|Brandon Allen Blasts To First UMSS Win At Rice Lake Speedway
By Greg Parent
RICE LAKE, WI (August 28) - What a difference one caution can make in a race. With eight laps down in the twenty lap UMSS sprint car feature event at the Rice Lake Speedway on Saturday night August 28, Brandon Allen found himself running third behind rookie driver Ronnie Erickson and Cody Hahn. "That caution gave me a chance to look for a different lane," stated race winner Brandon Allen. When the race resumed, Allen immediately raced by Hahn and then followed Erickson for three more laps before he made what would be the winning pass in turn two on lap twelve. Once he grabbed the lead, Allen blasted away from the field for his first win of the season and his first-ever UMSS sprint car feature victory. An elated Allen commented afterwards, "That was fun. We finally got one this year! I messed up on the initial start, but I kept telling myself to settle down and figure out how to get back to the front." Not only did Allen have to convince himself he could win while rolling around under that lone caution, but he also had to convince his mom on the phone afterwards that he had won. Everything came together for the St. Peter, Minnesota driver on this warm and breezy late August evening, as he won in convincing fashion once he got the lead.
Allen had started on the pole position for the 20 lap feature race in the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series first-ever appearance at the Rice Lake Speedway, but it was rookie racer Ronnie Erickson who grabbed the lead from his outside front row starting position. The bottom lane was the preferred way around the 1/3 mile oval, as Erickson settled into the top spot while Allen and 2009 UMSS Rookie of the Year Cody Hahn battled for second. Hahn slipped under Allen for the runner-up spot on lap four and closed in on Erickson. Allen meanwhile was under attack from Jerry Richert, Jr. Richert had quickly worked his way to fourth in just one lap from his sixth starting position.
With Erickson under pressure from Hahn, the 2010 rookie candidate ran smooth and consistent laps to keep Hahn, Allen and Richert at bay. With eight laps scored, Mike Luks looped his sprinter in turn three but kept going. The caution light blinked on however. Under the yellow, Allen searched for different lanes on the speedway. What he discovered ultimately helped him race to the win. On the restart, Allen raced past Hahn and back into second place. Three laps later, he drove around Erickson and never looked back enroute to a $1,000 payday thanks to some purse sponsorship help from GRP Motorsports.
The battle for the runner-up spot raged on behind Allen though. Richert and Hahn swapped the third position on a couple of occasions between laps 15 and 18. Richert finally got third with two to go, and then drove by Erickson for second on lap 19. Hahn also slipped by Erickson for third just moments later. Richert was out of laps though, as Allen had built an insurmountable lead with only one lap remaining. Richert settled for second followed by Hahn, Erickson, and 2009 UMSS Champion Leigh Thomas in fifth. Rounding out the top ten finishers in the Countryside Plumbing & Heating feature event were Troy Manteufel, Austrailian driver David Craft, Jack Zweber, Kevin Nickel, and Mike Luks. Manteufel was presented an extra $100 tow money by GRP Motorsports as well. Erickson was clearly the leading GRP Motorsports/BP Trading Company rookie of the race with his career-best fourth place finish. Rookie driver Charley Cropp from Menomonie made his season and sprint car debut. The battle for the Rookie of the Year Award appears like it will come down between Jared Goerges, who was not in attendance at Rice Lake, and Erickson. Andy Jones had been in the battle up until he exploded a motor back in July at the Kouba Memorial.
In Ultimate Sprint Race action, Richert topped the SprintSource.com first heat while Hahn raced ahead of the field in the Driverwebsites.com second heat. In the double round of qualifying used by the UMSS, Challenge victories were earned by Leigh Thomas in the Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems race with eventual feature winner Brandon Allen topping the Mastell Brothers Trailer Service race. A three car crash in the first Challenge race saw the cars of Blake Anderson and Alan Gilbertson unable to make repairs in time to run the feature. In hot laps, Joseph Kouba caught the turn four wall and flipped. Kouba's badly damaged sprinter was done early.
The next events on the UMSS 2010 schedule include the popular double-header weekend for the annual Mighty Axe Nationals at the North Central Speedway near Brainerd on Labor Day Weekend Saturday and Sunday September 4-5. The UMSS season continues the following weekend at the prestigious Jerry Richert Memorial show at the Cedar Lake Speedway, as the UMSS 360 sprints join with the IRA 410 sprints for an all-sprint car show along with the NVRA vintage cars. With UMSS point leader Brad Barickman unable to attend the Rice Lake show, Cody Hahn took over the top spot in the point standings. Barickman should be back in action at Brainerd, looking to not only narrow Hahn's lead but to also keep his eye set on the GRP Sweet Sixteen year-end bonus money.
Fans can stay up-to-date on all of the UMSS racing action by checking out our website at www.umsprints.com<http://www.umsprints.com/> or on the UMSS Facebook page. The UMSS Report is distributed free at all race events. Catch the excitement of winged sprint car racing at North Central Speedway, Cedar Lake Speedway, Arlington Raceway or Ogilvie Raceway before the final checkers fall on the second season of UMSS racing action.
UMSS Race Results - Rice Lake Speedway August 28, 2010 (Race #14):
SprintSource.com Ultimate Sprint Race #1 (6 laps): Jerry Richert Jr, Blake Anderson, Ronnie Erickson, Kevin Nickel, Jack Zweber, Mike Luks, Joseph Kouba DNS.
Driverwebsites.com Ultimate Sprint Race #2 (7 laps): Cody Hahn, David Craft, Troy Manteufel, Leigh Thomas, Brandon Allen, Alan Gilbertson, Charley Cropp.
Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems Challenge Race #1 (8 laps): Thomas, Craft, Zweber, Anderson, Gilbertson, Nickel, Kouba DNS.
Mastell Brothers Trailer Service Challenge Race #2 (8 laps): Allen, Erickson, Richert, Hahn, Manteufel, Cropp, Luks.
Countryside Plumbing & Heating UMSS A Main (20 laps): Allen, Richert, Hahn, Erickson, Thomas, Manteufel, Craft, Zweber, Nickel, Luks, Cropp DNF, Anderson DNS, Gilbertson DNS, Kouba DNS.