Fankhauser Tops Little Dream Race; Record Payoff Set
By Ed Reichert
RICE LAKE, WI (July 30) Despite early evening rains that threatened to cancel the show and fog later in the evening that eventually ended the race prematurely, Rice Lake Speedway prevailed and completed the 2013 version of the WISSOTA Street Stock Little Dream race and local driver Sam Fankhauser was the one most pleased by this. He led every lap of the Street Stock feature race and thanks to generous contributions by fans and area businesses alike, a new record first place payoff was set for the event and Sam went home with $8,020 for his efforts. In other racing action, Talon Laabs won the Pure Stock feature while the Modified feature fell victim to the fog.
After overnight rains Monday into Tuesday morning deposited three quarters of an inch of rain on the track, the track prep crew was put into crisis mode to get the track whipped into shape for the night’s activities. They managed to do so and everything seemed on schedule until about 6:30 p.m., when despite forecasts to the contrary, it started to lightly rain again. The rain continued for quite some time and very nearly caused the event to be postponed, but eventually it would stop and once again the track prep crew was put to the test to try and reclaim the racing surface once again. They would come through again, however the program was now nearly two hours behind schedule.
After all the preliminary events were completed, twenty six of the fifty three Street Stocks entered in the program took starter Troy Holder’s green flag to start the thirty lap main event. Fankhauser , who had redrawn the pole position, jumped into the early lead with heavy pressure from Danny Hanson. Ron Hanestad, Mike Jans and Jordan Tollakson were right behind them and battling hard for position. Jans appeared the fastest of them at that point as he drove into third and started to close on the leaders.
A stalled car slowed the action with nine laps complete and Fankhauser continued to lead on the green, but Hanson was all over him trying to get by for the lead. Jans fell back on the restart with Tollakson then moving into the third spot while Danny Richards also began to close on the leaders. Two more minor yellows near the mid point of the event kept the field bunched as Fankhauser continued to show the way.
Sam was still the leader but at the halfway point Tollakson took advantage of a restart to take over the second spot and close within a couple car lengths of the lead. Meanwhile, farther back in the pack defending champion Jimmy Randall was on the move after starting eleventh on the grid. He moved to the high side of the track and started picking off the front runners as he closed in on the leaders. By this time, another issue came into play as the fog, which had been getting heavier and heavier, now made it increasingly tough to see the back straightaway and the drivers were also starting to have visibility problems too.
A lap twenty one spin by Dave Read bunched the field again and as Fankhauser jumped back into the lead on the green, Randall drove past Tollakson to take second and the battle was on. As the laps ran down, Randall pulled right up behind Fankhauser and tested him, trying several moves to get past. As the white flag waved, Randall went for broke. He drove very hard into turn three and tried to get under Fankhauser but in his efforts to do so, he made contact with the leader and sent him spinning into the infield. Instead of the checkered flag waving, a yellow instead was required. Fankhauser was restored to the top spot and Randall called it a night, but as the race was being reorganized, the fog got extremely heavy, to the point that visibility was impossible and the safety limit was reached. The yellow and checkered were waved simultaneously and the race was called complete with twenty nine laps scored.
Fankhauser happily went to a soggy victory lane to collect his rewards while the rest of the top five at the finish were Tollakson, Hanson, Chris Peterson and Richards. The second five at the finish consisted of Adam Soltis, Tim Johnson, Allen Gessell Jr, Christina Wollak and Cody Kummer.
Laabs, last year’s Rookie of the Year in the Pure Stock class, made his first appearance of the year a winning one as he collected his first ever feature win in a wild Pure Stock main event. C.J. Wagner took the early lead in the race with John Erickson moving up to pressure him for the lead spot. Jason Havel was also on the move after starting beside Erickson in the third row and following a couple of yellow flags, Havel was able to get beside Wagner and after a brief battle, take over the lead.
Meanwhile, Laabs, who started seventh on the field, was also charging toward the front and he also got past Wagner to take over second. Havel had a few car lengths on the pack but Laabs cut into his lead and pulled in beside him. After a yellow for debris on the track, the leaders started racing side by side with Laabs on the inside and Havel high on the track. They battled hard for the top spot and as they raced into turn three , they touched slightly. Laabs took over the lead and Havel slid up the track and stalled. A yellow was required, Laabs was judged the new leader while Havel went to the tail of the pack.
The last few laps saw Laabs pull away from Wagner and take the win. Behind them, Dan Hensel, in his first appearance of the year at the track too, came on for third ahead of Nick Traynor and George Richards who started sixteenth.
Following the Street Stock feature the fog continued to get worse and it was impossible to run the Modified main event. All drivers qualified for their main split equally the money between themselves.
The 2013 version of the Little Dream race saw a record fifty three drivers from five states and Canada enter the event.
Racing action continues this Saturday, August 3 at 6:30 p.m. with all five classes in action. The next special event at the speedway is on Thursday, August 15 when the United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) comes to the speedway for one of their Hunt for the Casey’s Cup Championship series races paying the Modified winner $3,000. The USMTS event in April at the track was rained out so this event is highly anticipated. Also racing that night will be the Pure Stocks and the Super Stocks.
