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Posts in 'St. Croix Valley Raceway' Track

St. Croix Valley Raceway – 2012 opener

May 8th, 2012

Eager to begin their first full summer of racing, officials at the remodeled St. Croix Valley Raceway are toiling away in preparation for their first racing event of the season this Friday, May 11, 2012.

It’s been a tremendously busy off season for the quarter mile speed plant just southwest of Centuria, Wisconsin. Fans who haven’t visited the track for several years may be surprised at the make-over. Extensive track work is nearing completion, featuring a completely redone infield and a new catch fence. Concessions for the main grandstand as well as the pit area have been revamped as well.

With all the changes, the on track action that has excited fans and racers for decades promises to be even better also. SCVR is kicking off the season with “Thunder in the Valley”, a UMSS winged sprint car special. This will be the first of five scheduled appearances for the winged cars at the raceway. Joining the winged sprinters will be the track’s regular classes of Future Fours, Pure Stocks, WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds and UMSS Traditional Sprints and Micro Sprints.

With three of their first four events falling to rain, defending UMSS champion Jerry
Richert Jr. and the rest of the sprinter pilots are eagerly awaiting their chance to sling clay on the reshaped bullring. Track officials are also expecting a population explosion in the Traditional Sprint ranks. With a handful of cars competing last summer in the first year for the non-winged class, the total number of wingless teams may climb to as high as 20 for the division’s sophomore season. WISSOTA sanctioning is back at the facility for the first time in three years in the form of the Midwest Modifieds and fans of the fenders need not feel left out, with the Future Fours and Pure Stocks also set to attack the quarter-mile race track.

Adult admission for this UMSS Sprint car special event is $15, $13 for seniors and $5 for kids ages 6 through 15. Children 5 years of age and under are free. For savings of up to 50%, a Family Pack admission is also available – at just $35 for two adults and up to four kids ($70 value). More details about this event can be found on the track’s website,, or on their Facebook page.

St. Croix Valley Raceway gears up for 2012

January 24th, 2012

St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin–After running a truncated schedule in 2011, officials at St. Croix Valley Raceway are putting the finishing touches on a full, summer-long 2012 campaign. Returning for 2012, the weekly card will again feature UMSS Traditional (non-winged) sprints, micros sprints, Pure Stocks and Future IVs. Midwest Modifieds are back as well, in 2012 running under the WISSOTA banner.

The expanded 2012 schedule offers something for everyone in the family. Track co-owner Ron Bernhagen stated, “our goal is not only to be a premier race track, but also a first-class entertainment venue for the whole family.” Events scheduled for this summer include the Fireworks Spectacular on July 6th, as well as trailer races (June 15) and a stunt-filled Crash-a-rama and School Bus races on August 17th.

Bernhagen and raceway co-owner Rick Mastell persist in their tireless efforts to grow the facility into a premier family entertainment destination for the communities of the scenic St. Croix River valley. The transformation of the track’s infrastructure is on-going. Extensive clay work commenced at the end of the 2011 season that included the removal of several rocks from the track, completely re-shaping the infield and track drainage system, and the removal of the old catch fence. Improved lighting and new fencing are just two of the off-season improvements that will be evident during the upcoming season.

The track, quickly becoming a mini-Mecca for open wheel racing fans, includes the following 2012 highlights:
· Season opener, May 11
· “Thunder in the Valley” featuring UMSS 360 winged sprint cars, May 25, June 29 and August 24.
· The Traditional 40, a 40-lap feature event for the UMSS Traditional Sprints on June 8th.
· The first annual Kouba Memorial/Open Wheel Nationals. Five open wheel classes will compete – UMSS 360 Sprints, UMSS Traditional Sprints, UMSS Micro Sprints, WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds and WISSOTA Modifieds on June 29th.
· The Bumper-to-Bumper IRA 410 Outlaw Sprint Series on July 27th.
· The two-night, two complete show Badger State Championships on September 21st and 22nd.

More details, directions to the track, and the most up-to-date schedule information can be found on the track’s website,, and fans can also follow the track on Facebook.

Boumeester Carves up Competition at Trick or Treat Enduro

October 6th, 2011

St. Croix Falls–St. Croix Valley Raceway wrapped up it first season of operation on late Saturday afternoon with the first annual “Trick or Treat Enduro”.  In addition to racing, the event also included professional wrestling featuring the American Wrestling Federation, on-track trick or treating for the kids, as well as stunts performed by Clay “Wildman” Gallagher.

The season’s final event commenced with the stars of the American Wrestling Federation, whose opening bell sounded at 3:00 p.m.  After Mikey Wipeout won the opening match over Udo Manglesdorf, both the wrestlers and the fans became more vocal and boisterous during the second match-up between John Johnson and Corporal Julio.  Johnson scored an unpopular victory, starting a string of boo-bird accompanied wins.  After insulting the crowd, Black Stallion was the winner in the third match over New Yorker Ryan Cruz, and Wildcat was the fourth match winner over Rob James.  Wrestling wrapped up with a Battle Royale, which included all the day’s wrestlers in the ring at the same time, plus late entrant Johnny Parks.  Gaining redemption for his earlier defeat, Cruz hoisted Black Stallion over the top rope and out of the ring to claim the $5000 Royale crown.

At the conclusion of the wrestling, fans migrated from the wrestling ring to the main grandstands for the rest of the program.  Wildman got things rolling, literally, on the track by performing two roll-overs in the track’s infield.  Then it was the kids’ turn on the track.  After the enduro cars were lined up on the front stretch, the safety gate was opened and the costumed youngsters descended onto the track for trick or treating amongst the drivers.  Once the juvenile ghosts and goblins had fleeced the drivers of all their candy, it was back up into the grandstands to watch the 150 lap enduro.

