Four New Winners In Rice Lake Speedway Racing Action

By Ed Reichert

RICE LAKE, WI (May 12) – After a one week break due to a rainout, Rice Lake Speedway was back in action on Saturday and four first time winners emerged with one for the first time ever. Winning their first feature races of the 2012 season at Rice Lake were Jason Gross, Cory Karshbaum, Jay Kesan and Mike Schnider while Shane Halopka became a repeat winner.

Gross, who is an infrequent competitor at Rice Lake Speedway, but always seems to make his rare visits meaningful, charged up from the third row and passed Matt Leer with four laps to go to win the nonstop Modified main event.

Leer, who started outside the front row, charged to the cushion and immediately to stepped away from Steve Hallquist. Paul Brust then moved past Hallquist for second and took off after Leer. Kevin Adams, who started outside row two, jumped the cushion on the opening corner and lost several positions while Gross and Adam Hensel forged into the top five.

Leer continued to lead the field at the halfway point; he was running smoothly on the top side and kept distance on the field. Gross caught Brust for second, and they battled hard for the spot with Hensel in fourth while Adams moved back into the top five and tried to chase down the field.

Gross tried low but couldn’t make the pass work, so he then moved to the outside of Brust and found the middle groove to work spectacularly for him; he motored by Paul and quickly closed on Leer, who was getting a bit high in the corners.

Gross continued to reel in the leader, and when Leer slid high in turn one, Gross drove under him to take over the lead. Leer tried to fight back, but Gross held him off and then began to extend his margin. Late in the race Leer again went high and Brust drove under him for second. Meanwhile, Gross once again did like last year, when he quickly slipped into town one night and drove home with the win. Hensel rode home fourth ahead of Adams at the finish.

Bart Steffen took the initial lead in the Super Stock feature but disaster struck on lap two when he spun in front of the entire field in turn one. Fortunately, everyone was able to take evasive action and the race continued with Cory Karshbaum as the new leader. Shane Kisling moved to the high side and a good battle for second broke out as Kisling tried to edge away from Aaron Wilson and Eric Olson.

Karshbaum continued to lead and held about three car lengths on the pack while they continued to jockey for second. The yellow appeared for debris with eight laps completed and during the slow down, Olson, who had moved into second, shocked the crowd as he dropped off the pace and headed for the pits, his evening complete.

That gave Kisling the second spot as he continued to chase Karshbaum, but Wilson moved up the track and edged past Shane to take second. He appeared to be closing the gap slowly on Karshbaum but Cory continued to soldier on as Ben Hillman moved into fourth and tried to chase down the leaders.

After a few laps the margin between the top two runners seemed to stabilize as Karshbaum continued to run smooth laps and no one could cut into his lead. At the finish, he rode home with a four car length lead to record his initial win of the year. Wilson held off a late rush by Kisling for second with Hillman and Wayne Harris Jr compleing the top five. For Karshbaum, it was his first ever Super Stock triumph at Rice Lake and first feature win here since a 2009 Street Stock win.

Joe Chaplin Jr held the pole for the Midwest Modified main event but Ryan Viltz pulled a great move on the green as he jumped to the cushion and rolled past both the front row cars to take the lead before a lap could be completed. As Viltz stole the lead, Shane Halopka quickly moved into second and set off after Viltz. Kerry Halopka, Travis Anderson and Josh Bazey battled behind the leaders as they jockeyed for position on every lap.

Shane Halopka started to close slightly on Viltz for the lead while the battle for third saw Bazey slip back while Chaplin Jr continued to fight for position. Halopka continued to close on Viltz and with only a few laps remaining, Shane was able to slip under Ryan in turn one for the lead. Viltz didn’t give up and mounted a charge back on Halopka, racing on his rear bumper as he looked for a line either high or low to reclaim the top spot.

However Halopka had found a fast groove and withstood a last lap cushion attempt by Viltz to become the first repeat winner in the Midwest Modifieds in 2012. Rapidly improving Kerry Halopka raced home third ahead of Chaplin Jr. and Anderson as both open wheel classes ran nonstop main events.

Jay Kesan’s first night out in his new Street Stock was an impressive one as he took the feature win in style. The race got off to an auspicious start as starter Randy Davis had no more than dropped the green flag on the field when the track lights on the front chute and grandstands went dark. It was a dicey moment as Davis had no caution lights to slow the field but everyone managed to get slowed down without incident. The light problem caused a lengthy delay before portable lights were brought in, and about the same time the power company was able to restore power and the race continued.

Adam Soltis and Simon Wahlstrom battled for the lead before Soltis was able to edge in front. Ron Hanestad went for a wild slide into the infield when the field got shuffled down the front chute but everyone was able to restart.

Soltis continued to lead but Kesan was all over him and managed to slip by and take over the point. Meanwhile, a great battle for position saw Soltis, Wahlstrom, Jimmy Randall, Eric Olson, Sam Fankhauser and Doug Wojcik jockey for position, leaning on each other and dicing through the corners.

One more spin created a six lap duel to the finish and while Kesan’s car started to smoke, he continued to maintain the lead. Soltis had crawled to his back bumper though, and was challenging on each corner for the lead. However, Kesan is a seasoned veteran who knows how to keep his car in the groove and he fought off all Soltis’ challenges for the win. Fankhauser came on for third ahead of Randall and Wahlstrom.