WISSOTA Street Stocks:
29 lap Little Dream Feature Sam Fankhauser(Rice Lake), Jordan Tollakson(Montevideo MN), Danny Hanson(Alma), Chris Peterson(Amery), Danny Richards(Mondovi), Adam Soltis(Ladysmith), Tim Johnson(Brainerd MN), Allen Gessell Jr(Big Lake MN), Christina Wollak(St. Cloud MN), Cody Kummer(Medford), Jesse Pederson, Jonny Carter, Dave Read, Kyle Dykhoff, Gary Kasperek, Grady Myers, Jimmy Randall, Josh Amans, Mike Jans, Troy Fransway, Ron Hanestad, Brad Schmidt, Jimmy Gullikson, Jordan Kurtti, Shawn Teunis, Kyle King
12 lap B Feature Kurtti(Bruce Crossing MI), Gullikson(Zimmerman MN), Fransway(Elk Mound), James Tandeski(Christine N.D.), Jay Kesan(Weyerhaeuser), A.J. Zvorek, Jared Lindner, James Vought, Andy Cimfl, Brandon Davis, Cooper Berlin, Keith Tourville
B Feature 2 Schmidt(Elk River MN), C. Peterson, Kummer, Eric Olson(Ladysmith), Kyle Howland(Zimmerman MN), Simon Wahlstrom, Heidi Karshbaum, Kolby Kiehl, Marcus Simonson, Kurt Becken
B Feature 3 Gessell Jr, Soltis, Kasperek(Tigerton), Tyler Lamb(Clark S.D.), Mike Knudtson (Osseo), Mitch Kesan, Ryan Kostreba, Kris Peterson, Teunis, Troy Chaplin, Russell Peterson
12 lap Heat 1 Hanestad(Glenwood City), Richards, Dykhoff(Perham MN), Berlin(Rice Lake), Becken(Elk River MN), Tourville, Behn Mensen, Knudtson, Jason Bearden
Heat 2 Jans(Clarkfield MN), Pederson(Winnipeg MB), Carter(Lisbon N.D.), Fransway, King(Hastings MN), Gullikson, Olson, Justin Tammen, Zvorek
Heat 3 Fankhauser, Randall(Rice Lake), Kummer, C. Peterson, Soltis, Lamb, J. Kesan, Cimfl, Karshbaum
Heat 4 Tollakson, Amans(Rice Lake), Kasperek, Myers(Ethan S.D.), Kiehl(Cameron), Tandeski, Howland, Wahlstrom, R. Peterson
Heat 5 Hanson, Read(Brainerd MN), Kurtti, Lindner(Greenwood), Kostreba(Elk River MN), Simonson, Vought, Nate Hauge
Heat 6 Johnson, Wollak, Gessell Jr, Schmidt, M. Kesan(Eau Claire), K. Peterson, Chaplin, Teunis
25 lap Feature Cancelled due to fog
12 lap B Feature Jason Grimes(Jamestown N.D.), Cory Mahder(Elk Mound), Jason Gross(Cushing), Pat Hoffman(Rice Lake), Steve Stuart(Ashland), Cody Cimfl, Dave Baxter, Cory Williams, Buddy Mayala, Paul Brust, Mark Hanson
10 lap Heat 1 Steve Hallquist(Eau Claire), Mark Hessler(Menomonie), Kent Baxter(Colfax), Jesse Glenz(Cadott), Kelly Estey(Kelly Lake MN), Cimfl, Gross, Brust, Mayala
Heat 2 Kevin Eder(Ashland), Mike Anderson(Colfax), Scott Hudack(Ashland), Neil Balduc(Bessemer MI), Aric Lindberg(Dallas), Hoffman, Williams, Curt Myers, Stuart
Heat 3 Tim Johnson(Brainerd MN), Scott Miller(Rice Lake), Kevin Adams(Cameron), Al Uotinen(Superior), Andy Jones(Princeton MN), Grimes, D. Baxter
Heat 4 Matt Leer(Bruce), Doug Gustafson(Frederic), Sketter Estey(Kelly Lake MN), Jeff Spacek(Phillips), Tim McMann(Duluth MN), Hanson, Mahder, Destin Lorimor
15 lap Feature Talon Laabs(Stetsonville), C.J. Wagner(Hayward), Dan Hensel(Rice Lake), Nick Traynor(Hillsdale), George Richards(Mondovi), Terran Spacek(Phillips), Trenten Holub(Chetek), Rob Grabon(Bruce), Mike Grover(Chetek), Will Fisher(Shell Lake), Scott Pittman, John Erickson, Andrew Conklin, Mike Miller, Jason Havel, Jimmy Holden, Randy Davis, Jared Amundson, Bob Thompson, Randy Graham, Mike Chaplin, Brent Miller, Hunter VanGilder, Andy Ladd
10 lap Heat 1 Erickson(Rice Lake), Graham(Trego), Wagner, Holden(Rice Lake), Fisher, Richards, Spacek, Ladd
Heat 2 Hensel, Amundson(Barron), Chaplin(Cameron), Thompson(Cameron), Holub, B. Miller, Grover, Grabon
Heat 3 Laabs, Havel(Rice Lake), VanGilder(Rice Lake), Davis(Comstock), Conklin(Ladysmith), M. Miller, Pittman, Traynor