Track regular Kevin Bradwell, driving a Ricky Bobby inspired #26 Wonder car, and Brian Mustonen sat on the front row for race starter Shaun Cimfl’s green flag, but Proctor, Minnesota, driver Shawn Ziells quickly vaulted to the front of the pack.  Ziells looked dominant in his #3z ride, quickly opening up a full straightaway advantage over the rest of the field.  While Ziells was running away up front, Waseca, Minnesota’s Jared Boumeester was carving up the competition like a jack-o-lantern.  Boumeester started in the eleventh row and was flirting with the top five inside a dozen laps.  Boumeester continued to slice his way towards the front, while Ziells continued to dominate in the lead.  With the enduro’s length working in his favor, Boumeester methodically reeled in Ziells and took over the lead at the race’s midway point.

Once out front, Boumeester appeared to get even stronger, lapping the second place car before the lap counter hit the century mark.  With the entire field at least one lap down; Boumeester cruised to an impressive victory in a race that saw only two safety stops – one for debris early in the race, and another stoppage late due to a blocked track.  The only driver to complete all 150 laps, Boumeester celebrated his victory over a top ten that included Brad York, Scott Meeds, Doug Kruse, Brian Furbur, Derek Silbernagel, Kris Kaphing, Jake Cormican, Derrick Johnson and – despite a late race pit stop – Shawn Ziells in tenth.

With the 150 lapper in the books, the action still wasn’t over at the Raceway.  Wildman Gallagher, after racing in the enduro, remained suited up and strapped into a minivan for one final stunt – through the fire box.  A box nearly 30 feet long and about 12 feet wide was doused in gasoline and set ablaze.  With flames lashing twenty feet into the sky, Wildman charged through the fire box in a custom painted minivan, reducing it to flaming rubble.  With the crowd cheering on in approval, Wildman made a second pass through the still flaming lumber to put an ending exclamation point on the 2011season at St. Croix Valley Raceway.

Even though racing has concluded for 2011, activity at the facility hasn’t ceased.  Track co-owner and UMSS president Ron Bernhagen declared, “We still have a lot of work to do.  The track isn’t up to our standards yet, and we know it.  We’re not straying from our long-term goal of making this a top tier racing and entertainment destination in the coming years.”  Short term improvement plans include upgrading he track grooming equipment, allowing the quarter-mile bull ring to showcase an even racier surface.

Race teams are also invited to an organizational meeting on Saturday, October 29, at Loggers Bar and Grill in St. Croix Falls.  The meeting will begin at 11:00 a.m. and scheduled topics of conversation include sanctioning, classes of competition, and track rules and procedures.  Tentative plans are for a late April opening in 2012; fans can stay up to date with Raceway events on the track’s website, or by following the track on facebook.

Kaphing dominates Final Showdown, Broty nabs second UMSS win

September 22nd, 2011

St. Croix Falls, WI–Summer-time temperatures ended abruptly for racers and fans at St. Croix Valley Raceway for their mid-September “Final Showdown” event. Since re-opening in late July, race teams have slowly been trickling back to the historic quarter mile oval, and with several area tracks not in action over the weekend, car counts continued their upward trend despite the chilly conditions. In addition to the weekly classes of Future Fours, Pure Stocks, and Traditional Sprint Cars, the Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers were on hand once again.

Feature racing for the first of the two-night affair started with the Future Fours. Track favorites Kyle Dahlheimer and Ben Kaphing led the twelve-car field to Shaun Cimfl’s green flag, with Kaphing grabbing the early advantage heading into the first
turn. Kaphing, already with a pair of wins this season, looked strong out front and left the tighter racing to drivers behind him. Dahlheimer held down the second spot for eight laps before finally yielding to Eric Schultz. At that same time, Jesse Tripp interjected himself into the battle for third as the trio would battle throughout. Kaphing went on to collect his third win of the summer ahead of Schultz, Tripp, Dahlheimer and Damon Roberts.

Next to attack the quarter-mile were the Pure Stocks, with a front row consisting of Mike Schnider and Tony DuBois. DuBois set the early pace with Jay Folz giving chase along with two-time winner Krysta Swearingen and Kyle Hallin. After a mid-race caution, Folz slipped by DuBois on the restart and held on to the top spot for the remaining laps. DuBois stayed in front of Swearingen at the final checkers, followed by Chad Eastman Steve Baker.

The Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers were back at the track for the second time, with wins going to Sonny VanWilgen in the Full Bodied division and Ricci Lipinski in the Super Modifieds.

Night number one of the Final Showdown wrapped up with the UMSS Traditional Sprint cars. Tommy Kamrath and former track champion Kevin Bradwell brought the six wing-less sprinters to the opening green. Kamrath immediately shot to the point with third starting Rob Caho Jr. in tow. By lap two, Bradwell had worked around Caho, with whom he’d battle the entire distance. While Kamrath was setting the pace, Caho continued to hound Bradwell to reclaim second. On lap twelve, Caho finally worked back to the runner-up spot, only to relinquish it again the very next circuit. At the stripe it was a green-to-checkers victory for Kamrath, followed by Bradwell, Caho, Aaron Wisch, Brad Nelson and Jack Clark. Johnny Parsons III was unable to start the main event.

