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  .: July 3, 2019 :.

Vendela, Fankhauser and Hartung Earn First Rice Lake Speedway Wins at “Firecracker”

By Ed Reichert

Rice Lake WI, July 3 – A huge holiday crowd was on hand Wednesday night at the Rice Lake Speedway for the annual Firecracker event and three racers all earned their first feature wins of the year at Rice Lake during the evening. James Vendela, Sam Fankhauser and Jake Hartung were all winners for the first time at the track in 2019 while on the other end of the spectrum, Curt Myers and Kevin Adams continued their hot streaks with one more feature win added to their division leading totals.

With season high car counts in the Pure Stocks, Street Stocks and Super Stocks, large feature races were the normal on Wednesday night and all winners more than earned their “Firecracker” titles on a night when the “Rally at the Races”, sponsored by the Barron County chapter of the American Cancer Society, presented trophies to the top three finishers in each class.

Twenty three cars took starter Troy Holder's green flag for the Pure Stock feature with Aaron Bernick getting the jump at the start. However, before lap one was completed, he was passed by Jared Akervik who would lead the opening round. Soon moving up to challenge Akervik were Vendela and Cory Jorgensen as Twin Ports area racers held down the first three positions in the running order.

Frequent yellow flags kept the field bunched and following a lap four yellow for a spinning car, Jorgensen got a great restart on moved by on the high side to take over the lead. However, Vendela and Akervik remained closed with Cody Cimfl also trying to drive up among the leaders.

Vendela was running strong and he mounted a charge to try and take back the top spot and with a power move in turn three, he slipped under Jorgensen to retake the top spot. After numerous yellow flag slowdowns in the first half of the race, the final half of the contest ran under the green flag and despite several challenges by Jorgensen to retake the top spot. Vendela held his line and drove home by a car length to take his first win ever at Rice Lake. Jorgensen was a very close second and Akervik finished off a Twin Ports sweep of the top three positions with Cimfl and Jay Folz completing the top five.

The track was packed for the Street Stock feature as twenty five cars took the green flag for what would turn out to be a marathon event. Fankhauser, who started on the pole, jumped into the early lead but a spin would slow the action before a lap could be completed and front runners Parker Anderson, Jason Havel and C.J. Wagner would get together also in turn three with Anderson suffering damage that would end his night.

Fankhauser retained the lead on the green with Havel and Wagner having a good battle for second along with Will Fisher and Jay Kesan. Contenders Dustin Doughty and Kolby Kiehl would get together in turn three a couple laps later, with Doughty going for a spin and Kiehl pitting for a flat tire. It was tough to get any momentum going as the yellows continued to fly often as the Street drivers had a tough time settling in. Frequent yellows kept the field bunched but on each green Fankhauser would continue to show the way.

Runner up Wagner lost a wheel which triggered the yellow once again and the drivers were notified that one more yellow would end the contest. Fankhauser again led the way with Havel close behind. Danny Richards was really on the move at this time,coming from the fourth row and using an unusual line that allowed him to close on the leaders. He was pressing Havel for second when the yellow flew one more time and the race was called complete. Fankhauser held tough through all the slow downs to record his first win of the season with Havel and Richards close behind. Andrew Hanson made another great run through the pack as he started nineteenth and finished fourth with Kesan completing the top five.

In complete contrast to those main events run directly before and following , the Midwest Modifieds put together a nonstop main event that featured some good racing for the lead as well as for other positions. Jamie Bisonette started on the pole and he got the jump at the start but Travis Anderson worked the high side early and drove past Bisonette to take over the top spot. As Anderson continued to pound the cushion, Shane Halopka moved into third and then over took Bisonette to take the runner up slot. Meanwhile, Kevin Adams was on the move after starting eighth on the grid and he quickly drove forward in the field and moved in on Halopka. Adams was very fast and he drove past Halopka and then set out after Anderson.

Catching Travis for the lead, Adams slid up under the former leader in turn one and after only six laps, he had taken over the lead. As Adams began to stretch his advantage, Halopka was also able to sweep past Anderson and take over second and he then attempted to catch the leader. However, Adams had a strong lead and was not affected as he worked through lapped traffic and he drove home with a comfortable margin over the field. Halopka and Anderson also earned trophies with Joe Chaplin Jr moving from seventh to finish fourth and Bisonette held on to a top five finish. Adams' win was his sixth in the Midwest Modifieds so far this season, tops for any driver at the track.

Close behind Adams in feature wins this season is Curt Myers and he also added to his total with another Super Stock main event triumph. He started sixth in the Super Stock feature and it took his a few laps to work his way into contention as he had to deal with early leaders Bart Steffen, Terran Spacek and finally, Kevin Burdick. Burdick had worked his way into the lead when Myers moved into position to make a challenge and with a strong drive low in turn four, he brushed his way past Burdick and into the lead.

Once in front, he was able to stretch his margin by a few car lengths but he had plenty of company for the top spot with several yellow flags slowing the action. When Ryan Kostreba lost a wheel after impacting the front stretch wall, it set up a two lap sprint to the finish. Myers pulled away, not letting anyone get too close while Burdick had his hands full with Tommy Richards, who had worked his way up from the fifth row. Richards was working the low side of the track and had made substantial progress in the few laps just before the last yellow waved.

Myers drove on for his fifth Super Stock win of the year here, and Burdick held off the last lap charge of Richards for second. Spacek remained with the leaders to finish fourth while Willie Johnsen Jr, who spun on the first lap and had to go to the tail of the field, worked his way back up into the top five at the end.

Jake Hartung frequently has success at the Rice Lake Speedway when he makes one of his rare appearances at the track, with solid finishes and the occasional feature win. He started on the pole for the Modified feature and led all twenty laps to record the win on Wednesday. Hot running Mike Anderson was able to move into second quickly and he tried to track down Hartung, but on this night he just couldn't catch the Elmwood racer who was too strong for him.

Steve Hallquist and Kevin Adams had a good battle for third after Adams moved up from his seventh starting position. Adams tried to make several moves in the last few laps but Hallquist remained fast and he made the trophy presentation as he held on for third. Alex Guthmiller pulled all the way from Huron South Dakota to race Wednesday and after a poor run in his heat race, he put things together in the main event as he came all the way from tenth to finish a close fifth, battling with Adams and Ross Prochnow for position late. Unfortunately, Guthmiller, finishing in the top five, forgot to scale his car after the race and was disqualified, which moved Prochnow, making his first run of the year, into the top five. The win for Hartung was his first at Rice Lake since the 2015 racing season.

With the Firecracker completed as scheduled on Wednesday night, there will be no racing at the speedway on this coming Saturday night, July 6th. The track will return to action on Saturday night, July 13th when it will be the qualifier night for the AFCO Race of Champions for the WISSOTA 100. Feature winners in the Street Stocks, Midwest Modifieds, Super Stocks and Modifieds will all automatically qualify for the Race of Champions to be held during the WISSOTA 100 at I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls Minnesota in September. Pure Stocks will also be on the card. It will be a point show for the track but the draw/redraw format will be used on this night.

The speedway will also be off on Saturday night, July 20th for the Barron County Fair before returning for two of the biggest events of the racing season. The Wollak Construction WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series will appear at the Rice Lake Speedway on Saturday night, July 27th. And then, just a few days later, perhaps the biggest event in track history will take place with the twenty fifth running of the Street Stock “Little Dream” race as Street Stock drivers from all over the Midwest, and perhaps beyond, will be on hand to run for what track officials hope will be the largest Street Stock purse ever offered for the division, anywhere and anytime.

Check the speedway website and face book page for updates on these and other happenings at the speedway.


Rice Lake Speedway
Rice Lake WI
July 3, 2019

WISSOTA Modifieds

20 lap Feature – Jake Hartung(Elmwood), Mike Anderson(Jim Falls), Steve Hallquist(Eau Claire), Kevin Adams(Cameron), Ross Prochnow(Boyceville), Jake Miller(Somerset), Matt Leer(Bruce), Pat Hoffman(Rice Lake), Dan Kingsley(Superior), Kyle Helling(Rice Lake), Wayne Poteet, Dave Mayala

8 lap Heat 1 – Adams, Hoffman, Hallquist, Miller, Leer, Kingsley, Mayala
Heat 2 – Hartung, Anderson, Prochnow, Helling, Nick Guthmiller(Huron SD), Poteet

