It was a night for the up-and-coming standouts of Super Late Model racing to shine. But no one quite had the glimmer of Wyatt Brooks, as he picked up his first TUNDRA Super Late Model Series win in Round Three Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes at Jefferson Speedway Saturday night.
The 22-year-old Amherst, Wis. native took control of the 75-lap feature from the outset and withstood two hearty challenges in the final 14 laps from Dean’s Satellite and Security Rookie contenders Jordan DeVoy and John Beale.
Perhaps the most impressive facet of Brooks’ win was how the racer with very little experience at the tricky quarter-mile mastered the outside lane – especially on restarts. With his choice of either lane each time the barrel was placed to double up the field, Brooks chose the outside.
“My car was so tight the entire day,” Brooks said in Victory Lane. “I couldn’t have started in a better spot than the outside pole with the car I had.”
Brooks secured the lead from fellow front-row starter Grant Griesbach just two laps after the green flag dropped. Behind him, teammate Jordan Thiel slid to Second and looked to close in to challenge for the top spot. A caution on lap six gave Thiel the opportunity to start alongside Brooks, but Brooks stepped away.
The complexion of the race took a major turn on lap eight. Brent Strelka and Adam Peschek touched wheels going into turn three, sending Strelka sideways. With nowhere to go, and little time to react, several possible contenders slid into the melee. The incident collected Mike Lichtfeld, Corey Jankowski, Jeremy Lepak, point leader Dalton Zehr, Cole Anderson, and fast qualifier Justin Mondeik. Both Mondeik and Anderson were able to continue. Anderson would nurse his machine to a Sixth Place finish and Mondeik would finish Ninth.
After the track was cleared, Brooks and Thiel were again set to bring the field to green. Once more, Brooks was able to hold off Thiel and retake the lead. Unfortunately for Thiel – just two laps later – he was forced to drop out with a mechanical issue.
Brooks stretched out a comfortable lead over Darek Gress, DeVoy, Griesbach, and Colin Reffner. As he did, all eyes turned to Beale. In the second half of the race Beale – who started second-to-last on the grid – began to climb to the front of the pack. He made his way past Reffner on lap 40. Then, after a seven-lap dispute, he moved past Griesbach into Fourth on lap 55. Before he could close in on the top three, a caution fell for a Braison Bennet spin on lap 61.
By this time DeVoy had moved past Gress into Second. Once again Brooks chose the outside and DeVoy the inside. DeVoy held even for several laps, forcing a side-by-side scrum with Brooks. Behind them, Beale secured Third over Gress.
The battle was halted a final time for a spin with eight laps to go. Just before the field was sent to the green flag, DeVoy slowed. A melted wire ended his day without an opportunity to challenge for the win again. That, however, would send Beale to the front row with Brooks for the final showdown.
Beale held strong on the inside as Brooks tried to wheel his way back to the front. With five laps to go, Brooks sealed the lead spot, but the battle was not over. Beale continued to peek into the inside line and hope for an opening. That opening did not come as Brooks kept the door shut and went on to secure the victory.
Behind Beale, Peschek made several moves late in the race to secure the final podium position. It was Peschek’s first race as a Super Late Model. His Third Place TUNDRA debut is the best since Nathan Haseleu and Skylar Holzhausen won in their series debuts in 2015.
Griesbach continued a successful week, as well. After scoring a Top Ten in the Slinger Nationals on Tuesday, he held on for Fourth – his best TUNDRA finish.
Leading rookie Colin Reffner enjoyed yet another solid day at a new race track. Reffner scored a Fifth Place finish and cut Zehr’s point lead from 44 to 19 markers.
The next event for TUNDRA takes place at State Park Speedway on Saturday, August 5. TUNDRA will be joined once again by the Midwest Truck series and the Sportsman division will return, as well. More information about the event will be available through the TUNDRA web site.
State Park Speedway is located at 5711 N Mountain Rd. in Wausau, Wis. For more information visit www.stateparkspeedway.com