On the second night of the Final Showdown, it was once again the Future Fours starting off feature action and once again it was the Ben Kaphing show. Kaphing redrew the pole starting position after winning his heat race and he cruised to his third consecutive feature win. And just like the previous night, Jesse Tripp and Kyle Dahlheimer were battling for position behind the leader, and Saturday saw Tripp with the advantage yet again. In a caution-free race, Kaphing grabbed his fourth feature win ahead of Tripp, Dahlheimer, Chris Rick and Damon Roberts.

In Pure Stock competition, the winner didn’t have such an easy task. Second heat race winner Tony DuBois and Friday night’s winner Jay Folz paced the field to green and DuBois led the first lap, looking to garner his second win of the summer. But on lap two, Folz shot to the front and immediately stretched his lead. Meanwhile, Jason Havel was making quick work of the field from his mid-pack starting position. Havel darted to fourth on the opening lap and shot up to second by lap four. By that time Folz had a several car length advantage. Havel began reeling in the leader, little by little, on each lap. With less than a handful of laps remaining, Havel had caught Folz and was applying pressure, but each challenge was answered by Folz as he maintained the lead. Heading into the final turn of the final lap, Havel pulled even with Folz and the pair drag-raced to the checkers. At the stripe, by mere inches, Havel finally eked his hot rod to the point, only a few feet in front of the flagstand. The near photo finish by Havel was the most exciting of the night, just a blink of an eye in front of Folz. Bob Thompson crossed the line third, ahead of DuBois and Justin Rick.

The procedure followed by Tommy Kamrath with his UMSS Traditional sprinter was win, race, repeat. After an impressive win on Friday, Kamrath could do no better than fourth in the qualifying heat race on Saturday. But with the benefit of a front row start, Kamrath shot to the point during the main event and led the entire distance. As was the case on Friday, Rob Caho and Kevin Bradwell dueled for second with Bradwell winning that battle. The win was the second in a row and third overall for Kamrath with Bradwell, Caho, Cody Hahn, Johnny Parsons and Jack Clark rounding out the field.

Headlining the Final Showdown was the UMSS Sprint Cars and their special event, “Thunder in the Valley, part 3”. The third and final appearance of the season for the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) at the St. Croix Valley Raceway turned out to be a much better evening and end result for Prior Lake, Minnesota sprint car driver Scott Broty. After getting upside down during the August “Thunder in the Valley” program, Broty returned with a different car and found himself in victory lane following his second UMSS win of the season. A dramatic turn of events fourteen laps into the feature race would see the top two cars unable to continue following a caution. Broty, who had been running a close third at the time, took command of the lead and went on to score the $1,000 win on his wedding anniversary night.

When asked to comment on his chances before racing action got underway for the evening, Broty replied, “If it’s heavy out there tonight, my car is going to like it. I’ll have a good chance to run up front.” Commenting after his second win of the season, Broty recalled his pre-race conversation with a smile. “Ron Bernhagen does a great job at preparing the racing surface on this track. Both my car and myself as a driver like it when it’s heavy and there is a cushion to lean on. It feels good to pick up my second win of the season. See you at Ogilvie.” Broty currently sits fourth in the championship point standings.

After the usual double round of qualifying races utilized by the UMSS had concluded, a couple of young guns found themselves on the front row for the 20 lap feature race. Rookie Kevin Bradwell and 2010 UMSS Rookie of the Year Jared Goerges brought the field to the green. Goerges immediately raced to the early lead, flying high up on the cushion. Another young driver in his sophomore season in the sprints, Andy Jones, followed Goerges in second at the conclusion of the opening lap. As the laps quickly clicked off under green on the fast 1/4 mile dirt oval, Goerges and Jones approached traffic seven laps into the race. At the halfway mark, it was Goerges, Jones, Broty, Brad Barickman and Cody Hahn in the top five.

A spirited battle for the top spot on lap fourteen saw Goerges and Jones swap the lead in turns three and four while lapping Tom Nicholl. Jones briefly had the lead, but Goerges regained it before they completed the lap. The next lap would prove to be dramatic. As Jones dove low in turn three and slid up alongside Goerges in turn four, Goerges’ sprinter hopped the cushion and nosed into the turn four wall. As the caution flew and the cars slowed, Jones suddenly stalled in turn three with an engine failure. Both of the leaders were out of the race, and Scott Broty inherited first place as scoring reverted back to the last fully completed lap. After a quick six lap dash to the checkers when the green replaced the yellow, Scott Broty earned his first St. Croix Valley Raceway feature victory. Brad Barickman stayed close and made a bid for the lead following the restart, but the talented Richfield racer had to settle for second. Defending UMSS Champion Cody Hahn rode home in third ahead of Joseph Kouba in fourth. In his first-ever sprint car race, Chad Cummings from Menomonie drove the TW Motorsports sprinter to an impressive fifth place finish. Vintage Car features were won by Joe L’Allier and Mike Bjorklund.

Only one event remains on the St. Croix Valley Raceway calendar. Saturday, October 1, the track will host the “Trick ‘r Treat Enduro”. In addition to the $5000 winner’s share of the enduro purse, the event will also feature AWF Wrestling, stunts by Clay “The Wildman” Gallagher, and candy and trick or treating for the kids. Kids are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes for trick or treating on the track after the races. Opening bell for the wrestling is scheduled for 3:00 p.m., with racing and trick or treating to follow.

St. Croix Valley Celebrates Fans

September 5th, 2011

St. Croix Falls, WI–With the truncated season winding down, the new St. Croix Valley Raceway honored its fans with a full card of racing action and dozens upon dozens of fan giveaways. While the fans were soaking up free gifts from Jerry’s East Coast Flavor, the Stop-A-Sec, the Dalles House, Al’s Diner, CR Convenience, Wayne’s Café and Pizza Man, Ryan Olson gobbled up another Pro Modified feature win. The Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers were also on hand with cars competing in two divisions.

