Kerry Halopka, Baxter Added To Rice Lake Speedway Winners List

By Ed Reichert

RICE LAKE, WI (June 30) – Racing action Saturday night at Rice Lake Speedway was highlighted by two drivers who recorded significant achievements during the evening. Second year Midwest Modified driver Kerry Halopka earned his first ever feature win  while veteran Modified driver Dave Baxter won his first ever feature win at the Rice Lake Speedway in racing action that was nearly spoiled by a surprise rain shower that hit during the main events. The three other feature winners are all currently in the middle of hot streaks and they included Eric Olson, Shane Kisling and Joel Hinrichs.

The early part of the Pure Stock feature was trying to everyone’s patience as the yellow flag waved five times in the first three laps. Kolby Kiehl started things off by losing a front wheel with only one lap completed and it then got worse as early leader Jay Folz spun in front of the entire field in turn four with the rest of the competitors somehow able to avoid him.

The spin elevated C.J. Wagner into the lead but he was soon challenged by Hinrichs, who had started sixth on the grid. After battling for a couple of laps, Joel was able to duck under Wagner and take over the lead. Wagner was then challenged by Jason Havel and Bob Thompson for the second spot before Havel lost control and dropped a couple of positions. Meanwhile, Hinrichs continued to pull away from the field while Thompson worked into second and Havel began to move back up and race Thompson for the second spot. Hinrichs went on unchallenged as he raced to his third feature win of the year and also third straight at the track. Havel made a last lap pass on Thompson for second with Wagner and Darwin Brown completing the top five.

Kerry Halopka took the early lead in the Midwest Modified feature when suddenly without warning, two laps into the event spectators suddenly started scrambling for shelter as a surprise shower hit the track. While it didn’t rain long, it did rain hard and the status of the rest of the program was in doubt for a few minutes. However, the track prep crew, led by Mitch Hansen and Duane Bisonette used their heavy equipment and after a delay of about forty five minutes, the drivers, supplied with new tear offs so they could see, resumed their feature race.

Halopka continued to lead but he was under intense pressure as the Viltz brothers had moved into the next two spots and they were both challenging for the lead on every corner, as well as battling each other for position. Tito held the second spot and he continued to nose under Halopka, who kept his car straight and refused to wilt against the strong challenges. Meanwhile, Ryan Viltz was trying to sneak around his brother at the same time and steal second.

The rest of the race ran nonstop and the scenario continued lap after lap. Tito made one last all out effort on the final corner but Kerry was up to the challenge as he drove home for the memorable win. Following the Viltz brothers, Paul Harelstad, who was guest driving Jake Stai’s car, fought his way through traffic and raced up to fourth at the finish ahead of Travis Anderson.

The nonstop Street Stock finale produced the closest finish of the night and also was highlighted by the move of the evening, pulled off by veteran Olson in taking over the lead on the final lap of the event. Olson started on the front row but was edged out in the early going by Adam Soltis who grabbed the lead. Olson raced in his tire tracks for several laps, looking for a path to the front. Meanwhile, a great six car battle for third broke out with drivers running in a huge wad and swapping positions on every corner of the track. Butch Madsen, again behind the wheel of Josh Aman’s car, grabbed the third spot but he was challenged by Cody Kummer, Sam Fankhauser, Doug Wojcik, Jimmy Randall and Jay Kesan as they used every inch of the track in an effort to better their running position.

Up front, Olson continued to challenge Soltis on every corner, trying to duck inside Adam who continued to fight off his fellow Ladysmith racer. Olson was persistent though, and continued to pressure Soltis on the low side. Suddenly, Olson pulled the surprise of the night and also the move of the night as he jumped to the outside of Soltis and attempted an outside pass. Racing down the back chute, he gained ground on Adam and as they took the white flag, they were side by side. Olson got a great run off turn one on the tacky track and pulled ahead down the back chute. Soltis drove as hard into turn three as he dared, but Olson had a head of steam on the outside and raced home the winner by a car length in an exciting and surprising finish. It was Olson’s third Street Stock win of the year as he leads all drivers in that category. Madsen survived a ton of pressure on him to take the third place with Randall making a late run for fourth ahead of Kummer.

Olson was a prominent player in the early going of the Super Stock feature also. Andy Grymala took the initial lead but Olson got forced up to the wall, triggering a yellow flag. On the restart, Grymala continued to lead but Olson was challenging him hard with Aaron Wilson and Shane Kisling close behind along with a charging Jason Forehand. Olson continued to look under Grymala coming off the corners but on lap eight they got too close together and touched, and while the contact was minor, it gave Olson a flat front tire and he stalled on the track.

Back under green, Grymala continued to lead but Kisling was on the move using the high side and he stormed up beside Andy for the lead. They fought hard but Kisling was able to edge in front and then began to pull away. Wilson and Forehand battled for third, but then Jason picked up the pace and was able to drive past Grymala to take over the second spot. He pushed hard, and while he was able to shorten the lead Kisling had, Shane was never in serious trouble as he drove home for his second straight feature win here after being shut out during the early part of the season. Wilson made a late charge to get past Grymala for third with Bart Steffen completing the top five.

