With racing action as hot as the suddenly scorching weather, St. Croix Valley Raceway got its 2012 race season off to an exciting start. After an off season jam-packed full of extensive improvements to the facility, racers and fans were eager to sample the remodeled venue.
After some very quickly run qualifying heat races, the Bullseye Shooting Range Future Fours were the first feature to take to the reshaped track, with Kyle Dahlheimer and Chisago City’s Derek Reding in the front row. After a pair of early race cautions, Dahlheier was setting the pace, fending off the Dylan and Damon Roberts. However, on the second restart, as Dahlheier entered turn two, his right front wheel broke off sending his #22 skidding towards the wall. Back under green, Damon Roberts quickly established himself as the fastest remaining racer and went on to claim the season’s first main event win.
Next up were the Power Chairs and Scooter Store Medical Supply Pure Stocks led by Jay Folz and Kyle Hallin. Folz promptly shot to the front, but the action was furious in the battle for second. Jon Wigchers, Tony DuBois, George Richards, Dennis Stordahl and Justin Rick all jockeyed for the position at some point during the race. While that group of five battled to the end, Folz cruised to comfortable win.
The UMSS Micro Sprints were on hand with three cars, but Gunner Cummings’ #7cz fell victim to a power plant malady during hotlaps, leaving just Allison Berger and Tony Duran to vie for the exhibition win. Duran proved quick and comfortable in his #77 ride, parking his 600cc powered Micro in SCVR’s remodeled Victory Lane at the exhibition’s end.
After a three year absence from the facility, WISSOTA returned to St. Croix Valley with a sixteen car Midwest Modified field. Scott Meeds started the main event with third heat race winner Josh Bazey to his right. At the drop of the green, Bazey assumed the point, while Tony Schill, Jason VandeKamp and Kevin Marlett quickly joined Meeds in the battle for second. After a lap two caution, the top three were Bazey, Schill and VandeKamp. Back under green, VandeKamp took a few laps to work around Schill and quickly went to work on Bazey. The lead duo traded lines and positions for a few laps before VandeKamp finally emerged from the battle around the race’s midpoint. The final half of the contest were smooth and clean for VandeKamp, with Bazey only able to mount one more serious challenge the rest of the way. At the checkers, a triumphant VandeKamp celebrated his 100th carreer feature win ahead of Bazey, Schill, Marlett and Mitch Weiss.
The night was capped by the Sterling Bank UMSS Traditional Sprint car feature. Reigning series champion Kevin “The Rocketman” Bradwell paced the eight car finale alongside sprint car rookie Flyin’ Ryan Olson. As they are wont to do, the Traditional sprint cars immediately fanned out into at least three distinct racing grooves, with
Bradwell having success using a low groove. After momentarily surrendering the lead to Johnny Parsons III, Bradwell charged back and reclaimed a lead he would never relinquish. With Bradwell cruising out front, Rob Caho Jr. and Parsons jostled throughout for the runner-up spot with Parsons claiming the spot at the checkers. There was also a race long battle for fourth between Olson and ageless wonder Jack Clark. In the end, youth was served as Clark had to settle for fifth.
With the opener in the books, the UMSS winged sprinters eagerly await their turn at the refurbished bull ring. The first annual Davey Tabor memorial race is set for this Friday, May 25, celebrating the life of Davey Tabor, a dedicated sprint car fan, owner, and supporter of the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series. In addition to the winged sprints, all five of the raceway’s regular classes, UMSS Traditional and Micro sprints, Pure Stocks, Future Fours, and WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds will also be in action. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. with racing set to commence at 7:05.