On a perfect night for racing, the Future Fours were the first feature following the Raceway’s customary playing of God Bless America. Heat race winners Chris Rick and Kyle Dahlheimer led the eleven car field to flagman Shaun Cimfl’s green flag with Dahlheimer getting the early jump on the field. After starting sixth, Ben Kaphing shot up to third on the first lap and worked around Rick for second on lap two. After following Dahlheimer for a few circuits, Kaphing nabbed the top spot and kept it for the duration. Dahlheimer stayed in second except for a late race pass when he yielded briefly to Joel Kruse. With all twelve laps in the books, Kaphing had his second trophy of the summer and Dahlheimer had gotten back in front of Kruse, who had to settle for third. Rick crossed the line fourth with Doug Kruse rounding out the top five.

Up next for The Valley was the Pure Stock main event, with Kyle Hallin and Brandon Davis leading the nine car field to the opening green. Hallin looked strong out front through the first seven laps with Davis giving chase and heat race winner Justin Rick, Steve Baker and Krysta Swearingen all battling for third. On lap eight, Hallin dropped to the tail, handing the lead to Davis. Davis cruised the final laps to his first St. Croix Valley Raceway win of the season. Baker crossed the line second in front of Swearingen, heat race winner Josh Bach, and Jon Wigchers.

In Vintage competition, Mike Wilson of Red Wing, MN picked up the Full Bodied division feature win from his third row staring spot while Oakdale’s Butch Bethke raced his #31 to the Super Modified victory.

The upstart UMSS Traditional sprints fielded a six car field for the eleventh race of their inaugural season. August 5 winner Tommy Kamrath led from the pole for laps one through four until July 29 winner Rob Caho, Jr. shot to the point. Once of front, the sprint car veteran Caho settled into a groove and never allowed Kamrath to mount a serious challenge to reclaim the lead. At the completion of the fifteen lap exhibition main event, Caho had secured his second TSCS trophy on the season besting Kamrath, Kevin Bradwell, Jeff Pellersels, Jack Clack and Aaron Wisch.

In the Pro Stock division, Willie Johnson followed up on his strong showing from his previous appearance at The Valley with an even better effort on Friday. After picking up a heat race win, Johnson sat on the front row alongside of Cody Campeau for the twenty lap Pro Stock finale. Johnson bolted to the point at the drop of the green with Jeff Heintz in tow. Behind Johnson, the big mover was second heat race winner Shawn Kammerud. After starting inside the third row, Kammerud had worked up to third by lap six and into second two laps later. While Kammerud was working the field, Johnson was patient and calm through a series of restarts, each time fending off all challengers and keeping Kammerud in chase mode for the majority of the race. At the red-and-white checkers, Johnson had scored his first career Pro Stock feature win in clean-sweep fashion. Kammerud finished as the runner-up ahead of Campeau, Heintz and Marcus Simonson.

Making their final appearance of the season on the Raceway, the Pro Modifieds capped the evening with a season high 23 car main event. Mike Mueller and Jason Schill paced the field to green with Schill showing the fast way around the quarter-mile for the first handful of laps. Early on, three-time winner Ryan Olson was working up from fifth and tenth starting Dan Wheeler was slicing through the field as well. Just prior to halfway, Olson found the front with Wheeler and Mueller giving chase. With the track sporting three grooves, drivers were jockeying for position throughout the field, and as the laps wound down fifteenth starting Josh Bazey made his appearance in the top five. Out front, Olson would never relinquish his lead through a number of cautions and posted his fourth win in the Pro Modified division in five attempts. Wheeler settled for second in front of Bazey, Mueller and Lucas Milz.

After taking next week off, St. Croix Valley Raceway will return to action for “The Final Showdown”, a two day event scheduled for Friday, September 16 and Saturday, September 17. The Friday show will be comprised of Future Fours, Pure Stocks and UMSS Traditional Sprint Cars in competition as well as another exhibition from the Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers. Those same divisions will return for a second full show the following night along with the third appearance by the UMSS winged sprint cars. “Thunder in the Valley” part three will mark the final appearance of the year for the sprint cars in the north metro region. The final event in 2011 at St. Croix Valley will be the “Trick ‘r Treat Enduro”, plus the rescheduled “Wrestle & Race” show featuring the American Wrestling Federation on October 1. Opening bell for the wrestling is at 3:00 p.m., with racing to follow. Kids are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes, as there will be trick or treating on the track with the drivers after the racing action.

Awesome Aussie Nabs Winged Win

September 2nd, 2011

St. Croix Falls, WI–The weather man smiled on St. Croix Valley Friday night, and when the second edition of the 2011 “Thunder in the Valley” races concluded, smiles were bountiful throughout the grandstands. Kids’ night was celebrated at St. Croix Valley Raceway with a bike giveaway, face painting, minnow races and a bean bag toss. Trackside, Australian transplant Brooke Tatnell was smiling after claiming the UMSS Main Event trophy, while Kevin Bradwell, Ryan Olson, Mike Schnider and Dylan Roberts also grabbed wins.

The night’s first feature event was contested by the Future Fours, with heat race winners Dylan Roberts and Jesse Tripp sitting on the front row. Roberts jumped to the point under green with Tripp in tow, but Tripp soon began to fade. By lap three, Kris Kaphing was runner-up with August 5 winner Ben Kaphing in third. With five laps in the books, the Kaphings swapped positions while Chris Rick and last week’s winner Steve Sutton began making some noise in the top five. Try as he might, Kaphing was unable to reel in Roberts who led the entire way for the clean sweep feature win. Second place went to Ben Kaphing with Rick, Kris Kaphing and Sutton rounding out the top five.

With the unique dual-qualifying rounds used by the UMSS, the Future Fours feature actually took place before intermission. That gave the Pure Stocks the honor of idling on the front stretch through SCVR’s customary playing God Bless America to start the final round of features. Justin Rick and Jon Wigchers brought the field to green with Rick looking strong and leading through lap four. On the fifth circuit, new comer Mike Schnider was compounding his successful debut at the Raceway – after picking up a heat race win earlier, Schnider worked past Rick and into the lead. A lap later, two-time feature winner Kyrsta Swearingen was up to second but she could advance no further. Schnider cruised to the SCVR red-and-white checkers in front of Swearingen, Brandon Davis, Wigchers, and Kyle Hallin.

After winning the first-ever UMSS Traditional Sprint Car Series (TSCS) race back in May at Ogilvie Raceway, Kevin Bradwell from Luck, Wisconsin topped an exciting three-car battle to win his second feature of the season and the first on his home track. Bradwell has sat in victory lane at the St. Croix Falls track on numerous occasions in years past in the hornet and pure stock divisions, so it was only fitting that he would find his way there once again in the fourth TSCS race at the recently reopened 1/4 mile oval. Bradwell blasted by race leader and inaugural St.Croix Valley Raceway winner Rob Caho, Jr. on lap 12 in the 15 lap feature. The top three cars ran a good share of the race close together with the final outcome in doubt right up to the final checkers.

Caho, who had earlier won the heat race, drew the zero pill for a straight up feature race start from the heat race finish. This put Caho on the pole with 2010 UMSS Champion Cody Hahn, driving in just his second TSCS race ever in the Jeff Pellersels owned #1 non-winged sprinter, outside on the front row with veteran racer Jack Clark and Bradwell in row two ahead of rookie Aaron Wisch. That five car field was racing for the $200 top prize from GRP Motorsports, with three of the five still searching for their first victory in the exhibition style program during the first year for this new series.

Caho grabbed the early lead over Clark. Bradwell moved up one spot to third on the opening lap and drove around Clark on lap two for second. Hahn also recovered from an opening lap bobble and settled into third behind the lead duo. As the laps
clicked off in quick fashion under the green, the top three cars ran close together with the drivers searching for the fast way around. From cushion to bottom lane, the top three remained close and constant over the next nine laps. Completing lap eleven, Bradwell pulled alongside Caho at the finish line and then ducked under him for the lead in turn one. Bradwell held off Caho and Hahn for a popular win at his home track. Hahn was able to edge under Caho on the final circuit for second. Clark and Wisch completed the running order in a nonstop run to the finish.

Commenting after his win, the “Rocketman” reminded UMSS Media Director Greg Parent of what he told him before the races. “I’m going to get after it tonight and win your top prize money.” Bradwell certainly backed up that statement. Continuing with his post-race assessment, Bradwell stated “these cars are a blast to drive, and I’ve been learning each race. My crew worked hard this week to make repairs from the Hibbing accident, and the car felt great tonight. My Mora Motorworks engine has been steady all year long. It’s awesome to win one at my home track! This series is definitely starting to take off and next year there are going to be several more cars to race against. I would have liked to beat those Reactor Racing cars tonight, but we’ll see if we can get them at the next show here.”

St. Croix Valley Raceway has been a welcome late-summer trophy factory for Strum, Wisconsin’s Ryan Olson. “Flyin Ryan” won the first two Pro Modified features of the season at The Valley and was battling Josh Bazey for the win last week. On Friday, Olson started fifth on the grid while Kevin Marlett and Doug Merrill set the pace for the sixteen car field. Merrill was the leader out of the gate and remained up front through lap eight – with Bazey and Olson battling behind him. Just prior to the halfway point, Olson found an opening and powered past Merrill, with Bazey following suit a handful of laps later. Once out front, the rest of the field couldn’t muster a serious challenge for Olson who added to his sticker collection by nailing down his third feature win in fours tries since the track re-opened in late July. Bazey crossed the stripe second in front of Jason Schill, Tony Schill and Lucas Milz.

The “Thunder in the Valley” Kids’ Night wrapped up with winged wonders of the UMSS scorching the quarter-mile bull ring for their Main Event. Following the usual double round of qualifying races utilized by the UMSS, Brad Barickman and Cody Hahn
sat on the front row for the 20 lap feature race. Both drivers were searching for their first 2011 wins. Barickman and Hahn swapped the top spot on the opening lap with Barickman gaining the upper hand exiting turn four. It only took a few laps for fifth starter Tatnell to move to second and set his sights on Barickman. On lap seven, the leaders encountered lapped traffic on the little bullring, as Tatnell closed in on Barickman. Barickman got sideways exiting turn two near the halfway mark to bring out the first caution. Barickman gave up his lead with nine laps scored and restarted at the tail of the field. On the restart, Cody Hahn slowed up some in turn two causing Chris Graf to loop his car. Graf joined Barickman at the rear for the restart.

At the halfway mark, it was Tatnell leading Andy Jones, Cody Hahn and Jerry Richert, Jr. In lapped traffic once again, Jones began to close in on Tatnell. On lap 15, Jones’ potent #73 sprinter suffered an engine failure entering turn one and slapped the wall in turn two. Jones saw his night end with a hole in the oil pan. The Mastell Racing Team was quickly searching and calling to see if they could locate a ride for the following night at Rice Lake in order to keep Andy in the points battle.

