Kaphing dominates Final Showdown, Broty nabs second UMSS win
St. Croix Falls, WI, September 16 and 17, 2011
by Terry Lehnertz and Greg Parent
Summer-time temperatures ended abruptly for racers and fans at St. Croix Valley Raceway for their mid-September "Final Showdown" event. Since re-opening in late July, race teams have slowly been trickling back to the historic quarter mile oval, and with several area tracks not in action over the weekend, car counts continued their upward trend despite the chilly conditions. In addition to the weekly classes of Future Fours, Pure Stocks, and Traditional Sprint Cars, the Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers were on hand once again.
Feature racing for the first of the two-night affair started with the Future Fours. Track favorites Kyle Dahlheimer and Ben Kaphing led the twelve-car field to Shaun Cimfl’s green flag, with Kaphing grabbing the early advantage heading into the first turn. Kaphing, already with a pair of wins this season, looked strong out front and left the tighter racing to drivers behind him. Dahlheimer held down the second spot for eight laps before finally yielding to Eric Schultz. At that same time, Jesse Tripp interjected himself into the battle for third as the trio would battle throughout. Kaphing went on to collect his third win of the summer ahead of Schultz, Tripp, Dahlheimer and Damon Roberts.
Next to attack the quarter-mile were the Pure Stocks, with a front row consisting of Mike Schnider and Tony DuBois. DuBois set the early pace with Jay Folz giving chase along with two-time winner Krysta Swearingen and Kyle Hallin. After a mid-race caution, Folz slipped by DuBois on the restart and held on to the top spot for the remaining laps. DuBois stayed in front of Swearingen at the final checkers, followed by Chad Eastman Steve Baker.
The Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers were back at the track for the second time, with wins going to Sonny VanWilgen in the Full Bodied division and Ricci Lipinski in the Super Modifieds.
Night number one of the Final Showdown wrapped up with the UMSS Traditional Sprint cars. Tommy Kamrath and former track champion Kevin Bradwell brought the six wing-less sprinters to the opening green. Kamrath immediately shot to the point with third starting Rob Caho Jr. in tow. By lap two, Bradwell had worked around Caho, with whom he’d battle the entire distance. While Kamrath was setting the pace, Caho continued to hound Bradwell to reclaim second. On lap twelve, Caho finally worked back to the runner-up spot, only to relinquish it again the very next circuit. At the stripe it was a green-to-checkers victory for Kamrath, followed by Bradwell, Caho, Aaron Wisch, Brad Nelson and Jack Clark. Johnny Parsons III was unable to start the main event.
On the second night of the Final Showdown, it was once again the Future Fours starting off feature action and once again it was the Ben Kaphing show. Kaphing redrew the pole starting position after winning his heat race and he cruised to his third consecutive feature win. And just like the previous night, Jesse Tripp and Kyle Dahlheimer were battling for position behind the leader, and Saturday saw Tripp with the advantage yet again. In a caution-free race, Kaphing grabbed his fourth feature win ahead of Tripp, Dahlheimer, Chris Rick and Damon Roberts.
In Pure Stock competition, the winner didn’t have such an easy task. Second heat race winner Tony DuBois and Friday night’s winner Jay Folz paced the field to green and DuBois led the first lap, looking to garner his second win of the summer. But on lap two, Folz shot to the front and immediately stretched his lead. Meanwhile, Jason Havel was making quick work of the field from his mid-pack starting position. Havel darted to fourth on the opening lap and shot up to second by lap four. By that time Folz had a several car length advantage. Havel began reeling in the leader, little by little, on each lap. With less than a handful of laps remaining, Havel had caught Folz and was applying pressure, but each challenge was answered by Folz as he maintained the lead. Heading into the final turn of the final lap, Havel pulled even with Folz and the pair drag-raced to the checkers. At the stripe, by mere inches, Havel finally eked his hot rod to the point, only a few feet in front of the flagstand. The near photo finish by Havel was the most exciting of the night, just a blink of an eye in front of Folz. Bob Thompson crossed the line third, ahead of DuBois and Justin Rick.
The procedure followed by Tommy Kamrath with his UMSS Traditional sprinter was win, race, repeat. After an impressive win on Friday, Kamrath could do no better than fourth in the qualifying heat race on Saturday. But with the benefit of a front row start, Kamrath shot to the point during the main event and led the entire distance. As was the case on Friday, Rob Caho and Kevin Bradwell dueled for second with Bradwell winning that battle. The win was the second in a row and third overall for Kamrath with Bradwell, Caho, Cody Hahn, Johnny Parsons and Jack Clark rounding out the field.
Headlining the Final Showdown was the UMSS Sprint Cars and their special event, "Thunder in the Valley, part 3". The third and final appearance of the season for the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) at the St. Croix Valley Raceway turned out to be a much better evening and end result for Prior Lake, Minnesota sprint car driver Scott Broty. After getting upside down during the August "Thunder in the Valley" program, Broty returned with a different car and found himself in victory lane following his second UMSS win of the season. A dramatic turn of events fourteen laps into the feature race would see the top two cars unable to continue following a caution. Broty, who had been running a close third at the time, took command of the lead and went on to score the $1,000 win on his wedding anniversary night.
