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Tatnell Stays Perfect - St. Croix Speedway - St. Croix Falls, WI
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Tatnell Stays Perfect

Tatnell Stays Perfect

The Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) winged sprint cars invaded the St. Croix Valley Raceway on Friday night for the Dan Grams memorial. Brooke Tatnell became the first repeat winner in the winged sprint cars at The Valley this season, while Steven Johnson, Ben Kaphing, Greg Gunderson and Rob Caho Jr. all made return visits to victory lane as well. Ryan Olson picked up his first SCVR win of the season in the WISSOTA Midwest Modified division.

Coming into the second annual UMSS Dan Grams Memorial, Brooke Tatnell had won all of the other UMSS Memorial events at least once including the Davey Tabor Memorial, Billy Anderson Memorial, Earl Kouba Memorial and the Jerry Richert, Sr. Memorial. Tatnell has now completed his resume regarding UMSS Memorial race wins when he led all 25 laps in the 2014 edition of the Dan Grams Memorial to record his 29th career UMSS feature win. Driving the Proto Fab Engineering #14 sprinter for the third time this season, Tatnell kept his record perfect in UMSS competition with three wins for the Nelson team to go along with two wins in the Ron Olson sprinter. Tatnell celebrated his $1,300 win (in memory and honor of Dan Grams #13 car number) in the Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup/Rock Auto Victory Lane at SCVR for the third time this season.

Commenting after the race, the "Hot Rod Aussie" now residing in Forest Lake, stated "When you are leading and not being challenged, you make sure you don't screw up, pay attention to lapped traffic and don't overdrive the car. I was probably running about 80% or so after I got to lapped traffic, but if somebody showed me they wanted the top spot, I was ready to get up on the wheel." The usual double round of qualifiers for the UMSS saw Rick Kobs earn the most points. Kobs drew the six pill for the feature race invert which put Jared Goerges and Tatnell on the front row. If there was any doubt in most race fan's minds prior to who had the best chance to win the feature, starting outside front row for the all-time UMSS career feature winner should have erased any doubt. Twenty five laps later, Tatnell accomplished what he sets out to do every night regardless of where he races, win!

Not surprisingly, Tatnell bolted out to an early lead with Goerges running strong in second. Cam Schafer dropped out early with a power steering failure. With nine laps in the books, the first caution waved when Kevin Nickel slowed dramatically going down the backstretch and was pinned up high by traffic. Nickel eventually drove to the pits under caution. On the restart, Sye Anderson and Gunner Cummings tangled in turn two with both cars spinning sideways. They tagged the tail. That was it for cautions, as the remaining sixteen laps ran nonstop. Goerges' fine run in second came to an end when his car also had a power steering failure causing him to slap the concrete wall and then retire to the infield late in the race. Goerges had actually been closing the gap on the leader prior to his misfortune. Winner of this event last year, Davey Heskin, rode home in second behind Tatnell. For the fourth consecutive race, another impressive run for rookie driver Ryan Bowers saw yet another third place finish. Rick Kobs and Tony Norem rounded out the top five. Heat races were won by Jennifer Eriksen, Tatnell and Kobs. Bowers and Schafer topped the Challenge races. Rookie contender Jamey Ogston was done early on in the evening when his sprinter suffered a broken lifter in the motor, causing his #03 team to load up and head for home.

After several weeks away, Greg “Silent Thunder” Gunderson, made the six-hour trek from South Dakota to Wisconsin to compete with the UMSS Micro sprints. Two-time winner Val Urman grabbed the point early from his second row starting spot, but it took just two laps for the sixth starting Gunderson to power by Urman for the lead. Once out front, Gunderson could never really pull away as Urman was always within striking distance. Behind Urman, defending series champion Ty Sampair kept pace while being pursued by current series point leader Jack Berger. A caution with just a handful of laps remaining provided Berger a chance to get by Sampair but things were settled otherwise with Gunderson parking his #78 ride in Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup victory lane for the first time since May 23. Urman came home second in front of Berger, Sampair and Dave Madsen.