Tatnell went on to lead the remaining circuits for his third win with the UMSS in 2011. Barickman and Graf quickly moved back up through the field and into the top five. On the final lap, Richert edged past Hahn to claim the runnerup spot, as Barickman also got around Graf on the final lap for fourth. Completing the top ten finishers were Joseph Kouba, Ronnie Erickson, Leigh Thomas, Chad Patterson and Anna Kouba.

Tatnell earned the victory behind the wheel of friend and fellow Australian native David Kraft’s car, and afterwards commented, “This is a fun little track and a great group of drivers to race with. Thanks to David Craft for allowing me to jump in his sprint car tonight and have some fun. I’m planning to run the Nelson Motorsports car at Brainerd and Cedar Lake during the next couple of weekends.”

Friday night, September 2, marks Fan Appreciation Night at St. Croix Valley Raceway. Along with the full TGIR line-up of Future Fours, Pure Stocks, Pro Stocks, Pro Modifieds and UMSS Traditional Sprints, Clay “The Wildman” Gallagher, returns to the Raceway for another of his patented stunts. The Vintage cars will also be on hand to race their hotrods from days gone by. Other shows scheduled at the Raceway are the Final Showdown – a two night event on September 16 and 17, and the Survivor Series Enduro/AWF wrestling special ob October 1. The UMSS winged Sprints will make their final appearance in the area as part of the September 17 program.

Future Fours see Third New Winner in Three Weeks, Bazey Dethrones Olson in Modifieds

August 24th, 2011

St. Croix Falls, WI,–Clay “The Wildman” Gallagher found his way to St. Croix Valley Raceway on Friday night, August 19. In addition to competing in the Future Four division, during the intermission, The Wildman completed a pair of roll-overs in a Chevy S-10 pickup truck to the delight of fans young and old in the crowd. Gallagher’s stunts were just the beginning of an action-packed night of racing at the Raceway’s third event of the summer.

In the three weeks since the Raceway reopened back on July 29, the Future Fours have seen three different winners. The August 5th winner, Ben Kaphing, started on the pole and led the opening lap, but fourth starting Steve Sutton grabbed the top spot on lap two. Kaphing had extra drive for the evening – his father, Mike, was involved in a serious accident several weeks ago, and Friday marked Mike Kaphing’s first visit to the race track since the accident. With that added extra incentive, the younger Kaphing dogged Sutton the entire distance, but it just wasn’t meant to be on this night. The SCVR red-and-white checkers went to Sutton and his #93x Dodge Neon. Kaphing had to settle for second place in front of his cousin Kris Kaphing, with Chris Rick and Dylan Roberts rounding out the top five.

Maplewood, Minnesota’s Chris Rick and heat race winner Brandon Davis made up the front row for the Pure Stock feature, with Rick leading the way for the open circuits. But on lap three, the #03 of Krysta Swearingen shot past Rick and into the lead. Rick gave chase the rest of the way to no avail as the pre-school teacher from Little Canada picked up her second consecutive feature win in front of Rick, Steve Baker, Rob Lowe and Mike Olson.

After nearly two years away from the facility, the Pro Stock division at The Valley is growing in both quantity and quality. Ten cars were on hand for their debut on August fifth, and that number swelled to twelve for the sleek racing machines on Friday. More important than the numbers growth, the level of competition was other worldly, as the Pro Stocks put on a good old-fashioned barn-burner for their feature race. First heat race winner Jeff Heintz and August 5th winner Shawn Kammerud led the field to the opening green with Kammerud setting the pace out front. Behind Kammerud’s #99, Heintz, second heat race winner Cory Davis, 2010 Street Stock track champion Marcus Simonson, Cody Campeau and Willie Johnson juked-and-jived and sliced-and-diced their way around the quarter-mile right to the very end. Heintz ran runner-up until about halfway before yielding to Davis and Davis immediately went to work on Kammerud. Trying myriad lines and a variety of corner entry strategies, Davis was thwarted on his every attempt for the lead. On the last lap, Davis finally got the run he needed down the back stretch and dove to the bottom through turn three. Flattening out the turn, Davis drifted up in front of Kammerud in turn four a few hundred feet in front of the finish line to pick up the dramatic win. Kammerud had to settle for second ahead of Heintz, Johnson, and Frank Fabio.

In the first nine races for the upstart UMSS Traditional Sprint Car Series (TSCS) in 2011, Johnny Parsons III from Owatonna is showing non-winged sprint car fans why he is the driver to beat in TSCS action during the inaugural season. Parsons raced to his fourth win on Friday night August 19 at the St. Croix Valley Raceway in the TSCS 12-lap nonstop feature race. For the Reactor Racing Team, it was the fifth time the #22 sprinter has sat in Victory Lane this season. Joseph Kouba also drove the car to victory at the Cedar Lake Speedway on July 30. Parsons teammate, Tommy Kamrath, has one win as well. Coming from his third starting spot, Parsons used the bottom groove to propel his Reactor Racing non-winged sprint car into the lead on the opening lap. Parsons never looked back and was never seriously challenged in the green-white-checkered twelve lap run. Jack Clark ran second for a good share of the race, but with a right rear tire slowly deflating, Clark was under heavy pressure in the closing laps. Kevin Bradwell shot by a slowing Clark on the final lap. Clark and Rob Caho, Jr. had a virtual tie for third at the finish line with official scoring awarding third to Clark by maybe an inch or two over Caho. August a feature winner Tom Kamrath completed the top five out of the seven car field. All cars finished the entire distance in the feature race. Earlier in the evening, Kamrath topped the heat race.

