Wayne Harris Jr. Wins Rice Lake Speedway Thriller

By Ed Reichert

RICE LAKE, WI (July 31) - Two last lap passes for feature wins, including a three wide sprint to the finish, highlighted the racing action on a beautiful Saturday night at Rice Lake Speedway.

Wayne Harris, Jr. topped the Super Stock feature that included a three wide race to the line with Harris, Jr. winning by inches. Shane Halopka also made a last lap pass for the Midwest Modified win while other winners included Mark Hanson, Zach Manley and rookie driver Nick Traynor, who won his first feature ever.

The Super Stock finale saw the Harris brothers, Wayne Jr and Jim start side by side on the front row and make up two thirds of what turned out to be a great stock car race. The Harris’ battled for the lead in the early going with first Wayne and then Jim taking over the lead. Meanwhile, Scott Zitelman moved in to challenge both for the point as Jason Forehand, Ben Hillman and Aaron Wilson also closed in.

Zitelman was putting lots of heat on Jim Harris and Wayne moved up to the wall and raced the high side of the track. Zitelman nosed under Jim for the lead but a yellow flag for debris on the track nixed the move. Zitelman continued to challenge Jim on the low side while Wayne Jr scrapped the wall as he ran the extreme high side. As the laps ran down, the top three pulled away from the field to settle the issue themselves. As they raced for the white flag, Jim slid off the bottom just a bit and Zitelman was right there to nose under him while at the same time, Wayne Jr got a great run off the cushion to make it three wide. They raced around the oval on the last lap in just that fashion and they came off the final corner still three abreast. Wayne Jr got a great run off the cushion again and at starter Randy Davis’s checkered, it was Wayne Jr by inches on the high side, Zitelman on the low side for second and Jim in the middle settled for third. Forehand and Wilson completed the top five as the Harris brothers celebrated with a big bear hug in victory lane.

Halopka’s late pass saw him become the third different leader in the Midwest Modified feature event. The early leader was Travis Anderson as he held off the strong challenges of Ryan Viltz. Nick Koehler moved in to challenge along with Darrel Hazelton as Halopka and Matt Leer worked their way up through the field.

Viltz looked to the inside of Anderson and they banged wheels for the next lap as they battled hard for the lead. Eventually Viltz would gain the upper hand and take over the top spot with Halopka also getting by Anderson and closing on Viltz. A yellow as Leer and Cory Crapser collided while battling for fourth set up a three lap sprint to the finish. Halopka was all over Viltz as he looked both high and low for an opening. As the leaders came for the white flag, Halopka was able to get inside Viltz and raced into the lead on the final tour. Viltz was unable to get back around Shane and settled for second as Halopka drove on for a division high fourth win here this year. Anderson held on for third ahead of Leer and Koehler.

Hanson put on an awesome run as he led start to finish in the nonstop Modified main event. Mark started on the outside pole, went to the cushion after battling with Jared Loos on the opening lap and then checked out on the field. As Hanson opened a big lead, there was a highly competitive battle for the positions behind him though, as Loos fought to hold on to second with pressure being applied by Jason Swan, Steve Hallquist and Dave Baxter. Meanwhile, Kevin Adams, who had started eighth, was putting on a show as he worked his way toward the front of the pack, using the entire track as he searched for openings to advance. Adams caught the pack racing for second and the action was intense as he fought with Baxter, Swan and Hallquist for position. Kevin was eventually able to get past Hallquist with just a few laps left to take over second but by that time Hanson was long gone as he won by nearly a straightaway over the field. Swan held on for a fourth place finish with Baxter next in line.

Manley won his second straight Street Stock feature as the rookie driver tunes up for Tuesday’s Street Stock Little Dream race. James Vought led his first feature laps of the year as he held off Adam Soltis, Manley and Danny Richards in the early going. Manley found room on the bottom of the track and dove into second and then began applying pressure on the leader.

Doug Wojcik, Chanda Fjorden-Nord and Ron Hanestad were all on the move as the pack got bigger and bigger at the front. Manley was able to find an opening off turn three when Vought moved up the track and he shot into the lead. Zach was then able to open a couple of car lengths on the field as Richards fought to hold off a raging pack of cars on his tail. As Manley motored on unchallenged for the win, Richards was able to hold on for second with Hanestad maneuvering his way into third ahead of Wojcik and Fjorden-Nord.

The Pure Stocks had some issues Saturday with their feature event having a difficult time staying under the green flag. Heavy weights went by the wayside early as the feature winner two weeks ago, John Erickson was eliminated before a lap could be completed when most of the field decided to rub together down the back chute on the opening lap. Point leader Nick Wojcik was also forced to pit for a new tire. The second attempt saw last week’s winner Gunnar Watkins end up against the front stretch wall , bringing out another caution.

