By Greg Parent
Rain, rain go away on race day is what the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) is hoping for after two races this past weekend fell victim to rainy weather. Following a heavy early morning thunderstorm, Kopellah Speedway was unable to get their track in racing condition and was forced to cancel the scheduled Friday June 4 event slated to take place at the 1/4 mile western Wisconsin oval. UMSS series President Ron Bernhagen made the decision early in the afternoon when it became apparent the track could not be worked into safe racing condition, and in order to avoid the potential for excessive equipment damage and even possible physical injury, the best choice was to not race. The June 4 race was added to the schedule as a makeup for the previously rained out April 30 show. In five attempts at Kopellah Speedway this season, the UMSS has completed only two events.
On Saturday June 5, the sun shown brightly during the afternoon hours at the North Central Speedway. It appeared as though racers and fans would catch a break. A solid field of 23 UMSS sprint cars signed into the pits to contend for the win in the 18th Annual Kouba Memorial. Following Ultimate Heat Race wins by Chris Graf, Kevin Nickel and Jimmy Kouba, the UMSS waited for the other divisions to conclude their qualifying races. With the skies darkening to the northwest, North Central Speedway decided to rework the dry, slick track. Just as the first Ultimate Challenge race pushed off, a light rain began to fall. As the rain picked up a bit in intensity, the cars were motioned to the pits. With the rain persisting too long and the outlook to rework the track past a reasonable time table, North Central Speedway pulled the plug.
With five out of the first eight events falling victim to the weather and very few options to add additional dates due to an already full remaining schedule, reschedule dates for the two races this past weekend will be difficult. The Kouba family along with the UMSS will work to either reschedule the race or change an existing show already on the remaining schedule to the Kouba Memorial. The UMSS is also still working on rescheduling the rained out Billy Anderson Memorial in much the same manner.
The next race for the UMSS will be Friday night June 11 at the Kopellah Speedway. The Micro Sprint League will also be on hand at Kopellah on June 11. GRP Motorsports will be increase the first place payout on Friday night June 11 to $1,000 to win, since the previous Friday night show was cancelled due to the weather. Hopefully the weather will be cooperative, and the fourth event of the 2010 UMSS season can be contested. Brandon Allen leads Brad Barickman by four points in the current UMSS point standings.
The UMSS is a value-based sprint car organization bringing open wheel racing back to the Twin Cities area of Minnesota by establishing reasonable rules for the participant, an economical purse structure for the race tracks, and an affordable race ticket and fan-friendly program for the race fan. For race results, 2010 schedule, current points, series sponsors, and other information, please visit our website at www.umsprints.com or call series President Ron Bernhagen at 612-363-5302.
Upcoming UMSS Schedule:
June 11 – Kopellah Speedway $1,000 to win UMSS Sprints (with Micro Sprint League)
June 25 – Kopellah Speedway
June 26 – Ogilvie Raceway
July 2 – Kopellah Speedway