When asked to comment on his chances before racing action got underway for the evening, Broty replied, "If it's heavy out there tonight, my car is going to like it. I'll have a good chance to run up front." Commenting after his second win of the season, Broty recalled his pre-race conversation with a smile. "Ron Bernhagen does a great job at preparing the racing surface on this track. Both my car and myself as a driver like it when it's heavy and there is a cushion to lean on. It feels good to pick up my second win of the season. See you at Ogilvie." Broty currently sits fourth in the championship point standings.
After the usual double round of qualifying races utilized by the UMSS had concluded, a couple of young guns found themselves on the front row for the 20 lap feature race. Rookie Kevin Bradwell and 2010 UMSS Rookie of the Year Jared Goerges brought the field to the green. Goerges immediately raced to the early lead, flying high up on the cushion. Another young driver in his sophomore season in the sprints, Andy Jones, followed Goerges in second at the conclusion of the opening lap. As the laps quickly clicked off under green on the fast 1/4 mile dirt oval, Goerges and Jones approached traffic seven laps into the race. At the halfway mark, it was Goerges, Jones, Broty, Brad Barickman and Cody Hahn in the top five.
A spirited battle for the top spot on lap fourteen saw Goerges and Jones swap the lead in turns three and four while lapping Tom Nicholl. Jones briefly had the lead, but Goerges regained it before they completed the lap. The next lap would prove to be dramatic. As Jones dove low in turn three and slid up alongside Goerges in turn four, Goerges' sprinter hopped the cushion and nosed into the turn four wall. As the caution flew and the cars slowed, Jones suddenly stalled in turn three with an engine failure. Both of the leaders were out of the race, and Scott Broty inherited first place as scoring reverted back to the last fully completed lap. After a quick six lap dash to the checkers when the green replaced the yellow, Scott Broty earned his first St. Croix Valley Raceway feature victory. Brad Barickman stayed close and made a bid for the lead following the restart, but the talented Richfield racer had to settle for second. Defending UMSS Champion Cody Hahn rode home in third ahead of Joseph Kouba in fourth. In his first-ever sprint car race, Chad Cummings from Menomonie drove the TW Motorsports sprinter to an impressive fifth place finish.
Vintage Car features were won by Joe L’Allier and Mike Bjorklund.
Only one event remains on the St. Croix Valley Raceway calendar. Saturday, October 1, the track will host the "Trick ‘r Treat Enduro". In addition to the $5000 winner’s share of the enduro purse, the event will also feature AWF Wrestling, stunts by Clay "The Wildman" Gallagher, and candy and trick or treating for the kids. Kids are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes for trick or treating on the track after the races. Opening bell for the wrestling is scheduled for 3:00 p.m., with racing and trick or treating to follow.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Future Fours, Feature: Ben Kaphing, Eric Schultz, Jesse Tripp, Kyle Dahlheimer, Damon Roberts, Brent Voeltz, Brad Johnson, Brandon Opsdahl, Duke Tucker, Nick Axelsen, Dylan Roberts, Bob Carver, Jr.
Pure Stocks, Feature: Jay Folz, Tony DuBois, Krysta Swearingen, Chad Eastman, Steve Baker, Jon Wigchers, Mike Olson, Brandon Davis, Kyle Hallin, Greg Hallin, Erica Doriott, Dennis Stordahl, Jason Havel, Bob Thompson, Justin Rick, Mike Schnider, Dustin Doughty.
UMSS Traditional Sprints, Feature: Tom Kamrath, Kevin Bradwell, Rob Caho, Jr., Aaron Wisch, Brad Nelson, Jack Clark, Johnny Parsons.
Friday, September 17, 2011
Future Fours, Feature: Ben Kaphing, Jesse Tripp, Kyle Dahlheimer, Chris Rick, Damon Roberts, Dylan Roberts. Brandon Opstahl, Derek Reding, Hope Tucker, Steve Sutton.
Pure Stocks, Feature: Jason Havel, Jay Folz, Bob Thompson, Tony DuBois, Justin Rick, Mike Olson, Jon Wigchers, Chad Eastman, Steve Baker, Dennis Stordahl, Greg Hallin, Kyle Hallin, Dan Hensel, Brandon Davis.
UMSS Traditional Sprints, Feature: Tommy Kamrath, Kevin Bradwell, Rob Caho Jr., Cody Hahn, Johnny Parsons, Jack Clark.
UMSS winged sprints, Feature: Scott Broty, Brad Barickman, Cody Hahn, Joseph Kouba, Chad Cummings, Kevin Bradwell, David Craft, Tom Nicholl, Chad Patterson, Andy Jones DNF, Jared Goerges DNF, Joe Kouba DNF, Jerry Richert Jr. DNS.