Wins record $15,400 prize
Ed Reichert|Special to the Leader
RICE LAKE – Passing two-time winner of the street stock Little Dream Race Tim Johnson of Brainerd, Minn., with just over a lap to go, Webster’s Keith
Tourville won his first-ever, Little Dream on a record-breaking night for the Tuesday, Aug. 1, event. It was the 23rd-annual running of this nationally known and unique event.
This race, which is unique in that businesses and individuals contribute money to build the purse, saw Tourville go home with a record top prize. The 30-lap feature race paid an impressive $15,400 to win, with most other finishing positions also enhanced thanks to crowd contributions.
This year’s race, sanctioned once again by WISSOTA and administered by FYE Motorsports Promotions, drew 57 entrants from four states and Canada, the second highest number of competitors ever for the event. The companion Midwest Modified main event was won by Joe Chaplin Jr. of Cameron.
Twenty-five drivers took the green flag for the street stock main event, with Eric Olson getting the jump on Johnson. Johnson and Jim Gullikson were the main challengers to Olson in the early going, with the leaders running three wide on several occasions. Both Johnson and Gullikson came close to taking the lead, only to have Olson fight them off.
The race was slowed several times in the first 15 laps by minor spins that kept the field bunched.
Behind the top three in the race, Sam Fankhauser, Tommy Richards, Ron Hanestad and Jeff Crouse were running in close formation, while Tourville rolled along consistently in the top five but not challenging the leaders at this point.
The yellow flew for a slowing Jordan Tollakson at the halfway point, with Olson still maintaining a tight lead over Johnson and Gullikson. Tourville had advanced to fourth, with Fankhauser, Crouse and Kyle Genett following.
Back on the green, Johnson made his move on the outside and drove past Olson, with Gullikson following suit a few laps later to take over second. Gullikson then began to challenge for the top spot, several times nosing up beside Johnson.
Things got crazy starting at about lap 25, with the yellow waving four times without a lap being scored. The leader, Johnson, was turned around twice in turn four, as the battle for the top spot got heated. Both times Johnson was restored to the top spot, with Olson and Gullikson penalized to the back of the pack for instigating contact that sent the leader spinning.
Tourville had kept his nose clean and, with the shuffling of the leaders, he found himself running in second spot. On the final restart, he jumped to the outside and immediately found success. He edged up on the leader and they were soon nearly door handle to door handle.
Tourville continued to apply heavy pressure using the second lane, and as the white flag appeared, Tourville cleared Johnson and claimed the lead.
Johnson came back hard on the final circuit, throwing his car hard into turn four, but Tourville maintained his line and beat Johnson to the finish line by a car length for the stunning and surprising upset win.
Kolby Kiehl gradually worked his way to the front and then really gained ground over the final five laps as he came from 15th to finish a strong third.
Fankhauser and Karl Genett completed the top five. Scoring sixth through 10th were Justin Vogel, Hunter VanGilder, Jimmy Randall, Charlie Shiek and Danny Richards.
Despite a multitude of yellow flags (11 in all), 21 of the 25 starters were still on the track at the finish, with all on the lead lap.
Perhaps the most stunning fact of all was that Tourville was driving the winning car for the very first time, having finalized a deal just Tuesday morning to drive a car for the Blowers Racing Team out of Waseca, Minn. Tourville drove as a second driver to Mike Blowers, driving the car normally raced by Blowers’ son Bobby, a rookie in the class. However, Tourville’s business, Player Motorsports, did build both of the Blowers’ cars.
Tourville celebrated with a smoky “burnout” on the front chute, as the large crowd applauded the winner and the winning team celebrated their triumph.
The Midwest modified main event saw Aric Lindberg, of Dallas, lead the first half of the race as he tried to win his third feature race of the year at Rice Lake.
He was closely pursued by Joe Chaplin Jr., Jeffrey Lien Jr. and Shane Halopka.
Michael Truscott was also on the move, as he charged up from the fourth row. A yellow slowed his momentum, however, and Chaplin used the restart to challenge Lindberg. He dove low into turn one and was able to take over the top spot.
Truscott moved into second and tried his best to catch the leader, but Chaplin had a good clean line and drove home for the win, with Truscott several car lengths behind at the finish. Halopka finished a close third, with Lien and Lindberg rounding out the top five.
There was no racing at the speedway Saturday, Aug. 5. Racing will resume on Aug. 12, with a full five-division program. It will also be Hall of Fame Night, with six new members slated to join the Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame: Clayton Hargrave, Joe Lapcinski, Terry Foltz, Jim Rude, Paul Harelstad and the late Duane Mahder. As usual, warm-ups start at 6:30 p.m., with racing at 7 p.m. For the complete racing summary visit ricelakespeedway.net. – submitted