|Randall Breaks The Bank at Street Stock Little Dream
By Ed Reichert
RICE LAKE, WI (July 31) - Jimmy Randall has been trying to win the Street Stock Little Dream race for many years. The local driver has been painfully close on a couple of occasions, coming as near to victory as being just one lap short with a flat tire on one occasion. However, Tuesday night at the Rice Lake Speedway Randall put in a dominating performance as he took the lead on lap nine and led the rest of the thirty lap main event in winning the Little Dream race for WISSOTA Street Stocks.
Randall, known as “The Blade”, picked the perfect night to win his first ever Little Dream, as the first place and overall purse to all three classes smashed the old record.
The Little Dream, a unique race where fan and business cash contributions boost the basic purse established by the promoters, broke all records Tuesday, and when the final tabulations had been made, Randall made the short tow home with an extra $6,108 dollars in his driver’s suit, an all time record for a WISSOTA Street Stock event. Extra contributions also boosted the Late Model purse, where Mike Prochnow earned $1,830 for his win and Darwin Brown who won the Pure Stock event.
Twenty five cars took starter Randy Davis’ green flag for the Street Stock headliner with Keith Tourville moving off the cushion to take the early lead over Ron Hanestad. Hanestad was riding close on Tourville’s bumper as Randall pulled up beside Hanestad in a battle for second. Close behind them were Doug Wojcik and Chanda Fjorden-Nord while defending champion Tim Johnson was on the move also.
Randall edged past Hanestad and then closed on the leader. Randall looked to the outside of Tourville and when that didn’t work, he dropped to the low line and was able to motor past Keith to take over the lead.
Randall put a few car lengths on the field until the yellow flag waved for a spin on lap thirteen. On the green, Randall continued to lead while Tourville and Hanestad continued their great battle for second. A driver on the move was Eric Olson who started tenth on the grid and worked his way into the top five and was continuing to move forward. As Randall extended his lead, the battle for second became a battle of three, as Johnson worked the entire track in an attempt to get by the duo fighting for second. Olson also continue his charge as he worked his way forward. Soon he was right behind Hanestad and then, with some nifty moves, was able to move past Ron and then Tourville to take second.
Randall’s half a straightaway lead vanished again with only five laps left after Christina Wollak slowed with a flat tire, and Olson and Hanestad found themselves side by side right behind Randall. Jimmy again took off with Olson securing second and trying to track down the leader. However, Randall continued to hit his marks and he pulled away by about three car lengths. Jimmy was not going to falter, and he continued his strong push in the last few laps to flash across the line as the winner, with Olson running second. Hanestad held off Tourville for third while Adam Soltis came from fifteenth to round out the top five. Sam Fankhauser got the Hard Charger award, moving from twentieth on the grid to ninth at the finish as twenty three of the starters were still on the track at the finish on a night when forty five Street Stocks signed in to race.
The Late Models made their sole appearance of the year at the track a good one, with a fine main event that saw the issue in doubt until the final corner. Scott Gilberts got the jump on Chad Mahder to lead the opening laps as Mahder worked the cushion while Gilberts ran the low side. Mike Prochnow and John Kaanta were both on the move with Prochnow slipping past Mahder and Kaanta also following suit.
When Gilberts pushed up in turn two, Prochnow was right there to jump on the opening and take over the lead. Kaanta continued his push as he took over second and closed on the leader. Just as Kaanta was moving beside Mike, the lone yellow waved for a spin by Ben Hanke.
The restart saw Prochnow continuing to hold the lead but Kaanta was all over him after he outfought Gilberts to retain second. Lap after lap, Kaanta would edge outside Prochnow in the turns but Mike would fight off Kaanta’s pressure, with Kaanta getting perilously close to the wall on several occasions. As Prochnow continued to fight off Kaanta, Jake Redetzke used the opportunity to close up and suddenly it was a three car battle for the lead.
They continued to run in a tight pack as the laps ran down. Suddenly, Gilberts, who had fallen back, moved to the cushion and immediately began to pick up the pace. He closed on the leaders and it was a question of whether he would have enough time. As the white flag waved, Gilberts roared up beside Kaanta as they raced into turn one but Scott pushed up the track and lost precious time. Prochnow continued to block Kaanta as they raced into the last corner, but Gilberts made a big run off the high side on the final corner and blew past Kaanta, finishing just a car length short in his attempt to overtake Prochnow for the win. Redetzke settled for fourth while Mahder completing the top five.
The Pure Stock feature saw Mike Schnider take the early lead until he slipped up and C. J. Wagner passed him for the top spot. Wagner continued to lead for several laps until Darwin Brown got past him with a move in turn three. As Schnider dropped out with a flat tire, Jason Havel became part of the action. Sent to the tail as the cause of a lap two spin by Brown, Havel worked his way all the way back up to second and began to pressure Brown as the two Ford Thunderbirds battled for the lead.
Havel tried his best, but Brown held him off for his second straight win at the speedway. Wagner settled for third ahead of Chad Eastman and Dustin Doughty.
Racing action continues at the speedway on Saturday night, August 4th with a five class program scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. The next special event at the speedway will be the second appearance of the USMTS Modifieds in 2012. On August 18th, the USMTS will appear at the speedway as a part of their “Hunt” series with $3,000 on the line to the winner. Super Stocks and Pure Stocks will also be in action that night. NASCAR driver and commentator Kenny Wallace will be on hand that night to race his Modified and also give rides in the speedway two seater Modified.
WISSOTA Late Models
25 lap Feature Mike Prochnow(Menomonie), Scott Gilberts(Menomonie), John Kaanta(Elk Mound), Jake Redetzke(Eau Claire), Chad Mahder(Eau Claire), Paul Brust(Rice Lake), Steve Laursen(Cumberland), Tim McMann(Duluth MN), Robby Bunkelman(Abbotsford), Gregg Hill(Eveleth MN), T.J. Adams, Ryan Johnson, Ben Hanke, Scott Meeds
10 lap Heat 1 Kaanta, Laursen, Mahder, Bunkelman, Adams, Hanke, Meeds
Heat 2 Redetzke, Gilberts, Brust, Prochnow, McMann, Hill, Johnson
WISSOTA Street Stocks