|Chaplin’s Prayers Answered at Rice Lake Speedway
By Ed Reichert
RICE LAKE, WI (July 21) - After racing in the Street Stocks for a couple of years and then taking some time away from the sport, Joe Chaplin Jr. returned to racing in the Midwest Modified class a couple of years ago. Since that time, he has been struggling to get his first feature win in the class. This year he got a new race car which has improved his performance, and Saturday night at the Rice Lake Speedway everything came together as he led from start to finish to earn his first ever feature win. Other winners on a comfortable Saturday night included Kevin Adams, Shane Kisling, Jimmy Randall and Jason Havel as some of the more dominant drivers from the year all flexed their muscle.
Chaplin Jr. got the jump on Jake Stai to take the early lead, but two yellow flags in the first lap slowed the action, the second of which saw point leader Tito Viltz take a spin with fortunately, everyone able to avoid him.
Following the second yellow, the final fourteen laps of the main event ran nonstop and Chaplin Jr was under the gun the entire time. First Stai challenged him and then, after a tough battle, Ryan Viltz got past Stai and moved in to put the heat on Chaplin Jr. Joe continued to hold his line as Viltz was all over him, looking both high and low by the halfway point of the race. Travis Anderson and then Shane Halopka both got past Stai, and began to close on the leaders also.
Viltz continued to pressure for the lead, and with about five laps left got beside Chaplin Jr. down the front chute and into turn one. However, Joe kept the hammer down and was able to fight off Viltz down the back chute and maintain the lead. Ryan made several more attempts in the closing laps but Chaplin Jr. continued to hold his line as he raced home with the win by two car lengths. Anderson and Halopka were both closing fast at the finish with Stai completing the top five. Chaplin Jr. became the seventh different winner in the Midwest Modified class this season.
Adams shook himself out of a recent funk as he cut through the Modified field like a hot knife through butter as he quickly drove up to the front from the fourth row to earn his fifth feature win of the year here, tops for all divisions at the speedway so far.
With the drop of the green flag, Steve Hallquist and Paul Brust battled in the early going for the lead, with Hallquist leading the opening tour and then Brust driving under him to take over the lead. Jerry Weigel and Mark Hessler battled side by side for third with Adams able to slip between Tim McMann, Ross Prochnow and Matt Leer down the back chute and move toward the front. As Brust continued to hold the lead, Adams resumed his march to the front, sliding under Hessler and then Hallquist to take over second. He then closed up on Brust who was running the low line and with a power move, swept past him through turn four and down the front chute to take over the lead.
As the race remained under the green, Adams then began to check out on the field with the battle then settling on second. Leer had gotten shuffled back early but he was now charging toward to the front while at the same time McMann had caught Brust for second and was trying to find a way by him.
Leer went to the cushion and quickly began to reel in the two battling for second. With Adams alone out front, it was a three car cluster for second with Leer driving past McMann on the final lap and coming up a half car length short as Brust held on for second with Hessler rounding out the top five.
Kisling dominated a small Super Stock field on this night as he recorded his fourth main event win at Rice Lake. Kirk Bogdanovic and Eric Olson battled for the lead in the early going but Jason Forehand found an opening on the low side of the track and he raced up to second and then continued his charge on the low side to take over the lead.
Aaron Wilson rolled to a halt with steering issues with five laps complete which bunched up the field. On the green, Forehand continued to lead but Kisling moved to second and quickly closed on Forehand. Kisling moved in to challenge Forehand and was able to drive past him down the back chute. Forehand tried to power back under Kisling in turn one and nearly pulled off the move, but Kisling held on and then gradually began to pull away. With the last fifteen laps of the race running green, Kisling gradually opened up a half straightaway lead that he maintained to the finish. Forehand had a strong hold on second which he didn’t relinquish, and Olson settled for third ahead of Bogdanovic with Pat Jungerberg getting his best finish of the season.
After a first lap yellow for a slowing Adam Soltis, the Street Stock feature ran nonstop from green to checkered. With both Soltis and Cody Kummer pitting, they would begin their charge from the back but for the rest of the field, it was bad news as Jimmy Randall started on the outside pole and led the event from start to finish. He had some early pressure from Sam Fankhauser but was able to drive past Sam and take over the lead and from that point on , everyone was chasing him.
As Randall pulled away, Jay Kesan closed in to challenge Fankhauser for second and with Sam running the low line, Kesan was able to drive around him and take over the runner up spot. Eric Olson and Ron Hanestad then began to pressure Sam, but Fankhauser made an adjustment and moved up the track which made him tougher to pass.
Randall and Kesan continued to stretch their margins, and while Olson and Hanestad pressured Fankhauser the rest of the way, Sammy hung tough to claim the third spot over them as Randall drove on for his third win at Rice Lake.
The Pure Stock feature had a wild finish and also saw the first rollover of the regular season. John Erickson and Brandon Davis battled in the early going with Davis claiming the top spot. Brandon continued to show the way as while he was under constant and heavy pressure, he refused to give up the top spot. Erickson was all over him and Dustin Doughty, Bob Thompson, Jason Havel and Joel Hinrichs were all lumped together as they battled.
Finally, Erickson was able to get inside Davis and he took over the lead with the rest of the pack still running close together. Then, with the laps winding down, Erickson slipped high in turn two and Havel shot past him to take over the lead. Doughty wound up facing the wrong direction in the middle of the turn and Thompson clipped him with the right rear of his car. Thompson’s machine was turned sideways, dug into the track and then barrel rolled down the back chute. The red flag flew for the accident with Thompson checking out O.K., but his car along with those of Doughty and Randy Graham were eliminated in the melee.
The running order was scrambled for the last two laps, with Havel taking the lead and then holding off the charge of Hinrichs for the win. Erickson finished third ahead of a charging Chad Eastman with Jay Folz completing the top five.
Upcoming at the speedway in the next ten days are a regular , five class program of racing on Saturday, July 28th and then on Tuesday, July 31st, the well known Street Stock Little Dream race will be held at the speedway. The track will try to break their record, set last year, for the highest paying Street Stock race in WISSOTA with fan contributions paving the way. Also on the card will be the lone appearance of the Late Models in 2012 and Pure Stocks will also be competing. That event will have a 7 p.m. start time with Wednesday, August 1st reserved as the rain date.
20 lap Feature Kevin Adams(Cameron), Paul Brust(Rice Lake), Matt Leer(Bruce), Tim McMann(Duluth MN), Mark Hessler(Menomonie), Steve Hallquist(Eau Claire), Ross Prochnow(Boyceville), Scott Miller(Rice Lake), Jerry Weigel(Jim Falls), Pat Hoffman(Rice Lake), Aric Lindberg, Wayne Poteet
10 lap Heat 1 Adams, Hallquist, Leer, Weigel, Miller, Hoffman, Lindberg
Heat 2 Prochnow, Brust, McMann, Hessler, Poteet(Spooner), Rich Anderson
WISSOTA Super Stocks
20 lap Feature Shane Kisling(Sarona), Jason Forehand(Eau Claire), Eric Olson(Ladysmith), Kirk Bogdanovic(Phillips), Pat Jungerberg(Barron), Russ Chester(Chetek), Aaron Wilson(Eau Claire)
10 lap Heat Kisling, Olson, Forehand, Wilson, Bogdanovic, Chester, Jungerberg
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds