Justin Mondeik had come close to winning the Flip Merwin Memorial each of the last two years. He was caught up in an incident with MG Gajewski late in the 2018 race and tapped out, ending his chances of a win that year. One season ago, it was a mechanical failure while leading that kept him out of victory lane at State Park Speedway (WI).
On Thursday night, the third time proved to be the charm in a big way. With the race extended to 100 laps from its previous 75, Mondeik took the lead on an early restart and led the final 84 laps to a dominating victory at the 1/4-mile.
It was redemption for the Gleason, Wisconsin native, taking the win going away.
“Two years ago with the No. 22 (Gajewski) and then last year we were leading the race and had a part failure,” Mondeik told Speed51. “We’ve had really fast cars the whole time and we’re really happy we can finally bring this one home.”
Once Mondeik took the lead, the only stoppage of the race came in form of a competition caution on lap 52 to honor the late Flip Merwin. The two long runs played in his favor, pulling away from NASCAR Truck Series rookie Derek Kraus in the final chase to the checkered.
“We knew on the long run we had a fast car, we had been fast all year. I was really hoping to put it together and I felt like with how the race played out, I was a little nervous being on the top. We were able to get some good runs and we started out like we had hoped. We’re excited to keep this rolling and we’re happy to finally get a Flip win, that’s for sure.”
The win came with one of the best crew chiefs in all of short track racing on top of the pit box. He gave Toby Nuttleman major credit for the win and how the team has progressed in the years they have been partnered up.
“Toby’s been a huge inspiration for our team, he’s been a wealth of knowledge. I owe him everything I can. I’ve been with Toby the last four years, believe it or not. Working more together over the last few years is finally starting to pay off for us again.”
Kraus finished second in his return to his home track, followed by Chris Weinkauf, Brock Heinrich and Gabe Sommers.
Click here to watch a replay of Thursday night’s Flip Merwin Memorial at State Park Speedway.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo
Flip Merwin Memorial Results:
- Justin Mondeik
- Derek Kraus
- Chris Weinkauf
- Brock Heinrich
- Gabe Sommers
- Luke Fenhaus
- Mark Mackesy
- Jacob Goede
- MG Gajewski
- Jeremy Lepak
- Mike Olson
- Travis Volm
- Dillon Mackesy
- Rayce Haase