RICE LAKE, Wis. — In one of the wildest Street Stock Little Dream races ever run at Rice Lake Speedway, Minnesota’s Tim Johnson started on the outside pole, fell back as far as eighth and rallied to retake the lead with only two laps to go to win the 27th annual event, netting him a record $27,027.
This unique event, where contributions from the fans on hand as well as from area businesses and online contributions swell the purse, broke the record once again for this event.
Johnson also became the third driver to win this prestigious event for the third time, joining Jimmy Randall and Eric Olson in that category and Johnson’s three wins in this event have earned him nearly $43,000 with his other wins coming in 2011 and ’14.
Fifty-seven drivers from five states attempted to qualify for this event with a series of double heat races and last chance races setting the 25-driver field for the 35-lap main event.
Dustin Doughty started on the pole and took the initial lead with defending champion Nick Traynor and Johnson running behind him. There were several early yellows in the event that kept the field bunched as Doughty continued to show the way.
Traynor began to pressure the leader and was soon joined by Parker Anderson, who leads the WISSOTA standings and has won 26 features this season.
Traynor took the lead on lap 15, but Doughty battled back and regained the top spot two laps later.
On lap 26, Traynor passed Doughty to take over the lead but one lap later, as they were battling again for the top spot, they tangled in turn one with the yellow waving once again. Traynor retained the lead and Doughty turned pitside.
Keith Tourville had been working his way forward, and grabbed the lead from Traynor on lap 27 only to see Traynor pass him back one lap later.
Cody Kummer had worked his way up to the front after starting in the eighth row and he challenged for the lead on the outside of Traynor as Tourville worked the inside line.
The last five laps of the race saw even more action and exchanging of positions and was also marked by several more yellow flags as the pace was frenetic with drivers making charges and others being eliminated by accidents.
With only five laps to go, Johnson was running seventh, but he then made a charge and was also the benefit of a couple of costly collisions that eliminated some of the cars ahead of him.
A wild crash on the back chute eliminated Kummer and Tourville and then following the restart, Anderson got into the wall in turn four that eliminate himself and Randall.
With only three laps to go, leader Traynor developed a flat left-front tire and while he attempted to continue racing, on the green he pushed badly up the track, stacking up the field and setting off a wild scramble for position that saw Johnson take the lead.
Anderson’s wreck set up a two-lap sprint to the finish with Johnson holding off the last-lap challenges of Shawn Amundson and Dave Mass, who had started 11th.
Johnson’s win came by two car lengths over the Rice Lake driver and set off a wild post-race celebration on the front chute.
Kyle Genett was fourth and Cody Cimfl completed a remarkable charge from dead last (25th) to finish fifth.
In victory lane, Johnson, who has been only running a limited schedule this year, revealed that this was only the fourth time he had driven this car this year as a loaner from its regular driver Bryan Crandall.
A huge crowd was on hand on a beautiful Tuesday night in northern Wisconsin to witness the 27th edition of this race.
Feature (35 Laps): 1. 69-Tim Johnson; 2. 30-Shawn Amundson; 3. 12X-Dave Mass; 4. 16X-Kyle Genett; 5. 8K-Cody Cimfl; 6. 3R-Danny Richards; 7. 26-Jordan Kurtti; 8. 25-Mike Jans; 9. 79N-Jeff Nowak; 10. 40T-Nick Traynor; 11. (DNF) 873-Kaden Woodie; 12. (DNF) 27P-Parker Anderson; 13. (DNF) 15-Jim Randall; 14. (DNF) 40-Travis Loew; 15. (DNF) 12-Cody Kummer; 16. (DNF) 9-Adam Soltis; 17. (DNF) 19-Todd Carter; 18. (DNF) 119-Keith Tourville; 19. (DNF) 12K-Jay Kesan; 20. (DNF) 9K-Kolby Kiehl; 21. (DNF) 1R-Cole Richards; 22. (DNF) 10-Justin Vogel; 23. (DNF) 15E-Zach Elward; 24. (DNF) D1-Dustin Doughty; 25. (DNF) 34JR-Braden Brauer