RICE LAKE, Wis. – The 28th Annual Street Stock Little Dream Race, held on Tuesday night at the Rice Lake Speedway, may well go down as one of the most memorable races in this long series.
For Nick Traynor, it was his second win in this long event’s history in the last three years. For fans, this race will be long remembered as the race stopped once by rain and once by a tornado warning and yet the event was completed despite these setbacks.
And for those backers of this event, both individuals and businesses from the upper Midwest, they dug deep into their pockets once again as the winner’s purse again broke a record for when Traynor crossed the finish line after thirty five laps of racing, he earned $28, 212 for his efforts as the old record set last year was shattered once again.
53 drivers from four states and Canada signed in to race on Tuesday, despite forecasts that indicated a 90% chance of rain by race time. 15 qualifying events were completed with lightning flashing in all directions around the speedway.
At this point, track owners Mitch Hansen and Dave Adams ordered that the grandstands be evacuated as the area was under a tornado warning for the next twenty minutes. Most spectators sought shelter in speedway buildings or headed to their cars. When the warning expired, racing would continue with the last chance race seeing Kolton Brauer pass up the $500 winner’s share for the opportunity to race in the main event.
26 cars would take the green flag for the 35-lap main event with defending Street Stock WISSOTA National Champion Parker Anderson leading the first lap over Jason Havel and Traynor with four-wide racing right behind these two all the way around the track.
A spin would stop the action one lap later and as the cars circled the track under yellow, it began to rain. The field would peel off for the pits and the track’s heavy equipment would immediately roll on to the track in an effort to save the racing surface.
Despite some violent lightning in all directions, it only rained lightly for a few minutes and then stopped. As track saving measures continued, the decision was made that despite the stormy skies, the racing would continue and after about a half hour delay to get the track back to racing shape, the event would continue as all 26 drivers would return to the track.
Anderson would lead to the restart but in turn one his car would push up the track and Traynor, who restarted on the inside, would drive under him and take over the lead as this point. Traynor would immediately stretch his lead to several car lengths as Anderson tried to chase him down and regain the top spot.
Behind those two, Havel was having a great battle with Justin Vogel for position while Simon Wahlstrom, who started eighth, would climb into contention using the higher side of the track to make several passes and move to the front.
At the halfway point of the race, Traynor would still hold the lead by several car lengths over Anderson and Wahlstrom. A long stretch of green flag racing would see Anderson close to within a couple of car lengths of the leader, but then Traynor would seem to pick up the pace and edge away slightly.
The long string of green flag laps ended when on lap 23, Hunter VanGilder, Shawn Amundson and Jay Kesan all got tied up together and slid to a halt on the back chute.
As often happens, yellows breed yellows and the next two attempts to keep the race going ended with spins. However, despite the skies still lighting up constantly, no rain fell and the third attempt proved successful as the final eleven laps of the race were completed.
Traynor continued to lead but Wahlstrom took advantage of the restart to drive around the outside of Anderson and take over second with three time winner of this race and defending champion Tim Johnson appearing in the top five for the first time.
Wahlstrom made an all out charge to catch Traynor but Nick continued to turn steady and fast laps and while Wahlstrom pushed hard, the margin stayed at about four car lengths. Johnson was now challenging Vogel for fourth as the final few laps progressed.
Wahlstrom gave it his all the last few laps, pushing hard in an effort to catch Traynor, but Nick was just a bit too fast on this night as he would cross the finish line with a four car length lead over Wahlstrom to secure his second win in this event in the last three years. Anderson would settle for third, his best finish ever in this race and Johnson would get past Vogel for fourth.
The second five would include Havel, Danny Richards, Cody Cimfl, Kesan and Andrew Hanson. Twenty two of the twenty six starters would still be on the track at the finish and all would be on the lead lap.
For local driver Traynor, who only races a Street Stock a couple of times a year while concentrating on his Super Stock ride, and car owner Travis Loew, it was a great victory.
With his wins in this race in 2020 as well as Tuesday night, Traynor has hauled back to Barron, Wis. with over $50,000 from this race in his two wins.
Feature (35 Laps): 1. 40T-Nick Traynor; 2. 38-Simon Wahlstrom; 3. 127P-Parker Anderson; 4. 69-Tim Johnson; 5. 10-Justin Vogel; 6. 5H-Jason Havel; 7. 3R-Danny Richards; 8. 19H-Cody Cimfl; 9. 7-Jay Kesan; 10. 20-Andrew Hanson; 11. 34JR-Braden Brauer; 12. 79N-Jeff Nowak; 13. 5K-Kyle King; 14. KOLT34-Kolton Brauer; 15. 67-Ryan Satter; 16. 980-Kaden Woodie; 17. 15F-Zachary Flickinger; 18. 30-Shawn Amundson; 19. 24-James Clausen; 20. 17-Zach Beaulieu; 21. 9K-Kolby Kiehl; 22. (DNF) 11JR-Jeff Ekdahl; 23. (DNF) 84-Hunter VanGilder; 24. (DNF) 15-Jim Randall; 25. (DNF) 42K-Mike Knudtson; 26. (DQ) 26T-Ty Agen