WISSOTA Super Stocks

20 lap Feature – Curt Myers,(Cameron), Kevin Burdick(Proctor MN), Tommy Richards(Mondovi), Terran Spacek(Phillips), Willie Johnsen Jr(Superior), Aaron Wilson(Eau Claire), Bart Steffen(Eau Claire), Scott Lawrence(Superior), Eric Olson(Ladysmith), Adams Soltis(Ladysmith), Andy Mackey, Simon Wahlstrom, Luke Schultz, Jordan Henkemeyer, Austin Workman, Josh Bach, Ryan Kostreba, Nick Traynor, Rob Holmstrom Jr, Mickey Anderson, Don Muzzy, Andy Ladd, Josh Cappo

8 lap Heat 1 – Steffen, Wilson, Tucker Quinn(Ladysmith), Schultz(Cameron), Kostreba(Elk River MN), Bach, Muzzy, Henkemeyer
Heat 2 – Myers, Johnsen Jr, Olson, Richards, Soltis, Wahlstrom, Workman, Anderson
Heat 3 – Burdick, Spacek, Traynor(Barron), Mackey(Roseville MN), Lawrence, Ladd, Holmstrom Jr, Cappo

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds

15 lap Feature – Kevin Adams(Cameron), Shane Halopka(Greenwood), Travis Anderson(Colfax), Joe Chaplin Jr (Cameron), Jamie Bisonette(Dallas), Cody Borgeson(New Richmond), Jimmy Latvala(Solon Springs), Fran Hanson(Almena), Austin Ellis(Rice Lake), Michael Blevins(Hibbing MN), Josh Wahlstrom, Jonny Marsh, Denny Cutsforth, Craig Elliott, Paul Harelstad, Kenny Kincaid, Gavin Olson

8 lap Heat 1 – Chaplin Jr, Halopka, Bisonette, Adams, Blevins, Latvala, Cutsforth, Kincaid, Ellis
Heat 2 – Wahlstrom(Rice Lake), Anderson, Hanson, Borgeson, March(Rice Lake), Elliott, Harelstad, Olson

WISSOTA Street Stocks

15 lap Feature – Sam Fankhauser(Rice Lake), Jason Havel(Rice Lake), Danny Richards(Mondovi), Andrew Hanson(Iron River), Jay Kesan(Weyerhaeuser), Will Fisher(Shell Lake), Ron Hanestad(Glenwood City), Cody Kummer(Medford), Kolby Kiehl(Barron), Hunter VanGilder(Rice Lake), Michael Blevins, Jim Cimfl, Michael Tuma, Ty Agen, Travis Hazelton, C.J. Wagner, Adam Soltis, Alex Minks, Travis Loew, Dustin Doughty, Zach Beaulieu, Kyle Howland, Mike Chaplin, Russ Kostreba, Parker Anderson

8 lap Heat 1 -Havel, Fisher, Kostreba(Zimmerman MN), Beaulieu(Chetek), Hazelton(Chippewa Falls), Rob Grabon, Agen
Heat 2 – Anderson(Phillips), Richards, Doughty(Oakdale MN), VanGilder, Loew(Barron), Tuma, Cimfl
Heat 3 – Fankhauser, Kesan, Soltis(Ladysmith), Howland((Zimmerman MN), Hanson, Chaplin
Heat 4 – Wagner(Rice Lake), Kiehl, Kummer, Blevins(Hibbing MN), Hanestad, Minks

WISSOTA Pure Stocks

12 lap Feature – James Vendela(South Range), Cory Jorgensen(Duluth MN), Jared Akervik(Superior), Cody Cimfl(Chetek), Jay Folz(Cameron), Randy Graham(Trego), Cole Richards(Mondovi), Ryan Clausen(Barron), Mike Grover(Chetek), Aaron Bernick(Duluth MN), Mike Holmstrom, Dusten Holub, Josh Miller, Austin Fencl, Ken Oftedahl, Joe Prusak, Dave Holub, Mike Huebner, Bob Thompson, Mike Huebner Sr, Dylan Shackleton, Randy Shackleton, Terry Kemp

8 lap Heat 1 – Thompson(Cameron), Akervik, Cimfl, Graham, Clausen, Huebner, Prusak, Grover
Heat 2 – Jorgensen, Richards, Bernick, Dave Holub(Rice Lake), Dusten Holub(Rice Lake), Holmstrom, Fencl, Kemp
Heat 3 – Folz, Vendela, Oftedahl(Cameron), R. Shackleton(Jim Falls), Brent Miller(Cameron), Huebner Sr, D. Shackleton, J. Miller