In 1971, after watching the #1 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers beat the #2 ranked Oklahoma Sooners in a college football game, sports writer Dave Kindred wrote, “They can quit playing now, they have played the perfect game.” Fans in attendance at St. Croix Valley Raceway’s “Thunder in the Valley” special on Friday might think the same thing after witnessing two Traditional Sprintcar heavyweights duel for The Valley’s double checkers. Did Rob Caho Jr. and Johnny Parsons III run the perfect race? The weather was certainly perfect for it, with moderate temperatures and low humidity leading to ideal racing conditions through the evening.
For the second consecutive week, broad smiles were the order of the night for fans at The Valley. In the fourth of six features run on the evening, the Sterling Bank UMSS Traditional Sprints brought their ten car field to Rick Kobs’ green flag. The first of the feature’s twenty laps was led by pole starter Denny Stordahl, followed by Rob Caho Jr., Johnny Parsons III, outside pole starter Jack Clark and Kevin Bradwell. On lap two, Caho took over at the front, and a lap later, Parsons worked around Stordahl into second. From there, the duel was on. Caho settled into his comfort zone, running high off the cushion at full throttle. Parsons, essentially even with Caho, finessed a low-middle groove, smoothing his way through the turns. After Caho led for two laps, Parson led for two laps, before yielding again to Caho. For the entire twenty lap distance, that was the routine – Caho would lead, then Parsons, usually changing multiple times per lap. Through traffic, through the race’s lone caution, nothing would disturb the lead duo in their epic battle for the win. Further back, Bradwell worked his way past Clark and Stordahl to crack the top three, for his efforts, he got the best seat in the house to possibly the best race of the season. All eyes tracked the high-low contest between Caho and Parsons. At the midway point, it was Caho’s turn to lead and he looked as though he might make it three wins in a row, but with just four to go, Parsons found just enough extra speed to will his #12 sprinter back to the point. At the final checkers, Parson held one of the largest leads of the race, which was still less than the length of his car. The win marked the sixth of the summer for Parsons, a series high, while Caho finished an eye-lash later in second in front of Bradwell, Stordahl and Clark.
In the headlining UMSS winged sprint feature, Leigh Thomas and Sye Anderson paced the field with fourth starting Jason Tostenson quickly bolting to the front. Thomas hung in second, followed by Anderson, Jerry Richert Jr. and Scott Broty. By lap four, Richert had worked forward to second, but Tostenson was a half straightaway ahead of him. As the laps clicked off, Tostenson began stretching his advantage, to a few hundred feet. Unfortunately for Tostenson, he would only make it halfway to the end. As Anna Kouba started drifting her car towards the turn one track exit, Tostenson simultaneously attempted to lap her on the outside, resulting in disaster. The faster traveling Tostenson clipped Kouba’s right rear, sending him flying above the concrete retaining wall. Upon
landing, Tostenson’s mount suffered multiple fractures and his momentum carried him several hundred feet into the pit area while Kouba coasted to a stop just beyond the track exit. While both drivers were alright, neither car would be able to continue, meaning the second running Richert would inherit the lead. After the restart, Richert would cruise the last ten laps without a serious challenge to pick up his first UMSS win of the summer, padding his championship points lead. Scott Broty, Anderson, Jennifer Eriksen and James Broty rounded out the top five.
In WISSOTA Midwest Modified competition, sixteen cars checked in for a shot at the extra $200-to-win posted by Mastell Brothers Trailer Service, making for a $450 winner’s prize. Kevin Marlett and Tyler English brought the thundering herd to green, and Marlett showed the fast way in the early going. Points leader Josh Bazey took over for lap number three, but he was just as quickly overtaken by Ryan Viltz. The Chetek, Wisconsin hot shoe, a frequent visitor to the St. Croix Valley bullring, expertly guided his #3 Shaw by Buzzy modified to the top spot and never looked back. Behind Viltz, a trio of SCVR feature winners, Bazey, Justin Oestreich and Jason VandeKamp, would battle for position with Mike Truscott and Ryan Johnson. On this night, Viltz had his hotrod set up just right for the quarter mile in gaining his first win at The Valley in a number of years. Behind Viltz, Bazey, Oestreich, VandeKamp and Truscott completed the top five.
