RICE LAKE, Wis. - Bob Thompson, who waited a very long time to get to victory lane before finally winning a main event last year, didn’t have to wait nearly as long for the second victory to occur.
Thompson, who raced in various classes for the last 30 years before finally winning a feature race last year, was one of five new winners in the 2013 racing season Saturday night at the Rice Lake Speedway. Other winners on Saturday included Sam Fankhauser, Nick Koehler, Jason Forehand and Kevin Adams.
On a night when rain was predicted to fall, it instead turned out to be a very nice night for racing and a good sized crowd and nice turnout of racers was on hand as the speedway completed its third night of racing during the 2013 season.
Thompson started on the outside pole in a field of twenty Pure Stocks to take Troy Holders green flag and Bob immediately started battling with Jimmy Holden for the lead. Thompson was able to grab the front spot but still faced heavy pressure from Mike Chaplin and John Erickson. The yellow flag flew frequently in the early going, with three stoppages after one lap was scored complete. The most significant yellow was for opening night winner Hunter VanGilder who lost a wheel in turn three after moving into a challenging position.
Thompson continued to hold the top spot as Erickson was all over his back bumper. Jason Havel, who started seventh on the grid, proceeded to the front also and he began to challenge Erickson for second while C. J. Wagner, the last winner at the track in the Pure Stocks, also came to the front.
Once again the yellow flew with seven laps complete for a spin which again bunched the field. Thompson set the pace on the restart but Havel moved to the outside in the double file restart and tried to get past the leader while Erickson continued to work the low side. Havel nearly pulled off the pass but slid high, and he dropped back and set up for one last shot as the white flag waved.
Again Jason tried the high side but he slid out in turn two again and Thompson continued to hold him off while Erickson rode his rear bumper. Erickson was waiting for a mistake to occur but Thompson maintained his line and drove home for the win by a car length. Havel tried once again to get by on the high side but he slid out and Wagner took the third spot from him at the line with Holden completing the top five.
A yellow flag slowed Pure Stock feature was offset by a Midwest Modified main even that went nonstop from green to checkered with Koehler taking the win. Nick, who won his first feature ever at Rice Lake last year, continued his strong performance in the early season by holding off Shane Halopka for the win. Koehler pulled out to a nice sized early lead, fighting off the challenges of Tito Viltz and Kerry Halopka but his main challenger ended up being Shane Halopka.
Shane started on the outside of row three, but using the high side of the track, he was able to drive past his brother and Viltz to take over second. He then began to gradually close in on Koehler. Continuing to use the higher line, he pulled up beside Koehler and very nearly got past him for the lead, but Nick was able to successfully fight him off.
Halopka continued to press him and tried the high side again. He appeared ready to set up Koehler as the white flag flew, but a lapped car on the high side forced Halopka to pull back in line. So he tried a low side dive on the final corner but Koehler had the line covered and drove home for a one car length win. Viltz finished third while Josh Smith made a late drive to take fourth from Kerry Halopka.
Fankhauser won an action packed Street Stock main that saw him facing the wrong way in front of the field at one time but he recovered from that to take the victory.