RICE LAKE, Wis. – Rice Lake Speedway was finally able to get its 68th consecutive season of racing underway Saturday night and in the highlight event, Tony Bahr repassed George Dalbeck on the final lap to take the Midwest Modified feature win.
Other winners during the opening night of racing included Mike Schnider, Andrew Hanson, Curt Myers and Mike Anderson.
The Midwest Modified feature was a highly competitive race that saw the lead exchanged twice in the final two laps as Bahr and Dalbeck battled it out for the win.
Bahr started on the pole for the fifteen lap main and took the early lead over Kylie Kath while Dalbeck started on the outside of the second row and battled early with Derek Haas.
As Bahr expanded his lead, Dalbeck finally fought his way into third and then closed on Kath, who was also maintaining a quick pace. Dalbeck was working the high side of the track and after a few laps he was able to drive around Kath and then set after Bahr who was running comfortably in the lead.
The race remained under the green flag but Dalbeck began to slowly at first and then at a quicker pace start to cut into Bahr’s lead.
He caught Bahr with about five laps left but, just as he was ready to make his move, he clipped a car that both the leaders were lapping and that cost him some time.
However, he regained his footing and charged back up after Bahr and with a power move on the high side, drove into the lead as the white flag was displayed by starter Troy Holder.
But then as they raced into turn one, Dalbeck temporarily had the car get away from him and he slipped up the track, allowing Bahr to drive back under him.
George made one more all-out attempt through the final corner but Bahr remained on the gas and edged out the Michigan driver by a car length in an exciting nonstop feature race.
Kath continued to run strong as he held on for third over Haas with Jamie Bisonette crossing the line in fifth before his motor let go in a cloud of smoke and steam.
For Bahr, it was his third Rice Lake Midwest Modified feature win, but he has won main events in four different classes over the years at Rice Lake, with Saturday night’s win being his 34th overall main event win at this track.
Mike Anderson broke a tie for second place on the all time feature win list at Rice Lake in the Modified class, as his win on Saturday was the 42nd of his career and moved him ahead of Paul Harelstad by one win in the all-time totals.
Sam Fankhauser had a strong run on Saturday as he led the first six laps of the Modified feature, battling to hold off a strong running Cole Varsho for the top spot.
The two front row starters battled back and forth for the first few laps as Varsho began to put heavy pressure on the leader with Varsho working the cushion with success.
However, just as he was ready to attempt a pass for the lead, Varsho lost control and looped his car in turn one, triggering the only yellow flag of the race and sending him to the tail.
On the green, Anderson moved into second and also working the high side, he was able to power past Fankhauser after a short battle and take over the lead.
As Anderson began to pull away, Tyler Kaeter moved in to challenge Fankhauser for the second spot and they had a long term battle with Kaeter finallly getting past with just a few laps left.
Anderson, meanwhile, ran away from the pack as the last fourteen laps of the race ran off nonstop and he had a healthy lead at the finish. Kaeter drove home for a strong second place run over Fankhauser while Jeremy Nelson came from ninth to race up to fourth ahead of Nick Koehler in his first run here with a new Modified.
The Super Stock feature was like two separate races as the first half of it was completed with only one yellow flag being waved and then during the second half it was tough to get more than a single lap completed before the yellow was displayed once again.
Hot Karl started on the pole but he didn’t last long as the rear end suspension in his car broke and he stalled before a lap could be completed.
On the restart, Nick Traynor jumped into the early lead showing great speed and he was able to open up some distance on the pack. Tony Falkner and Curt Myers both broke free from traffic and were able to race into second and third.
A yellow for debris bunched the field and on the green Traynor had trouble as he got crossed up and then made contact with Falkner which sent him spinning.
The restart saw Falkner reestablished as the leader but Myers was able to drive past him and take over the top spot, after which he cruised away from the pack.
However, he wasn’t able to build up much of a lead as the yellow was used several times for debris on the track and spinning cars.
Finally everyone settled in and the last nine laps was completed, during which time Myers was able to build up a comfortable lead. Falkner continued an excellent run as he locked in on the second spot and fought off several challenges for Eric Olson to maintani that position to the checkered.
Ryan Kostreba crossed the line in fourth while Traynor raced back into the top five after coming from the back of the pack. Myers’ feature win was the 42nd Super Stock win for him at Rice Lake.
The Street Stock feature was a very close contest with several different challengers for the lead, all trying to catch Andrew Hanson. Hanson had battled with Braden Brauer for the lead in the early going before Hanson was able to secure the top spot.
As he continued to race hard, several different drivers put extreme pressure on him. Russ Kostreba pulled in to put the pressure on him but then both Parker Anderson and Shawn Amundson both picked up the pace.
Anderson first tried for the lead but then Amundson replaced him as Hanson’s primary threat.
Just as it appeared that the race would go nonstop, Kostreba and Brauer got tied up and the yellow would set up a two lap dash to the finish. While Hanson took off strong, it was Cody Kummer who moved up to challenge and then pass Amundson for second.
Hanson flashed across the line with a car length advantage over the last charge of Kummer with Amundson, Anderson and Kolby Kiehl completing the top five.
Bob Thompson took the early lead after a brief battle with Mike Huebner Sr in the Pure Stock feature. Thompson opened up several car lengths on the pack until Mike Schnider broke free after starting seventh and then began to close in on the leader.
Schnider was very quick and able to drive around Thompson and take over the top spot. Thompson was then engaged in a battle with Travis Hazelton for the second spot.
As Schnider moved away from the field, the battle remained tough for the second spot until with just a couple laps left, Hazelton was able to get by and grab second. Thompson settled for third, with Mike Roth and Rob Grabon completing the top five.
The race was stopped only once when Aaron Bernick lost a wheel at the halfway point of the race.