After three months of waiting, St. Croix Valley Raceway finally got a shot of perfect summer racing weather as they hosted their Ultimate Kids’ Night event on Friday. On a night that was capped with loud and colorful fireworks, kids reigned supreme with free treats, driver autographs, trophies and bikes – donated by the track, the Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers and several of the track’s regular drivers.
After some quickly run heat races and a driver autograph session, the Pure Stocks led off the feature racing with a thrilling photo-finish. Second heat race winner Mason McEvers and newcomer Kyle Runkle paced the filed to green and McEvers nabbed the top spot on lap one. By the second circuit, Jake Silbernagel took over the lead and Krysta Swearingen and Ben Kaphing joined the fray a lap later. At the race’s halfway mark, it was a two car battle between Silbernagel and Kaphing, with Silbernagel holding a one to two car length advantage. As the lead duo passed the white flag, Kaphing got up on the wheel pulled alongside Silbernagel. The pair was dead even out of the last turn and they remained welded together at the door handles right to the finish line – where Silbernagel edged his front bumper across the stripe first by the slimmest of margins. The clean sweep win capped Silbernagel’s first career win as a Pure Stock pilot. Behind Kaphing, Swearingen, Runkle and “Jet Lag” Wigchers rounded out the top five.
The Future Four main event, while not quite as exciting as the Pure Stocks, still provided plenty of suspense. Kris Kaphing and Derek Reding brought the Fours to the start with Kaphing getting the jump on Reding. Third starting Dylan Roberts quickly worked up to second, followed closely by heat race winner Damon Roberts. For the entire distance, the Team Rollover cars kept Kaphing within striking distance, but Kaphing stayed smooth and strong to the checkers, picking up his second in three weeks over Damon and Dylan Roberts, Brock Anderson and Kayla Lallier.
In Vintage competition, the full-bodied division win went to Greg Scheffer, who subsequently presented his trophy to Kaden Kobs, and the Super Modified winning trophy went home with Nick Betterley, courtesy of race winner Dennis Olson.
The fireworks weren’t just contained to the skies, unfortunately for Micro Sprint racer Ty Sampair. Heat race winner Collin Olson and Sampair led the Micros to green and Olson took the point looking for his second win of the season, followed closely be Sampair. As Bryan Patrick, Allison Berger, Grant McIntosh and Sandy Traaseth spread out around the track, Sampair chased Olson continuously, never more than a handful of car lengths back. Coming into the final set of turns, Sampair worked under Olson but going into turn four his micro slid up into Olson and hopped wheels with the leader. Sampair first barrel-rolled then did a pirouetting end-over-end flip, landing hard on his left side. Sampair was shaken, but eventually cleared by track medical observers, and both he and Olson were eliminated from the race. In the two lap dash after the restart, Bryan Patrick bested Berger, McIntosh and Traaseth.
The WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds came trackside for their twenty lap finale with Craig Elliot and Josh Bazey showing the way. It was Bazey who grabbed the early lead over Tony Schill and Elliot. Like the do each week, the Midwest Modifieds fanned out into three separate grooves as myriad drivers determined who would get the honor of challenging Bazey. Joining Elliot and Schill were Ryan Olson, John Remington, Mitch Weiss, Kevin Marlett, Justin Oestreich and Joe Chaplin Jr. Out front, Bazey maintained about a four car length advantage, with Schill and Olson eventually settling into second and third. Schill was unable to continue after a late caution that caused still more jumbling in the running order. After the restart, Oestreich ran as high as second for a lap, but with his right rear tire losing pressure, he began to fade while Marlett and Chaplin were coming on strong to challenge Olson. At the final SCVR red-and-white checkered flag it was Bazey picking up his first Valley win of the summer in front of Olson, Marlett, Chaplin and Weiss.
The UMSS Traditional Sprints were the last group to race prior to the big pyrotechnics display, with Cam Shafer and Ken Bradwell bringing the fifteen car field to the start. Shafer squirted out to the lead, chased by Rob Caho Jr., Johnny Parsons III, Mike Mueller and Bradwell. While the leaders mostly worked the cushion, the middle of the racing pack was seeing competitive racing in middle and lower grooves as well. A number of cautions slowed the race, but upon each restart, the reigning Open Wheel Nationals champion Shafer had the speed required to keep all challengers at bay, picking up the clean-sweep win for his second of the summer. Rounding out the rest of the top five were Caho, Bradwell, Parsons and Jimmy Kouba.
The remainder of the schedule at The Valley is chock full of unique events, with an Free Food encore night coming up this Friday, August 9, featuring buy-one-get-one-free specials on select menu items. The following week is Thunder in the Valley #5/Kouba Memorial with the UMSS winged sprint cars. In a recently announced schedule change, the WISSOTA Street Stocks have been added to Fan Aprreciation Night, Friday August 23, and late model fans are eagerly anticipating the return of WISSOTA Late Models to the quarter-mile for Bullring Blast #2 on August 30. Details for these events and other happenings at the track can be found at the track’s website, www.SCVRaceway.com.
Race summary (unofficial)
Pure Stocks: Heat 1 - Jake Silbernagel, Ben Kaphing, Kyle Runkle, Kyle Dahlheiemer, Jon Wigchers. Heat 2 – Mason McEvers, Krysta Swearingen, Kaylee Remington, Casey Ogilvie, Jason Havel.
Feature – Jake Silbernagel, Ben Kaphing, Krysta Swearingen, Kyle Runkle, Jon Wigchers, Mason McEvers, Casey Ogilvie, Kyle Dahlheiemer, Kaylee Remington, Jason Havel (DNS).
Future Fours: Heat - Damon Roberts, Dylan Roberts, Derek Reding, Kris Kaphing, Nicki DuBois, Brock Anderson, Kayla Lallier, Chris Arnett
Feature – Kris Kaphing, Dylan Roberts, Damon Roberts, Brock Anderson, Kayla Lallier, Nicki DuBois, Derek Reding, Chris Arnett.
UMSS Micro Sprints: Heat – Collin Olson, Ty Sampair, Bryan Patrick, Allison Berger, Grant McIntosh, Sandy Traaseth.
Feature – Bryan Patrick, Allison Berger, Grant McIntosh, Sandy Traaseth, Collin Olson, Ty Sampair.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds: Heat 1 – Tony Schill, Ryan Olson, Josh Bazey, Kevin Marlett, Joe Chaplin Jr., Vince Corbin, Jason Schill (DNS). Heat 2 – Justin Oestreich, John Remington, Mitch Weiss, Craig Elliott, Greg Arnt, Kyle Hallin, Tony DuBois.
Feature – Josh Bazey, Ryan Olson, Kevin Marlett, Joe Chaplin Jr., Mitch Weiss, Craig Elliott, John Remington, Vince Corbin, Justin Oestreich, Tony DuBois, Kyle Hallin, Tony Schill, Jason Schill, Greg Arnt.
UMSS Traditional Sprints: Heat 1 - Rob Caho Jr., Kevin Bradwell, Lucas Milz, Mike Mueller, Brian VanMeveren, Wes Hendrickson, Adam Taubert, Joe Jesmore. Heat 2 – Johnny Parsons III, Cam Shafer, Jimmy Kouba, Jack Clark, Denny Stordahl, Tom Porter, Jesse Tripp
Feature – Cam Shafer, Rob Caho Jr., Kevin Bradwell, Johnny Parsons, Jimmy Kouba, Brian VanMeveren, Mike Mueller, Lucas Milz, Tom Porter, Wes Hendrickson, Jack Clark, Adam Taubert, Denny Stordahl, Jesse Tripp, Joe Jesmore.