TUNDRA TRAVELERS ENTER THE GREAT UNKNOWN SATURDAY
TUNDRA Travelers Eugene Gregorich Jr. (14) and Billy Mohn (8) will enter unfamiliar territory at Jefferson (Jeff Blaser Photo)
PORTAGE, Wis. (June 18, 2013) – There aren’t many times when quotes from Plato’s The Republic are relevant to short track racing. Saturday’s TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Round Two is one of those rare occasions.
“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”
This quote can be applied to many TUNDRA travelers as they are beginning to embrace the uncertainty of heading into Jefferson Speedway. Although many of them are accomplished at other race tracks, the majority of them have never seen Wisconsin’s Action Track – let alone raced on it.
“I watched a couple YouTube videos of it, and that’s about it,” said Frank Nitzke, last year’s Golden Sands Speedway Champion and current GSS point leader. “They say it gets a little tight at times, but there should be plenty of room to race.”
Nitzke, of Berlin, Wis., currently sits third in TUNDRA standings after his podium finish at Golden Sands on Memorial Day. He has competed at every facility on the TUNDRA 2013 schedule except Jefferson.
“That’s what makes TUNDRA challenging – setting up for different tracks. That’s the fun part about it,” he said. “I have a couple of setups I have mocked up already. We’re going to see if hopefully one of them works out.”
Lakeville, Minn., pilot Billy Mohn will also be going into the tricky quarter-mile blind on Saturday. “I heard it’s located in Cambridge, Wis., and that’s about it. Just like Golden Sands, I’ve never been there before.”
A new experience at Golden Sands resulted in a fifth place finish for Mohn. He said to prepare for TUNDRA Round One he had a little help from veteran racer Adam Royale. Mohn again turned to Royale, who is one of few drivers in the area with Super Late Model experience at Jefferson.
To couple with the chat with Royale, Mohn took the same route as Nitzke. “I did YouTube Jefferson. That’s about the extent of my seat time around there,” he said. “It looks like you run low in one and high in three and four. From what I’ve heard it’s a little banked in three and four.”
That same lore of Jefferson’s uniqueness has reached Eugene Gregorich Jr., a two-time Marshfield Motor Speedway Champion and current point leader at the facility. Gregorich did some traveling in the past with both the Midwest Tour and Wisconsin Challenge Series, but never made the trek to Jefferson.
“Everyone says it’s banked on one and flat on the other,” Gregorich said. “When you ask them how to set it up they just tell you, ‘good luck, pick where you want to be fast, on the banked end or the flat end.’ That’s all I keep hearing.”
In fact, Gregorich has been searching for anything and everything he can find out about Jefferson before Saturday. It’s been a fruitless effort so far, he said. “I’ve talked to my engine builder, Jim Sauter Jr. (who ran a WCS race at Jefferson) and Greg Back (who crewed a WCS race at Jefferson). No one has a lot of positive information for me.”
“They said it’s just like Rockford,” Gregorich said. “I’ve been to Rockford three times – I won once and got destroyed twice, so I have a 33 percent chance of winning,” he joked. When alerted that was a good winning ratio, but not a good wrecking ratio, Gregorich quipped, “Well, you have to take the positives with the negatives, there’s up and downs in racing.”
The Amherst, Wis., driver feels all of the TUNDRA drivers’ inexperience could translate into a good day for any Jefferson local who decides to jump into the action. “I figured the local guys would clean up out there,” he said.
Mohn didn’t go so far as to say that the regulars would have a large advantage, but he knows it will be an uphill climb to learn the track in a short period of time. “A top ten would be good, a top five would be even better. I know there are going to be a couple local guys that are going to be fast just like everywhere.”
Although most TUNDRA Travelers are in the same boat as Nitzke, Mohn and Gregorich a minority of them do have some laps at Jefferson. Frank Kreyer (Midwest Tour 2008), Brandon Selle (Wisconsin Challenge Series), and Chad Devine (weekly Late Models) are the experienced few.
“Hopefully everyone keeps it clean,” Gregorich offered. “If no one knows that much about it I would think it would be interesting.”
TUNDRA Round Two is scheduled for Saturday, June 22 at Jefferson Speedway. Pit gates open at 1 p.m. with practice beginning at 2 p.m., fan gates opening at 3 p.m., qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing at 7 p.m. TUNDRA will be joined by the Mid-American Stock Car Series and the Jefferson Hobby Stocks and Road Warriors.
Jefferson Speedway is located at W8135 US Hwy 18 just outside Jefferson, Wis. For more information visit www.jeffersonspeedway.com.
The Unified Northern Drivers Racing Association (TUNDRA) Super Late Model Series was formed in 2011 as the Alive For Five Super Late Model Series at Dells Raceway Park. TUNDRA’s business plan is based on a sustainable program for promoters and race teams alike, while still providing high-quality Super Late Model entertainment to fans.
For more information on TUNDRA including news, results and standings, archived results and standings, the 2013 schedule and more visit www.tundrasuperlates.com. Also, interact with us on Facebook (facebook.com/TundraSuperLateModels) or Twitter (@TUNDRAslms).