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  .: July 8th, 2017 :.

Eric Olson Doubles at Rice Lake Speedway

By Ed Reichert

Rice Lake WI, July 8 – Eric Olson is having perhaps the best year of his long and illustrious career at the Rice Lake Speedway and he further strengthened that claim on Saturday night. The current point leader in the Super Stock class not only won the Makeup rain delayed feature left over from June 17th but he then turned right around and came from ninth on the grid to win the night's regularly scheduled event.

Other winners on Saturday night included Dustin Doughty, Jimmy Randall and Shane Halopka. The Modifieds also had two events on their card with Mark Hessler winning the night's feature race while the makeup event from June 17th went to Mike Anderson.

Saturday night's Super Stock feature showed Olson at his best as he came from the fifth row to cut through the field to win the main event. The early laps saw Adam Soltis and Kyle Helling battling for the top spot as they traded the lead back and forth with each being recorded as having led at least a lap. Behind them, there was a swarm of about nine cars running in a pack that were trading positions continuously while flirting with disaster. No big wrecks ensued but there were a couple of minor spins that slowed the action. In fact, the yellow waved three times in the first four laps with front runners Helling and Jeff Brauer among the victims.

Finally, everyone settled down and the last sixteen laps ran nonstop. Matt Koski was the driver on the move as he knifed between Helling and Soltis in a great move and took over the lead. He would put a few car lengths on the field and would lead the first half of the feature in by far his best run ever.

Olson was maneuvering his way toward the front and moved into second and then started to close on Koski. Others on the charge included Nick Traynor and Jim Cimfl.

Just at the halfway point, Olson caught Koski who provided a stiff challenge until Eric was able to find an opening on the inside and drove into the lead. As he stretched his advantage, Koski was then pursued by Traynor who wanted second. Nick continued to move up as he took over second while Olson extended his advantage.

Olson continued to roll as he received no late challenges as he drove to his fifth Rice Lake win of the year. Traynor came home a strong second with Cimfl, in a great run from tenth, nipping Koski on the last lap for third. Soltis completed the top five.

Earlier, Olson started on the pole for the makeup Super Stock feature and he led all the way in the nonstop event. He was challenged strongly in the early going by Don Cimfl Jr before pulling away and at the end it was Don Jr holding off Jim for second. Soltis took fourth in that race while Traynor came from eleventh to finish fifth. That win was Olson's fourth of the year.

Doughty leads all feature winners at the track this season and Saturday he earned his seventh Pure Stock win of the season. Once again he had to come through the pack for the victory as he started eighth on the grid and it took some strong maneuvering to get through the traffic. Jon Wigchers was the early leader of the track until passed by Trenten Holub who led several laps. Following a lap two yellow for a missing wheel off the car of Mike Siewert, the last ten laps ran nonstop and eventually, Doughty, Tucker Quinn and George Richards all caught the leader.

Doughty went sprinting past Holub to take over the lead and once in front, he continued to stretch his advantage. Quinn continued his charge and moved into second but had nothing for the leader on this night who drove home for a relatively easy win, once he fought his way through the traffic. Richards made a late charge to nip Holub for third with James Clausen completing the top five.

The Street Stock feature was uncharacteristically rocky Saturday as the usual pattern of being able to go green to checkered with none or few yellow flags was not the case as the yellow got a workout.

The clashes started early as Kirk Bogdanovic got turned in corner four on the opening lap which caused a considerable stack up of cars. Bogdanovic had to pit for a new tire and to fix body damage while other participants in the wreck including Jay Kesan and Shawn Amundson tried to restart the contest but both were soon forced to drop out with mechanical ills.

The spinning, banging and clashing continued with the yellow waving four times in the first two laps. One driver not complaining was Jimmy Randall, who started on the outside pole and was in front of all the insanity and on each green flag, would again pull away from the mess behind him.

Tough luck struck young Braden Brauer who was running in the top five until he got turned around and when his car wouldn't refire, he was done for the event.

Through all this, Randall just continued to lead and had more than enough to hold off Kevin Bogdanovic the last five laps for the win. Randall's win was his first of the year here and he becomes the seventh different Street Stock winner at the track. Kirk Bogdanovic made the long haul back up through the field and despite having a rugged looking car, he came back to get the third spot. Andy Cimfl had his best run of the year as he nipped Danny Hanson on the last lap to grab fourth.

