posted September 23, 2002 04:15 PM
Red Cedar Qualifying Night
By Ed Reichert
Menomonie Wi, Sept 20 - Tonight was the opening night of the 23rd annual
Punky Manor Challenge of Champions here at the Red Cedar Speedway. One
hundred sixty two cars were on hand to qualify tonight for tomorrow's main
events including fifty seven super stocks, fourty nine modifieds and fifty
six late models. Tomorrow's program will consist of last chance qualifying
for all three divisions plus the three main events. The last two late model
heat races which fell victim to the curfew tonight will lead off tomorrow's
12 lap Heats - First: 1 Justin Fegers, Mound Mn; 2 Jerry Redetzke, Eau
Claire ; 3 Tom Naeyaert, Shawano; 4 Nick Anvelink, Bonduel. Second: 1 John
Kaanta, Elk Mound; 2 Jon Kurshinsky, Eau Claire ; 3 Duane Mahder, Eau Claire
; 4 Keith Foss, Winona Mn. Third: 1 Jimmy Mars, Elk Mound; 2 Todd Gehl,
Solon Springs; 3 Mike Chamernick, St. Croix Falls; 4 Terry Anvelink,
Bonduel. Fourth: 1 Mike Nutzmann, New Richmond ; 2 Rick Egersdorf, Lake Elmo
Mn; 3 Scott Cramer, Random Lake; 4 Lance Matthees, Winona Mn.
12 lap Heats - First: 1 Craig Thatcher, Knapp; 2 Scott Duval, Bloomer; 3
Curt Myers, Stratford; 4 John Kaanta, Elk Mound. Second: 1 Dean Yrjanainen,
Lake Nebagamon; 2 Tony Bahr, Eau Claire ; 3 Pat Hardy, Milaca Mn; 4 Todd
Siddons, Eau Claire . Third: 1 Craig Brightbill, Hudson; 2 Steve Wik,
Downsville; 3 Paul Harelstad, Bloomer; 4 Adam Hayden, Menomonie . Fourth: 1
Al Uotinen, Superior; 2 Troy Kuyoth, Stratford; 3 Ross Prochnow, Menomonie ;
4 Steve Burns, Chippewa Falls . Fifth: 1 Tim Ludwigson, Bloomer; 2 Ron
Mahder, Eau Claire ; 3 Bruce Tourville, Star Prairie; 4 Scott
Splittstoesser, Lake Elmo Mn.
12 lap Heats - First: 1 Kenny Davis, Elk Mound; 2 Tim Borgeson, New Richmond
; 3 Steve Thomas, Menomonie ; 4 Rich Bishop, Ladysmith. Second: 1 Kori
Richter, Wausau; 2 Eric Olson, Ladysmith; 3 Mark Chamernick, Chisago City
Mn; 4 Charley Obermueller, Wilson. Third : 1 Robby Bunkelman, Abbotsford; 2
Dale Gangl, East Bethel Mn; 3 John Rafferty, Altoona; 4 Rick Hallquist, Eau
Claire . Fourth: 1 Brad Banitt, Red Wing Mn; 2 Greg Alling, Dresser; 3 Danny
Olinger, Lake Elmo Mn; 4 Rick Ellis, Rice Lake . Fifth: 1 Gary Nippoldt,
Lake Elmo Mn; 2 Don Drew, Rice Lake ; 3 Brad Edington, Eau Claire ; 4 Bernie
Christianson, Menomonie . Sixth: 1 Casey Mincoff, Ladysmith; 2 Keane
Laakson, Stone Lake; 3 Monte Conrad, Bloomer; 4 Steve Hallquist, Eau Claire.
Kaanta Last Lap Punky Manor Winner
By Ed Reichert
Menomonie Wi, Sept. 21 - John Kaanta passed Jimmy Mars with a half lap to go
to win the 23rd annual Punky Manor Challenge of Champions held here tonight
at the Red Cedar Speedway. Other feature winners here tonight on the last
program of the 2002 racing season here were Craig Thatcher in the modifieds
and Robby Bunkelman in the super stocks.
