St. Croix Falls, WI, July 18, 2014
By Terry, Nicole and Sari Lehnertz
The vintage cars from the Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers joined the weekly regulars at St. Croix Valley Raceway on Friday night, with Butch Bethke and Greg Scheffer winning their respective vintage feature races. Ms. St. Croix Falls and the rest of the Wannigan Days royal court was on hand to sing the national anthem as well as present winner’s trophies throughout an evening which was highlighted by a photo finish in the UMSS Micro Sprint feature.
In the early stages, the UMSS Micro Sprint feature looked like it might turn into an easy win for reigning series champion, Ty Sampair, who had jumped out to a sizable lead from his pole starting position. Val Urman, who owns a pair of wins this season, was giving chase but he was feeling the heat from Lake Elmo’s Jack Berger. Berger had a strong run out of turn two on the second lap and the pre-teen was in the runner-up spot heading down the back chute. Out front, Sampair looked to be getting even stronger as his lead was continuing to grow. However, as the laps clicked off, Sampair’s advantage began to shrink. Berger was working his #19 sprinter over every square inch of the SCVR quarter-mile in search of speed, and he kept finding what he needed. With just a few laps remaining, the outcome was no longer a foregone conclusion as it was clearly evident Berger had enough car and enough time to mount a serious challenge. With the lead duo well in front of the rest of the field, the pair came screaming out of the final turn at full song in a dead heat, Berger up high and Sampair sticking low. In quite possibly the closest finish in the history of the raceway, Sampair completed the clean-sweep victory a mere eyelash in front of the current series point leader. The narrow victory had Sampair celebrating in Anderson’s Maple Syrup Victory Lane for the third time this summer. Urman came home third in front of Dave Madsen, Shawn Kelley, Al Sachs and Kayla Lallier.
Mike Mueller and Chase Viebrock paced the fourteen UMSS Traditional sprinters to Shaun Cimfl’s green flag for their 25 lap main event Viebrock finding the point early, pursued by fourth-starting Rick Kobs. First heat race winner Cam Schafer was active again in his #54 mount, working any open clay he could find to move up from his fifth starting spot. On lap three, it was Jimmy Kouba falling victim to Schafer and Mueller gave up the third spot to Schafer on lap eight. After bringing out an early caution, Kevin Bradwell had charged through the field and was up to sixth place with just eight laps remaining. Out front, Viebrock, just thirteen days removed from his first career sprint win at Hibbing Raceway, was looking strong and steady while Schafer continued his charge, taking second away from Kobs on a lap eighteen restart. A final restart with three laps to go did nothing to change the outcome as Viebrock parked in Anderson’s Maple Syrup Victory Lane for his first SCVR win over Schafer, Kobs, Rob Caho Jr. and Mueller.
Mitch Niebur won his heat race and redrew the pole for the Future Four/Minivan feature with Derrick Johnson starting to his right. At the drop of the green, the front row starters grabbed the top two spots while Team Rollover, Duane and Damon Roberts moved through the field. For winning the last three consecutive weeks, Damon Roberts earned the privilege of starting his heat and feature from the tail. The Grantsburg hotshoe worked through the field, making his way up to challenge Duane Roberts for fourth just past halfway. Niebur was still strong in front of Johnson when Nick Axelsen sprang to life, moving from seventh to third in the space of four laps. Unfortunately for Axelsen, he slowed and pulled to the infield with just two laps remaining, yielding his position to Damon Roberts, who was continuing his charge. As the double checkers waved, it was a clean-sweep win for Niebur and his fluorescent lime green #2 over Johnson, Damon Roberts, Duane Roberts and Adam Nelson. Johnson later failed post-race technical inspection moving Steven Johnson into the top five.
In Pure Stock competition, Kyle Dahlheimer was also looking for the clean-sweep after winning the heat race and starting outside the front row for the feature. Dahlheimer quickly grabbed the lead followed points leader Ben Kaphing. Kaphing got underneath Dahlheimer in turns three and four, taking over the lead on lap four. Once out front, Kaphing built up a straightaway lead over Dahlheimer and Darren Kohler, who were battling for second. At the finish it was Kaphing picking up his fourth of the season over Dahlheimer, Kohler, Casey Ogilvie and John Remington. Kaphing failed post-race safety inspection, however, and was disqualified, awarding the win to Dahlheimer, his first in 2014.