The evening’s final race was full of excitement also, as “Flyin” Ryan Olson was finally bested at SCVR. After winning the first two events at the reopened speedway, Olson has his work cut out for him starting on the fourth row. Kevin Marlett started on the outside of the front row and led the Pro Modifieds through the first lap. Coming out of turn two on lap two, Dan Wheeler slid up in front of Marlett for the lead. But as soon as Wheeler got his #Red1 Modified to the point, he momentarily and dramatically slowed, forcing Marlett to back off the throttle. That little hiccup was the only opening Olson needed as he jumped on the opportunity to pass both Wheeler and Marlett for the lead, bringing his fourth row starting mate, Josh Bazey with him. From there, it was the Bazey and Olson show as the duo tangoed tooth-and-nail for the lead. Bazey took a lap and a half before getting around Olson, and then took to fending off the only Modified winner at the track this season. On lap nine, Olson raced around Bazey and re-staked his claim on the top prize, but Bazey clamored right back and re-swiped top honors on lap ten. Coming up on lapped traffic, Bazey passed low while Olson elected to take the high groove. Contact between Olson and Mike Halvorsen sent Olson’s #21 Modified careening towards the turn one wall. While Olson muscled and willed his hot rod away from the concrete, the damage done to his racer was too severe to continue, handing the runner-up spot to Tony Schill. For the two-lap green-white-checkered dash to the end, Bazey remained strong up front and picked up his first feature win in nearly a year ahead of Schill, Mike Mueller, Marlett, and Ryan Johnson.

Next Friday night, the thunder returns to The Valley as the UMSS winged sprint cars invade St. Croix Valley Raceway for their second “Thunder in the Valley” special event. Joining the winged sprints will be Future Fours, Pure Stocks, Pro Modifieds and UMSS Traditional Sprints. The Pro Stocks will have the weekend off. As is customary with “Thunder in the Valley” specials, it’s also kids’ night at The Valley; anyone under age sixteen is admitted free of charge. Racing is slated to get underway at 7:00 on Friday night August 26 at the newly reopened 1/4 mile oval located between St. Croix Falls and Centuria, Wisconsin.

Rain Washes out SCVR Summer Slam

August 17th, 2011

An ill-timed downpour late Saturday afternoon forced the postponement of events at St. Croix Valley Raceway. The brief but intense rain rendered the grounds unsuitable for the planned racing and American Wrestling Federation charity wrestling program.

The AWF event, along with the appearance of stuntman Clay “The Wildman” Gallagher, has been rescheduled to be part of the Raceway’s season-ending $5,000-to-win Survivor Series Enduro race on Saturday, October 1st. The wrestling will begin the program at 3:00 p.m., with Gallagher and racing to follow.

Welcome Back!

August 6th, 2011

St. Croix Falls, WI, -With much anticipation, dirt track racing returned to the St. Croix valley on Friday night with the grand opening of the St. Croix Valley Raceway.  Andy Jones scored an impressive victory in the headlining UMSS Main Event while Ryan Olson, Tony Dubois, Damon Roberts and Rob Caho also notched wins.

To mark the grand opening of the racy quarter-mile bull ring, the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) made it’s first of three scheduled appearances at the track along with the track’s standard classes, Future IVs, Pure Stocks and Pro Modifieds.  The UMSS Traditional sprints were also on hand for exhibition races as well as a few 500cc karts.

Several familiar faces dotted the pits and the grandstands as well as host of new competitors and fans.  In addition to some racing divisions that aren’t customary to the area, the track also previewed some of its own new, unique-to-the-area customs.  The most prominent and visible of these customs was the Checkered Flag – most often in the black and white pattern.  Not at St. Croix Valley Raceway, winners there are treated to a white and red checkered flag.  Fans also got a double dose of patriotism during the show – with a traditional playing of the Star Spangled Banner to start the program, plus God Bless America was played to signal the start of the night’s feature races.

Upon completion of the qualifying races, most of them run in caution-free manner, the Future IVs started feature competition with their ten lap main event.  Pole sitter Kyle Dahlheimer led the opening circuit and Ben Kaphing took over on the second lap.  With just three laps remaining, rookie racer Damon Roberts of Grantsburg, Wisconsin, made what proved to be the winning move in the race to the red and white checkered flag.  Damon’s older brother Dylan crossed the stripe in second, ahead of Kaphing, Joel Kruse and Chris Rick.

The Pure Stock A-main saw Kyle Hallin and Tony DeBois lead the seven car field to the green flag.  DuBois, coming off a successful rookie campaign in the Future IVs in 2010 got his eight cylinder racing career off to a tremendous start by notching his first ever feature win.  The Cottage Grove, MN, youngster piloted the former Kevin Bradwell chevy back into Victory Lane, rebranded with his familiar #4.  But the victory was no walk in the park for DeBois, as he was dogged nearly the entire distance by track veteran chauffer Krysta Swearingen.  Swearingen applied pressure high and low throughout, with DeBois answering each challenge.  DuBois finally had some breathing room on the final lap as Swearingen’s front suspension broke, forcing her to will her #03 mount across the line still in second place.  Behind Swearingen, Kyle Hallin, Justin Rick and Steve Baker rounded out the top five.

After the Pure Stocks, Mike Chaplin and Brian Richards turned some exhibition laps in their winged karts, giving area fans exposure to yet another non-traditional form of dirt racing.  The other exhibition class on display was the UMSS Traditional
sprint cars.  Just a few months into their inaugural season, eight of the wingless racers checked in to do battle at St. Croix Valley.