When things finally got sorted out, rookie Shawn Warner led for several laps until Kyle Hunter held the lead for a period of time before Traynor got past him for the top spot. C.J. Wagner and Dusty Brown were all on the move as they tried to track down the leader. With a period of green flag racing, Traynor continued to hold on, as Wagner wasn’t able to close the distance to the front spot. The rookie continued to drive a smooth line and despite the efforts of Wagner, Traynor was able to hold on by four car lengths for his first ever feature win, and he was joined in victory lane by fellow Pure Stock driver and brother, Josh Bach, for more bear hugs. Wagner finished a strong second with Wojcik racing up from the back of the pack to take third ahead of Hunter and Brown.

Tuesday, August 3 will be a special midweek night of racing. The Street Stock Little Dream race will be the featured attraction along with the first appearance of the year of the Late Models. Midwest Modifieds will also be on the card. Race time is 7 p.m.

On Saturday, August 7, regular racing action will continue with all five classes on the card. Race time is 6:30 p.m. as track point leaders Kevin Adams, Aaron Wilson, Matt Leer, Chanda Fjorden Nord and Nick Wojcik look to protect their positions with three point nights remaining before the Season Championship races on August 28.

SUMMARY

WISSOTA Modifieds
Feature – Mark Hanson, Chippewa Falls; Kevin Adams, Cameron; Steve Hallquist, Eau Claire; Jason Swan, Chippewa Falls; Dave Baxter, Eau Claire; Scott Duval, Bloomer; Paul Brust, Rice Lake; Mike Anderson, Colfax; Nate Heinrich, Madison MN; Jared Loos, Loyal; Aric Lindberg, Dallas; Scott Miller, Rice Lake; Buddy Mayala, Barron; Dave Mayala, Barron; Justin Schill, Centuria; Brandon Kallenbach, Prairie Farm; Jason Schill, Centuria.
Heat 1 – Duval; Hanson; Heinrich; Brust; D. Mayala; Jerry Weigel
Heat 2 – Baxter; Hallquist; Swan; Lindberg; Miller; Kallenbach
Heat 3 – Adams; Anderson; Loos; B. Mayala; Ju. Schill; Ja. Schill

WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature – Wayne Harris Jr, Bloomer; Scott Zitelman, Taylors Falls MN; Jim Harris, Menomonie; Jason Forehand, Eau Claire; Aaron Wilson, Menomonie; Ben Hillman, Menomonie; Any Grymala, Superior; Wayne Dean, Fall Creek; Scott Clark, Cameron; Allen Amborn, Rice Lake; Ryan Olson, Chippewa Falls; Wayne Bignell, Menomonie; Russ Chester, Chetek; Mike Siewert, Mikana; Donnie Talmage, Amery; Pat Jungerberg, Barron
Heat 1 – Forehand; Harris Jr; Hillman; Clark; Chester; Amborn; Talmage; Bignell
Heat 2 – Wilson; Zitelman; Harris; Dean; Grymala; Olson; Jungerberg; Siewert

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature – Shane Halopka, Greenwood; Ryan Viltz, Cameron; Travis Anderson, Colfax; Matt Leer, Bruce; Nick Koehler, Bloomer; Mark Turner, Rice Lake; Bryce Johnson, Barron; Tito Viltz, Cameron; Josh Smith, Eau Claire; Joe Olson, Chetek; Darrel Hazelton, Chippewa Falls; Jordan Hessler, Elk Mound; Fran Hanson, Dallas; Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls
Heat 1 – R. Viltz; Halopka; Crapser; Koehler; Turner; Johnson; Smith
Heat 2 – T. Viltz; Hazelton; Leer; Anderson; Olson; Hessler; Hanson

WISSOTA Street Stocks
Feature – Zach Manley, Cameron; Danny Richards, Mondovi; Ron Hanestad, Glenwood City; Doug Wojcik, Ladysmith; Chanda Fjorden Nord, Luck; Sam Fankhauser, Rice Lake; James Wall, Winkler Mb; Josh Amans, Rice Lake; James Vought, Hudson; Ashley Husby, Menomonie; Chad Ogilvie, Luck; Simon Wahlstrom, Cameron; Jay Kesan, Weyerhaeuser; Adam Soltis, Ladysmith
Heat 1 – Fjorden Nord; Manley; Kesan; Vought; Ogilvie; Amans; Fankhauser
Heat 2 – Wojcik; Richards; Hanestad; Soltis; Wall; Wahlstrom; Husby

Pure Stocks
Feature – Nick Traynor, Chetek; C.J. Wagner, Hayward; Nick Wojcik, Ladysmith; Kyle Hunter, Luck; Dusty Brown, Rice Lake; Jesse Bryan, Menomonie; Josh Bach, Rice Lake; Shawn Warner, Bruce; Jake Sandmann, Barron; Doug Field, Menomonie; Jim LaPlant, Minong; Bob Thompson, Cameron; Jay Folz, Rice Lake; Bob Wahlstrom, Chetek; Jeff Grasley, Bruce; Gunnar Watkins, Menomonie; John Erickson, Cameron
Heat 1 – Wahlstrom; Erickson; Hunter; Thompson; Sandmann; LaPlant
Heat 2 – Traynor; Wojcik; Bach; Folz; Bryan; Kendall Grover
Heat 3 – Wagner; Brown; Warner; Watkins; Field; Grasley

July 24 Photos
By Doug Zimmer: