WIR champion seeks redemption

Andy Monday challenged last year

NORWAY – It’s some “unfinished business” that’s drawing super late model hotshot Andy Monday back to Norway Speedway for Friday’s 36th annual Stateline Challenge.

During last year’s Stateline Challenge, the 2017 WIR super late model champion from Appleton, Wis., had one of the fastest cars on the track. Monday had chased down eventual winner Johnny Sauter but got tangled with a lapped racer, thwarting his chances at victory.

“We were fast right out of the box at Norway,” Monday recalled. “Johnny stayed out high where they had put that traction grip compound on and forced us to pass him on the bottom. That’s when we got tangled with the lapped car. We’re determined to go back up there and win that race.”

The field Monday has to battle will have a couple of new faces that hadn’t been running Norway much in recent years. And they are a pair of former Stateline Challenge winners – Green Bay’s Mark Schroeder (1999 and 2001) and Appleton’s Mike Reichenberger (2007).

“There is plenty of local talent up there who will be tough like (Dillion) Kralovetz, (Robby) Iverson and Mark (Schroeder) but you can’t overlook guys like Dalton Zehr or Travis Sauter who’ll bring their “A” games too,” Monday said. “Also Chad Butz should be strong, too. Chad has been bad fast everywhere he has raced this year and we always have fun racing with him.”

The 55-year-old Schroeder is back racing after a three-year hiatus. Health problems had sidelined Norway Speedway’s 2000 track champion.

With not chasing points anywhere — Schroeder has decided to race at Norway Speedway primarily as long as his pit crew members can make it.

“We might work on the car one night a week at the most and we’re gonna make it fun,” Schroeder told the Green Bay Press Gazette. “When you chase points and titles you sometimes lose sight of what this sport is really all about. It’s very enjoyable and relaxing to race at Norway. Don’t get me wrong — I love WIR and I’d be running there weekly again if I were younger. But it takes a huge time commitment to be fast there and you need a pretty solid motor program, too, which isn’t the cheapest. We can race a late model at Norway very affordably. I won’t go broke doing this.”

Schroeder has raced twice at Norway and it didn’t take him long to shake off the rust. Opening night he won his heat race and on June 21, Schroeder missed getting fast time in qualifying by .003 seconds to third-generation driver Robby Iverson.

“It makes me feel old to know I’ve raced against three generations of Iversons — Bob, Jamie and now Robby,” Schroeder said. “A lot of the guys I raced against like Red Adair and Mark Miller are in the pits up there but not racing. Bruce White, Kris Kelly and John Ostermann are about the only ones left running I battled with. John was a good guy and ran the club years ago when I was there and is still running it now.”

Schroeder says the Stateline Challenge is ” gonna be a good one.”

“That’s a race you’ve got to be in the right place at the right time,” he said. “There is normally a caution with 10 laps to go and if you’re in the top two or three rows you’ve got a shot to win it. It should be fun.”

The 75-lap feature pays $1,700-to-win and also includes a ton of cash bonuses in the form of lap leader money as well. All laps pay a minimum of $30 to lead, with other laps paying $60 a lap and a handful are even paying $100 per lap. In total well over $3,000 in bonus cash is up for grabs in this event.

The pit gates open at 3 p.m. Qualifying begins at 5:45 p.m. Racing gets underway at 7 p.m. A rain date of Saturday, July 6, is in place if needed.