After blasting to the early lead from his front row starting spot, Kevin “The Rocketman” Bradwell spun his #95 ride after a mid-race restart, costing himself the lead and a potential win.  Bradwell’s spin also collected the car of Joseph Kouba, a veteran of many years on the winged sprint car circuit who was making his wingless debut.  The spin handed the lead over to another veteran winged sprint car racer, Rob Caho Jr.  After a late caution, Caho’s ride began to over heat, but he was still
able to hold off a hard charging Cody Hahn and secure his first victory of the season in the Traditional Series.  Adam Taubert and Aaron Wisch were the final finishers in the exhibition feature.

The penultimate event on the evening featured the headlining UMSS sprintcars with sophomore sensation Andy Jones and veteran Brad Barickman pacing the ten car field to the green flag.  Jones may have had the advantage of a pole position starting spot, but that didn’t mean he had an easy task.  Leading from the start, Jones found himself fending off the talented Australian transplant Brooke Tatnell.  While Tatnell had to work his way up from his sixth place starting slot, the race’s lone caution meant he would be re-starting just off Jones’ rear bumper.  With the green once again waving over the field, Jones drove the remaining laps smooth and fast, besting the more experienced racer for his fourth feature win of the summer.  The win help vault Jones up to second place in the UMSS points chase with ten events remaining on the 2010 calendar.  Commenting after the race, Jones stated, “I knew Tatnell was behind me on that caution.  I just needed to keep running a smooth consistent line and not overdrive the car.  My crew gave me a strong car for the feature, and I’m really happy to win this first race at St. Croix Valley for them and my car owner to help reopen the track.”  Behind Jones and Tatnell, Brad Barickman, Jerry Richert Jr., and defending series champion Cody Hahn rounded out the top five.

The grand re-opening’s night ended with a fast and clean Pro Modified twenty lap main event.  The 21-car field was paced to the green flag by Mike Mueller and Josh Bazey and would be slowed only once by the appearance of a yellow flag on lap six.
Bazey looked strong and led through the first four laps, but Ryan Olson started third and was pressuring Bazey the entire way.  On the fifth circuit, Olson found the opening he was looking for and shot to the point.  Once in the lead, Olson stayed there and stretched his advantage to a comfortable margin, leaving Bazey, Andy Jones, Mike Mueller and rookie Zack Stewart to settle thing for runner-up honors.  With the dearth of cautions to slow the action, lapped traffic tested the leaders, and all passed with flying colors.  Olson dominated to pick up the win ahead of Bazey, Jones, Mueller and Stewart.

The Thunder returns to the Valley this Friday night, August 5, with the standard fare of racing divisions on hand.  The Future IVs, Pure Stocks and Pro Modifieds will be joined by the Pro Stock class, along with exhibitions once again in the karts/Micro sprints and UMSS Traditional sprints.  In mid-August, St. Croix Valley Raceway has a special Saturday night event scheduled.  On August 13, the American Wrestling Federation will be on hand for a 90 minute show of high-flying wrestling in the square ring.  Upon completion of the wrestling, plans are to have the grapplers don fire suits and helmets for some laps on the race track.  UMSS winged sprints will make the second of their three scheduled appearances on August 26.  Gates open for each event at 5:00, with the first green flag flying at 7:00 p.m.  More scheduling information may be found at the track’s website

Friday Night Racing Returns to St. Croix Falls

July 22nd, 2011

St. Croix Falls, WI–Rick Mastell and Ron Bernhagen announced today they have completed the purchase of the former Kopellah Speedway in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. For the past dozen years, the quarter mile dirt oval racing facility has been owned and operated by Marguerite Lindblom. Mastell and Bernhagen completed the transfer of ownership on Monday, July 18, 2011.

Along with the new ownership, a new name has also been announced – the track has been rechristened as the St. Croix Valley Raceway.

Rick Mastell is the owner of Mastell Brothers Trailer Service near Forest Lake, Minnesota, the largest trailer service company in the state. Serving the area for over 20 years, Mastell Brothers offers trailer sales, rentals and service in their massive twenty bay service shop. Mastell has been involved in racing for a handful of years as both a car owner and sponsor. Ron Bernhagen is a life-long racer. The sprint car enthusiast currently operates the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) and is a former co-owner of the Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wisconsin. It was during his time at Cedar Lake that Bernhagen honed his track preparation skills under the tutelage of the venerable Bob Cook – one of the most widely respected dirt track artisans in the country. Together, Mastell and Bernhagen bring an abundance of energy, enthusiasm and passion for the sport to their racy bull-ring of a track.

Scheduled to reopen on Friday, July 29, the track will once again host racing on Friday evenings during the summer months. The grand re-opening event will be a UMSS special event. Racing divisions in competition that night will include 500 cc Pro Open Karts, Future IVs (hornets), Pure Stocks, Pro Modifieds (Midwest/B-Modifieds), UMSS Micro Sprints, UMSS Traditional non-winged sprints, and the headlining UMSS Sprint cars. The grand re-opening will also be kids’ night – with all fans ages 16 and under receiving FREE ADMISSION.

On August 5th, the regularly scheduled classes of cars will be in competition: Future IVs, Pure Stocks, Pro Stocks, Pro Modifieds, UMSS Traditional Sprints and UMSS Micro Sprints. Regular admission prices are $10 for adults, $5 for students (ages 6 – 16) and children 5 years old and younger are free.

Events are planned for every Friday night through Labor Day, as well as one or two special events on Saturday evenings. UMSS will sanction the sprint events at the facility, and competitions in the non-sprint classes will not be affiliated with any national or regional sanctioning body for the remainder of the 2011 racing season. More complete details will be available on the track’s new website,, set to launch on or about July 20.