Cameron Racers Shine at Rice Lake Speedway

By Ed Reichert

RICE LAKE, WI (July 10) - The Barron County community of Cameron has had a long history of supplying great race car drivers for the local dirt track racing, and that tradition was built upon Saturday when three of the five feature winners came from that small community. Kevin Adams, Tito Viltz and John Erickson all were winners Saturday and all call Cameron home while Cory Crapser and Cory Davis also visited victory lane.

Viltz’s win was the most dramatic and also bizarre as Tito came from the fourteenth starting spot on the grid to drive to a Midwest Modified feature win that was marked by some strange twists of fate along the way. The event got off to a shaky start when pole sitter Grant Southworth spun in turn one triggering a quick yellow flag. Nick Koehler moved into the lead on the restart but he was soon challenged by Travis Anderson and Shane Halopka. The leaders ran in three wide formation before Anderson was able to get by on the high side as Halopka grabbed second. Another yellow slowed the action and Halopka pulled off the track at this point with mechanical issues.

Anderson continued to lead but Tito and brother Ryan, who started beside Tito in row seven, had advanced through the field, and with the spins and resulting cars being moved to the tail, they suddenly found themselves in contention. The Viltz brothers put the pressure on Anderson and just as Tito made a move to pass Travis, Anderson slowed with a flat tire, the result of a bar rubbing from previous contact with a spinning car.

Suddenly Tito found himself in the lead with Josh Smith challenging on the high side and Ryan putting the heat on Smith. The last half of the race went nonstop and while Smith staying within a couple of car lengths of Tito, he couldn’t catch the fleeing Viltz who drove home for his second win of the year at Rice Lake, coming from deep in the field as is seldom done.  Ryan Viltz finished a close third with Matt Leer and Koehler completing the top five.

Erickson’s win was an omen for the Cameron contingent as the rookie driver won his first ever Pure Stock feature race to lead off the main events. Erickson sat on the pole and held the early lead over Shawn Warner. However, it didn’t take George Richards long to move up from the third row and pass Erickson on the high side to take over the lead. Once in front, Richards put some distance on the field as Erickson fought to hold off Gunnar Watkins and the charging duo of Dusty Brown and Nick Wojcik.

Richards seemed to be sailing along effortlessly when there was a spin with four laps to go. However, George was assessed a two car penalty for jumping the original start, and was moved back to third on the restart with Erickson again finding himself in the lead.

Watkins held second for a lap before Richards passed him and closed on Erickson. John held his line as the final lap started. Richards made an all out assault in the final corner but his car slid up the track and the thrilled Erickson drove home for the memorable win. Watkins took advantage of Richards slip and he ducked under George to take the second spot with Richards settling for third ahead of Brown and Wojcik.

Adams was locked in a four car battle in the early going of the Modified feature before he was able to make his move to the front. Jason Swan and the two Mike Andersons dueled for the top spot before Adams was able to make a bold move off turn three and knife between the front runners and beat them out of corner four to take the lead. Once in front, he was able to open some distance on the field as Colfax’s Anderson moved into second.

Adams appeared to be in good shape until a late yellow bunched the field. He very carefully took off and didn’t give Anderson any openings as he drove on for his second win of the year at Rice Lake. Colfax Anderson finished a strong second with Dave Baxter having another solid finish in third ahead of Brent Prochnow and Swan.

Josh Amans led the opening round of the Street Stock main event with Doug Wojcik providing plenty of heat. However, Crapser was able to find an opening on the bottom side of the track and was able to slip under Amans in turn one to take over the lead. After a quick yellow on lap five, the rest of the race went nonstop and Crapser was gradually able to edge away from the field.

While Crapser was able to distance himself from the havoc, the battle for second was a classic as a half a dozen drivers were in contention for the position as they swapped spots on nearly every corner. Danny Richards made a late charge that allowed him to secure the position as he edged Wojcik for the spot. Jay Kesan made another charge from back in the pack as he moved from fourteenth to fourth ahead of Amans at the finish.

The Super Stocks put on quite an exhibition of precise driving in their main event as twenty two cars started the main event, all twenty two completed the distance and the race ran nonstop without a single yellow being required. The pole sitter was Cory Davis and after an early battle with fellow townsman Jeff Heintz, Davis settled into the lead and started to put distance on the pack. While Davis was comfortable up front, the battle behind him was intense with drivers all over the track and at least two instances of four wide racing down the chutes.

While Davis was able to avoid the mayhem, the pack battling for high finishes got locked up in heavy traffic and spinning cars that really shuffled the order at the end. As Davis drove home unchallenged in front of a large delegation of fans, Mike Keller was able to find the necessary openings at the end to take the second spot. Eric Olson also had a solid run which culminated in a third place finish as both Ben Hillman and Aaron Wilson lost spots on the last couple of laps in the action.

