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home : sports : sports September 30, 2014


WITC

7/2/2014 1:13:00 PM
Racing and fireworks mix July 3

The Rice Lake Speedway gears for one of its biggest nights of the season this Thursday in the holiday setting of the Firecracker Special.
A full night of racing and a large display of aerial and ground fireworks is on the card at the dirt track on Rice Lake's north side.
Racing begins following hot laps at 6:30 p.m. The grandstand opens at 5 p.m. for what is expected to be a large crowd.
The fireworks display is set for just after dusk, during an intermission in the racing program. Races in the track's regular five divisions plus the new Hornets division is expected to draw visiting racers for the Thursday special.
Speedway officials hope for drier weather than what they contended with Saturday night. But despite thunderstorms with heavy rain arriving just after dark, Saturday's racing program was nearly completed.
Only feature races in Wissota Modified and Super Stock were washed out. The Modified feature will be made up this Thursday, while the Super Stock feature makeup date is on the next scheduled Saturday night of racing, July 12.
The rain date for Thursday's Firecracker Special is Saturday night. If Thursday's racing and fireworks go off as scheduled, there will be no races Saturday.
Ryan Viltz of Chetek in Midwest Modified, Eric Olson of Ladysmith in Street Stock and C.J. Wagner of Rice Lake in Pure Stock won Saturday's three features before heavy rains hit the track.
It was the first wins of the season in Rice Lake for Viltz and Wagner, while Olson won for the first time in Street Stocks to go with his three Super Stock feature flags.
Olson had a strong showing as he topped a tough field of Street drivers in the 15-lap main event. The Ladysmith driver started seventh and was able to find an opening on the low side to shoot into contention.
Troy Chaplin, seeking his first win, led a six-pack of contenders in the early going. But Olson moved into second place early and then ducked under Chaplin for the lead.
Once in front, Olson put distance between himself and the pack in dominating fashion. Behind him the pack traded places until Scott Clark settled into second.
Adam Soltis, another Ladysmith driver, placed third ahead of Sam Fankhauser, who came from the fifth row to claim fourth place.
The Midwest Modified feature got off to a shaky start with three yellow flags in the first five laps. An opening spin by pole-sitter Mike Schnider triggered a multi-car pileup that eliminated Tito Viltz and Grant Southworth.
But the other Viltz brother, Ryan, found an opening on the green flag and shot into the lead ahead of Nick Koehler and Shane Halopka.
The final 10 laps ran nonstop, allowing Ryan Viltz to cruise unchallenged to the win. Koehler and Halopka swapped the second spot several times before Koehler nailed it down.
Darrel Hazelton started 11th while guest driving and made an impressive charge, putting the Chippewa Falls driver in third place with a late pass of Halopka.
Six-time Pure Stock feature winner Jason Havel started in the fourth row but sped to the front on the third lap, giving all indications he would win again. But Wagner stayed close, and following a yellow flag at the midway point he powered past Havel.
Havel stayed near Wagner the rest of the way but made no real challenge to regain the lead.
(This story includes a report filed by track publicist Ed Reichert and information gathered by The Chronotype.)


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