Johnson Wins Record “Little Dream” Race
Rice Lake WI, – The twentieth edition of the Street Stock Little Dream race at the Rice Lake Speedway proved to be the biggest one yet. When Tim Johnson had finished off the event by surviving a last lap challenge by Cody Kummer after racing side by side with Jay Kesan for nearly the entire race, he received a record first place prize for the event. With businesses and race fans alike digging deep into their pockets to enhance the purse in virtually all finishing positions, Johnson went home to Brainerd MN with $3,372 for his efforts in the thirty lap contest. That amount represented a record for the event which topped last year’s standard, as the speedway continues to hold the WISSOTA record for the top prize payoff for the Street Stocks. Jake Redetzke and Shane Halopka won the other feature races on the evening’s card. The race was run on Wednesday night after torrential rains on Tuesday caused a one day postponement.
Forty four Street Stock entries, representing Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota and Manitoba Canada were whittled down to twenty for starters for the main event. James Vought sat on the pole and took the early lead over Josh Amans with Kesan quickly coming up from the second row to challenge. Kesan blew past Vought to take over the lead while Johnson was also on the move from his third row starting spot. As Kesan ran the low groove, Johnson moved higher on the track and he was quickly able to move into the second position.
The first yellow flag flew with six laps completed when Jimmy Randall and John Kallas got together in turn three. The double file restart saw Kesan move back into the lead and Johnson secure second. Kummer had started third but he slid up the track on the green and lost a couple spots as Amans battled with Sam Fankhauser and Doug Wojcik for position.
The top two runners started to move away from the field slightly while the battle for third raged on behind them. The second and final yellow of the race saw Amans and Danny Hanson get tied up and spin as they battled in heavy traffic.
The last nineteen laps ran nonstop and Kesan and Johnson ran side by side for nearly the entire time. Kesan was running the low side while Johnson was up in the middle lane. Lap after lap, Johnson would get a good run off the banking and pull up beside Kesan but not be able to quite complete the pass. They raced door handle to door handle down the chutes, but never so much as touching each other. First Kesan would gain a foot or two but then Johnson would turn a good lap and nose in front as they took turns being scored as the race leader.
Suddenly another driver began to move into contention as Kummer had found the high side to work for him also and he began a determined drive to the front. Using to top side, he drove past Wojcik and Fankhauser and moved into third and was closing on the leaders as the laps ran down.
With about seven laps to go, Kesan slid up the track in turn four and Johnson was able to ease in front by a car length, the first time either driver had been able to claim such a large lead. Kesan continued to challenge but Johnson had cleared Kesan
for the first time in the event. However, Kummer was closing hard on both the leaders. With two laps to go, Kummer caught Kesan and pulled beside him and then eased into second. On the last lap, Johnson had a car length advantage down the back
chute. Kummer pulled to the rear bumper of Johnson and then tried to dive between the two other front runners. However, Johnson had too good of a run off the final corner and held on by a car length for the win with Kummer edging Kesan for second by a bumpers length. Fankhauser and Wojcik completed the top five. The second five consisted of Ryan Kostreba, who earned the Hard Charger award after starting seventeenth, Randall, Gary Kasperek, Nick Wojcik and Amans.
The Late Model feature was also a good one with Redetzke passing Adam Hensel with four laps to go to win the main event. Ashley Anderson and Cory Mahder battled in the early going with Mahder securing the top spot. A couple of early yellows for spins slowed the action, but when all out racing resumed, Hensel was on a tear, charging up from the fourth row to take the lead as he worked the cushion. Redetzke started fifth and gradually moved into the second spot, taking a lower line on the track.
Jake tried to nose under Adam lap after lap but on each occasion, Hensel would power off the corners and continue to fight off Redetzke’s pressure. Meanwhile, Mike Goodremote was having a good battle with Anderson for the third spot.
Redetzke continued to put the pressure on Hensel as the laps ran down with the leaders staying within a car length of each other. Finally, with only a handful of laps left, Redetzke made a strong move off turn two and was able to edge past Hensel to take over the lead. Jake was then able to hit lapped traffic just right which allowed him to stretch his lead over the last few laps. Redetzke drove home for the win, which was worth $1,400 to the Eau Claire driver. Behind Hensel, Goodremote, driving the Gilberts Motorsports entry, moved away from Anderson for third with John Kaanta making a last lap pass on Mahder to complete the top five.
Halopka completely dominated the Midwest Modified feature race. He started on the outside pole, pulled away from Joe Chaplin Jr and then cruised home for the nonstop win. Halopka opened up about a half straightaway lead on Matt Leer, who moved into second, and Halopka maintained the lead the rest of the race. Ryan Viltz charged from eighth starting position to race into third with Nick Koehler edging past Chaplin Jr in the last going for fourth.
Racing action continues Saturday night, August 6th with double feature races in all five classes after rains came last Saturday following heat race action. The next special event at the speedway will be on Thursday, August 18th when the USMTS Modifieds make their first visit ever to the Rice Lake Speedway as a part of their “Hunt” for the USMTS championship. WISSOTA Super Stocks and Pure Stocks are also on the card that night.
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