Cedar Lake Speedway Completes Earliest Season Opening Weekend
New Richmond, WI (4-7-12)
By: Greg Parent
With afternoon rain showers giving way to clearing skies and a brisk wind, the Cedar Lake Speedway was able to complete the final night of their double-header opening weekend on Saturday April 7. Putting the finishing touches on the earliest opening weekend in track history, NASCAR feature race victories went to Jimmy Mars in the Late Models, Joey Jensen making it two-for-two in the Modifieds, Dave Mass in the Pro Stocks, and Ryan Olson also doubling up with another win in the Midwest Mods. In the newest weekly division at the track, Brent Voeltz was victorious in the Hornet feature.
On what proved to be a fast track all night long, the NASCAR Midwest Modifieds brought 23 cars trackside for the first feature event of the evening. Polesitter Scott Splittstoesser sped to the early lead at the drop of the green, as cars battled for positions close behind him. Friday night feature winner and eighth starter Ryan Olson got by Josh Bazey on lap seven and quickly reeled in the leader. Two laps later it was Olson out front. Olson began to distance himself from the field, as the laps rolled by under the green. Just when it looked like the race might run nonstop, seventh running Jordan Hessler looped his car in turn four to set up a two lap dash to the checkers. This erased the comfortable lead Olson had built up, but "Flyin' Ryan" was up to the task and went on to claim his second feature win in as many nights. Splittstoesser, Bazey, Mitch Weiss, and Rob Weber followed in the top five. Rounding out the top ten finishers were 12th starter Jason Vandekamp, Jeffrey Lien Jr, Willy Thompson, Jason Schill, and Kyle Steffen.
The NASCAR Pro Stocks saw 15 starters make the call for their 20 lap feature, as Shawn Kammerud was scratched following his heat race. Jeff Heintz hammered the throttle when the green flag waved and grabbed the early lead from the pole. Several cars swapped positions behind Heintz, as the race stayed green. Six laps in, ninth starter Dave Mass had worked his way to second with Larry Fitzsimmons, Dan Gullikson and Mike Loomis in the hunt. Mass drove to the lead on lap eight while positions continued to change hands behind him. Contact between Gullikson and Heintz on lap 13 brought an end to the fine run Heintz had been having, as his car headed for the infield. The first caution flew with sixteen laps in when Friday night winner Adam Ayotte and Ryan Wiome got together on the front stretch. It was Mass, Loomis, Gullikson, Cory Davis and Wiome in the top five. With two to go, Fitzsimmons spun to bring out the final caution. Mass was able to hold off Gullikson for the victory over the final two lap shootout to the checkers. Loomis, Davis and Wiome completed the top five. Recovering from a blown engine on Friday night, Mike Weber rode home in sixth. Cody Campeau, Adam Ayotte, Marcus Simonson, and Donnie Lofdahl rounded out the top ten.
A very talented 24 car starting field rolled on to the track next for their 20 lap NASCAR Modified main event. Jason Gross grabbed the early lead, but the race was plagued by yellow fever in the first three laps. The yellow flag waved four different times for various incidents including a Skeeter Estey breakdown, a crash in turn four involving several cars, defending track champion Craig Thatcher spinning to the infield in turn three, and finally another crash between Bob Broking and Paul Niznik. With seven cars already in the pits, the race then went 17 laps nonstop to the checkers. Gross led the first six laps before Friday night winner Joey Jensen powered by. It was Jensen in command after that enroute to his second win of the weekend. Jensen was followed by Gross, Darrell Nelson, Matt Gilbertson and multi-time track champion Dave Cain in fifth. The next five consisted of Brandon Jensen, Austin Arneson, Jesse Glenz, Scott Splittstoesser after a trip to the work area during the lap two caution, and Johnny Broking.
Making their second-ever weekly appearance, the new Hornet division saw 13 out of the 15 cars on hand take the green for their 12 lap feature race. Joel Kruse raced from fourth to first on the opening lap. The only caution blinked on with two laps in, as the race then went 10 laps green to the finish. Kruse held the top spot for the first eight laps until fifth starter Brent Voeltz made an electrifying pass for the lead. Voeltz charged out front and went on to take his first CLS Hornet victory. Kruse held on to second with Friday night winner Jack Purcell third. Eighth starter Kyle Stark was fourth while tenth starter Barret Hammond completed the top five. The first rollover of the season took place in the first Hornet heat race when Chris Dyke did a complete 360 degree rollover in turn one after losing a wheel. Chris was okay, but his car was done for the night.
Although the NASCAR Late Model car count was down from its typical numbers, a strong group of drivers finished out the program with their 20 lap feature. For the second night in a row, the main event ran caution-free to the checkers. Brent Larson took the early lead from fellow inside front row starter Rick Hanestad and held the top spot for the first eight laps. On lap nine, it was Jimmy Mars to the lead. Mars had started sixth. Mars pulled away for the win, as the race to watch was for third. Larson finished second ahead of Steve Laursen, Hanestad and Darrell Nelson. Friday night winner Chad Mahder was sixth with Cory Mahder, Rick Egersdorf and Jim Carlson the only other cars to finish. Aaron Lillo and Kerry Hanson dropped out of the race.
Dirt track racing action returns to the Cedar Lake Speedway on Saturday April 14 with a full program of NASCAR Late Models, Modifieds, Pro Stocks, and Midwest Modifieds plus the new Hornet division. Race results, points, ticket information, the 2012 schedule and much more can be found on the Cedar Lake Speedway website at www.cedarlakespeedway.com or call 1-866-CLS-4FUN. After not getting any races in during the month of April last year, the Cedar Lake Speedway is off to a good start with the two earliest shows in track history already in the books this year. Come on out and enjoy a night of exciting and entertaining action at the historic western Wisconsin dirt oval throughout the 2012 racing season.