With rain staying to the north, a warm, pleasant spring evening was in store for the first-ever appearance of the Upper Midwest Sprint Car Series (UMSS) winged division at the Red Cedar Speedway to kick off the long Memorial Day Weekend. Although he came up a few feet short in the season opener back in April, Glencoe, Minnesota’s Chris Graf left no doubt during the third UMSS race of the season who would park in Rock Auto Victory Lane on this night. The 2013 UMSS champion dominated the 20 lap feature and picked up $1,000 in the process. Thanks to some sponsorship help from Midwest Power Equipment and GRP Motorsports, the top three finishers in the feature earned some extra bonus money.
Several factors contributed to a rather thin field of cars in the winged sprint division. Cam Schafer and Graf topped the heats. Instead of challenge races, the UMSS ran a King of the Hill challenge to determine how the first two rows would line up for the feature event. The third and fourth place drivers in passing and finishing points in the heats ran a two lap race against each other. Jared Goerges defeated Kevin Bradwell to advance to the next round where he went against the second driver in points, Chris Graf. Goerges defeated Graf. High point driver Cam Schafer, after getting called for a jump on the first start, defeated Goerges in the final round. So it would be Schafer and Goerges on the front row with Graf and Bradwell rolling off from row two. When asked afterwards, each of the four drivers enjoyed the change of pace and agreed the King of the Hill race would be fun every now and then when the field is a bit short and challenge races are not feasible.
Schafer bolted into the lead at the drop of the green flag in the 20 lap main event, but after just one lap up front his car rolled to a stop on the back stretch with an engine failure. A quick caution on the restart for debris on the front straight, and it was all Graf after that. One more caution slowed the pace a few laps later for a spin, and the race then ran sixteen laps nonstop to the checkers. Goerges turned in a fine run for second, after he and Bradwell swapped the spot on several occasions for several laps. Bradwell earned his top winged sprint finish in Jim Smith’s car in third. Reed Allex and Jeff Pellersels completed the top five. Tony Norem’s car broke a rear end in hot laps and was done for the evening.
The UMSS winged sprints then headed to the Rice Lake Speedway for the second of a planned three-race Memorial Day Weekend tour through western Wisconsin. Graf also set himself up to be in line for the $1,000 GRP Motorsports Clean Sweep Bonus should he happen to win the next two races. Keep tabs on all of the UMSS winged sprint car action by visiting our website at www.umsprints.com and clicking on the red logo or by following us on Facebook.
The wins keep coming for the Kouba family in the UMSS Traditional Sprint Car Series, as young Jake Kouba picked up his second win of the season and his first at the Red Cedar Speedway on Friday evening May 26. Kouba took command up front from early race leader Mike Mueller on lap seven and cruised to a convincing win in the 25 lap main event. Jake celebrated in Rock Auto Victory Lane with his crew chief, his mother Jamie, in keeping the 2017 season batting average in feature races at an even .500 still for this famous racing family. Jake Kouba also set himself up for the $500 Memorial Day weekend Clean Sweep Bonus from GRP Motorsports should he happen to win the remaining two races. His dad Jimmy, who finished second at Red Cedar, along with several other strong competitors may have something to say about that before the final checkers wave at Eagle Valley.
Fifteen Traditional sprints were on hand and they ran two heat races. Brad Peterson and Jimmy Kouba topped the heats. Peterson had to hold off a charging Jake Kouba for the last several laps in his 10 lap heat in order to secure the win. The charge forward for Jake Kouba from his eighth starting spot easily put him in the top position in passing and finishing points. Peterson, Mueller and Jimmy Kouba also earned the right to draw for the top four starting spots in the main event. Following the draw, the front row for the feature would see Jake Kouba and Mueller while the second row would be comprised of Peterson and Jimmy Kouba. In the first heat race, Hunter Custer led the first three laps before his engine expired. He was done for the night.
Mueller bolted into the lead at the start of the feature race. On lap two entering turn one, Cam Schafer’s car spun around backwards and shot up the track into the concrete wall, damaging the tail end of the car and bending the frame. The 2014 TSCS champion’s night was done early. Scott Brandt and Ty Sampair also spun around and stopped, requiring them to tag the tail on the restart. Mueller continued to lead until lap seven. That’s when Jake Kouba took command of the race and would never be seriously challenged for the remaining 18 laps. The race was under the red flag with 15 laps scored when Blake Anderson’s car hopped a right rear tire of another car and executed a series of rollovers in the middle of turns 3 & 4. Blake was okay and reported afterwards that the car may be repairable for Rice Lake the next night. Jake Kouba sprinted away from the field for the final 10 laps. Jimmy Kouba, who had taken over second from Mueller on lap 14, capped off the Kouba sweep of the top two positions. Fourteenth starter Jeremy Kerzman slipped by Mueller with a couple laps to go for third. Mueller finished fourth. Neal Matuska also got by Bryan Roach in the late going for fifth. Roach, Jon Lewerer, Peterson, Kevin Bradwell and Sampair completed the top ten.
With one of the 50-50 girls from the Red Cedar Speedway conducting the draw, the $100 GRP Motorsports mystery finishing position bonus in the feature race went to Scott Brandt when the lucky number 13 was drawn by the young lady. Brandt who pulled off part way into the race, joked with his good friend Bryan Roach after the races that he made more money than Roach did. Roach then revealed that he actually had won the 50-50 drawing. Nothing like a coincidence amongst a couple of good racing buddies.
The Traditional sprints headed to the Rice Lake Speedway on Saturday to continue their scheduled three race Memorial Day Weekend tour in western Wisconsin. Keep tabs on all of the UMSS Traditional sprint car action by visiting our website at www.umsprints.com and clicking on the blue logo or by following us on Facebook.
Upper Midwest Sprint Car Series
Red Cedar Speedway
Friday May 26, 2017