New Richmond, WI (7-7-12)
By: Greg Parent
A perfect summer evening, a fantastic fireworks display, and exciting racing action produced the necessary ingredients for an enjoyable night at the Cedar Lake Speedway for the annual Firecracker Spectacular on Saturday July 7. With the NASCAR Modifieds having the night off, a full program of racing was still in store for the fans in three NASCAR divisions plus the Hornet class, as a large crowd filed into the track on what turned out to be a superb summer night. The fast-paced program was capped off by what has become a CLS tradition, a spectacular fireworks display.
The most exciting feature of the evening was the first one on the track, as the NASCAR Midwest Modifieds put on a stellar performance. With three cars exiting turn four on the final lap all in contention for the win, it was Mark Thomas from Menomonie edging out Ryan Olson and Josh Bazey in a race that brought the crowd to its feet for the final charge to the checkers. The NASCAR Pro Stocks once again had some problems in their main event, as the time limit curtailed the scheduled distance by two laps. It was defending track champion Cory Davis in command up front throughout the marathon yellow-fever fest. A strange twist of fate and events saw Eric Schultz pick up the Hornet feature win when leader Brent Voeltz and his brother William Voeltz crashed with two laps to go allowing their brother-in-law Schultz to gain the lead and ultimately the victory. John Kaanta dominated the 30 lap NASCAR Late Model finale in a race that ran nonstop to the checkers to garner his first CLS win of the season.
The NASCAR Midwest Modified feature is typically the first main event on race nights, and a large 28 car starting grid rolled trackside paced by Cody Wolkowski and Mark Thomas. Although Thomas would go on to lead the entire 20 lap distance, he was under pressure for a good share of the race. The pace was slowed on lap three and twice with eleven laps in the books, but it was the final caution with two to go that set up a thrilling two lap dash to the checkers. Having steadily worked his way forward from his 12th starting spot, five time winner this season Ryan Olson was in the battle over the final eight circuits along with Josh Bazey. As Olson slid past Thomas in turn three on the final lap, Thomas ducked under him in the middle lane while Bazey was on the bottom. Exiting turn four three-wide, Thomas was able to narrowly edge past Olson for the win while Bazey was just a few feet behind in third. Eric Herbison and Justin Schill completed the top five, as the fourth through seventh spots changed hands several times in the closing laps. Completing the top ten finishers were Bill Stettner, Wolkowski, David Swearingen, Tony Schill and Mike Kyllonen.
The NASCAR Pro Stocks were up next for their scheduled 20 lap feature race. Unfortunately, this division once again had problems with a total of ten caution flags flying for various incidents. The race was shortened to 18 laps by time limit, as Cory Davis was in control throughout from his outside front row starting position. Behind Davis, several good battles were taking place when the race was actually under green. At the end of the marathon, Chris Gorka came from 9th to finish second ahead of Rich Bishop, Adam Ayotte and Mike Mueller. Rounding out the top ten was Larry Fitzsimmons, Mike Weber, 21st starter Lance Schilling, Mike Loomis and Shawn Polonoski. Surprisingly, 18 of the 25 starters were still running in the end.
The popular Hornet division had it largest car count so far this season with 21 on hand. Several CLS rental hornets were in action. With 20 cars starting their 15 lap feature race, an early and late caution produced the only two yellows. It was the second caution that caused a strange turn of events to unfold. As race leader Brent Voeltz came up to lap his brother William Voeltz, a crash occurred right in front of the leader. Brent's hornet was collected and ended up out of action as did William. Voeltz's brother-in-law, Eric Schultz, inherited the lead for the final two lap sprint to the finish and went on to pick up the win. Barret Hammond, Gary Stahl, Robert Ellsworth and Mark Beer completed the top five. Rounding out the top ten were Buddy Hanestad, Joel Kruse, Kirk Johnson, Bob Carver Jr, and Alden Nelson.
