JEFFERSON, Wis. (July 22, 2018) – On a night where more laps were turned in an effort to dry the racing surface than in actual competition, the portion of the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series event Mother Nature did allow was overflowing with action.
John Beale dashed to the lead from his Fifth Place starting spot on lap 27 of the rain-shortened feature to claim his first TUNDRA win in Round Four Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes Saturday night.
The win came just one year and one day after Beale challenged Wyatt Brooks to the very end of the 2017 main event. Although the feature only made it to the halfway point before another persistent rain brought an ending, Beale was pleased finally to visit Victory Lane in a TUNDRA event – especially at his de facto home track.
“It’s special to win one here after coming so close last year,” Beale said. “Everyone works so hard within this team. This was a long time coming.”
Brief but heavy showers swooped through the Jefferson area on several occasions. Just as it appeared the feature would start after a concerted track-drying effort, another rain shower chased teams back to the pits. Finally, the feature began after a third drying of the track.
Rookies Collin Slife and Gabe Sommers led the field to the green flag. Slife quickly secured the lead as Sommers engaged in battle with Jake Zellmer, Carson Kvapil, and Beale.
As Slife began to break away, Beale followed Zellmer on the inside line. In a brief moment on the backstretch, Beale, Kvapil and Dennis Schmidt were three wide, with Schmidt backing out to elude danger. Shortly after, Zellmer took Second from Sommers and brought Beale to Third.
On lap ten Beale swept to the inside of Zellmer to wrestle away the Second spot. The move opened the inside line for Sommers to challenge, as well. Behind them and Schimdt, Dennis Prunty made a move around the outside of Justin Mondeik to take Sixth. One lap later he rocketed past Schmidt into Fifth.
After Beale had chased down Slife, he surveyed the inside line on several occasions, finally making his move to pull even on lap 22. Once it appeared Beale had taken the lead, Slife put the nose to the backside of Beale’s machine and was able to take the lead back. Another dazzling side-by-side battle would see Beale emerge with the top spot on lap 27.
The dispute between the leaders allowed Prunty to close the gap once he had taken Third from Sommers. He found his way to the inside of Slife to grab the Second spot by lap 30. Three laps later the lone caution fell for a spin, leaving a single-file restart and a showdown between Beale and Prunty.
At the drop of the green Beale was able to escape Prunty and maintain about a car-length lead. Deeper in the field cars were beginning to lose traction as another bout of precipitation fell on the track. The race had gone to the halfway point and officials decided the track surface was in no condition to continue. The checkered was displayed and the race considered complete.
Beale kept Prunty at bay – although Prunty jokingly challenged Beale to a one-on-one in Victory Lane despite the track conditions. Slife held on to Third to pick up his best-ever TUNDRA finish. Sommers did the same with his Fourth Place finish. Fast qualifier Casey Johnson had charged through the field from 12th to round out the Top Five.
The TUNDRA Series takes a summer break and rolls back into action on Labor Day, Monday, September 3, at Golden Sands Speedway in Plover, Wis.
Golden Sands Speedway is located on State Highway 54 between Plover and Wisconsin Rapids. For more information visit www.gssraces.com.