New Richmond, WI (7-6-12)
By: Greg Parent
With the World of Outlaws sprint cars making their annual appearance at the Cedar Lake Speedway on Friday night July 6, the NASCAR Midwest Modifieds were part of the program. Racing in front of a large crowd, eighteen Midwest Mods were on hand. Finishing their feature just moments before the rains came, Ryan Olson picked up his fifth win of the season at the Cedar Lake Speedway. Olson's victory was anything but easy though. Olson had to fend of challenges from Jason Vandekamp and Bob Smith at various times during the 20 lap main event.
As temperatures soared near the century mark in the late afternoon, a line of storms skirted to the south of the track early on. Another line of storms formed later in the evening and took aim at the Cedar Lake Speedway. The World of Outlaws feature was moved up in the running order, and Tim Kaeding posted his second CLS victory in what turned out to be a very entertaining 35 lap feature race. With lightning flashing in the western sky, the NASCAR Midwest Mods rolled trackside for the final feature of the evening paced by Josh Bazey and Ryan Olson on the front row.
Olson grabbed the early lead over Bazey, but Jason Vandekamp was soon in third three laps into the race when the first caution waved. Bazey had just pulled into the infield with mechanical problems prior to the yellow which flew for a spin in turn two. Vandekamp stayed close behind Olson when the race returned to green, as positions 3-5 swapped hands behind the leaders.
At the halfway mark, the second caution blinked on for another spin in turn two. A. J. Roeschen dropped out of the race at this point after having run as high as third early on. On the restart, Bob Smith took second from Vandekamp and challenged Olson for the top spot. The race was under its final caution one lap later though. Rain was quickly approaching, so a clean run to the finish would be required to get the full distance in. And that is exactly what happened, as the final nine circuits went caution-free.
Vandekamp regained second from Smith on lap 14 and closed in on Olson while 11th starter Al Stettner cracked the top five. A good battle between Stettner, Jeremy Kerzman and defending track champion Eric Heribson took place behind the lead duo. On a couple of occasions, Olson drifted a bit high in turn four which allowed Vandekamp to put the pressure on for the lead. With three laps to go, Vandekamp briefly took the lead from Olson entering turn one, but Olson dove back under Vandekamp to retake the top spot exiting turn two. In the end, Olson went on the record his fifth NASCAR Midwest Modified feature win of the season at CLS. Vandekamp finished a close second followed by Smith, Stettner and Kerzman in the top five. Rounding out the top ten finishers were Herbison, David Swearingen, Douglas Toepper, Randy Gramms, and Elizabeth Toepper. Heat races were won by Smith and Vandekamp.
As Ryan Olson celebrated in Victory Lane, it began to sprinkle and soon after a light rain began falling. Having just reached his trailer after moving through post-race tech, the skies opened up and the rain poured down with thunder rumbling and lightning flashing. The racing program was completed just in the nick of time. For Olson, it was his 14th career Midwest Mod feature win at the Cedar Lake Speedway which, unofficially, tied him with Dan Wheeler for the most career feature wins in that division. Commenting in his trailer following the race, Olson indicated that his car was a bit tight in turns 3-4 and he was especially struggling to get through turn four later in the race.
Racing action continues at the Cedar Lake Speedway with the very popular Fireworks Show on Saturday July 7 featuring a full program of NASCAR Late Models, Pro Stocks, Midwest Modifieds plus the Hornet division. The modifieds have the night off. Race fans are encouraged to check out the Cedar Lake Speedway website at www.cedarlakespeedway.com for various race information including tickets, results, the remaining schedule and much more.
Ryan Olson 21, Jason Vandekamp 16, Bob Smith 19, Al Stettner 38S, Jeremy Kerzman 14x, Eric Herbison 53, David Swearingen 5, Douglas Toepper 91, Randy Gramms 85, Elizabeth Toepper 24T, Jacob Toepper 88, Eric Gadach 15, Jason Haugerud 22, A. J. Roeschen 7, Tony Schill 8s, Josh Bazey 55, Jacob Gondik 29G DNS, Jeremy Houle 54 DNS.