|Three New Winners Overcome Rice Lake Speedway Rains
By Ed Reichert
RICE LAKE, WI (July 24) - Midway through the heat race action Saturday night at Rice Lake Speedway an ominous looking cloud decided to dump its contents right on the race track. The rains only lasted about ten minutes but it took two hours of diligent efforts by the track crew and racers to get the track back into some semblance of racing shape.
Overcoming the less than ideal conditions, three racers won their first ever feature races at Rice Lake in their divisions while two three time winners also emerged as two of the main events showcased some of the most intensive side by side action seen all year at the track.
Next Saturday, more of the same intense racing is expected as the drivers make one last tune up before the Little Dream Race for Street Stocks hits town on Tuesday, August 3 along with the first appearance of the WISSOTA Late Models in a year and a half along with the Midwest Modifieds also.
Scott Clark is a multi time former Street Stock champion at the track and his move up to the Super Stocks this year has been a smooth one and tonight he put it all together as he recorded his first ever win since making the big move. Clark led all the way in the Super Stock headliner but the battle for the lead was intense as Ben Hillman was behind, beside and around him for the entire twenty laps of the feature go. Clark came off the outside pole to take the early lead as he got the jump on Scott Zitelman but Hillman was on the move immediately and he drove up from the third row to challenge Clark. Hillman stalked Clark for a few laps and then made a power move to the inside of Scott and they ran side by side , neither backing off as they drove very deep into the corners. Some how Clark fought off Hillman and continued to hold the top spot but Hillman remained close behind. Meanwhile, Jason Forehand was making a great charge of his own. After a miserable heat race run, Forehand started 14th in the main event but he was determinedly marching through the field on the way to the front.
A spin with 12 laps left bunched the field and again Hillman was all over Clark, as they raced side by side once again. Forehand used the restart to move from fifth to third and he was closing also. The top two continued their fight but it was Clark who was able to fend off the hard but clean challenge of Hillman to take his first win. Paul Erikson ended up fourth and Aaron Wilson completed the top five.
The other feature race that had the crowd holding their breath was the Modified headliner. Kevin Adams was an unlikely winner, given that he broke in his heat race and was forced to start 12th in the main event. However, by the end of the contest he was the hunted and not the hunter and he held on by a foot or two for his third win of the year.
Dave Mayala led a number of laps tonight in the Modified feature as he rode the cushion over the screaming field of open wheel cars. Meanwhile, Shawn Kreyer and Steve Hallquist put the pressure on Mayala as Mike Anderson, Scott Duval and Adams moved up from farther back in the pack. The action was wild as the pack flew around the fast track, jockeying for position. Adams made some great moves as he worked to the front of the pack, with him finally getting to second and then driving around Mayala to take the lead.
However, it was too early to relax as while he opened up a lead, Duval then worked into the second spot and a series of late yellows allowed him to close to Adams rear bumper. The last three laps were breath taking as the two screamed around the track side by side, with neither one seemingly backing off or giving an inch. Somehow they managed to race each other so intensely without wrecking, and Adams got the smallest of margins coming off the final corner to hold on over the surging Duval by a foot or two. Mike Anderson patiently worked his way to a third place finish ahead of Mayala and Larry Prochnow.
The Street Stock feature was a good one to with rookie Zach Manley, moving up from Pure Stocks, winning his first ever at Rice Lake. Sam Fankhauser was the early leader and he looked like he would be hard to catch. However, Chanda Fjorden Nord charged up from the third row and put the pressure on Fankhauser. She got to the outside on Sam, and looked like she was going to take over the lead, but somehow Sam hung on and fought her off. Meanwhile, Manley was also on the move and he was ready to replace Fjorden Nord as the challenger as soon as she couldn’t complete her mission.
Manley was able to get along Sam also, but he accelerated down the back chute and was able to drive by for the lead. Fjorden Nord then resumed her pursuit on Fankhauser as Ron Hanestad and Jimmy Randall were also moving into contention.
Manley continued his strong run the rest of the way for the win, Fjorden Nord was able to get into second and while Hanestad was also able to pass Sam, Fankhauser got back around him near the end to claim third with Randall next in line.
The Midwest Modified feature was a nightmarish event with nearly as many yellows as cars running at the end. Fran Hanson led his first laps of a feature event and did maintain the point for several tours as other drivers manage to spin and crash their way from the front of the pack to the tail or worse.
Finally, Shane Halopka was able to drive past Hanson and take over the top spot but his lead was not secure either, as Josh Smith came charging up and put some heavy pressure on Halopka, nearly getting by in the process.
However, the veteran Halopka maintained his line and was able to fight off Smith to take the win, his third of the year here. Matt Leer was able to rebound from an early spin to take third ahead of Hanson and Terry Sirek.