Twenty four cars took starter Gary Gruen's green flag for the fourty lap
late model main event. The front row starters raced wheel to wheel on the
opening circuit with Mike Nutzmann edging ahead of Larry Stockwell to lead
the opening go round. Mars started on the outside of row two and he quickly
moved into second spot with Pat Doar following him past Stockwell. John
Kaanta and Jon Kurshinsky were also on the move early as they worked into
the top five.
Nutzmann was riding the high side and Mars stuck a nose inside him in an
effort to get by. Nutzmann would have none of that however, and he hung
tough on the top. Several times Mars would pull even with Nutzmann, but each
time Mike would edge back in front as they raced down the straightaways.
Mars was scored the leader at the line on lap six, but Nutzmann came right
back to grab the lead on the next revolution. Jerry Redetzke joined those
cars that were on the move as he closed in to become a factor also.
Mars continued to put heavy pressure on Nutzmann, and finally on lap twelve
he was able to slide under Nutzmann and claim the lead. As Mars put some
distance on the field, Nutzmann was under the gun as Kaanta dispatched Doar
with Kurshinsky following suit on the next lap. On lap seventeen Kaanta was
able to take over the second spot , and one lap later Kurshinsky also passed
Mars was just getting into traffic as he caught the back of the field and
Kaanta seemed to be closeing in slightly. With eighteen laps complete the
first yellow waved as Dale Gangl spun in turn three. Mars continued to lead
as the race returned to green. He was able to put a little distance on
Kaanta but the driver on the move was Duane Mahder. He started fourteenth
in the field, cracked the top ten by lap fourteen and was up to seventh when
Gangl spun. On the next lap he passed both Redetzke and Doar to move into
the top five.
He then put Nutzmann behind him as he moved into fourth.
Mars continued to lead but Kaanta was slowly catching him as Kurshinsky and
Mahder raced to try and make it a four car battle. Mars once again caught
the tail of the field and as he worked to get past the slow cars, Kaanta
really started to shorten the distance between them. Mars appeared to be
getting loose coming off the corners and Kaanta further closed up on him.
Kurshinsky and Mahder continued to dig, and by lap thirty the top four cars
were within three car lengths. Kaanta looked to the low side as he made his
first serious bid for the lead. Mars ducked under Tom Naeyaert to lap him
and Kaanta was right on his tail. Mahder had pulled up to challenge
Kurshinsky for third. Mahder dived to the inside and got beside Kurshinsky
and they both tried to squeeze under Naeyaert but there wasn't enough room
for everyone and Naeyaert spun in turn four to draw the yellow flag again.
This set up a four lap sprint to the finish. Mars took off but Kaanta was
right on his tail as Kaanta appeared to be getting off the corners better.
Kaanta looked to the inside of Mars but Jimmy fought him off. Again Kaanta
tried to get under Mars , but Mars once again eased low into the corner and
held off Kaanta. Kaanta gathered himself for one last charge as the white
flag waved. Mars was guarding the inside as Kaanta got a big run off turn
two. He let his momentum build up and then he pulled to the outside of Mars.
His car stuck to the track in the second lane and he pulled around Jimmy as
they raced down the back chute. He surged forward enough that he was able to
clear Mars and he dropped low in turn three, powered off the bottom of the
final corner and won going away at the line in one of the most thrilling
races of the year. Kurshinsky held on for third and Doar made a late charge
on the outside to repass Mahder for fourth. Kaanta, who was also the Wissota
Challenge Series champion this year, earned four thousand dollars for the
Craig Thatcher led all the way to earn the modified title as the current
national point leader in the division sent a message that he will not lay
down for the competition as the season draws to a close and the point
standings tighten up.
Thatcher came off the outside to take the early lead from Craig Brightbill
and Dean Yrjanainen as the modifieds found the high groove to their liking.
Thatcher opened up ground immediately as Brightbill continued to hold off
Yrjanainen and Al Uotinen.
The only slow down of the race occurred with six laps complete as a couple
cars in the back of the pack came together.