The Midwest Modifieds participated in a very interesting non stop main event that saw at least three different leaders before Halopka took over control of the race to win his third of the year at Rice Lake and tie him with Grant Southworth and Joe Chaplin Jr for the track lead.

Reid Tiegs took the lead early as he fought to hold off Alex Smith, Aric Lindberg and Mark Thomas in the early going. Thomas was really flying as he went to the cushion and in a bold move, he worked the high side in turn one and went from fourth to the lead, all in one spectacular move. Just when it looked like Thomas was in line to take a strong lead, he slipped high in the third turn and gave the top spot back to Tiegs. Later, Thomas would be challenging again for second when mechanical issues would see him slow suddenly and pull into the infield.

Halopka didn't stay in the fourth row long as he quickly drove through the field, going high or low as needed to pass cars with Southworth following him closely. Halopka caught Tiegs and blew past him to take over the lead and with the race staying under the green, he started to open up his advantage. Southworth moved into second and tried to cut into the advantage but Halopka was locked in and he continued to maintain his edge, all the way to the finish line. Austin Ellis made a strong late move in the race and worked his way up to third at the finish with Tiegs holding off Joe Chaplin Jr, who himself had moved up from deep in the field, for fourth.

It was a great night for Mark Hessler as the Menomonie driver and Rice Lake native won his first Modified feature of the season and became the seventh different winner in the class so far in 2017. Dave Baxter started on the outside pole and took off like a shot, quickly opening up a considerable advantage as the race stayed under the green. Hessler started fourth, moved into second and then took off after Baxter while being chased for second at the same time by Kevin Adams.

As those three were locked in their battle for position, Steve Hallquist, Mike Anderson and Matt Leer were in a swarm fighting for the fourth spot.

The top three remained consistent through the first half of the race with each chasing the other and no significant differences occurring. Leer started to make a move as he got past Anderson for fourth. Just past the halfway point, it started to become clear that Hessler was making up ground on Baxter who appeared to be having some difficulties getting through the corners.

Hessler really started to pick up the pace then and he was gaining in big chunks coming off the corners. With a power move low off turn four, he drove under Baxter and took over the lead and once in front, he quickly was able to stretch the advantage. Baxter had nothing to offer in return and Hessler continued to pull away as he won his first Modified feature at Rice Lake since the 2014 racing season. Baxter was able to hold off Adams for second in a close finish with Leer next and Anderson nipping Hallquist to complete the top five.

Next Saturday night, July 15th, is the rescheduled Kid's Night at the speedway. At 6:25 pm, the race cars will pull on to the front chute of the track and the fans will be allowed to go down and meet with the drivers, collect pictures and other goodies that the drivers will provide, all before the racing program starts. Kids will also sign up to win a bike and as of press time, the number of bikes to be given away as passed the eighty mark.

The following Saturday night, July 22nd, there will be no racing at Rice Lake due to the Barron County Fair but when racing resumes, two of the biggest events of the year come up quickly. On Saturday, July 29, the Late Models return to the Rice Lake Speedway when the Shaw Trucking WISSOTA Challenge Series will be in town along with a full program in the other five classes. Last year the Late Model program was the biggest night in track history and another spectacular night is expected this year. John Kaanta from Elk Mound is the current series point leader.

Then, just three days later, the nationally famous Street Stock Little Dream race will take center stage for an epic clash among the best Street Stock drivers from at least five states and Canada on hand. Will the fifteen thousand, five hundred dollar record amount be broken again? That is the question that will be answered that night. The companion division to be racing that night will be announced within the coming days. The Street Stocks will also be qualifying under a new format that will be announced soon too.


