Lee Grosz Sweeps To Opening Night UMSS Victory At CLS

Lee Grosz Track Rat photo
By Greg Parent

Lee Grosz Track Rat photo
Lee Grosz
Track Rat photo

New Richmond, WI

Lee Grosz was perfect during the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series season opener at the Cedar Lake Speedway.  Grosz drove the potent Howells 4J sprinter to his third career UMSS victory on a cool and windy spring evening, completing a sweep of racing action after winning his heat and challenge race.  Grosz passed race leader Chris Graf following a lap 12 restart and held the top spot during the final 13 circuits of nonstop racing in the feature.  Grosz earned $1,000 for his win thanks to some sponsorship help from GRP Motorsports.  Grosz commented afterwards that “I was paying attention to where Graf was running down low, so I knew I needed to go up top to get by him.  The track was pretty good for early season.  There were a couple of racing grooves to choose from.”
Grosz, who was the high point driver following the usual double-round of UMSS qualifiers, drew the #8 pill which inverted the first four rows.  Grosz wasted little time in beginning his quest for the top spot, as he moved into the top five just four laps into the 25 lap main event.  One lap later following the first of three cautions, Grosz sped into third behind leaders Chris Graf and Rick Kobs.  After the second caution just past the halfway mark, Grosz got by Kobs for second.  Grosz had actually taken the lead from Graf early on lap 13, but the final caution blinked on and scoring reverted back to the last fully completed lap.  It didn’t take the Harwood, ND driver long to find his way to the front once the race went green again.
Rick Kobs also got by Graf on lap 13 and went on to equal his UMSS career-best second place finish when he ran second behind Grosz at Viking Speedway last August.  2013 UMSS Champion Graf held on to third.  Scott Broty, making his return to sprint car racing after a hard crash at SCVR last June, looked like he never missed a beat coming from his 10th starting spot to finish fourth.  The motor in Scott Broty’s car was only installed just hours before racetime, as he and his son James thrashed to get their cars ready for opening night action at CLS.  Tony Norem completed the top five.  Norem was strong early on, but his B1st sprinter dropped a valve part way through the feature race and was down a cylinder for several laps.
Pole sitter Troy Manteufel led the opening couple of laps before Graf raced by.  Manteufel turned in a solid run in the feature to finish sixth.  GRP Motorsports Rookie of the Year contender Jamey Ogston was impressive in only his second time behind the wheel of a sprint car, coming from 16th to 7th at the checkers.  Ogston purchased the D&D Motorsports car driven last year by Jason Tostenson, and if his opening night performance is any indication, this young gun has a bright future ahead of him.  2012 UMSS Rookie of the Year James Broty ran a competitive feature race to finish eighth, and he joked afterwards that “Hey, I put the car back into the trailer in one piece.”  Following an uncharacteristic spin with 12 laps in, 2011-2012 UMSS champion Jerry Richert, Jr. came from the back of the pack to finish ninth.  Rounding out the top ten was 2010 UMSS Rookie of the Year Jared Goerges.  A total of 16 of the 17 starters were running at the finish.
The opening weekend for the UMSS was originally scheduled to be a double header between St. Croix Valley Raceway and Cedar Lake Speedway.  With excessive rains earlier in the week and absolutely no time to prepare their track, SCVR had to cancel their Friday night program.  Cedar Lake was able to get their track and grounds in shape, so it was great to finally kick off the 2014 campaign at the 3/8 mile high-banked dirt oval in western Wisconsin.  It was also the first time since 2009 that the Spring Sprint Special at CLS had not fallen victim to the weather, and it was the first-ever UMSS held race in the month of May at the legendary track.
With several more drivers still working to get their cars ready, the 2014 UMSS season looks to be a competitive one.  Be sure and follow the UMSS on their website at www.umsprints.com or “like us” on our Facebook page.  The next UMSS winged sprint car race is scheduled at the North Central Speedway in Brainerd on May 17.
UMSS Race Results – Cedar Lake Speedway May 3, 2014 (Race #1)
Alpha Apparel & Promotions Ultimate Sprint Race #1 (6 laps): B1st Tony Norem, 20G Chris Graf, 9 Jared Goerges, 48 Neal Matsuka, 199 Rayn Bowers, 3TK Tony Kaus.
Meeks Video Ultimate Sprint Race #2 (6 laps): 34 Rick Kobs, 33 Scott Broty, 5M Troy Manteufel, 31 James Broty, 5 Anna Kouba, 7M Bob McVitty.
Driverwebsites.com Ultimate Sprint Race #3 (6 laps): 4J Lee Grosz, 63 Jerry Richert Jr, 15 Chad Patterson, 03 Jamey Ogston, 91A Reed Allex.
Mastell Brothers Trailer Service Challenge Race #1 (9 laps): Grosz, Norem, J Broty, Bowers, Goerges, Allex, McVitty, S Broty DNF, Patterson DNF.
Hoosier Racing Tire Challenge Race #2 (8 laps): Matuska, Richert, Kobs, Graf, Manteufel, Ogston, Kouba, Kaus.
GRP Motorsports Feature (25 laps): Grosz, Kobs, Graf, S Broty, Norem, Manteufel, Ogston, J Broty, Richert, Goerges, Kaus, Bowers, Kouba, Matuska, Patterson, McVitty, Allex DNF.
Lap Leaders: Manteufel 1-2, Graf 3-12, Grosz 13-25
Cautions: (3)
Victory Lane photo courtesy of Vince Peterson at Track Rat Photos.