The ground-pounding rumble of nineteen NASCAR Late Models roared to life for 30 racing laps. Chad Mahder and John Kaanta brought the field to flagman Jeff Stacken's green. With substitute announcer Terry Lehnertz calling the action, the feature race would run nonstop to the checkers. Kaanta led the entire distance and only really had one close call while coming upon lapped traffic for the first time. The veteran Elk Mound driver masterfully handled the lapped cars enroute to his first win of the season at CLS. An entertaining battle for second developed behind Kaanta between Mahder and Steve Laursen. Mahder held the runnerup spot for a good share of the race until Laursen got by late in the run. In one of his best finishes at CLS, Jim Carlson came home fourth in front of defending track champion Rick Hanestad. Mike Nutzmann, Brent Larson, Rick Egersdorf, Mike Bear and Greg Nippoldt completed the top ten finishers, as 17 of the 19 starters were still on the track at the checkers.
With the late model feature ending just as darkness set in, the large crowd enjoyed the usual outstanding CLS fireworks presentation to finish out a very entertaining evening spent at western Wisconsin's premier dirt racing facility. Racing action continues at the Cedar Lake Speedway on Saturday night July 14 with a full program of NASCAR Late Models, Modifieds, Pro Stocks and Midwest Modifieds along with the Hornet class. The USA Nationals is only about one month away. Check out the CLS website at www.cedarlakespeedway.com for information regarding the 25th Annual edition of this popular event or any of the other remaining races on the 2012 schedule.
Mark Thomas 25T, Ryan Olson 21, Josh Bazey 55, Eric Herbison 53, Justin Schill 11, Bill Stettner 7, Cody Wolkowski 224, David Swearingen 5, Tony Schill 8S, Mike Kyllonen 77k, Eric Gadach 15, Douglas Toepper 91, Dan Wheeler 32F, Randy Grams 85, Ron Jablonske 14, Jacob Toepper 88, Bonnie Jablonske 17, Elizabeth Toepper 24T, Tyron Friese 14F, Miranda Carlson 97, Charlie Wihren 7W, Al Stettner 38S, Jason Haugerud 22, Jeremy Kerzman 14x, Mike Sprauger 36, Ed Puariea 03, Shanw Carlson 95, Robbie Johnson 14R, Chase Friendt F1 DNS.
Cory Davis 20, Chris Gorka 96, Rich Bishop 10B, Adam Ayotte 04JR, Mike Mueller 87, Larry Fitzsimmons 73, Mike Weber 26, Lance Schilling 43, Mike Loomis 04, Shawn Polonoski 316, Shawn Kammerud 99, Ryan Wiome 17W, Jeff Heintz 57H, Jake Hiatt 3H, Tim Borgeson 31, Cody Campeau 99c, Brian Lick 15, Chad Dawson 26D, Ben Hainke 25, John Olson 64, Mike Hesselink 18, Lyle Archambeau 99k, Todd Carlson 24x, Michael Hofer 0, Mike Raboin 10, Denny Schouveller 1 DNS.
John Kaanta 85, Steve Laursen 19, Chad Mahder 55c, Jim Carlson 33, Rick Hanestad 71, Mike Nutzmann 2, Brent Larson B1, Rick Egersdorf 17, Mike Bear 24, Greg Nippoldt 55N, Caley Emerson 15E, Toby Patchen 25, Chris Olson 18, Bryan Wennen 40, Randy Gullixson 51B, Dennis Larson D1, Jeff Sayler 5, Mike Raboin 10, Ryan Johnson 9.
Eric Schultz 7S, Barret Hammond 19, Gary Stahl 104, Robert Ellsworth 52x, Mark Beer 75B, Buddy Hanestad 71, Joel Kruse 20, Kirk Johnson 57B, Bob Carver Jr. 3, Alden Nelson 22, Curt Derichs 8, Chris Arnett 17, Oliver Swanson 10A, Roger Egan 5, Cassie Hanestad 71H, Brent Voletz 37, William Voeltz 41V, Derek Reding 14, Isaac Nelson 11, Chris Dyke 38, Jim Fitzgerald 7 DNS.