Rice Lake Speedway 2024 Opener, Practice Sessions...
Rice Lake Speedway Racers Celebrate
Rice Lake Speedway Banquet Scheduled
Rice Lake Speedway 2024 Opener, Practice Sessions...

Rice Lake Speedway 2024 Opener, Practice Sessions...

4/16/2024 -
Rice Lake WI, April 16 – The Rice Lake Speedway LLC made the decision this morning to both postpone the seventy second annual season opener scheduled
Rice Lake Speedway Racers Celebrate

Rice Lake Speedway Racers Celebrate

3/23/2024 -
Rice Lake WI, March 23 – Racers, crews, fans and employees of the Rice Lake Speedway gathered on Saturday night at the Elks Club in Rice Lake to hand
Rice Lake Speedway Banquet Scheduled

Rice Lake Speedway Banquet Scheduled

3/12/2024 -
Rice Lake WI – The last official act of the Adams-Hansen Inc. regime as owners of the Rice Lake Speedway will take place on Saturday night, March 23rd

Latest News

Rice Lake Speedway 2024 Opener, Practice Sessions Postponed

Rice Lake Speedway 2024 Opener, Practice Sessions Postponed

Rice Lake WI, April 16 – The Rice Lake Speedway LLC made the decision this morning to both postpone the seventy second annual season opener scheduled for Saturday night, April 20th along with practice sessions slated for April 16th and 17th by one week. According to track...more
Rice Lake Speedway Racers Celebrate

Rice Lake Speedway Racers Celebrate

Rice Lake WI, March 23 – Racers, crews, fans and employees of the Rice Lake Speedway gathered on Saturday night at the Elks Club in Rice Lake to hand out the awards and celebrate the official conclusion of the 2023 racing season at the Rice Lake Speedway. For former track...more
Rice Lake Speedway Banquet Scheduled

Rice Lake Speedway Banquet Scheduled

Rice Lake WI – The last official act of the Adams-Hansen Inc. regime as owners of the Rice Lake Speedway will take place on Saturday night, March 23rd as the speedway will hold its annual awards banquet, honoring those racers that ran at the track in 2023. This year,...more

Class of 2021

2021 Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame Induction

2021 Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame Induction

The 11th class of the Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame inducted July 24, 2021. Left to right; Loren Miller, Jason Hensel, accepting for the late Woody Kurtzhales, is Jim Viltz, Rich Bishop. and track owner Dave Adams.

Loren Miller

When you walk through the front gate at the Rice Lake Speedway after purchasing your ticket, who is the first person you'll likely see? More than likely it will be Loren Miller, bustling through his “to do” list at Trackside Collectibles as he prepares for the evening's racing program and gets his merchandise ready for the customers or perhaps he may be on another mission involving either cleaning something or fixing something that he has spied that does not meet his high standards.
Between all the folks that Loren meets as they enter the race track, all the customers that he sells to over the course of the Summer and all the “hot stove” discussions carried out around his Trackside Collectibles area, Loren is likely the most familiar face to many folks that go to the Rice Lake Speedway.

And it has been this way for a long, long time as 2021 marks the thirtieth anniversary since Loren started Trackside Collectible way back in 1991 and he has been located at that same spot behind the grandstand for all those years.

Except for actually racing or flagging the race events, practically every other job that can be done around the race track has been a part of Loren's job description over the years. Off the top of his head, Loren can remember selling trophy sponsorships, writing the track newsletter, selling newsletter sponsor ships and wall ads, working the lap counter, judging races, helping in the food stand, cutting and trimming the grass, announcing, doing the winner's interviews and running his collectibles stand plus so many other things over the years that he has forgotten some of them. Come out to the track early some night and Loren will have the garden hose out, cleaning the walkways between the grandstands or if you dare, come out on a non race night and you'll find Loren either mowing, weed whipping under the grandstand or painting or cleaning something. The hyper kinetic Loren can not sit still and as fast as he jumps from one job to the next, his talks about racing are even at a higher speed.

He was introduced to the sport at a young age when his mother and father first brought him to the track when he was just a few years old in the mid to late 1960's and his interest in racing just grew from that point to where it's at now, some fifty six years later.

Besides all the other things Loren has done for the sport and the Rice Lake Speedway specifically, he has also helped a number of drivers too. Among those he has sponsored include drivers like Pat Hoffman, Jimmy Randall, Steve Laursen, Jamie Bisonette, Cody Kummer and a host of others.

Loren's first love in the Late Model class and when it comes to Late Models and the Rice Lake Speedway, Loren literally puts his money where his mouth is as his Trackside Collectibles business has been the sponsor for the May Late Model race held here for the past several years and every year Loren's only desire is to make that race the best he can and get as many cars as possible to the track. Loren also highly enjoys the Street Stock Little Dream race and marvels like many of us do at just how big this race has gotten from a crazy idea hatched nearly thirty years ago that Loren was a part of.