Rice Lake Speedway will take next Saturday off as the Barron County Fair will have center stage. The next racing action at the speedway will be on Saturday, July 24th with a five class program beginning at 6;30 pm. Log on to the speedway website, for any announcements about upcoming events for the rest of the racing season.

WISSOTA Modifieds
20 lap Feature – Kevin Adams, Cameron; Mike Anderson, Colfax; Dave Baxter, Eau Claire; Brent Prochnow, Colfax; Jason Swan, Chippewa Falls; Shawn Kreyer, Hayward; Mark Hessler, Menomonie; Aric Lindberg, Dallas; Paul Niznik, Medford; Dave Mayala, Barron; Mike Anderson, Dallas; Scott Miller, Rice Lake; Mark Hanson, Chippewa Falls; Pat Hoffman, Rice Lake
10 lap Heat 1 – Anderson(Colfax); Adams; Baxter; Kreyer; Hessler; Hanson; Hoffman
Heat 2 – Swan; Prochnow; Anderson(Dallas); Lindberg; Niznik; Miller; Mayala

WISSOTA Super Stocks
20 lap Feature – Cory Davis, Turtle Lake; Mike Keller, Menomonie; Eric Olson, Ladysmith; Ben Hillman, Menomonie; Aaron Wilson, Menomonie; Paul Erikson, Abbotsford; Jason Forehand, Eau Claire; Jim Harris, Menomonie; Wayne Harris Jr, Bloomer; Andy Grymala, Superior; Jeff Heintz, Turtle Lake; Scott Clark, Cameron; Cory Karshbaum, Chetek; Allen Amborn, Rice Lake; Marcel Hoaglan, Hudson; Chad Tarvis, Chetek; Wayne Bignell, Menomonie; Steve Tesch, Prentice; Donnie Talmage, Amery; John Olson, Hudson; Jay Quilling, Menomonie; Mike Siewert, Mikana
10 lap Heat 1 – Hillman; E. Olson; Davis; Grymala; Amborn; J. Harris; Quilling; Scott Zitelman
Heat 2 – Heintz; Wilson; Karshbaum; Clark; Tesch; Tarvis; Talmage; Siewert
Heat 3 – Forehand; Keller; Erikson; Hoaglan; Bignell; J. Olson; Harris Jr
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
15 lap Feature – Tito Viltz, Cameron; Josh Smith, Eau Claire; Ryan Viltz, Cameron; Matt Leer, Bruce; Nick Koehler, Bloomer; Grant Southworth, Bloomer; Joe Olson, Chetek; Bryce Johnson, Barron; Cory Jackson, Chippewa Falls; Fran Hanson, Dallas; Alan Broker, Turtle Lake; Travis Anderson, Colfax; Shane Halopka, Greenwood; Terry Sirek, Rice Lake
10 lap Heat 1 – Anderson; Olson; Sirek; Koehler; Jackson; Broker; R. Viltz
Heat 2 – Halopka; Leer; Southworth; Smith; Johnson; Hanson
WISSOTA Street Stocks
15 lap Feature – Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls; Danny Richards, Mondovi; Doug Wojcik, Ladysmith; Jay Kesan, Weyerhaeuser; Josh Amans, Rice Lake; Chanda Fjorden-Nord, Luck; James Vought, Hudson; Ashley Husby, Menomonie; Sam Fankhauser, Rice Lake; Simon Wahlstrom, Cameron; Ryan Asp, N. St. Paul MN; Zach Manley, Cameron; Ron Hanestad, Glenwood City; Adam Soltis, Ladysmith; Joel Hinrichs, Cameron.
10 lap Heat 1 – Crapser; Manley; Richards; Fankhauser; Hanestad; Wahlstrom; Kesan; Fjorden-Nord
Heat 2 – Amans; Wojcik; Soltis; Hinrichs; Husby; Vought; Asp; Chad Ogilvie
Pure Stocks
12 lap Feature – John Erickson, Cameron; Gunnar Watkins, Menomonie; George Richards, Mondovi; Dusty Brown, Rice Lake; Nick Wojcik, Ladysmith; C.J. Wagner, Hayward; Josh Bach, Rice Lake; Bob Thompson, Cameron; Bob Wahlstrom, Chetek; Kyle Hunter, Luck; Jay Folz, Rice Lake; Shawn Warner, Bruce; Brandon Davis, Chetek; Jeff Grasley, Bruce; Brad Michaels, Bruce; Nick Traynor, Chetek; Don Blanchette, Spooner
8 lap Heat 1 – Richards; Watkins; Traynor; Bach; Blanchette; Michaels; Jake Sandmann
Heat 2 – Brown; Erickson; Warner; Grasley; Hunter; Kendall Grover
Heat 3 – Wagner; Wojcik; Thompson; Davis; Wahlstrom; Folz

July 10 Photos by Chris Burback & Doug Zimmer: