After nearly four years away, the WISSOTA Modifieds returned to the quarter-mile St. Croix Valley Raceway last Thursday for the Dawg Days Dash, and at night’s end the familiar face of Buzzy Adams was smiling in Victory Lane. All of the regular weekly classes were also in action Thursday, and Kris Kaphing, Dustin Doughty, Collin Olson, Johnny Parsons and Jason VandeKamp enjoyed victory celebrations as well.
The Pure Stocks kicked off feature racing on Thursday with rookie racer Kaylee Remington and Krysta Swearingen leading the field to green. From the start, it was Swearingen leading the way with heat race winner Dustin Doughty quickly advancing from fifth up to second. The racers occupied mostly a middle groove on the track following Swearingen until just past halfway when Swearingen’s power plant sputtered, allowing Doughty to slip by. A few feet later, the motor let go altogether and Swearingen coasted of the track in turn one. Once he inherited the lead, Doughty drove flawlessly to the double checkers for the clean-sweep win on his first visit of the season to The Valley. The top five behind Doughty were Ben Kaphing, Tim Baxter, “Jet Lag” Wigchers and Remington.
The clean-sweep theme continued for another driver making his season debut in the Future Four division. Chris Rick and Damon Roberts paced the field with Roberts gaining the early lead. Just prior to halfway, heat race winner Kris Kaphing made the jump from fourth place up to second. A late caution changed the race dramatically as the fourth running Rick and the race leader Damon Roberts were unable to continue, turning over the top spot to Kaphing. Kaphing managed the last two-lap dash to win his second race of the night in front of Dylan Roberts, Bob Carver Jr. and Samantha Yarusso.
Attrition was the unfortunate theme in the UMSS Micro Sprints in an already light field of five cars for the week-night race. Multiple feature winner Ty Sampair was the early leader from the outside pole, feeling pressure from Tony Duran. But within a span of two laps, Duran, Brian Patrick, Sampair and last week’s winner Allison Berger all dropped out of the event for various reasons, leaving just Collin Olson running after six laps and claiming the win.
The WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds continue to be one of the most competitive classes in the area with another hotly contested main event. Jim Giossi and first heat-race winner Kevin Marlett brought the field to green with Marlett showing the way early. Behind Marlett, second heat-race winner Jason VandeKamp was battling for position with John Remington, Ryan Bowers, Nick Koehler and Ryan Olson. By lap seven, VandeKamp grabbed the point away from Marlett but things were far from settled throughout the rest of the pack. With VandeKamp
smooth and steady out front, Olson patiently inched through the fray, and Bowers was up to second just after the race’s midpoint. When the double checkers waved, VandeKamp was the third clean-sweep winner of the night in front of Bowers, Olson, Koehler and Marlett.
While the Midwest Modifieds mostly worked the cushion, the UMSS Traditional Sprints gravitated towards a low groove with only a few adventurers willing to risk their light-weight rides against the heavy clay berm. Scooting down low early, third-starting Johnny Parsons was the early leader off turn two, with fifth-starting rookie “The Dragon” Brian VanMeveren running second. As the leaders hugged the low groove, reigning champion Rob Caho was among the few brave souls tempting fate along the heavy cushion. Unable to finish his heat race, Caho made repairs and started in the last row for the feature, working the high side and past half the field in the early laps. Out front, it was still the Johnny Parsons show as he expertly piloted his #12 around the low groove. With just a handful of laps remaining, Kevin Bradwell also left the cat-fish groove to join Caho up high with some success, moving from fifth to third before sliding back to fourth after being bit by the clay – while Caho couldn’t advance higher than sixth. At the end, it was Parsons leading the entire way, besting VanMeveren, Denny Stordahl, Bradwell and Mike Mueller.