Rice Lake Speedway

Rice Lake WI

July 8, 2017

WISSOTA Modifieds

20 lap Feature – Mark Hessler(Menomonie), Dave Baxter (Eau Claire), Kevin Adams(Cameron), Matt Leer(Bruce), Mike Anderson(Colfax), Steve Hallquist(Eau Claire), Tim McMann(Duluth MN), Gary Baxter(Eau Claire), Pat Hoffman(Rice Lake), Bryan Hessler(Chetek), Dave Mayala, Wayne Poteet

15 Lap Make Up Feature from June 14 – Anderson, Adams, Hallquist, G. Baxter, Hoffman

8 lap Heat 1 – D. Baxter, M. Hessler, Hallquist, B. Hessler, G. Baxter

Heat 2 – Adams, Anderson, Leer, Mayala, Poteet(Spooner)

WISSOTA Super Stocks

20 lap Feature – Eric Olson(Ladysmith), Nick Traynor(Barron), Jim Cimfl(Turtle Lake), Matt Koski(New Richmond), Adam Soltis(Ladysmith), Don Cimfl Jr(Rice Lake), Bart Steffen(Eau Claire), Cory Davis(Turtle Lake), Cooper Berlin(Rice Lake), Rich Bishop(New Richmond), Kyle Helling, Steve Davidson, Steve Tesch, Russ Chester, Mike Siewert, Jamey Fisher, Josh Cappo, John Erickson, Jeff Brauer, Doug Merrill

20 lap Make Up Feature from June 14 – Olson, D. Cimfl, J. Cimfl, Soltis, Traynor, Helling(Rice Lake), Chester(Chetek), Davidson(Richland Center), Siewert(Cameron), Berlin, Steffen

8 lap Heat 1 – Olson, Berlin, Koski, J. Cimfl, Bishop, Siewert, Cappo

Heat 2 – Steffen, Soltis, Erickson(Rice Lake), Davis, Tesch(Phillips), Davidson, Fisher

Heat 3 – Brauer(Eyota MN), Traynor, Helling, Koski, D. Cimfl, Chester

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds

15 lap Feature – Shane Halopka(Greenwood), Grant Southworth(Bloomer), Austin Ellis(Rice Lake), Reid Tiegs(Dallas), Joe Chaplin Jr(Cameron), Travis Anderson(Colfax), Aric Lindberg(Dallas), Denny Cutsforth(Rice Lake), Jamie Bisonette(Dallas), Scott Anderson(Phillips), Calvin Iverson, Brady Larson, Fran Hanson, Brad Doyen, Alex Smith, Mark Thomas

8 lap Heat 1 – Southworth, Anderson, Lindberg, Halopka, Cutsforth, Chaplin Jr, Hanson, Doyen

Heat 2 – Thomas(Menomonie), Smith(Solon Springs), Ellis, Tiegs, Bisonette, Iverson, Larson, Anderson

WISSOTA Street Stocks

15 lap Feature – Jimmy Randall(Rice Lake), Kevin Bogdanovic(Wausau), Kirk Bogdanovic(Phillips), Andy Cimfl(Rice Lake), Danny Hanson(Alma), Hunter Anderson(Phillips), Hunter VanGilder(Rice Lake), Parker Anderson(Phillips), Don Cook(Barron), Josh Bach(Barron), Braden Brauer, Travis Loew, Jay Kesan, Shawn Amundson

8 lap Heat 1 – Kesan(Weyerhaeuser), Amundson(Rice Lake), Kevin Bogdanovic, Kirk Bogdanovic, Cook, H. Anderson, Bach

Heat 2 – VanGilder, Randall, Brauer(Eyota MN), Hanson, Loew(Barron), Cimfl, P. Anderson

WISSOTA Pure Stocks

12 lap Feature – Dustin Doughty(Oakdale MN), Tucker Quinn(Ladysmith), George Richards(Mondovi), Trenten Holub(Sarona), James Clausen(Barron), Jim Holden (Rice Lake), Jason Havel(Rice Lake), Jon Wigchers(Rice Lake), Bob Thompson(Cameron), Mike Grover(Chetek), Wayne Braun Jr, Stefan Hogue, Scotty VanGilder, Mike Pratt, Ryan Lindenfelser, Michael Holmstrom, Mike Siewert

8 lap Heat 1 – Quinn, Doughty, Holub, Thompson, Holden, VanGilder, Lindenfelser, Holmstrom, Pratt

Heat 2 – Richards, Havel, Wigchers, Clausen, Hogue(Altoona), Braun Jr, Grover, Siewert