By Ed Reichert
Rice Lake WI, April 22 – After a one week rain delay, the Rice Lake Speedway kicked off its sixty sixth season of racing action on Saturday night with one hundred and thirteen drivers signing in to race. In the highlight event, Jay Kesan and Sam Fankhauser raced side by side for nearly the entire Street Stock main event with Kesan pulling out the win by a car length at the line. Other winners on opening night included Kevin Adams, Curt Myers, Grant Southworth and Mike Blevins.
Kesan started on the outside of the front row and quickly drove past Dustin White to take the early lead. Fankhauser started right behind Kesan and followed him through the opening to pull into second. Fankhauser was charging hard and he dove to the low side of Kesan in an attempt to take over the lead. Sam was able to nose in front but then Kesan swapped lanes on him and the fight continued for the top spot.
Lap after lap they would circle the track side by side with first Fankhauser and then Kesan edging to a slight advantage but never a large enough lead that one could clear the other. As the laps ran down, the race was still in doubt as they continued to cross the starting line side by side. Kesan made an extra effort and he was finally able to clear Fankhauser as the white flag waved, but Sam gave it an extra burst down the back chute and was able to pull to the quarter panel of Kesan as they raced into the final turn. However, Kesan would run a strong final lap and as they raced to the line, it was Kesan able to maintain a car length advantage to claim the win. Cody Kummer moved into the third spot early in the race and spent the remainder of the event trying to close on the two leaders but settling for third. Kevin Bogdanovic was next in line and Hunter VanGilder came from eleventh to complete the top five.
Mike Anderson was the early leader of the Modified main event with Ryan Viltz and Adams battling behind him. Adams made a move to slip into second and then began to pressure the leader. When Anderson slipped high in turn four, Adams dove underneath him to take over the top spot. Shortly after the yellow flew for liquid on the track which bunched up the field.
However, Adams took off strong on the green and slowly began to build up a strong lead over the field as the last fifteen laps of the race ran nonstop. Anderson was solidly in second but not able to cut into Adams’ lead.
The battle was for third as Steve Hallquist and Neil Balduc moved past Viltz and then spent the rest of the race fighting each other. Several times Balduc got close to making the pass and each time Hallquist would be successful in fighting him off. Balduc nearly pulled off the pass with just a couple of laps left but Hallquist refused to yield. Adams built up a big lead and rode it home for the win. Hallquist did successfully fight off Balduc and Viltz completed the top five.
While Myers has abandoned the Super Stock class, he did jump into a car that he built over the winter for Hurley’s Greg Kuklenski and the maiden voyage of the car was a successful one as he fought off a late challenge from Nick Oreskovich to win the Super Stock feature. Simon Wahlstrom got the jump at the start to take the early lead but Myers came flying up from the second row and swept past Wahlstrom to take over the top spot. Four yellow flags in the opening six laps kept the field bunched but each time the green would fly, Myers would pull away from the pack.
Wahlstrom was soon challenged for second by Randy Spacek and a charging Oreskovich who had started in the fourth row. Both Spacek and Oreskovich got past Wahlstrom but then Simon made a great move on a restart and retook the second spot.
It didn’t last long though as first Spacek and then Oreskovich again passed him for position. The last fourteen laps ran nonstop and Myers built up a big lead, but from the halfway point on, Oreskovich started to cut into his advantage.
Nick continued his charge and in the last few laps, he really closed in. He almost surprised Myers with just a couple laps to go as Oreskovich was clearly picking up speed but Myers dove to the low side of the track and covered up the low groove. Oreskovich could ride Myers’ rear bumper but Curt would not give and opening as he drove on for the win. Spacek finished a close third with Wahlstrom holding on for fourth. Eric Olson was able to pick up the pace in the second half of the race to complete the top five.
Southworth led all the way to win the Midwest Modified main event. He started on the pole and took the early lead over Travis Anderson. Soon Anderson was being challenged by Joe Chaplin Jr as the yellow was busy early in the race. Five yellows in the first six laps, four of which were for debris on the track, kept the field bunched but each time Southworth would reclaim the top spot.
Chaplin Jr was able to battle past Anderson for second and Travis then started to get his hands full holding off Michael Truscott. Truscott moved to the high groove and was able to gain some momentum and he was able to drive past Anderson and then start to close on Chaplin Jr.
Southworth was able to extend his lead somewhat at this point as the battle turned into one for second. Southworth continued to set a strong pace as he drove on for the win. Chaplin Jr. held off Truscott for second with Anderson running a steady pace to get fourth. Paul Suzik and Gunnar Watkins battled for sixth until Watkins slowed and pulled off and Suzik claimed a top five finish.
The first feature race for the Pure Stocks under WISSOTA sanctioning produced the biggest field in the class in several years with a B feature being required to set the feature field competitors. Jason Havel fought off Mike Pratt to take the early lead but Dustin Doughty quickly moved in to challenge. Doughty had a strong line around the track and he was able to duck under Havel to take over the lead.
Blevins then moved in to challenge Doughty for the lead and he was able to edge past and take over the top spot.
Blevins then moved away slightly with Doughty fighting to hold off Havel for second. Doughty was then able to put some distance on Havel and he closed up on Blevins for the lead. A late yellow set up a two lap sprint to the finish and Blevins got away nicely on the green, separating himself from the pack. He maintained his line on the track and Doughty wasn’t able to muster a late race challenge. For Blevins it was his first ever feature win at Rice Lake as the veteran Pure Stock racer looks to challenge once again for the WISSOTA national points title.
Doughty held off Havel in a close battle for second with Havel failing post race technical inspection and being scored last. As a result of this, Ryan Savoy was scored third ahead of Kyle Kopp and James Clausen who came from sixteenth to round out the top five.
Voting was done on the Best Appearing car in each class and the winners will be announced next Saturday night.
Racing continues in all five divisions next Saturday with warm ups slated to begin at 6:30 pm and racing to follow.
Rice Lake Speedway
Rice Lake WI
April 22, 2017
20 lap Feature – Kevin Adams(Cameron), Mike Anderson(Colfax), Steve Hallquist(Eau Claire), Neil Balduc(Bessemer MI), Ryan Viltz(Chetek), Jason Schill(Centuria), Pat Hoffman(Rice Lake), Matt Leer(Ladysmith), Curt Myers(Cameron), Dave Mayala(Barron), Kevin Eder, Jeff Spacek
10 lap Heat 1 – Anderson, Viltz, Balduc, Spacek(Phillips), Myers, Eder, Dustin Hudack
Heat 2 – Adams, Hoffman, Leer, Hallquist, Schill, Mayala
WISSOTA Super Stocks
20 lap Feature – Curt Myers(Cameron), Nick Oreskovich(Mason), Randy Spacek(Phillips), Simon Wahlstrom(Rice Lake), Eric Olson(Ladysmith), Adam Soltis(Ladysmith), Cooper Berlin(Rice Lake), Jim Cimfl(Turtle Lake), Don Cimfl Jr(Rice Lake), Steve Davidson(Richland Center), Mark Stender, Cory Casari, John Erickson, Luke Schultz, Kyle Helling, Matt Deragon, Terran Spacek
10 lap Heat 1 – Oreskovich, Olson, R. Spacek, Casari(Montreal), Helling (Rice Lake), Davidson, Stender
Heat 2 – Soltis, J. Cimfl, Berlin, Schultz(Cameron), T. Spacek(Phillips), Scott Lawrence
Heat 3 – Myers, Wahlstrom, Erickson(Rice Lake), Cimfl Jr(Rice Lake), Nick Traynor(Barron), Willie Johnsen Jr, Deragon
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
15 lap Feature – Grant Southworth(Bloomer), Joe Chaplin Jr(Cameron), Michael Truscott(Chippewa Falls), Travis Anderson(Colfax), Paul Suzik(Ironwood MI), Karl Kolek(Menomonie), Denny Cutsforth(Rice Lake), Dan Kingsley(Superior), Tad Schoonover(Eagle River), Derek Haas(Thorp), Reid Tiegs, Shane Halopka, Scott Meeds, Alex Smith, Scott Anderson, Marcus Dunbar, Tyler Hudack, Gunner Peterson, Gunnar Watkins, Peter Jokinen, Tim Ekdahl
10 B Feature 1 – Smith(Solon Springs), Hudack(Ashland), P. Jokinen(Mellen), Steve Altman(Mercer), Brady Jokinen(Mellen), Wayne Stricker, Brent Miller, Jason Vokovan
B Feature 2 – Kingsley, Haas, Ekdahl(Cameron), Fran Hanson(Almena), Jared Stricker(Highbridge), Justin Claassen, Matt Roux, James Kannegiesser
10 lap Heat 1 – Chaplin Jr, Suzik, Cutsforth, B. Jokinen, Smith, Hudack, Hanson
Heat 2 – Anderson, Watkins, Kolek, Haas, Kingsley, Roux, Claasssen
Heat 3 – Dunbar(Wakefield MI), Anderson(Phillips), Peterson(Cable), Vokovan(Eau Claire), Dan Roatch(Cameron), Joe Prusak,
Heat 4 – Southworth, Schoonover, Tiegs(Dallas), P. Jokinen, Miller(Cameron),
WISSOTA Street Stocks
15 lap Feature – Jay Kesan(Weyerhaeuser), Sam Fankhauser(Rice Lake), Cody Kummer(Medford), Kevin Bogdanovic(Wausau), Hunter VanGilder(Rice Lake), Dustin White(Conover), Don Cook(Barron), Kirk Bogdanovic(Phillips), Bob Wahlstrom(Chetek), Kolby Kiehl(Barron), Nate Langeberg, Andy Cimfl, Josh Bach, Nick Traynor
10 Heat 1 – Kesan, Cook, Kevin Bogdanovic, Cimfl, Traynor(Barron)
Heat 2 – Kummer, Wahlstrom, White, Langeberg(Tomahawk), Bach(Barron)
Heat 3 – Fankhauser, Kirk Bogdanovic, Kiehl, VanGilder, Chad Eastman(Rice Lake)
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
12 lap Feature – Mike Blevins(Hibbing MN), Dustin Doughty(Oakdale MN), Ryan Savoy(Superior), Kyle Copp(Brule), James Clausen(Barron), Jimmy Holden(Rice Lake), Bob Thompson(Cameron), Jamie Fisher(Rice Lake), Zack Beaulieu(Chetek), Mike Grover(Chetek), Wayne Braun Jr, Stefan Hogue, Tucker Quinn, C.J. Wagner, Trenten Holub, Ken Heser, Mike Pratt, Rob Grabon, Andy Ladd
10 lap B Feature – Beaulieu, Clausen, Heser(Medford), Hogue(Altoona), James Thur(Neillsville), Tony Cappo, Josh Miller, Scotty VanGilder
8 lap Heat 1 – Savoy, Wagner(Rice Lake), Holub(Sarona), Ladd(Cumberland), Hogue, Cappo
Heat 2 – Doughty, Jason Havel(Rice Lake), Copp, Grabon(Bruce), Beaulieu, Austin Workman, Michael Holmstrom
Heat 3 – Thompson, Pratt(Bloomer), Holden, Grover, Thur, VanGilder, Clausen
Heat 4 – Blevins, Braun Jr(Rice Lake), Fisher, Quinn(Ladysmith), Miller(Spooner), Jake Sandman