Thatcher pulled away on the green with Brightbill also maintaining a
comfortable gap in second. Steve Wik was on the move as he got into the top
five. Paul Harelstad was also charging to the front after starting
thirteenth on the grid. Joining Harelstad on a charge to the front was Tony
Bahr who was also making good progress.
At the halfway point Uotinen suddenly slowed and dropped out of the event,
giving Yrjanained the third spot. Wik closed in to challenge Yrjanainen and
was able to move past him on the outside. Harelstad got past Troy Kuyoth and
closed on the top five. Thatcher continued to motor away from the field and
Brightbill was comfortable in second. Harelstad continued to advance as he
got by Yrjanainen and when Dean lost control in turn one, Bahr was also able
to take advantage and gain a spot.
With no yellows to bunch the field, Thatcher continued to pull away and
cruised to the win. What was amazing about the victory was that Thatcher had
problems with his own car last night and at the last minute caught a ride in
a car donated by Steve Isenberg. Never having sat in the car before his
heat race last night, Thatcher proceeded to sweep the boards anyway, and
continued his remarkable racing season. Brightbill was able to hold off the
challenge of Wik and Harelstad powered all the way up to fourth ahead of
Bahr at the finish. Thatcher earned two thousand dollars for his win.
Robby Bunkelman scored his biggest victory here as he dominated the super
stock division and led all the way for the one thousand dollar payday. He
edged ahead of Casey Mincoff to lead the opening circuit and then gradually
pulled away as he extended his lead. Kenny Davis moved to the high side and
took over second and one lap later, Kori Richter also passed Mincoff.
The race was slowed on lap seven for debris on the track and that would
prove to be the only slowdown of the event. When the green light came back
on, Bunkelman again pulled away from Davis as his car was working
beautifully on the black, slick track. Davis was running alone in second and
Richter was also by himself on the track. The battle was for fourth as
Mincoff tried to hold off Brad Banitt and Tim Borgeson.
Bunkelman continued to drive as if on rails and he extended his advantage
over Davis. The top four were stretched out with each having a margin on the
other. The biggest battle contined to be for fourth. Bunkelman continued on
without a challenge as he took the win in the Jere Stanton owned car. Davis
finished a solid second ahead of Richter and Mincoff. Borgeson broke on the
final circuit which gave Banitt a top five finish. Borgeson tried to get off
the track as everyone raced to the finish. Just as the leaders took the
checkered, Borgeson and Danny Olinger made violent contact at the pit
entrance with Olinger's car flying high in the air and crashing back to
earth. Olinger was sent to a local hospital for treatment of unspecified
Next on the schedule for the Red Cedar Speedway is the annual awards banquet
which will be held in January at the Best Western Convention Center in
Menomonie. The 2003 racing season is expected to begin in mid April.
Red Cedar Speedway
September 21, 2002
Punky Manor Challenge of Champions
40 lap Feature - 1 John Kaanta, Elk Mound; 2 Jimmy Mars, Elk Mound; 3 Jon
Kurshinsky, Eau Claire ; 4 Pat Doar, New Richmond ; 5 Duane Mahder, Eau
Claire ; 6 Justin Fegers, Mound Mn; 7 Jerry Redetzke, Eau Claire ; 8 Todd
Gehl, Solon Springs; 9 Mike Chamernick, St. Croix Falls; 10 Lance Matthees,
Winona Mn; 11 Steve Laursen, Cumberland; 12 Rick Egersdorf, Lake Elmo Mn; 13
Mike Nutzmann, New Richmond ; 14 Mark Hessler, Menomonie ; 15 Scott Cramer,
Random Lake;; 16 Chad Cummings, Menomonie ; 17 Terry Anvelink, Bonduel; 18
Tom Naeyaert, Shawano; 19 Bill Byholm, Glidden; 20 Nick Anvelink, Bonduel;
21 Dale Gangl, East Bethel Mn; 22 Terry Casey, New London; 23 Larry
Stockwell, Ellsworth;;; 24 Keith Foss, Winona Mn.