Another #78 sprinter sat in Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup victory lane at the conclusion of the UMSS Traditional Sprint Car Series (TSCS) feature, when Rob Caho Jr. nabbed his second win in three weeks. Second heat race winner Mike Mueller led the first half in terrific battle for top honors. In what seems to be turning into a weekly event, the TSCS racers put on yet another other-worldly display of intense competition for the race win. While Mueller was leading, Caho and Cam Schafer were putting on a driving clinic behind him as the pair endlessly swapped lines and strategies trying to solve the Mueller puzzle why simultaneously measuring each other’s moves. The dam finally broke when Caho muscled under Mueller and into the lead just past the race’s midpoint. With a clean track, Caho stretched the lead to a near comfortable margin, leaving Schafer and Mueller locked in a dual for the remainder of the race. Johnny Parsons III had the best seat in the house, running fourth behind all the action until late in the race when he brought his #12 into the melee making it a three car tussle. At the double checkers, Caho claimed his series best fifth bottle of Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup over Mueller, Schafer, Parsons and Jimmy Kouba in another 25-lap nonstop thrill-fest.

It took a few tries for the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds to get going for their main event, but when they did, outside pole starter Tyler English was leading the way. Behind English, Doug Toepper, Kyle Hallin, Josh Bazey and Ryan Olson were all jockeying for position. Just a few laps in, Olson got his new #21 past English to take over the point, leaving English to fend of Bazey and a hard charging Jason VandeKamp. At the crossed flags, VandeKamp powered by English and set off in pursuit of Olson. A few late race cautions shuffled the field a bit, but not the top two as it was Olson debuting his new car in victory lane. VandeKamp crossed the stripe in second ahead of Mike Truscott, who had a strong run through the field to finish third after being charged with a lap one caution. Behind Truscott, Bazey and Toepper rounded out the top five.

The first minivan finally joined the fray in the Future Four/Minivan division, with Trevor Reding blazing the trail as SCVR’s first minivan racer. It was a rough start for the Future Fours as a lap one caution for the stalled Patrick Kelley bunched up the field in turn four and the traffic jam resulted in the #73 of Adam Nelson flipping its lid. Nelson remained strapped upside-down in his car for several seconds before emerging from his car unhurt. On the restart, Damon Roberts vaulted to the point and opened up a fair sized advantage, but TJ Christensen ran him down by lap five. For several laps the pair jostled the lead – sometimes too vigorously as Roberts was sideways on a few occasions. With less than two laps remaining, after another near crash by the leaders, third running Steven Johnson bolted around both Roberts and Christensen as they gathered up their squirrely rides. Johnson went on to lead the final lap and a half for his second win of the season over Roberts, Christensen, Kaleb Harr, Kayla Lallier and Nicki DuBois. Christensen was later disqualified, moving Harr up to third and DuBois into the top five.

After suffering a safety related disqualification the prior week, Ben Kaphing was back on “The Hill”, SCVR’s victory lane, scoring a clean-sweep in the Pure Stock division. In a virtual carbon copy of their heat race, Kaphing followed last week’s winner, Kyle Dahlheimer, for a handful of laps prior to making the winning pass and cruising to victory. The win was Kaphing’s fourth of the summer as he bested Dahlheimer, Casey Ogilvie and Darren Kohler.

This Friday night St. Croix Valley Raceway hosts their annual “Ultimate Kids’ Night” celebration. Joining the six regular divisions of racers will be the vintage cars from the Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers. Upwards of two dozen bicycles will be raffled off in addition to several other giveaways. The evening will be capped off with a spectacular fireworks display courtesy of St. Croix Valley Raceway, Spielbauer Fireworks and long-time raceway associate, Firework Forever of St. Croix Falls and Somerset, Wisconsin. More information for this and future events may be found on the track’s website,, as well as their Facebook page.

UMSS Traditional Sprints
Feature – Rob Caho Jr., Mike Mueller, Cam Shafer, Johnny Parsons, Jimmy Kouba, Jon Lewerer, Mike Haseltine, Chase Viebrock, Kevin Bradwell, Jake Kouba, Mike Walters, Brian VanMeveren, Jake Hendrickson, Alex Peper (DNF), D Taubert (DNF)
Heat 1 – Caho Jr., Parsons, VanMeveren, Jimmy Kouba, Jake Kouba, Bradwell, Walters, Taubert
Heat 2 – Mueller, Shafer, Lewerer, Haseltine, Viebrock, Hendrickson, Peper
UMSS Micro Sprints
Feature – Greg Gunderson, Val Urman, Jack Berger, Ty Sampair, Dave Madsen, Shawn Kelley, Scott Kobs, Al Sachs, Grant McIntosh
Heat – Sampair, Gunderson, Urman, Berger, Kelley, Madsen, McIntosh, Kobs, Sachs
Future Fours/Minivans
Feature – Steven Johnson, Damon Roberts, Kaleb Harr, Kayla Lallier, Nicki DuBois, Nathan Anderson, Tim Thoennes, Trevor Reding, Adam Nelson, Patrick Kelley (DNS), TJ Christensen (DQ)
Heat 1 – DuBois, Nelson, Johnson, Christensen, Anderson, Reding
Heat 2 – Lallier, Roberts, Thoennes, Harr, Kelley (DNS)
Pure Stocks
Feature – Ben Kaphing, Kyle Dahlheimer, Casey Ogilvie, Darren Kohler
Heat – Kaphing, Kohler, Ogilvie, Dahlheimer

WISSOTA Midwest Modified
Feature – Ryan Olson, Jason VandeKamp, Mike Truscott, Josh Bazey, Doug Toepper, Tyler English, Tony Schill, Kyle Hallin, Mitch Weiss, Cory Bruggeman (DNF), David Mastell (DNF), Jared Gorka (DNF), Greg Arnt (DNF), Jesse Krause (DNF)
Heat 1 – Truscott, English, VandeKamp, Bazey, Schill, Mastell, Arnt
Heat 2 – Weiss, Olson, Toepper, Hallin, Bruggeman, Gorka, Krause
UMSS Race Results - St. Croix Valley Raceway July 25, 2014 (Race #13)
2nd Annual Dan Grams Memorial
Alpha Apparel & Promotions Ultimate Sprint Race #1 (6 laps): 10x Jennifer Eriksen, 91 Davey Heskin, 199 Ryan Bowers, 63 Jerry Richert Jr, 37 Sye Anderson, 03 Jamey Ogston DNS.
Meeks Video Ultimate Sprint Race #2 (6 laps): 14 Brooke Tatnell, 9 Jared Goerges, 34TW Gunner Cummings, 5C Cam Schafer, 5 Anna Kouba, 91A Reed Allex. Ultimate Sprint Race #3 (6 laps): 34 Rick Kobs, B1st Tony Norem, 15 Chad Patterson, 10 Kevin Nickel, 74 Bob McVitty.
Mastell Brothers Trailer Service Challenge Race #1 (8 laps): Bowers, Kobs, Patterson, Georges, Eriksen, Kouba, Anderson, McVitty, Ogston DNS.
Hoosier Racing Tire Challenge Race #2 (8 laps): Schafer, Cummings, Heskin, Tatnell, Norem, Richert, Nickel, Allex.
GRP Motorsports 2nd Annual UMSS Dan Grams Memorial Feature (25 laps): Tatnell, Heskin, Bowers, Kobs, Norem, Kouba, Eriksen, Cummings, Anderson, Patterson, Allex, Goerges DNF, McVitty DNF, Richert DNF, Nickel DNF, Schafer DNF, Ogston DNS.

Lap Leaders: Tatnell 1-25.
Cautions: (2)

Article Credit: Terry Lehnertz & Greg Parent

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