John Remington led the first five laps of the WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature from his outside front row starting spot with fourth starting Mitch Weiss giving chase. First heat race winner Joe Chaplin Jr. ran third followed by Jason VandeKamp, Jeffery Lien Jr., Josh Bazey and Kyle Hallin. The middle portion of the race saw the lead see-saw between Remington and VandeKamp before VandeKamp finally took over for good at the race’s midpoint. A late cautioned jumble the order a bit with VandeKamp winning his track-best seventh feature of the summer over Weiss, Bazey, Remington and Lien.
Cautions and carnage was the unfortunate theme for the final race of the night, with just five racers still running at the end of the WISSOTA Modified main event. Jason Gross looked to have his first SCVR win in years wrapped up when he slowed and pulled off after a late race restart. Gross’ departure handed the lead to Scott Miller, who looped his #68 hotrod on the next restart while running near the front, collecting several cars. Keith Tourville, who had been running third behind Gross and Miller, was next to inherit the lead. A final restart with four laps remaining didn’t provide a wide enough opening for Buzzy Adams to take over as Tourville was powerful enough at the point to fend off all challengers and claim his second SCVR win of the season over Adams, Justin Oestreich, Kyle Steffen and Jeffery Lien Jr.
This Friday at The Valley will see the UMSS winged sprint cars returning to the bullring, joining the Traditional and Micro sprints. The WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds will also race in addition to the Future Four/Minivans and Pure Stocks. More information may be found on the track’s website, www.SCVRaceway.com, as well as their Facebook page.
Feature – Keith Tourville, Kevin Adams, Justin Oestreich, Kyle Steffen, Jeffry Lien Jr., Jason Haugerud (DNF), Shawn Kelley(DNF), Jake Miller(DNF), Doug Gustafson(DNF), Scott Splittstoesser (DNF), Scott Miller(DNF), Jason Gross(DNF), Steve Lavasseur(DNF), Rick Kobs (DNF)
Heat 1 – Oestreich, Gross, Lavasseur, Miller, Steffen, Haugerud, Lien
Heat 2 – Miller, Gustafson, Tourville, Adams, Splittstoesser, Kelley (DNF), Kobs (DNF)
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature – Jason VandeKamp, Mitch Weiss, Josh Bazey, John Remington, Jeffry Lien Jr., Cory Bruggeman, Doug Toepper, David Mastell, Elizabeth Toepper, Kyle Hallin, Tony DuBois (DNF), Jacob Toepper(DNF), Greg Arnt (DNF), Joe Chaplin Jr. (DNF)
Heat 1 – Chaplin Jr., Mastell, Remington, Weiss, Doug Toepper, Jacob Toepper, DuBois (DNF)
Heat 2 – Bazey, VandeKamp, Lien Jr., Hallin, Bruggeman, Arnt, Elizabeth Toepper (DNF)
Feature – Kyle Dahlheimer, Darren Kohler, Casey Ogilvie, John Remington (DNF), Ben Kaphing (DQ)
Heat – Dahlheimer, Kaphing, Ogilvie, Remington, Kohler (DNF)
Feature – Mitch Niebur, Damon Roberts, Duane Roberts, Adam Nelson, Steven Johnson, Bob Carver Jr., Nathan Anderson, Nick Axelsen (DNF), Nicki DuBois(DNF), Brock Anderson(DNS), Kelcie Prusak(DNS), Derrick Johnson(DQ)
Heat 1 – Niebur, Johnson, Damon Roberts, Nelson, DuBois (DNF), Anderson (DNF)
Heat 2 – Johnson, Duane Roberts, Axelsen, Carver Jr., Anderson, Prusak (DNS)
UMSS Traditional Sprints
Feature – Chase Viebrock, Cam Shafer, Rick Kobs, Rob Caho Jr., Mike Mueller, Jake Kouba, Jimmy Kouba, Joseph Kouba, Mike Haseltine, Jake Hendrickson, Jori Hughes, Kevin Bradwell (DNF), Mike Walters (DNF), Adam Taubert (DNF)
Heat 1 – Shafer, Viebrock, Joseph Kouba, Caho Jr., Hughes, Walters (DQ), Hendrickson (DNS)
Heat 2 – Jimmy Kouba, Kobs, Haseltine, Mueller, Taubert, Bradwell (DNF), Jake Kouba (DNF)
UMSS Micro Sprint
Feature – Ty Sampair, Jack Berger, Val Urman, Dave Madsen, Shawn Kelley, Al Sachs, Kayla Lallier
Heat – Sampair, Urman, Kelley, Berger, Madsen, Sachs, Lallier