C.J. Wagner took the early lead in the Pure Stock feature with Mike Schnider, Jay Folz, Chad Eastman and Bob Thompson all battling right behind him. Wagner looked good up front and lead the first eight laps until a spin caused a yellow and bunched the field.

However, the restart was not good for the Hayward driver as he led the field on the green into turn one and simply lost the handle, spinning in front of the entire field. Everyone was able to avoid him and disaster was avoided.

On the restart, Schnider and Folz battled for the lead. Schnider made the outside work and kept his momentum up and edged away from Folz. They continued to run in tight formation but with only four laps remaining, Schnider maintained his smooth line and didn’t give Folz the chance to get under him and pry away the lead. For the second year driver from Rice Lake, it was his first ever feature win at Rice Lake. Folz finished a close second and was followed by Thompson, Eastman and Joel Hinrichs.

Next Saturday night, regular racing action will resume with a five division program slated to start at 6:30 p.m. On May 26, the Upper Midwest Sprint Car Series (UMSS), will join the five classes in a big Memorial Day weekend racing event. Race time for that special show will also be 6:30 p.m.

SUMMARY

WISSOTA Modifieds
20 lap Feature – Jason Gross(Cushing), Paul Brust(Rice Lake), Matt Leer(Bruce), Adam Hensel(Baldwin), Kevin Adams(Cameron), Cory Williams(Spring Valley), Mike Anderson(Colfax), Dave Baxter(Eau Claire), Aric Lindberg(Dallas), Tim McMann(Duluth MN), Jerry Weigel, Mark Hessler, Steve Hallquist, Scott Miller, Pat Hoffman, Mark Hanson, Buddy Mayala, T.J. Adams, Chet Atkinson, Shaun Kreyer
10 lap Heat 1 – Hensel, Williams, Scott Duval(Bloomer), Anderson, Miller(Rice Lake), Weigel, Atkinson
Heat 2 – K. Adams, Leer, Brust, Hessler(Menomonie), Hanson(Chippewa Falls), Mayala, Kreyer
Heat 3 – Gross, Baxter, Hallquist(Eau Claire), Lindberg, McMann, Hoffman, T.J. Adams

WISSOTA Super Stocks
20 lap Feature – Cory Karshbaum(Chetek), Aaron Wilson(Menomonie), Shane Kisling(Sarona), Ben Hillman(Menomonie), Wayne Harris Jr(Bloomer), Andy Grymala(Superior), Kirk Bogdanovic(Phillips), Chad Horst(Rapid City SD), Bart Steffen(Eau Claire), Jeff Heintz(Turtle Lake), Steve Tesch, Gunnar Watkins, David Pospyhalla, Eric Olson
10 lap Heat 1 – Wilson, Olson(Ladysmith), Kisling, Horst, Harris Jr, Grymala, Watkins
Heat 2 – Hillman, Karshbaum, Steffen, Heintz, Bogdanovic, Tesch, Pospyhalla

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
15 lap Feature – Shane Halopka(Greenwood), Ryan Viltz(Chetek), Kerry Halopka(Wheeler), Joe Chaplin Jr(Cameron), Travis Anderson(Colfax), Tito Viltz(Rice Lake), Josh Bazey(Luck), Grant Southworth(Bloomer), Terry Sirek(Rice Lake), Chad Horst(Rapid City SD), Jesse Horst, Dusty Brown, Kevin Marlett, Scott Meeds, Jeff Manor
10 lap Heat 1 – S. Halopka, R. Viltz, T. Viltz, Anderson, Brown, Sirek, C. Horst, Marlett
Heat 2 – Bazey, K. Halopka, J. Horst, Chaplin Jr, Southworth, Manor, Meeds

WISSOTA Street Stocks
15 lap Feature – Jay Kesan(Weyerhaeuser), Adam Soltis(Ladysmith), Sam Fankhauser(Chetek), Jimmy Randall(Rice Lake), Simon Wahlstrom(Rice Lake), Eric Olson (Ladysmith), Cody Kummer(Medford), Ron Hanestad(Glenwood City), Mitch Kesan(Weyerhaeuser), Butch Madsen(Rice Lake), Jamey Fisher, Ralph Stark, Josh Amans, Doug Wojcik
10 lap Heat 1 – Randall, Soltis, S. Wahlstrom, Fankhauser, Amans(Rice Lake), Kummer, M. Kesan, Stark
Heat 2 – J. Kesan, Olson, Wojcik(Ladysmith), Hanestad, Madsen, Fisher, Josh Wahlstrom

Pure Stocks
12 lap Feature – Mike Schnider(Rice Lake), Jay Folz(Rice Lake), Bob Thompson(Cameron), Chad Eastman(Rice Lake), Joel Hinrichs(Chetek), Nick Traynor(Hillsdale), Dustin Doughty(Ladysmith), Kolby Kielh(Cameron), C.J. Wagner(Hayward), Brandon Davis(Chetek), Josh Bach, Talon Laabs, Jason Havel, John Erickson, Joseph Thompson
8 lap Heat 1 – Schnider, B. Thompson, Wagner, Doughty, Erickson(Cameron), Laabs, Randy Graham, Havel, Jimmy Holden
Heat 2 – Hinrichs, Folz, Kiehl, Eastman, Traynor, Davis, Bach, J. Thompson


May 12, 2012 Photos By Doug Zimmer & Chris Burback: