Mike Mueller Tops Exciting Traditional Sprint Car Battle at Rice Lake Speedway

By Greg Parent

The weather was hot, but so was the racing action in the UMSS Traditional Sprint Car Series as they made their second and final appearance of the season at the Rice Lake Speedway on Saturday evening July 15 on Kids Night at the track. An autograph session was held prior to the races, and following another very good 25 lap feature race for the Traditional sprints, those kids who got Mike Mueller’s autograph early in the evening ended up getting the feature winner’s signature. Mueller picked up his first win of the season and seventh career TSCS victory, as he visited Rock Auto Victory Lane with a borrowed engine in his familiar #87 non-winged sprint car.

Mueller blew his motor up big time back on July 1, and fellow Traditional sprint racer Neal Matuska has loaned him his backup motor to use while Mueller’s engine is being repaired. Early in the season, Matuska purchased the motor from Scott Brandt. Racers helping racers is a common theme in this sport, and at Rice Lake Mueller was able to park it in Victory Lane thanks to Neal Matuska giving him the chance to continue to race. Great story behind the scenes.

Nary a yellow flag waved all evening for the Traditional sprint car races. Jake Kouba and Mueller won the 10-lap heat races. The top four drivers in passing and finishing points following the heats redrew for their starting positions in the first two rows of the feature. Blake Anderson and Mueller would occupy the front row with leading Rookie of the Year contender Brad Peterson and Jake Kouba firing off from row two.

At the drop of the green, Mueller took off into the lead. Jake Kouba quickly moved to second, and on lap 4 Jake drove by Mueller for the top spot. Jake’s dad Jimmy then got by Mueller for second and set his sights on his son up front. A few laps later, Jimmy passed his son for the lead. Mueller also worked his way back up to second and stayed in contact with Jimmy Kouba. Meanwhile several cars were battling for positions behind the leaders, sometimes three wide. With seven laps to go, Jimmy Kouba got high in turns 1 & 2 which gave Mueller the chance he had been waiting for. Mueller retook the lead and drove to the checkers for the win. Jimmy Kouba finished second. A great run for Bryan Roach produced his best Traditional sprint car feature finish so far with a fine third place effort. Scott Brandt, who won at Rice Lake back on May 27, rode home in fourth. Jake Kouba drifted back but held on to finish fifth. Jon Lewerer, Blake Anderson, Anna Hippe, Brad Peterson and Denny Stordahl completed the top ten in the nonstop main event.

The Traditional sprint cars join with the UMSS winged sprints next Saturday July 22 at the Ogilvie Raceway for the running of the 6th Annual Davey Tabor Memorial. Margaret Tabor is adding $34 to the top 20 Traditional sprint car finishers while GRP Motorsports is kicking in $50 to the top two spots making them $434 to win and $334 for second. 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.

UMSS TSCS Race Results – Rice Lake Speedway July 15, 2017 (Race #12)

A Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 87-Mike Mueller, [2]; 2. 2K-Jimmy Kouba, [5]; 3. 99-Bryan Roach, [7]; 4. 7-Scott Brandt, [6]; 5. 6-Jake Kouba, [4]; 6. 69S-Jon Lewerer, [12]; 7. 12X-Blake Anderson, [1]; 8. 16-Anna Hippe, [9]; 9. 93-Brad Peterson, [3]; 10. 34-Denny Stordahl, [11]; 11. 29-Hunter Custer, [8]; 12. 17B-Eric Becker, [13]; 13. (DNF) N1-Ty Sampair, [10]
Lap Leaders: Mueller 1-3, Jake Kouba 4-7, Jimmy Kouba 8-18, Mueller 19-25. No cautions. N1 spun on last lap coming to checkers.

Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1. 6-Jake Kouba, [4]; 2. 12X-Blake Anderson, [3]; 3. 93-Brad Peterson, [6]; 4. 29-Hunter Custer, [2]; 5. N1-Ty Sampair, [1]; 6. 34-Denny Stordahl, [5]; 7. 17B-Eric Becker, [7]
Lap Leader: Jake Kouba 1-10. No cautions. 29 finished second but was penalized two spots for jumping on the initial start.

Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1. 87-Mike Mueller, [1]; 2. 2K-Jimmy Kouba, [3]; 3. 7-Scott Brandt, [4]; 4. 99-Bryan Roach, [6]; 5. 16-Anna Hippe, [5]; 6. 69S-Jon Lewerer, [2]
Lap Leader: Mueller 1-10. No cautions.

Rock Auto Victory Lane photo courtesy of Shaun Cimfl.