Loren works in radio advertising sales for Zoe Communications out of Shell Lake and his back round has been a key asset for the track. Loren has always been interested in making things the best they can be for the fans and providing them with weekly entertainment at a place that looks good and treats them right.

This biography will conclude with some of Loren's own thoughts. “ I am close to retiring now. I will never forget the memories. Thanks to all the fans and the great drivers. I will never forget you. Lots of famous drivers have come out of this track. Once you get to know a few drivers, you get hooked fast on racing. It's just fun! Enjoy the memories folks, the years go fast. Thanks to all of you!”

Ladies and gentlemen, Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Famer, Loren Miller.

Jason Hensel

Jason Hensel had a relatively short racing career at the Rice Lake Speedway compared to many of the other drivers that have reached Hall of Fame status, but his accomplishments during that time rank right up there with the best that have ever turned laps at this historic track.
Jason was one of the ground breakers of sorts at the track, being one of the first of the “new wave” very young drivers to race at the track. When Jason started racing in 1984, he was only thirteen years old and was still in high school when he won his first seven feature races in the Bomber/Street Stock and Super Stock classes. He won seven feature races in the Bomber/Street Stock class, all in 1986 and two Super Stock features, both in 1988.

Jason got his start in the sport from his father Rod, and as many of our other Hall of Fame drivers have, it was a generational thing that was passed on through the family. Just as Rod was wrapping up his Hall of Fame career, son Jason burst on to the racing scene and as Rod moved from the seat of a race car to the flag stand to take over the job as head flagman at the track, Jason would slip behind the wheel for the first time. He even took dad's number #44, a number that was derived from the number on Rod's football jersey when he played for the Cameron Comets.

While Jason had success in both the Street Stock and Super Stock classes, it was in the Modifieds that he really shined as it seemed that class most fit his driving style. Between the years of 1990 and 1997 he won thirteen Modified feature races in cars numbered #44, #444 and #H44. He also won track point titles in both 1995 and 1996 as well as Best Appearing car awards in both 1994 and in 1986 in the Street Stocks.

Jason had many memorable wins here at the Rice Lake Speedway but perhaps the one that sticks out the most was a Labor Day special victory in 1986 when he nipped the “Wild Child”, Craig Brightbill by a wheel cover to win $2,500, a win that Brightbill still disputes to this day from an era before transponders electronically score the race finishes for accuracy.

Much like the most popular movie in the career of Vin Diesel, Jason's driving style could best be described as “Fast and Furious.” He was a hard charger that stood out among a field of hard drivers and his “take no prisoner” style of racing, while entertaining to the fans and successful as it might have been, sometimes would tend to rub some other drivers the wrong way. He had his share of “dust ups” over the years, the details of some that are best left to the lore of racing history. Jason retired following the 1998 racing season with twenty two total feature wins at Rice Lake.

Among the special people Jason would like to thank for their help and sponsorship over the years include his father Rod and his business, Rod's Painting and Sandblasting Inc. and Scott, Rick, George and Dave.

Jason still has a connection at the race track as his stepbrothers Adam and Ryan are still racing. Ryan drives a Bat Wing race car while Adam, a former WISSOTA National Champion in the Late Model class, is currently back racing in the Modifieds, driving a car not surprisingly numbered #44.

Jason and his wife Jessica reside in Chetek and Jason works as a painter at Rice Lake Weighing.

With his induction to the Hall of Fame this night, the Hensel family joins an elite group of families with multiple members in the Hall of Fame including the Harrington's, Madsen's, Ellis' , Kurtzhals and Cook/Folz families.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Famer, Jason Hensel.

Woody Kurtzhales (Jimmy Viltz accepting)

Elwood “Woody” Kurtzhals was a unique character and one that the Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame committee is happy to have join the ranks of its members. He was not a race car driver at the track and his mechanical ability and knowledge was slim at best. However, what he was able to do for many of the drivers who raced at the track was legendary and his support for local dirt track racing and the drivers that raced at the Rice Lake Speedway no doubt qualifies him for admittance to the speedway hall of fame.
Woody was one of nine brothers and two sisters in the Kurtzhals family and he gained an interest in racing primarily through his older brother Chuck, who was added as a member of the Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame with the class of 2015.

Woody was a graduate of Cameron High School in 1967 and served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970. When he returned from the war, he started Meadow Fresh Dairies and he delivered milk door to door in the Cameron area. But it was in June of 1980, when he and his wife Patty purchased a bar in Cameron and renamed it “Woody's Place” that changed things forever for the racers of that area.

Woody's Place became the place to go for racers and their fans and particularly so on Saturday nights after the races were complete at the Rice Lake Speedway. It is said that when the pits emptied at the track that it looked like a parade going through Rice Lake as trailer after trailer headed South to Cameron and to Woody's Place. Reportedly, it was just as competitive in finding a parking place in Cameron within walking distance of Woody's Place as it was fighting for the win at the track hours before as tow vehicles and trailers were parked for blocks around the downtown establishment. It was simply the place to go on Saturday's after the races were done and if you wanted to talk to a driver, that was the place to find them.

Many is the time that things that happened at the track were further discussed at Woody's later and while there may have been a heated moment or two over the years , by the end of the night the conversation generally turned pleasant and the story telling became even more entertaining.

Woody was ahead of his time as he filmed the races at the Rice Lake Speedway from the top of the converted bus that served as his brother Chuck's hauler as it was parked in turn three. He would then show the film of the races afterward at the bar and many was the time that the drivers, crews and fans were still digesting the film as the sun came up on Sunday morning.

Woody was a member of the pit crew for Dave Adams for a time and he and Patty enjoyed making Daytona 500 trips with all his racing buddies. Where he most helped out racers was with the many drivers that he sponsored over the years. The driver that he supported the longest was Dave Erickson but other drivers like Dave Zimmerman, Dave Adams, Debbie Church, Jim Viltz, Curt Myers, Bruce Balog and many, many others sported the logo of Woody's Place on their race cars at one time or another.

Woody is often described as being a very interesting character and a great person to be around. His favorite saying was “If I can't do it, then it can't be done.”

Woody and Patty owned Woody's Place until the day that he passed, October 11, 1998 at the young age of forty nine from a massive heart attack, ironically while working on a remodeling project at his business, Woody's Place. And while the logo for Woody's Place has not been seen on a race car for over two decades now, for a whole generation of racers at the Rice Lake Speedway, the life and times of Woody and his place will go down forever in the folklore of this speedway. Woody is survived by his wife Patty and other family members.

Accepting the award for Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Famer Woody Kurtzhals is close family friend and a Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Famer member himself, Jim Viltz.

Rich Bishop

Another second generation racer who has reached Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame status, Rich Bishop is just one of many fast Rusk County residents who have raced at this track over the past decades and helped foster a healthy rivalry between the local racers and those invaders from the East.
Rich remembers as a kid playing in his father Dick's 1934 Ford race car and that is how his interest in racing was fostered. Dick was a successful racer at this track too and later, Howie Olson and Bernie Rogers gave Rich his first race car. It was a 1968 Ford Mustang with a 302 cubic inch engine and Rich estimates that he may have had about $1,000 in that first car. Rogers had raced this car previous to giving it to Bishop and it already had the #10 on it so that number would just stay on the car. Rich would go on to make that number famous at race tracks all throughout the upper Midwest.

This was in 1979 when Rich was just seventeen years old and getting ready to graduate from Ladysmith High School and he would start his racing career at the Rice Lake Speedway one year later.

Some memories from races of the past that Rich holds special include the night that he was forced to run a B Feature, won that and then started at the back of the pack and won the A feature also! Twice during his career he rolled his car over and then returned the following week to pull off clean sweeps of the competition. Rich would say his most memorable race was winning his first Street Stock invitational.

Bishop's accomplishments in the sport are staggering. Start with the fact that he has won forty four feature races at the Rice Lake Speedway, third on the all time win list in the Super Stock class. He has also won feature races in sixteen different years with his first win coming in 1981 and his last in 2000. His most productive year was 1983 when he won six feature races in that season.

But there is more. He won point championships in the Street Stock/Super Stock class in 1985, 1986, 1988 and 1998. He also won Season Championship races in 1985,1986,1988 and 1990 as well as having the Best Appearing car in 1988 and 1990.

Other accomplishments include winning the first two Street Stock invitationals at Rice Lake, twenty six feature wins at the Cedar Lake Speedway, winning three Red Clay Classic titles at the ABC Raceway in Ashland including a win from the back row in 1992, the 1992 WISSOTA Race of Champions in the Super Stocks and the 1994 Super Stock Invitational at Rice Lake from the fourteenth starting spot. Quite frankly, the only reason that Rich has had to wait so long to get into the speedway hall of fame was that we had to wait for him to get old enough to meet the criteria since he has continued to race right up to the present.

Not surprisingly, with such a long and storied career behind the wheel, Rich has many people that he would like to thank for their help over the years. That would include his parents, Howie and Eric Olson, Bernie Rogers, Ed Rurup of Ed's Pit Stop, Larry (Hoggie) Monnier, Mark Resch Race Cars, Bishop brothers, Luther Kurth, Donny Grey, Terry Hakes, Don Birdsill, Bob Robotka, Chris and Tammie Bretting of Fast Lane Motorsports, Rob Grzesk, Thomas Marine and Troy Newman of Troy's Shop.

Also, thanks to Tom Telitz, Doc, Judy and Shane Bishop, Tim Lorenz, Dave Kuchta, Thorpe Racing, Tom Doughty, Joe Miller and Tim Ludwigson.

Rich also had special words of thanks to Vince and Nita Strobl of Vince's Speed Shop who he said that if not for them, none of this success could have happened for him and he also mentioned that they are responsible for many of the racers from the Ladysmith area being on the track at Rice Lake.

Rich now lives in New Richmond and works as an engine assembler at Polaris Industries.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Famer, Rich Bishop.

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