A pleasant afternoon rolled into a pleasant evening and a perfect night for racing at St. Croix Valley Raceway on Friday as the track hosted its Racing for a Cure event to raise money for the American Cancer Society (ACS). Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle were donated to the ACS; and prior to strapping in for their feature event – the UMSS Traditional Sprint Car racers climbed out of their mounts and passed their helmets through the grandstands to collect more donations. In total, Valley fans raised more than $550 for the local chapters of the American Cancer Society.
The party might still be going on for the David Mastell race team. The former Street Stock driver made the jump to WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds some years back and has been fighting ever since for that elusive first win. After nearly winning his heat race, Mastell landed the outside front row starting spot for the feature and paced the field to green with pole starter Cory Bruggeman. From the get-go, Mastell found the high groove to his liking as he set the early pace in front of Bruggeman, Doug Toepper, and Tyler English. Running strong deeper in the pack were eighth starting Josh Bazey, John Remington and last week’s feature winner, Mitch Weiss. While running second, Bruggeman’s #4 modified got squirrely in turn two and he looped his hotrod; the rest of the field showed off some impressive evasive maneuvers as everyone was able to avoid significant impact. On the restart, Toepper took over in second but had his hands full of Weiss and Bazey who were both actively prospecting the track for the speediest racing groove. With two and three wide racing behind him, Mastell was stretching his lead to several car lengths. With eight laps remaining, Bazey found a path around Toepper and immediately set sail after the leader. As Mastell started to catch traffic, Bazey was closing in fast and the lead was completely gone with two laps to go. Over the last half mile, Bazey repeatedly threatened down low but Mastell was able to respond to each attempt as he went on to win his first career feature besting Bazey, Toepper, Weiss and Kevin Schmidt.
For the second consecutive week, Jason Gross was dominant in the WISSOTA Modified division, working the low groove early to get by Jason Haugerud and cruising to another win. Gross had the lead by lap three, and Justin Oestreich got by Haugerud for second a few laps later and the leaders would steadily move away from the rest of the field. In doing so, the top two drivers missed out on some wonderful door-to-door action. Haugerud led a group that included Steve Lavasseur, Shawn Kelley, Keith Tourville, Scott Miller and JB Stortz. Until about halfway it was Haugerud and Lavasseur duking it out for third but for the last several laps, the #22 cars put on a thriller. Haugerud ran the cushion while the #22JB of Stortz was powerful down low. Lap after lap after lap, the duo had the rapt attention of the crowd, failing to even notice the leader, Jason Gross, nearly catching them from behind. Over the final eight laps, Stortz and Haugerud split time at third, with each driver officially scored in that position four times a piece. At the double checkers it was Gross picking up the comfortable win over Oestreich, with Haugerud barely edging out Stortz for third. Keith Tourville rounded out the top five.
Also joining the “two-in-a-row” club was Cam Schafer in the UMSS Traditional Sprints. Schafer took a few laps to work past early leader Joseph Kouba, but once out front, the seasoned sprinter pulled away from the field. The race saw two red flags, a rarity for a class that frequently runs sans even a caution flag. The first red was for the spinning Johnny Parsons, subsequently the victim of Josh Hendrickson’s “nowhere to go” dilemma when Hendrickson slammed hard into Parsons’ left side. The front of Parsons’ was destroyed and Parsons commented he was still “pretty sore” at the end of the evening. The second stoppage was the result of Jake Kouba bouncing into, onto, then off of a spinning Mike Mueller, tumbling upside-down in the process. Both drivers emerged unharmed, but neither car was able to continue. The final red flagged also cost Chase Viebrock a chance at a possible win, as he was reeling in Schafer on the long green-flag run leading up to the stop in action. Viebrock’s #50 wasn’t the same back under green and, in fact, the “New Richmond Nightmare” was fortunate to even finish the race as he discovered the all-important right rear tire was slowly losing air. With Viebrock fading due to his tire issue, Schafer cruised to the win and parked in Anderson’s Maple Syrup victory lane for the sixth time this season. Viebrock managed to hang on to second over Rob Caho, Jimmy Kouba and Mike Walters.
Five weeks and a birthday celebration removed from his first career UMSS Micro Sprint feature win, the now twelve year old rookie Jack Berger parked his #19 micro in Anderson’s Maple Syrup victory lane for a second time on Friday. The confident youngster started on the pole alongside of Scott Kobs and quickly grabbed the lead, but comfort was not to be found – a result of having reigning series champion Ty Sampair hot on his tail. A late caution for the stalled Kobs allowed rookie Val Urman to pass Sampair but the night belonged to Berger as he stretched his championship point lead by virtue of his second win of the summer over Urman, Sampair, Shawn Kelley and Grant McIntosh.
Another driver claiming his first win occurred in the Future Four/Minivan division, as TJ Christensen nabbed the trophy from his pole starting position. Heat race winners Steven Johnson and Nathan Anderson had strong runs after starting mid-pack, each clawing their way towards the front. For the first dozen laps, though, it was Christensen being chased by Derrick Johnson. A last lap caution dramatically reshuffled the order, with Steven Johnson jumping up to second and Eric Gruhlke moving up to third, followed by Anderson and Derrick Johnson sliding back to fifth. But when all was said and done the #24C of Christensen was parked on The Hill celebrating the victory.
Last lap dramatics reigned in the Pure Stock finale, with the race not decided until the final hundred feet. Tim Baxter was leading early while running a high groove, fending off a strong-running Krysta Swearingen in the middle groove. Disaster be felled the #x6 of Baxter on lap five, however, as his right front suddenly decided to run off on its own, bounding over the turn three wall leaving Baxter to plow the clay with his frame rail. Swearingen took over the lead and continued her strong for the duration, while the #79 of Darren Kohler was steadily gaining steam. On the final lap, Kohler dove low entering turn three, pulling even with Swearingen. Through the turns, Kohler drifted up into Swearingen and the duo was virtually welded together in the middle of turn four. As the cars separated, it was Kohler regaining momentum first and stealing the win away from Swearingen exiting the final turn. The win was Kohler’s first since opening weekend at The Valley, edging Swearingen, Tucker Quinn, Ben Kaphing and Casey Ogilvie.
On tap for St. Croix Valley Raceway is a rare Saturday night event when the track hosts the second night of the two-night, 22nd annual Kouba Memorial. Princeton Speedway, in Princeton, Minnesota will host the UMSS Winged and Traditional Sprints for the Ethel Kouba Memorial on Friday night, August 15th. The following evening, Saturday, August 16th, the Wings and Traditionals will return to St. Croix Valley Raceway for the Earl Kouba Memorial. The twenty-one year history of the event reveals that just two drivers have managed multiple titles, and the nineteen drivers who have claimed top honors over the decades reads like a who’s who list of area greats. All three divisions of the UMSS will be in action, with micro sprints joining their big brothers on Saturday, along with WISSTOTA Midwest Modifieds, SCVR Pure Stocks and Future Fours/Minivans. Admission discounts are available for fans attending both the Friday and Saturday events. More information for this and future events may be found on the track’s website, www.SCVRaceway.com, as well as their Facebook page.
RACE RESULTS – August 8, 2014
Feature – Jason Gross, Justin Oestreich, Jason Haugerud, JB Stortz, Keith Tourville, Steve Lavasseur, Jake Miller, Shawn Kelley, Kyle Steffen, Tim Baxter, Scott Miller(DNF), Adam Ayotte(DNF), Doug Gustafson(DNF), Scott Splittstoesser(DNS)
Heat 1 – Gustafson, Oestreich, Lavasseur, Gross, Tourville, Jake Miller, Baxter
Heat 2 – Scott Miller, Kelley, Splittstoesser, Haugerud, Ayotte, Stortz, Steffen
UMSS Traditional Sprints
Feature – Cam Shafer, Chase Viebrock, Rob Caho Jr., Jimmy Kouba, Mike Walters, Kevin Bradwell, Alex Peper, Jori Hughes, Eric Becker(DNF), Jake Kouba(DNF), Mike Mueller(DNF), Anna Kouba(DNF), Joseph Kouba(DNF), Johnny Parsons(DNF), Josh Hendrickson(DNF), D Taubert(DNF)
Heat 1 – Mueller, Viebrock, Parsons, Taubert, Bradwell, Kouba, Hughes, Becker
Heat 2 – Shafer, Joseph Kouba, Jimmy Kouba, Caho Jr., Walters, Peper, Hendrickson, Anna Kouba
UMSS Micro Sprints
Feature – Jack Berger, Val Urman, Ty Sampair, Shawn Kelley, Grant McIntosh, Scott Kobs(DNF), Colin Olson(DNF)
Heat – Sampair, Urman, Kelley, Berger, Kobs, McIntosh, Olson
Feature – TJ Christensen, Steven Johnson, Erik Gruhlke, Nathan Anderson, Derrick Johnson, Kaleb Harr, Adam Nelson, Seth Ilgen, Trevor Reding, Patrick Kelly, Damon Roberts(DNF), Nicki Dubois(DNF), Kayla Lallier(DNS)
Heat 1 – Steven Johnson, Derrick Johnson, Roberts, Christensen, Harr, Nelson, Kelley
Heat 2 – Anderson, Ilgen, Gruhlke, Reding, Lallier(DNF), DuBois(DNS)
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature – David Mastell, Josh Bazey, Doug Toepper, Mitch Weiss, Kevin Schmidt, John Remington, Cory Bruggeman, Kyle Hallin, Tyler English, Keith Paulsrud, Jared Gorka, Greg Arnt(DNF), Eric Gadach(DNF)
Heat 1 – Remington, Toepper, English, Schmidt, Gorka, Gadach(DNF), Arnt(DNF)
Heat 2 – Bazey, Mastell, Weiss, Bruggeman, Hallin, Paulsrud
Feature – Darren Kohler, Krysta Swearingen, Tucker Quinn, Ben Kaphing, Casey Ogilvie, Kaylee Remington, Jack Barta, Kyle Dahlhiemer, Tim Baxter(DNF)
Heat – Swearingen, Ogilvie, Kohler, Baxter, Dahlheimer, Quinn, Remington, Barta, Kaphing