefferson Speedway is located on US Hwy 18 between Jefferson and Cambridge, Wis. For more information visit http://www.jeffersonspeedway.com
-TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Press Release & Photo