By Greg Parent, UMSS Media Director, Doug Zimmer photo
Rice Lake, WI
As his famous father was noted to do throughout his storied career, Jerry Richert, Jr. planted his sprint car on the rim and rode to his third Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) win of the season on Saturday night August 27 at the Rice lake Speedway. Richert took full advantage of his outside front row starting position and immediately jumped up top on the cushion. Although he was not seriously challenged during the 20 lap feature race, his dash to the checkers was not without incident. The thirteenth race of the UMSS season however did not prove to be unlucky for the veteran Forest Lake driver.
Richert maintained his UMSS points lead and commented about his winning effort following the race. “I lost the brakes a few laps past halfway, and I needed to be extra careful getting into the corners. Stuff like that can mess with you mentally, so you tend to slow down a bit and try not to make any mistakes. The alternative is the concrete wall, so I am very pleased to bring the car home in one piece and take a win. Thanks to my crew and sponsors. We’re working hard to win the championship this season.” On the final lap, Richert’s front brake line broke loose and dumped brake fluid on the headers causing several puffs of smoke. For the smiling winner, the checkered flag was a welcome sight.
For the second and final appearance of the season for the UMSS at the Rice Lake Speedway, a strong field of cars and a good-sized crowd were on hand on what turned out to be a pleasant late summer evening. The UMSS ran their usual double round of qualifying races with Brad Barickman, Chris Graf and Andy Jones picking up Ultimate Sprint heat race wins. After the very popular UMSS driver autograph session during intermission and a couple of kids bike give-aways by the Leigh Thomas team, Barickman continued to run strong and topped the Driverwebsites Challenge Race while 2010 champion Cody Hahn won the Mastell Brothers Trailer Service Challenge Race. Barickman was the high point driver and drew the six pill for the feature race invert. This put Australian driver David Craft on the pole with Richert outside.
The 20 lap GRP Motorsports and Tim’s Automotive feature was only one lap old when Anna Kouba, Charly Cropp and Tony Kaus tangled on the front stretch. Cropp’s car rode the hook to the pits while Kouba and Kaus were able to continue. The remaining nineteen laps would click off caution-free with Richert in control up front. Polesitter David Craft exited the race early with a magneto failure. Richert was quickly into lapped traffic on the 1/3 mile dirt oval, as he sped toward the top prize of $1,000 and a free right rear Hoosier Racing tire. Following Richert across the finish line was second place point runner Andy Jones, Brad Barickman, Cody Hahn and Chris Graf in the top five. Rounding out the top ten finishers were Scott Broty, Leigh Thomas, Joseph Kouba, rookie Chad Patterson, and Tony Kaus. The top six cars finished on the lead lap.
A couple of regular UMSS competitors had a very dramatic day following problems on Friday night at St. Croix Valley Raceway. Andy Jones blew a motor on Friday night, and his team searched frantically for a replacement to use in order to stay in the points battle. Blake Anderson of Chippewa Falls had a motor, so the Mastell Racing Team headed by Dennis Jones pointed their hauler in that direction. Thrashing feverishly throughout the afternoon and right up until race time, the Jones crew got the powerplant installed and tuned well enough to help the young sophomore sprint car racer to a fine second place finish. The team fought water pump, oil pressure and fuel pressure issues, but a great team effort had the car on the track and competitive!
Another driver who had a very long day was Hibbing UMSS winner Scott Broty. Broty searched for a car after getting into the wall and upside down the night before. Locating a Neil Stevens car south of the Twin Cities, the Broty Racing Team towed down there, picked up the car, returned home and began to put together their sprinter. They were the last car to arrive through the back gate, but Scott and his crew worked tirelessly to put a competitive car on the track for the feature. Broty was able to ride home with a sixth place effort after a very long and dramatic day. Many thanks to the hard working teams who do their best to be on hand and put on a show for the fans. Their efforts do not go unnoticed.
Anna Kouba maintained her top status in the battle for the GRP Motorsports/BP Trading Company Rookie of the Year, but Chad Patterson is slowly chipping away at her lead. With Anna scheduled to only race next Saturday at Brainerd and Chad planning on both nights at North Central, both drivers will attain the twelve show minimum necessary. Kevin Bradwell will also reach that mark next weekend. The battle will continue to evolve after that.
With yet another top five finish, Cody Hahn once again earned a $100 GRP Motorsports Past Champion Bonus at Rice Lake. Hahn now sits third in the point standings and is very much in the battle for the top spot behind Richert and Jones. Scott Broty also remains in the hunt in fourth place in the current points. Richert has yet to finish outside the top five in UMSS action this season, so his challengers know they have to be on top of their game in order to overtake the veteran Forest Lake racer. For the Richert family, it was a great weekend of UMSS racing with Jerry topping the Rice Lake feature while brother-in-law Brooke Tatnell did likewise the night before at St. Croix Valley Raceway.
The UMSS continues its fast pace of double header race action next weekend on Saturday and Sunday at the North Central Speedway just south of Brainerd. The rescheduled 19th Annual Kouba Memorial with the strongest purse of the season will run on Saturday night September 3. The following night the traditional Mighty Axe Nationals will be on tap for the winged warriors. Fans can take in two exciting nights on the Mighty Axe holiday weekend at North Central Speedway with free camping available at the track. Fans can stay up-to-date on all of the UMSS racing action by checking out our website at www.umsprints.com or on the UMSS Facebook page. Come on out and enjoy back-to-back UMSS sprint car racing programs next weekend!
UMSS Race Results – Rice Lake Speedway August 27, 2011 (Race #13):
Alpha Apparel & Promotions Ultimate Sprint Race #1 (6 laps): Brad Barickman, Cody Hahn, Ronnie Erickson, Joseph Kouba, Tony Kaus, Charly Cropp.
Meeks Video Productions Ultimate Sprint Race #2 (6 laps): Chris Graf, David Craft, Kevin Bradwell, Robby Caho, Scott Broty.
North Country Builders Ultimate Sprint Race #3 (6 laps): Andy Jones, Jerry Richert Jr, Leigh Thomas, Anna Kouba, Chad Patterson.
Driverwebsites.com Challenge Race #1 (8 laps): Barickman, Jones, Thomas Craft, Erickson, Patterson, Kaus DNF, Caho DNS.
Mastell Brothers Trailer Service Challenge Race #2 (8 laps): Hahn, Richert, Graf, J Kouba, Broty, A Kouba, Bradwell, Cropp DNF.
GRP Motorsports/Tim’s Automotive A Main (20 laps): Richert, Jones, Barickman, Hahn, Graf, Broty, Thomas, J Kouba, Patterson, Kaus, A Kouba DNF, Erickson DNF, Caho DNF, Bradwell DNF, Craft DNF, Cropp DNF.
Lap Leader: Richert 1-20
Cautions: (1) yellow