The Pure Stocks started off feature racing on Friday, and with eight time winner Jason Havel redrawing the front row, little was in doubt for this one. Pole starter Mason McEvers hung tough in second for the majority of the way until a late race spin cost him several positions. Behind Havel and McEvers, Brandon Davis, Ben Kaphing, Tony DuBois and Kyle Finnegan were all jockeying for position. At the final checkers, it was Havel claiming his ninth straight in front of Davis, DuBois, Jake Silbernagel and Jon Wigchers.
After the Pure Stocks, the UMSS Micro sprints hit the quarter mile for their feature. A total of seven cars checked in for the ever growing class, but unfortunately Greg Gunderson’s micro experienced difficulties during hot laps and he was unable to compete. That left what was still an all-time high of six cars going after the unique St. Croix Valley Raceway red-and-white checkered flag. Newcomers bracketed the field, with Colin Hastings starting on the pole and Colton Brown starting sixth of six. Although it was his first time at the track, Brown proved to be a quick study. After winning the heat race from the sixth spot, he went from sixth to first again in the feature – in the space of one lap. Tony Duran gave chase early before Ty Sampair took up the task of chasing Brown for the middle laps. For the last third of the race, it was Allison Berger who tried, again in vain, to reel in Brown. At the double checkers it was Brown scoring the impressive debut clean-sweep win over Berger, Sampair, Duran, Bryan Patrick and Hastings.
From the “it’s about time” department, the Future Four feature, presented by North Branch Bullseye Shooting Range, was a dual of teammates. Damon Roberts, the winner of three SCVR features already, started on the pole to the inside of the other half of
“Team Rollover”, Dylan Roberts. At the drop of the green, it was the Roberts show out front, with Damon leading Dylan, followed by a jumbled mix of Chris Rick, Kyle Dahlheimer, two-time feature winner Oliver Swanson, Nicki DuBois and Hope Tucker. With three laps to go, Dylan finally saw the opening he needed and darted to the point relegating Damon to runner-up. It would stay that way to the end, with Dylan Roberts nabbing his first win of the season over Damon Roberts, Dahlheimer, DuBois and Swanson.
Sprint cars (both Micro and Traditional) will have the night off on Friday, August 17, with the addition of several additional activities taking their place. Clay “Wildman” Gallagher will complete a pair of stunts, including a car jump through a camper. There will also be Mechanics races, Powder Puff races, and the return of the ever-popular Trailer races as part of The Valley’s Back-to-School Crash-tastic Smash-o-rama, along with the regular classes of Future Fours, Pure Stocks and WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds. The following week is the Ron Fleischer Memorial/Thunder in the Valley #5 on August 24. And anticipation continues to build for The Bullring Blast!, the first ever appearance of Late Models at the facility on August 31. Additional details for these or any other future events at St. Croix Valley Raceway can be found on the track’s Facebook page or website, www.scvraceway.com.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds – feature: Ryan Viltz, Josh Bazey, Justin Oestreich, Jason VandeKamp, Mike Truscott, Kevin Marlett, Ryan Johnson, Mitch Weiss, Corey Fogelson, Tyler English, Doug Toepper, Elizabeth Toepper, Tony Schill, Mike Halvorsen, Jason Bonngard, Vince Corbin.
UMSS Traditional Sprints – feature: Johnny Parsons III, Rob Caho Jr., Kevin Bradwell, Denny Stordahl, Jack Clark, Lucas Milz, Jeff Pellersels, Mike Huesmann, Adam Taubert, Tom Porter.
UMSS Winged Sprints – feature: Jerry Richert Jr., Scott Broty, Sye Anderson, Jennifer Eriksen, James Broty, Leigh Thomas, Chad Patterson, Jason Tostenson, Anna Kouba.
UMSS Micro Sprints – feature: Colton Brown, Allison Berger, Ty Sampair, Tony Duran, Bryan Patrick, Colin Hastings.
Pure Stocks – feature: Jason Havel, Brandon Davis, Tony DuBois, Jake Silbernagel, Jon Wigchers, Brian Erickson, Mason McEvers, Kyle Finnegan, Ben Kaphing, John Armstrong, Mike Olson, Kyle Dahlheimer.
Future Fours – feature: Dylan Roberts, Damon Roberts, Kyle Dahlheimer, Nicki DuBois, Oliver Swanson, Chris Rick, Hope Tucker.