Baxter was dominate in the Modifieds as he started on the outside pole, jumped into the early lead and as the Modifieds tore around the tacky track, built up nearly a straightway advantage as the race ran green to checkered without a stoppage. As Baxter extended his lead, there was some great infighting in the pack with Kevin Adams leading the charge as he worked forward after starting eighth on the grid. Adams battled with Scott Duval early and then raced three wide with Matt Leer and Tim McMann as they raced for position. Adams used the high groove to advance positions and then battled hard with a strong running Scott Miller and Shaun Kreyer for the second spot.

Adams finally cleared his way to the second spot, but by then Baxter had built up a huge lead that Dave was not going to give up. As Baxter raced down the front chute to receive the checkered flag, he had a hand out the window signaling he was number one on this night as he raced to his first win ever win here and first on any track since last October. McMann made a late charge to race up to third with Leer and Miller completing the top five.

There is much racing action coming up in the next two weeks at the speedway. This coming Tuesday, July 3, the annual Firecracker special will be held at the track. Along with racing in all five classes and extra money on the line for the drivers, one of the best fireworks displays in the area will also be shot off at dusk. On Saturday, July 7, a full five division program will again be held and then on July 14, along with the regular five classes that race at the track, sprint car fans will get their opportunity when the outlaw sprint cars of the Interstates Racing Association (IRA), featuring four time and defending champion and former area resident Billy Balog, make their first appearance at the track in a couple of years. Race time for all shows is 6:30 p.m.

SUMMARY


WISSOTA Modifieds
20 lap Feature – Dave Baxter(Eau Claire), Kevin Adams(Cameron), Tim McMann(Duluth MN), Matt Leer(Bruce), Scott Miller(Rice Lake), Shaun Kreyer(Hayward), Scott Duval(Bloomer), Pat Hoffman(Rice Lake), Aric Lindberg(Dallas), Jason Gross(Cushing), Jake Miller, Wayne Poteet, Buddy Mayala, Adam Hensel
10 lap Heat 1 – Leer, Duval, Baxter, McMann, Gross, Poteet, J. Miller
Heat 2 – Adams, Kreyer, Hensel(Baldwin), S. Miller, Hoffman, Lindberg, Mayala

WISSOTA Super Stocks
20 lap Feature – Shane Kisling(Sarona), Jason Forehand(Eau Claire), Aaron Wilson(Menomonie), Andy Grymala(Superior), Bart Steffen(Eau Claire), Kirk Bogdanovic(Phillips), Steve Tesch(Prentice), David Pospyhalla(Stratford), Pat Jungerberg(Barron), Eric Olson(Ladysmith)
10 Lap Heat 1 – Wilson, Grymala, Olson, Steffen, Bogdanovic
Heat 2 – Kisling, Forehand, Tesch, Jungerberg, Pospyhalla

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
15 lap Feature – Kerry Halopka(Wheeler), Tito Viltz(Rice Lake), Ryan Viltz(Chetek), Paul Harelstad(Bloomer), Travis Anderson(Colfax), Joe Chaplin Jr(Cameron), Shane Halopka(Greenwood), Dusty Brown(Rice Lake), Cody Cimfl(Mikana), Darren LaBlonde(Baldwin)
10 lap Heat 1 – Harelstad, Anderson, T. Viltz, Cimfl, LaBlonde
Heat 2 – R. Viltz, Chaplin Jr, S. Halopka, K. Halopka, Brown

WISSOTA Street Stocks
15 lap Feature – Eric Olson(Ladysmith), Adam Soltis(Ladysmith), Butch Madsen(Rice Lake), Jimmy Randall(Rice Lake), Cody Kummer(Medford), Jay Kesan(Weyerhaeuser), Sam Fankhauser(Chetek), Jamey Fisher(Rice Lake), Jim Miller(Hayward), Doug Wojcik(Ladysmith), Heidi Karshbaum
10 Lap Heat 1 – Olson, Kummer, Wojcik, Madsen, Fisher
Heat 2 – Randall, Soltis, Fankhauser, Kesan, Karshbaum, Miller

Pure Stocks
12 Lap Feature – Joel Hinrichs(Chetek), Jason Havel(Rice Lake), Bob Thompson(Cameron), C.J. Wagner(Hayward), Darwin Brown(Cumberland), Chad Eastman(Rice Lake), Talon Laabs(Stetsonville), Brandon Davis(Chetek), Randy Graham(Trego), Jay Folz(Rice Lake), Jimmy Holden, Brent Miller, Andrew Conklin, Kolby Kiehl
8 lap Heat 1 – Thompson, Wagner, Havel, Mike Schnider(Rice Lake), Kiehl(Cameron), Laabs, Conklin, Miller
Heat 2 – Hinrichs, Holden(Rice Lake), Folz, Davis, Eastman, Graham, Brown

June 30, 2012 Photos By Chris Burback: