Mother Nature threatened all afternoon to put a damper on the annual UMSS Traditional 40 event held at St. Croix Valley Raceway on Friday, but the threats proved empty as the entire race program was completed with only a very short, light sprinkle during the feature races. Rob Caho claimed the headlining sprint car main event in a thriller over Jake Kouba, with other feature wins going to Damon Roberts, Krysta Swearingen, Jack Berger, Cory Crapser and Buzzy Adams.
A total of seventeen Traditional Sprint cars from the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series checked in for the biggest event on their annual calendar, the UMSS Traditional 40. Only sixteen started the marathon finale, as Tommy Kamrath was a pre-race mechanical scratch. Heat race winners Rob Caho and Jimmy Kouba paced the field to green with Caho showing the way early. It took less than two laps for Cam Schafer to rip the lead away from Caho, and it looked as if Schafer might continue his dominance at SCVR and win his third consecutive TSCS feature at The Valley. Schafer, while fast, wasn’t able to leave behind an exciting battle for second between Caho and fifth starting Jake Kouba. Caho was running his usual line on the cushion while Kouba was powerful in a middle-low groove in his #2k mount. After a caution for the stalled ride of Tom Porter, Kouba gained the upper hand in the battle for second on the restart and really came to life. Turn after turn, Kouba was hanging within striking distance of Schafer as the lead duo started to pull away from Caho, Chase Viebrock, Jimmy Kouba, Kevin Bradwell and Mike Haseltine. As the leaders caught the rear of the pack – disaster struck. Exiting turn three, a lapper spun as the leaders powered through the turn. Both Schafer and Kouba jumped on the binders but slid helplessly through the marbles creating a three-card pile up. Schafer was unable to continue and Kouba tacked on to the back of the field, handing the lead back to Caho. Back under green, Caho pushed his sprinter to the limit while fending off Viebrock and Haseltine. As the laps clicked off, most eyes in the grandstands gravitated to Kouba’s royal blue and gold #2k, who passed Mike Mueller for sixth on lap 23. Bradwell pulled to the infield on the 27th circuit, moving Kouba up to fifth, and a lap later, he passed his father Jimmy Kouba to crack the top four. Caho was making it look deceptively easy in his ill-handling car up front, but he didn’t yet know about the charging Kouba. With ten laps to go, Kouba dispatched Haseltine for third. In another handful of laps, it was the rookie Chase Viebrock who gave up his position to Kouba. Once Kouba gained second, he immediately took to reeling in Caho. Kouba showed himself down low while Caho continued to will his #78 sprinter onward in the high groove. The cars were in a dead heat, and Kouba narrowly gained the lead with just two laps remaining. Traffic would again come into play as the crafty Caho set up the pick perfectly to regain the lead and hang on to claim the win in the mega-thrilling forty lapper. An exhausted Caho parked his winning ride in the Anderson’s Maple Syrup victory lane, barely besting Kouba. Viebrock, Haseltine and Jimmy Kouba made up the rest of the top five.
Nineteen WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds took the green flag behind the front row of Jim and James Giossi, with James showing the way for the first lap. Early cautions created substantial jumbling of the running order with Josh Bazey leading a handful of laps in front of Cory Crapser, Jason VandeKamp, Giossi and Tony Schill. When things finally settled down, it was Crapser who emerged as the car to beat as the field stretched out in the later stages of the race. In the end, it was Crapser making good on his first visit of the summer to The Valley, claiming the win over Schill, Bazey, VandeKamp and James Giossi.
For the second consecutive week, it was the Buzzy Adams show in the WISSOTA Modified division. Starting on the pole, Adams immediately jumped to the point in front of his front row starting mate, Keith Tourville. Behind the leaders, Curt Myers was running strong in third with Justin Oestreich and Doug Gustafson also in the mix. Myers worked around Tourville for second on lap eight, only to stare at a straightaway deficit to Adams. A late caution bunched things up again and Gustafson took advantage, making the jump from fourth to second on the restart. But for the second week in a row, Adams had the field covered and motored to another impressive victory over Gustafson, Tourville, Myers and Dave Mass.
In UMSS Micro Sprint competition, the youth movement got back on track Friday, with perhaps the youngest winner ever for a sanctioned race at the raceway. After taking a vacation last Friday, defending series champion Ty Sampair looked to revisit the Anderson’s Maple Syrup victory lane by vaulting almost immediately from his fourth starting position to the lead at the drop of the green for their main event. Right behind Sampair, current series points leader Val Urman was in hot pursuit as the two youngsters dueled for the lead. A lap four spin saw Sampair stalled in turn two, relegating him to the tail per UMSS rules. On the restart, Jack Berger grabbed the top spot and the pre-teen from Lake Elmo, MN, never looked back. Urman stayed close, but the bottle of Anderson’s Maple Syrup and the SCVR red-and-white checkered flag went to Berger for his first career UMSS feature win just six races in to his rookie campaign. Behind Urman, the rest of the top five were Dave Madsen, Al Sachs and James Smith.
The Future Four/Minivan feature saw one of the strangest displays of attrition imaginable. Duane Roberts was looking for his first win from the outside of row one and was looking strong through the first three laps. But within the space of just two laps, Roberts, Nicki DuBois, Darren Gamche and Nick Axelsen all succumbed to myriad breakdowns, leaving just two cars, Damon Roberts and Kaleb Harr to vie for the win. Driving smooth and conservatively, Damon Roberts eased his #11 to his third consecutive win and fourth overall this season.
The third new face to park on The Hill was also making her first appearance of the season at The Valley. Krysta Swearingen brought her familiar #03 back to SCVR and was looking strong while running third behind three time winner Ben Kaphing and heat race winner John Erickson. Kaphing looked to be in control for his fourth win of the summer until he slowed dramatically with less than two laps to go. After Erickson passed Kaphing, the former leader had to shut down his rapidly over-heating power plant, bringing out the caution and a tow truck. On the restart, Swearingen blasted immediately to the point and ran a fast and solid final two laps to pick up her first feature win in nearly three years over Erickson, Darren Kohler, Jack Barta and Casey Ogilvie.
This Friday, July Fourth, features dual WISSOTA Race of Champion qualifiers as both the Midwest Modifieds and Modified will attempt to earn a spot in the prestigious WISSOTA post-season event. All other regular divisions will also compete along with the vintage racers from Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers. To help celebrate the nation’s birthday, St. Croix Valley Raceway is offering another Free Food night, with buy one, get one free specials on selected menu items and $1 beer. More information may be found on the track’s website, www.SCVRaceway.com, as well as their Facebook page.
UMSS Traditional Sprints
UMSS Traditional 40 Feature – Rob Caho Jr., Jake Kouba, Chase Viebrock, Mike Haseltine, Jimmy Kouba, Mike Mueller, Mike Walters, Jon Lewerer, Denny Stordahl, Kevin Bradwell, Alex Peper, Brad Nelson, Cam Schafer, Scott Brandt, Tom Porter, Johnny Parsons, Tommy Kamrath.
Heat 1- Caho, Haseltine, Parsons, Peper, Porter, Kamrath
Heat 2- Jimmy Kouba, Mueller, Viebrock, Bradwell, Walters, Mueller
Heat 3 – Schafer, Jake Kouba, Lewerer, Bradwell, Walters
Feature- Kevin Adams, Doug Gustafson, Keith Tourville, Curt Myers, Dave Mass, Scott Splittstoesser, Justin Oestreich, Chet Atkinson, Steve Lavasseur, Adam Ayotte, Jake Miller, Kyle Steffen, Scott Miller, Jason Gross
Heat 1- Lavasseur, S. Miller, Adams, Tourville, J. Miller, Splittstoesser, Steffen
Heat 2 – Mass, Myers, Oestreich, Atkinson, Gustafson, Ayotte,
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature- Cory Crapser, Tony Schill, Josh Bazey, Jason VandeKamp, James Giossi, Mitch Weiss, Jacob Toepper, Cory Bruggeman, Elizabeth Toepper, Michael Rukamp, Kyle Hallin, Joe Lallier, Jim Giossi, Tony DuBois, Doug Toepper, Austin Ellis, Cody Borgeson, John Remington, Jared Gorka, Samantha Yarusso, Jesse Krause
Heat 1- Remington, Bazey, Jim Giossi, Hallin, Borgeson, DuBois, Ellis
Heat 2- VandeKamp, Weiss, James Giossi, Bruggeman, E. Toepper, Rukamp, Yarusso
Heat 3- Crapser, J. Toepper, D. Toepper, Schill, Lallier, Gorka, Krause
UMSS Micro Sprints
Feature – Jack Berger, Val Urman, Dave Madsen, Al Sachs, James Smith, Eithan Birkmeyer, Shawn Kelley, Ty Sampair
Heat – Urman, Sampair, Berger, Kelley, Madsen, Sachs, Smith, Birkmeyer
Feature – Damon Roberts, Kaleb Harr, Darren Gamche, Duane Roberts, Nicki DuBois, Nick Axelsen
Heat – Duane Roberts, Axelsen, Damon Roberts, Harr, DuBois, Gamche
Feature – Krysta Swearingen, John Erickson, Darren Kohler, Jack Barta, Casey Ogilvie, Ben Kaphing
Heat – Erickson, Kaphing, Ogilvie, Kohler, Barta, Swearingen