Jim Falls, Wisconsin – The Eagle Valley Speedway presented the First Annual Don Hazelton Memorial with the Afco Race of Champions Qualifier. The draw and redraw format was used to line up the heats and features with the winners in the WISSOTA sanctioned classes earning the right to race in the Afco Race of Champions at the 2018 WISSOTA 100. Winners included Kevin Adams twice, Tommy, Danny, and George Richards, as well as Armond Love in the EVS Hornets.
The WISSOTA Modifieds heats were won by Kevin Adams and Michael Truscott as Adams redrew the front row of the feature and drove to his second feature win of the evening. It was Adams using the high side to bolt away from the pack at the drop of the green. Truscott settled into second as Steve Hallquist moved to third. Mike Anderson and Cory Mahder waged a battle for the fourth position, which was eventually taken by Anderson. The first half of the race was essentially uneventful as the modifieds spread out and knocked down laps.
After the mid-point, it was Hallquist making a move as he worked below Truscott for the runner up position. Hallquist was able to overtake the spot and began to eat into Adams’ advantage. Adams left his line and began to seek a quicker way around the oval, but it was Anderson finding the groove. Anderson closed the gap on Truscott and took the third position and continued to close the gap on Hallquist, who in turn was moving toward the leader. With one lap remaining, Anderson caught Hallquist for second position as he was able to steal it away at the checkered flag. Adams won with Anderson and Hallquist scoring podium finishes. Truscott and Mahder rounded out the top five.
The WISSOTA Super Stocks heats were won by Tommy Richards and Terran Spacek. At feature time, Richards used his outside front row redraw to nab the quick lead. However, Curt Myers moved in from third and they began a fine battle for position. Meanwhile, Spacek had moved from sixth to the third position. A turn four Lukas Koski spin reset the field and as Richards led them to green, Spacek struck and took second from Myers. Spacek was able to move beside the leader, but Richards held his own.
Wayne Dean came to a stop on the raceway which once again slowed the pace. This time Richards controlled the restart and built himself a small cushion. Although Spacek was able to close the advantage somewhat leading up to the halfway point, Richards simply moved back out to an advantage as the laps counted sown. Spacek too was well out front of Myers who had driven to a sizable lead over Kevin Hager and Tony Falkner, who had a good race going for the fifth position. The running order did not change in the closing laps as they finished with Hager having won the battle for fifth.
The WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds made it appear as if it was invitational time with the names of the competitors. It was outstanding racing as Jake Smith, Kevin Adams, and Calvin Iverson won heats. At feature time the first two laps saw Tommy Richards and Michael Truscott driving door to door for the point. However, a two-car crash reset the field and saw Richards with the advantage at the line at the last completed circuit. Once again, Richards lead from the restart, but Tony Bahr was in the house and he first tried to overtake the lead down low and then moved to the higher line.
Adams had found his way to third and he closed and began a tussle for position with Bahr. Another caution flew slowing the pace and as Richard lead the charge, it was Bahr using the high groove to overtake the lead and by the halfway point, the top three remained in tight formation. Shane Halopka who had lost some positions at the start, recovered and moved into fourth. As Adams was able to secure the second position, a red flag condition halted the action. Craig Haas and Brad Edington tangled on the front stretch and made very hard contact. Both of their nights ended on the wrecker.
The restart saw Adams challenge for the lead, but Bahr remained undaunted. Adams continued to pressure the leader and at the white flag, they found themselves side by side in lapped traffic. Adams was quickest around the raceway on the last lap and he took the exciting victory. Bahr was forced to settle for second after an impressive run. Truscott, Halopka, and Richards finished in the top five of an event which left some marquee names in the sport outside of the top ten at the end.
The WISSOTA Street Stocks saw Danny Richards sweep the night winning both the heat and feature. Karl Knopps won the other heat. Russ Chester lead out of the gate and looked strong until Mike Knudtson closed the gap and overtook the position three laps in. There was solid racing in tow as Dalton Hazelton challenged and Knopps moved through the field. Knopps overtook second and as the halfway marker was shown to the drivers, Danny Richards had moved his way from seventh on the grid to third.
A Chester spin saw Travis Hazelton called for the foul. The restart saw Richards move to challenge for the lead. He took it but Knudtson battled back and they swapped positions. Richards didn’t quit though, and he was able to regain the lead and secure the same for the remaining distance of the race. Knudtson was second over Knopps, and Dalton and Travis Hazelton as they rounded out the top five.
The WISSOTA Pure Stock heats were won by Patrick Smith and Andrew Hanson. It was Hanson who made the feature exciting though. Hanson, who came to Eagle Valley specifically because he was aware of George Richard’s dominance of the class. He wanted to knock him out of his throne and he brought a fast race car and the skills to back it up.
As Richards started fifth and Hanson in eighth, it was Smith taking the early lead over Tyler Hallquist. A turn two caution reset the field and Smith once again showed the way. However, soon Richards, who ran the low groove, moved to the point. Hanson was in his shadow and he followed him into second. Hanson remained very close and at times put physical pressure on Richards’ rear bumper. The majority of the race saw the two drive nose to tail on the bottom. With one to go, Hanson rooted Richards off of the far inner groove and coming down the backstretch, Richards gave him room as he drove under him as they entered into turns three and four. They remained side by side and drag raced to the finish line where Richards won by literally inches. Hanson however was very close to disallowing Richards yet another trip to victory lane. Behind them, Tyler Wahlstrom, Cooper Berlin, and Smith finished in the top five.
The Hornets saw Armond Love sweep the nights action in his most impressive evening of racing since his return to the class. It was Dean Butler leading early, but on lap two, Love took over. There was amazing racing behind the leader where cars ran two-wide, two-wide two-deep- and three-wide for lap after lap. They swapped positions multiple times before the finish where Chad Prissel was runner up over Derek Krumrie, Scott Westaby, and Dan Prissel.
The Eagle Valley Speedway will return Sunday, August 05, 2018, for the Hass and Son’s Kid’s Night. The WISSOTA Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Modifieds, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, and EVS Hornets will all be in action.