15 lap B Features - First: 1 Matthees; 2 N. Anvelink; 3 Byholm; 4 Joel
Cryderman, Thunder Bay Ont; 5 Ashley Anderson, Eau Claire . Second: 1
Hessler; 2 Foss; 3 Steve Isenberg, Marshfield; 4 Scott Gilberts, Sand Creek;
5 Harry Hanson, Eveleth Mn. Third: 1 Gangl; 2 T. Anvelink; 3 M.J. McBride,
Shawano; 4 Eric Pember, Pittsville; 5 Troy Kuyoth , Stratford.
12 lap Heats ( from 9/20) - Fifth: 1 Stockwell; 2 Cramer; 3 Mike Goodremote,
Sand Creek; 4 Jon Chrest, Plymouth Mn. Sixth : 1 Doar; 2 Casey; 3 Laursen; 4
30 lap Feature - 1 Craig Thatcher, Knapp; 2 Craig Brightbill, Hudson; 3
Steve Wik, Downsville; 4 Paul Harelstad, Bloomer; 5 Tony Bahr, Eau Claire ;
6 Dean Yrjanainen, Lake Nebagamon; 7 Tim Ludwigson, Bloomer; 8 Ron Mahder,
Eau Claire ; 9 Scott Duval, Bloomer; 10 Troy Kuyoth, Stratford; 11 John
Kaanta, Elk Mound; 12 Dave Cain, Corcoran Mn; 13 Kelly Estey, Kelly Lake Mn;
14 Ross Prochnow, Menomonie ; 15 Curt Myers, Stratford; 16 Pat Hardy, Milaca
Mn; 17 Bill Byholm, Glidden; 18 Scott Splittstoesser, Lake Elmo Mn; 19 Danny
Thomas, Wilson; 20 Bruce Olson, Chippewa Falls ; 21 Todd Siddons, Eau Claire
; 22 Bruce Tourville, Star Prairie; 23 Al Uotinen; Superior; 24 Adam Hayden,
15 lap B Features - First : 1 Byholm; 2 Cain; 3 Eric Pember, Pittsville; 4
Jack Larson, Marshfield; 5 Brandon Kallenbach, Prairie Farm. Second: 1
Thomas; 2 Estey; 3 Jay Richardson, Spring Valley; 4 Dann Olson, Braham Mn; 5
Brent Prochnow, Menomonie .
25 lap Feature - 1 Robby Bunkelman, Abbotsford; 2 Kenny Davis, Elk Mound; 3
Kori Richter, Wausau; 4 Casey Mincoff, Ladysmith; 5 Brad Banitt, Red Wing
Mn; 6 Don Drew, Rice Lake ; 7 Dale Gangl, East Bethel Mn; 8 Steve Thomas,
Menomonie ; 9 Eric Olson, Ladysmith; 10 Mark Chamernick, Chisago City Mn; 11
Gary Nippoldt, Lake Elmo Mn; 12 Aaron Wilson, Menomonie ; 13 Keane Laakson,
Stone Lake; 14 Tom Chrest, Ramsey Mn; 15 Tom Karis, Menomonie ; 16 Monte
Conrad, Bloomer; 17 Greg Alling, Dresser; 18 Bernie Christianson, Menomonie
; 19 Tim Borgeson, New Richmond ; 20 Danny Olinger, Lake Elmo Mn; 21 Steve
Hallquist, Eau Claire ; 22 John Rafferty, Altoona; 23 Charley Obermueller,
Wilson; 24 Brad Edington, Eau Claire .
15 lap B Features- First: 1 Chrest; 2 Wilson; 3 Rick Ellis, Rice Lake ; 4
Chris Gorka, New Richmond ; 5 Mark Stender, Holcombe Second: 1 Christianson;
2 Obermueller; 3 Jeff Suchow, Woodville; 4 Steve Burns, Eau Claire ; 5 Jeff
Hofer, Fountain City. Third: 1 Karis; 2 Hallquist; 3 Kevin Ayotte, St. Paul
Mn; 4 Tracy Larson, Rice Lake ; 5 Rod Dregney, Mondovi.