Watkins is a pure rookie, never having raced anything but a go kart before this year, but the youngster won his first Pure Stock feature on a night when veterans and rookies alike had trouble negotiating the slick and slimy track. Another rookie, Nick Traynor, led a number of laps before Watkins was able to track him down.
Several yellows kept the field bunched as Dusty Brown and Nick Wojcik navigated their way up through the heavy traffic. Wojcik went to the back of the pack once and still managed to race his way into contention. Meanwhile, Watkins withstood the pressure that Brown applied late, as the race ended prematurely when another pileup on the final lap caused the race to be scored complete to the white flag. Following Watkins was Brown, rookies Erickson and Traynor and Wojcik.
Feature Kevin Adams, Cameron; Scott Duval, Bloomer; Mike Anderson, Colfax; Dave Mayala, Barron; Larry Prochnow, Menomonie; Dave Baxter, Eau Claire; Paul Niznik, Medford; Shawn Kreyer, Hayward; Aric Lindberg, Dallas; Scott Miller, Rice Lake; Jason Swan, Chippewa Falls; Steve Hallquist, Eau Claire; Mark Hessler, Menomonie; Brent Prochnow, Colfax; Mark Hanson, Chippewa Falls.
Heat 1 Anderson; Hallquist; Hessler; Swan; Miller; Baxter; Niznik; B. Prochnow
Heat 2 Duval; Mayala; Kreyer; L. Prochnow; Adams; Paul Brust; Hanson; Lindberg
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature Scott Clark, Cameron; Ben Hillman, Menomonie; Jason Forehand, Eau Claire; Paul Erikson, Abbotsford; Aaron Wilson, Menomonie; Scott Zitelman, Taylors Falls MN; Wayne Dean, Fall Creek; Allan Amborn, Rice Lake; Cory Karshbaum, Chetek; Donnie Talmage, Amery; Mike Siewert, Mikana; Jim Harris, Menomonie; Pat Jungerberg, Barron; Wayne Harris Jr, Bloomer
Heat 1 Hillman; Zitelman; Harris Jr; Clark; Karshbaum; Siewert; Forehand
Heat 2 Erikson; J. Harris; Wilson; Dean; Jungerberg; Amborn; Talmage
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature Shane Halopka, Greenwood; Josh Smith, Eau Claire; Matt Leer, Bruce; Fran Hanson, Dallas; Terry Sirek, Rice Lake; Mark Turner, Rice Lake; Travis Anderson, Colfax; Tito Viltz, Cameron; Dave Peterson, Balsam Lake; Joe Olson, Chetek; Ryan Viltz, Cameron
Heat 1 Olson; Sirek; Hanson; Smith; Turner; R. Viltz
Heat 2 T. Viltz; Leer; Halopka; Anderson; Peterson
WISSOTA Street Stocks
Feature Zach Manley, Cameron; Chanda Fjorden-Nord, Luck; Sam Fankhauser, Rice Lake; Ron Hanestad, Glenwood City; Jimmy Randall, Rice Lake; Doug Wojcik, Ladysmith; Adam Soltis, Ladysmith; Jay Kesan, Weyerhaeuser; Josh Amans, Rice Lake; James Vought, Hudson; Danny Richards, Mondovi; Chad Ogilvie, Luck; Marcus Simonson, Milltown; Ryan Asp, N. St. Paul MN; Ashley Husby, Menomonie; Mike Knudtson, Osseo.
Heat 1 Hanestad; Knudtson; Fjorden-Nord; Soltis; Kesan; Simonson
Heat 2 Manley; Randall; Wojcik; Husby; Richards; Ogilvie
Heat 3 Fankhauser; Amans; Vought; Asp; Joel Hinrichs
Feature Gunnar Watkins, Elk Mound; Dusty Brown, Rice Lake; John Erickson, Cameron; Nick Traynor, Chetek; Nick Wojcik, Ladysmith; Jordan Johnson, Mondovi; Bob Wahlstrom, Chetek; Shawn Warner, Bruce; Jay Folz, Rice Lake; Josh Rud, Osseo; Jeff Grasley, Bruce; Don Blanchette, Spooner; C.J. Wagner, Hayward; Bob Thompson, Cameron; Josh Bach, Rice Lake; Kyle Hunter, Luck; Jake Sandmann, Barron
Heat 1 - Traynor; Wahlstrom; Hunter; Johnson; Bach; Rud
Heat 2 - Brown; Wojcik; Thompson; Folz; Blanchette; Warner
Heat 3 - Watkins; Wagner; Erickson; Grasley; Sandmann
July 24 Photos By Doug Zimmer: