Rice Lake WI, May 12 – It was a night of firsts Saturday night at the Rice Lake Speedway. All five feature winners won their first mains of the season in their class while two also won their first features ever at Rice Lake on a busy Saturday night as one hundred and forty three drivers signed in to race including twenty four WISSOTA Late Models. The Late Model winner was Steve Laursen from Cumberland. Winning their first feature wins ever at Rice Lake were Kyle Copp and Karl Genett while Tony Bahr, Curt Myers and Kevin Adams also visited victory lane for the first time in 2018 at Rice Lake.
Copp spent a lot of time getting his picture taken Saturday night as early in the evening he received a plaque for having been voted the Best Appearing Car in the Pure Stock class. Later he would return to victory lane to get his picture taken once again. Copp would win a time shortened Pure Stock main as the Pure Stocks had a tough time keeping everyone pointed in the proper direction and the event was finally checkered three laps short of its scheduled distance when the time limit for the event expired due to too many yellow flags.
Bob Thompson would lead much of the early going of the race with rookie Adam Pratt and Copp challenging. Copp would actually have quite a challenging race as he would trigger the first yellow, as he was spun while running third and nearly got clobbered by traffic. However, everyone would miss him and he would get his position back for the restart. On the green, Thompson was again the leader but Copp then moved to second and began to challenge while George Richards and Andrew Hanson were both charging to the front. Randy Graham was having a strong run along with Mike Pratt and there was quite a swarm of cars in the lead group. Each time racing would start to get hot and heavy though, the yellow would return for minor spins and the race would be slowed down once again.
Thompson would get wide in turn one on the fourth restart and Copp was right there to jump to his inside and coming off turn four, Copp would pull into the lead. Hanson was making a big run too while several of the other challengers got tied up together and while they remained racing, they lost several positions. Just as Hanson was making a move to the outside, looking to pass both Thompson and Copp, the yellow waved for a sixth time for a two car spin and with the time limit exceeded, the race was ruled complete.
Copp was declared the winner with Thompson and Hanson next in line. Rounding out the top five were Cory Jorgensen, who came from sixteenth and Richards. Genett would win his first ever feature race in the Street Stocks in an event where the official results weren’t determined until the technical inspectors had a look at the cars. In fact, Hunter VanGilder actually crossed the line first, got his picture taken in victory lane and the program had moved on to the next event before VanGilder’s car didn’t pass inspection.
The Street Stocks ran off a smooth main event with only one yellow flag slowing the action as VanGilder charged off the outside pole to take the early lead with Genett and Jimmy Randall chasing him. Genett was showing lots of speed and he closed to the bumper of VanGilder as he looked both high and low, searching for a route around the leader. Genett made several attempts and got close on a couple of occasions, but just couldn’t quite make the passing attempt pay off. Behind the top three, there was a swarm of cars battling for position with the running order changing on nearly every lap.
A minor spin on lap ten triggered the lone yellow of the race and on the green, VanGilder got a good break as he put several car lengths on the leaders. Genett was now being challenged hard by Randall for second and his focus was on holding that position, not challenging VanGilder for the lead. At the finish, VanGilder had a couple of car lengths on the field as it appeared that he had won for the first time in 2018. However, in technical inspection, a safety violation was found on the car and while it was not a performance enhancing item, it was nevertheless a violation of the rules and his car was disqualified. This elevated Genett to his first victory ever at Rice Lake and he was followed on the official score sheet by Randall, Ashley Wahlstrom in a great run, Braden Brauer and opening night winner Kolby Kiehl.
Bahr has driven in many different classes and won events at Rice Lake over the years, most notably in both the Modified and Late Model class. Now, after being away from the sport for several years, he is back in a Midwest Modified that he will race as time allows. Saturday night his time was quick as he came from the third row to win his first ever MidMod feature at Rice Lake and add to a long list of wins here over the years.
He survived a wheel banging duel with Kevin Adams and made the winning pass on George Truscott with just two laps to go to win a wild main event. Truscott had led the first thirteen laps as the veteran from Greenland Michigan was having one of his finest runs ever here. He was challenged very hard by Shane Halopka for a number of laps before Adams and Bahr showed up to apply even more pressure. Halopka had nearly gotten by for the lead on several occasions but Truscott was able to fight him off until a lap nine yellow for a two car spin bunched the field and Truscott found Bahr and Adams right behind him.
On the green, Bahr threw a bold slide job at the other two, diving into the lead but then sliding up the track in turn one. Truscott was able to turn inside of Bahr and regain the lead but Bahr and Adams were then battling hard side by side, for second. Neither would give an inch and they banged wheels at least twice as they fought for the runner up slot. Suddenly, Adams slowed and parked in turn three with a flat tire and the yellow light came on again. Adams would eventually retire to the pits. A three laps duel saw Truscott continue as the leader but Bahr moved up to the cushion and came flying by on the outside with just two laps to go to take over the lead and he would then pull away for the win. Truscott would finish a strong second ahead of Tyler Vernon. Michael Truscott, George’s nephew, would drive quite a race himself as he had to qualify for the feature by winning the B main, and he then drove up from seventeenth to finish a strong fourth with Halopka rounding out the top five.
Bahr’s last win at Rice Lake previous to Saturday was a 2011 Super Stock win as he has now won feature races in four different classes at Rice Lake, an enviable statistic itself. Myers has visited victory lane at this track many times over the years and he added yet another win as he drove Greg Kuklinski’s Super Stock to the win. He came from the third row to outslug some other tough competitors in a very competitive main event.
Willie Johnsen led a number of laps in the Super Stock feature with Randy and Terran Spacek, Myers and Nick Oreskovich all putting heavy pressure on him. Myers was eventually able to get to the high side of the track and from there, drive around Johnsen to take over the lead. Meanwhile the Spaceks, Oreskovich and Scott Lawrence were all battling incredibly hard for position with the running order changing on nearly every turn of the track. After a lap eleven spin triggered the yellow, the final nine laps of the race ran off nonstop.
Oreskovich, looking for two in a row here, would put heavy pressure on Myers for the lead. Curt would continue to roll around the top side of the track while Nick O would dive low and try to beat Myers back up to the top spot. This continued lap after lap and as they took the white flag, they were nearly side by side for the lead. However, Myers got a great run off turn one and held a slight lead down the back chute. Oreskovich took one last shot but came up a car length short as Myers drove home for the win. Terran Spacek had a strong run for third with Lawrence and Johnsen completing the top five.
Adams visited victory lane last week in the MidMod but Saturday he got his first Modified win of the 2018 racing season. His win was a tough one as he had to fight his way past a fast Steve Hallquist and then hold off a couple of other hard chargers in Kevin Eder and Cory Mahder to take the checkered. Hallquist took the early lead from the outside pole as he beat Jeff Spacek to take the initial advantage. Adams quickly followed him into second and the battle for the lead was on. Meanwhile, Eder, Adam Hensel, Brent Prochnow, Mahder and others were battling hard for position.
Adams was putting the pressure on Hallquist, several times getting close but not quite able to make the pass for the lead. Just before the midpoint of the race, Adams was able to get an advantage in turn four, slide up the track and clear Hallquist for the point. However, Steve remained close and the battle continued. The leaders got into heavy traffic and things turned ugly for Hallquist. While Adams was able to clear the group of back markers, Hallquist had to slam the brakes to avoid an out of shape car and he spun on the front chute, where he was very nearly clipped. Hallquist would get his spot back but his restart was not a good one and he would lose several positions and eventually fall out of the race.
Eder moved into second on the restart and tried to pressure Adams but they only made two more laps before another spin would slow the action. This time, with six laps remaining in the race, Mahder would move past Eder into second and he would take his shot at Adams for the lead. While Cory was able to cut the advantage to a couple of car lengths, he couldn’t mount a serious challenge and Adams would drive home for the win. Mahder’s first outing of the year provided a strong second place finish with Eder getting yet another solid finish. Ashley Anderson made a late race charge that saw him move up to fourth with Hensel completing the top five.
A big crowd enjoyed the race program on Saturday with more racing to come in the next few weeks. Next Saturday a full five division program will again be presented with warm ups slated for 6:30 pm and the next special event will be on Saturday, May 26th when the Sprint Car fans will get their night with both winged and traditional Sprint Cars in racing action for full programs along with the Super Stocks, Street Stocks and Pure Stocks.