The first full season of racing continued Friday night at the remodeled St. Croix Valley Raceway, with Kids’ Night celebrations and Vintage racing on the card. In addition to dozens of giveaways for the youngsters, the night was capped off by one of the most dramatic races of the season, ending in the first career feature win for Mitch Weiss.
The race that will have fans buzzing for weeks to come was the evening’s finale, the WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature. Mitch Weiss and John Remington paced the field to green and that duo stayed pretty much status quo for the first half of the race. Remington, running a middle groove, was the leader for eleven of the first twelve laps, and Weiss was tucked right underneath him on each circuit. Behind the top two, it was anyone’s game with Tony Schill, Vince Corbin, Josh Bazey, Kevin Marlett and Ryan Johnson using low, middle and high grooves to scream around the quarter mile. With five laps remaining, Weiss had finally worked clear of Remington, but was immediately hounded by Bazey, who emerged from the beehive of a battle for third. The last five laps were a repeat of the first ten, with Bazey replacing Remington as the foil to Weiss. For the final four laps, the two car’s front bumpers were never more than twelve feet apart, with Bazey scored as the leader for laps seventeen and nineteen, and Weiss scored out front on lap eighteen. In an all-time thriller, the pair charged out of turn four one last time in a furious dash to the checkers with Weiss claiming the win mere inches ahead of the current track points leader. Weiss, a graduate of the carting ranks, has only been in the full sized cars a few years and managed to rip his first career trophy away from one of northwest Wisconsin’s more accomplished pilots. Behind the dramatic battle for the win, an equally furious, and broader, battle waged as Corbin, Schill, Johnson, Remington and Marlett crossed the final stripe with nary room for a mosquito between the cars.
The feature racing got underway with yet another visit from the Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers, a popular Kids’ Night addition with their tradition of awarding the winner’s trophy to a young fan. In the Full Bodied division, Wally Stoltsman scored a win in his #35 mount, and presented his trophy to Haley Vaillancourt. Ken Sabby held off a hard-charging Butch Bethke for the honor of presenting his Super Modified trophy to Dakota Corbin.
Five UMSS Micro Sprints were on hand, and with Greg Gunderson not in attendance, there was going to be a new winner in the Micro ranks for first time in several weeks. The #64 of Ty Sampair had the early lead and was chased down by the 7cz of Gunner Cummings. On lap eight Cummings took the lead and checked out for the win. Sampair lost a carburetor in the final turn and coasted to a second place finish in front of Tony Duran, Brian Patrick and Pat Traaseth.
Next up were the Pure Stocks with thirteen drivers looking to end Jason Havel’s two month long winning streak. Tony DuBois and Dennis Stordahl paced the fourteen car field with Dubois holding the top spot through lap three. Jay Folz, who managed to best Havel in his heat race, was unable to repeat the feat in the main event, as Havel worked around him for second on lap two. By lap four, Havel dealt the same fate to DuBois and took over the lead. From there, Havel cruised – but nothing was settled behind him as Folz, DuBois, Kolby Kiehl, Ben Kaphing and Jake Silbernagel would all burn fuel in a bid for runner-up. At the end of fifteen laps, it was Havel nailing down a mind-boggling eighth consecutive feature win in front of Kaphing, Dubois, Silbernagel and Folz. As always, Havel shunned victory lane and parked his cancer-awareness #5 in front of the flagstand, plucked a young fan from the cheering throng behind the fence and placed him on the roof of the car for photos before giving away his trophy and passing out treats to the kids.
Nicki DuBois and Dylan Roberts brought the North Branch Bullseye Shooting Range Future Fours to green with Roberts staking claim to the top spot. Roberts, still looking for his first win of the season was looking strong and smooth in the top spot. However, with just two laps remaining, a small puff of smoke was visible and the 20R slowed, dropping to second. A few feet later, the ominous big smoke bomb momentarily engulfed his car signaling doom for the night and Roberts limped to his car to the pits. That handed the lead over to the 16x of Kris Kaphing who kept Damon Roberts at bay for the final two circuits to claim his first win of the season over Roberts, Chris Rick and DuBois.
Sterling Bank presented the eight car UMSS Traditional Sprint car feature with Kevin “Rocketman” Bradwell alongside of last week’s winner Rob Caho Jr. in the front row. Bradwell led lap one, but Caho charged back to nab the top spot on lap two. By the third circuit Johnny Parsons III shot past Bradwell into second with Jimmy Kouba, Denny Stordahl and Jack Clark battling for fourth. Caho found a comfortable line on the cushion and went on to win his second consecutive and fourth overall on the season. Parsons crossed the line next, ahead of Bradwell, Stordahl and Kouba.
Friday night, August 10, marks the fourth appearance of winged sprint cars at The Valley. UMSS winged sprint cars will be on hand for Thunder in the Valley #4, along with all of the tracks regular classes. In addition to the winged sprinters, it’s “you be the driver” night, where fans are invited to drive their family vehicles around the raceway at the conclusion of the evening’s program. Additional upcoming, can’t-miss events include the Back-to-School Crash-tastic Smash-o-rama and Trailer R`aces on August 17, The Ron Fleischer Memorial/Thunder in the Valley #5 on August 24, and the Late Model and Modified special on August 31. Additional details for these or any other future events at St. Croix Valley Raceway can be found on the track’s Facebook page or website, www.scvraceway.com.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds – feature: Mitch Weiss, Josh Bazey, Vince Corbin, Tony Schill, Ryan Johnson, John Remmington, Kevin Marlett, Greg Arnt, Mike Halvorsen, Corey Folgleson, Tyler English
UMSS Traditional Sprints – feature: Rob Caho Jr., Johnny Parsons III, Kevin Bradwell, Jimmy Kouba, Denny Stordahl, Jack Clark, Tom Porter, Mike Huesmann.
UMSS Micro Sprints – feature: Gunnar Cummings, Ty Sampair, Tony Duran, Bryan Patrick, Pat Traaseth
Pure Stocks – feature: Jason Havel, Ben Kaphing, Tony Dubois, Jake Silbernagel, Jay Folz, Justin Rick, Greg Hallin, Jon Wigchers, Mason McEvers, Dennis Stordahl, Kyle Dahlheimer, Greg Meidlinger, Kolby Kiehl, Kyle Hallin
Future Fours – feature: Kris Kaphing, Damon Roberts, Chris Rick, Nicki DuBois, Dylan Roberts, Katie Lebies, Oliver Swanson, Kyle Dahlheimer, Alex Hallin