In the headlining WISSOTA Modified feature, the intrigue started even before the race, as heat race winner Jeremy Houle was unable to fire his #54 ride while a bevy of hotshoes from the track’s history were eager to attack the bull ring for top Dawg Days honors. Former WISSOTA Modified National champion Buzzy Adams had the pole position inside Jake Miller, with a miniature hall-of-fame lurking behind, including Doug Gustafson – winner of dozens of races at the Raceway, former national champion Curt Myers and former track champion Jason Gross. Adams got the jump on Miller at the drop of the green with Gustafson taking just a few circuits to work from fourth to second, with Open Wheel Nationals winner Jeremy Nelson in tow. Adams quickly moved to his comfort zone at his old familiar haunts, the top groove with his right foot testing the mettle of the floorboards. But this race would be no walk in the park for Adams with fellow throttle stomper Gustafson chasing him. Gustafson has a long history at the facility and has won more than his share of races there against the best in the area. With a handful of laps remaining, Gustafson caught up to and seriously threatened the race-long leader, just about the time Adams’ car developed a vibration in the right rear. Despite the challenge, Adams held fast and fended off the best Gustafson could offer, even with his right rear losing air pressure. Coming out of the final turn, Adams’ right rear tire finally exploded, but he had enough throttle and momentum to beat Gustafson across the stripe, picking the $1,000 Dawg Days Dash top prize. After Gustafson, the top five finishers were Myers, Nelson and Miller. After the race, when asked about the tire, Adams’ conceded, “one more lap, heck, one more turn and we couldn’t have won it!”
Up next for St. Croix Valley Raceway, its back to the customary Friday night date with the first annual Dan Grams memorial on July 26 featuring the UMSS winged sprint cars. Grams was just 29 years old when he lost his life in a car accident last winter, and Grams and his #13 car will be
honored with a $1,300 payday going to the winner of his memorial race. All regular SCVR classes will race as well, WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds, UMSS Micro Sprints and Traditional Sprints, Pure Stocks and Future Fours. Friday is also the Military Appreciation night and The Valley’s second birthday party. Fans and Drivers with a valid military ID will be admitted free and birthday cake will be provided while supplies last, first race is set to begin at 7:05. Details for other future events can be found on the track’s website, www.SCVRaceway.com.
Pure Stocks: Heat - Dustin Doughty, Tim Baxter, Jon Wigchers, Krysta Swearingen, Kaylee Remington, Mason McEvers, Ben Kaphing Feature - Dustin Doughty, Ben Kaphing, Tim Baxter, Jon Wigchers, Kaylee Remington, Krysta Swearingen, Mason McEvers.
Future Fours: Heat - Kris Kaphing, Dylan Roberts, Damon Roberts, Chris Rick, Derek Reding, Bob Carver Jr., Chris Arnett, Samantha Yarusso, Brock Anderson Feature - Kris Kaphing, Dylan Roberts, Bob Carver Jr., Samantha Yarusso, Damon Roberts, Chris Rick, Derek Reding, Brock Anderson, Chris
UMSS Micro Sprints: Heat - Tony Duran, Ty Sampair, Bryan Patrick, Allison Berger, Collin Olson Feature - Collin Olson, Allison Berger, Ty Sampair, Bryan Patrick, Tony Duran
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds: Heat 1 - Kevin Marlett, Mitch Weiss, John Remington, Jim Giossi, David Mastell, Kyle Hallin, Josh Bazey. Heat 2 - Jason VandeKamp, Justin Oestreich, Nick Koehler, Ryan Bowers, Ryan Olson, Jared Gorka, Patrick Kelley Feature - Jason VandeKamp, Ryan Bowers, Ryan Olson, Nick Koehler, Kevin Marlett, David Mastell, John Remington, Mitch Weiss, Justin Oestreich, Jim Giossi, Jared Gorka, Patrick Kelley, Josh Bazey, Kyle Hallin
UMSS Traditional Sprints: Heat 1 - Jack Clark, Brian VanMeveren, Cam Shafer, Denny Stordahl, Mike Huesmann, Jake Hendrickson, Rob Caho Jr. Heat 2 - Kevin Bradwell, Johnny Parsons, Ryan Olson, Mike Mueller, Jake Kouba, Tom Porter Feature - Johnny Parsons, Brian VanMeveren, Denny Stordahl, Kevin Bradwell, Mike Mueller, Rob Caho Jr., Jake Kouba, Cam Shafer, Jack Clark, Ryan Olson, Jake Hendrickson, Tom Porter, Mike Huesmann
WISSOTA Modifieds: Heat - Jeremy Houle, Kevin Adams, Doug Gustafson, Curt Myers, Jake Miller, Jeremy Nelson, TJ Adams, Kent Baxter, Jason Gross Feature - Kevin Adams, Doug Gustafson, Curt Myers, Jeremy Nelson, Jake Miller, Jason Gross, TJ Adams, Kent Baxter, Jeremy Houle