A QUICK HISTORY OF TUNDRA AT GOLDEN SANDS
PORTAGE, Wis. (August 27, 2018) – Next Monday the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes will make its seventh appearance at Golden Sands Speedway. The third-mile bull ring has hosted some of the most memorable TUNDRA races to date.
Golden Sands also has special significance for TUNDRA. On Memorial Day of 2013, GSS became the first track outside of Dells Raceway Park to host an event. To date is the only other track aside from DRP to hold two TUNDRA events in one season. It also has yet to see a repeat visitor to Victory Lane.
The first visit on May 27, 2013 was a cool, cloudy and threatening weather day. However, 40 entrants filled the pit area and ushered in a new era for TUNDRA with great success. Cardell Potter, who would team with Nick Panitzke for a Championship in 2013, seized the race lead from Rene Scheinoha. Potter would not be able to repel the advances of Dalton Zehr. Zehr grabbed the lead on lap 44 of the 60-lap event, and held off Potter on a restart with five laps remaining.
In July of 2013 TUNDRA and Golden Sands experienced some major history. Then 20-year-old Paige Decker dominated the 60-lap race, leading every lap from the outset. She became the first female and first rookie to win a TUNDRA event. The win helped Decker capture Rookie of the Year honors in that season.
Perhaps the closest finish in TUNDRA history came in the 2014 event. A sunny Memorial Day provided the perfect backdrop for a stunning ending to a stunning race. Michael Bilderback held off Eugene Gregorich Jr., by a matter of centimeters as the checkered flag fell. Bilderback had led from the outset, but Gregorich charged through the field. After setting fast time Gregorich started 14th on the grid, coming close to being the first (and only) fast qualifier to snag a TUNDRA win at GSS.
In 2015 TUNDRA switched the event from Memorial Day to Labor Day and increased the features from 60 to 75 laps. The first Labor Day race at Golden Sands proved to be extremely animated as Reagan May and Ty Majeski made headlines. Not to be lost in the calamity was the win by Nathan Haseleu. The multiple-time touring Champion was making his only start and became the beneficiary of some wild happenings. The win was one of the final of Haseleu’s storied career as he retired at the end of the season.
A shootout of unexpected proportions highlighted the 2016 Labor Day event at Golden Sands. Veteran racer and multiple-time State Park Speedway Champion Mark Mackesy was hounded around Golden Sands by a budding Derek Kraus. The two had just battled to the checkered flag in the previous TUNDRA stop at Wausau. As was the story before, Mackesy was able to hold back the youngster, becoming just the second driver to pick up back-to-back wins in TUNDRA. Only he and Zehr have accomplished that feat.
Most recently Golden Sands played host to two drivers duking it out for what felt like overdue first series wins. Mike Lichtfeld turned back the advances of Jordan Thiel late in the going of the 75 lapper. Thiel nosed to the inside with eight laps remaining and went sliding through the grass after the pair made contact. Lichtfeld had been bitten by the bad-luck bug on several occasions prior, so the win was a sigh of relief. Thiel would go on to pick up his first series win in the next event at Dells Raceway Park.
The wins by those two closed out a season that saw six first-time series winners. TUNDRA has had 11 winners in the last 11 events and 13 different winners in the last 16 events. Only Mackesy (3) and Dennis Prunty (2) have picked up multiple wins since the beginning of the 2016 season.
TUNDRA will be joined next Monday, September 3 by the Midwest Truck Series and Wisconsin Sport Trucks. Fan gates open at noon, qualifying is at 12:30, and racing is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
Golden Sands Speedway is located on State Highway 54 between Plover and Wisconsin Rapids. For more information visit www.gssraces.com