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  .: March 23, 2024 :.

Rice Lake Speedway Racers Celebrate

By Ed Reichert

Rice Lake WI, March 23 – Racers, crews, fans and employees of the Rice Lake Speedway gathered on Saturday night at the Elks Club in Rice Lake to hand out the awards and celebrate the official conclusion of the 2023 racing season at the Rice Lake Speedway. For former track owners Dave Adams and Mitch Hansen it was a bitter sweet moment as this was their last official act as owners of the track following the announcement last month that the track had been sold to Rice Lake Speedway LLC with the new owners being Kolby Kiehl, Dean Kiehl and Dick Kalow.

Master of Ceremonies for the event was former track announcer Ben Brost who welcomed all to the banquet and made the introductions. Brost, who will returning to the track in 2024 as the announcer for the new owners, introduced Dave Adams and Mitch Hansen, the former owners of the track from 2010 through February of this year. Both Dave and Mitch talked about their purchase of the track and shared some stories and observations of their time as the track owners.

Brost then introduced the new owners of the speedway, Kolby Kiehl, Dean Kiehl and Dick Kalow. Kolby, representing the ownership group, told the assembled crowd about some of the improvements that have already been made at the track and of other improvements and changes that will be coming soon. He also detailed the vision that the new ownership group has for the track and for racing in Rice Lake.

Brost then went over the proposed schedule for the speedway in 2024, starting with the seventy second consecutive season opener scheduled for Saturday night, April 20th. The same five division program of WISSOTA sanctioned Pure Stocks, Street Stocks, Midwest Modifieds, Super Stocks and Modifieds will be presented on Saturday nights, with specials already booked for Late Models and Sprint Cars and a new two night program over the Labor Day weekend to conclude the racing season. All the fan favorite events will return and the possibility exists that additional races may still be booked. It was then time to honor the top ten drivers and the rookie of the year in each class at the speedway, based on their 2023 accomplishments.

The Pure Stock point champion for the third consecutive year was Ryan Olson from Ladysmith. Olson had three feature wins, seven top five finishes and nine top ten finishes while earning 1003 points. Olson's run will end at three as he is moving up to the Super Stocks in 2024. Second through tenth in the final standings were Rob Grabon from Rice Lake, Trenten Holub from Rice Lake, Devin Fries from Phillips, Austin Fencl from Bruce, James Rahn from Poskin, Bob Wahlstrom from Chetek, Chris Gross from Turtle Lake, Mike Grover from Chetek and George Richards from Mondovi. The Pure Stock rookie of the year was Leo Moos from Rice Lake.

The Richards family set a track record in the Street Stocks as father Danny and son Cole became the first father and son combination to finish first and second in points in any class. Danny from Mondovi, won three feature races, had seven top five finishes and nine top ten finishes while recording 915 points. Son Cole, also from Mondovi, recorded one win and seven top ten finishes. Behind them in the final standings were Travis Loew from Barron, Eric Haupt from Trego, Dylan Baskin from Arkansaw, Adam Soltis from Ladysmith, Kevin Herrman from Rice Lake, Courtney Rose from Gordon, Joe Ott from Spooner and Jenna Herrman from Rice Lake. Rose was the Street Stock rookie of the year.

Mike Schnider from Cameron would win his first ever Midwest Modified point title at the Rice Lake Speedway. He would earn three wins, and nine top ten finishes. Second in track points was Shadow Kitchner from Arkansaw. He would be followed by Blake Adams from Cameron, Kevin Herrman from Rice Lake, Tacoma Randall from Rice Lake, Aiden Hoffman from Rice Lake, Jake Stai from New Auburn, Brady Larson from Amery, Will Moelter from Elk Mound and Jesse Young from Stone Lake. Adams was the 2023 Midwest Modified rookie of the year.

Eric Olson would win his third straight Super Stock point title at Rice Lake, thus making it the third straight year that both he and his son Ryan would win track titles at Rice Lake, a record never before equaled. Eric would win two feature races, record eight top five finishes and nine top ten finishes while earning 925 points. Tucker Quinn from Ladysmith would have his best season ever, finishing a strong second in points. The Rusk county drivers would be trailed by Leslie Leu from Medford, Josh Cappo from Almena, Mickey Anderson from Dallas, Mike Siewert from Rice Lake, Jackson Larson from Rice Lake, Austin Tilton from Turtle Lake, Clay Albrecht from Cameron and Terran Spacek from Phillips. Larson would be the rookie of the year.

Mike Anderson, the “Dirt Digger” from Jim Falls would have his best season ever at Rice Lake, winning five feature races on his way to the Modified point title. He would also record six top five finishes and seven top ten finishes. Simon Wahlstrom from Mikana, who would also be crowned the rookie of the year in the Modified class, would finish second in points to Anderson. They were followed by Travis Anderson from Colfax, Kevin Adams from Cameron, Kyle Helling from Rice Lake, Pat Hoffman from Rice Lake, Dave Mayala from Barron, Kennedy Swan from Chippewa Falls, Joe Chaplin Jr from Cameron and Steve Hallquist from Fall Creek.

The evening would conclude with numerous door prize drawings and fellowship. The next event on the Rice Lake Speedway calendar marks the first event for the new racing season and the first for the new ownership group. The annual race car show will be held at Rice Lake's Cedar Mall from March 27th through March 30th. The cars will enter the Mall at 6 pm on Wednesday and be removed at 3 pm on Saturday. Cars that race in all classes at the speedway are expected to be on display, along with Karts that race at the Rice Lake Speedway Speed Pit Kart track, located on the grounds of the speedway. The new ownership group is also expected to be on hand to meet with the public and schedules for the new season should be available.