By Justin Zoch Duluth, MN veteran racer Mike Rich had not even planned on racing last Sunday night, but when car owner Mike Botzek showed up without regular driver Tony Norem, Rich jumped in the ...
By Justin Zoch
Duluth, MN veteran racer Mike Rich had not even planned on racing last Sunday night, but when car owner Mike Botzek showed up without regular driver Tony Norem, Rich jumped in the #B1st and picked up his first win of the season as the Wissota Sprint Tour visited the Proctor Speedway in Proctor, MN. Norem, the defending Wissota champion, was on the sidelines due to a foot injury suffered when his driveline broke at the Knoxville Raceway on Saturday night.
John Franzen jumped past polesitter Ehren Layton in the first corner and held the advantage until the caution flew for a spinning Raleigh Sandberg in turn 4. Franzen would have the restart lead, but by lap 10, Rich had made his way to second from his fifth starting position and began to work on the leader. Rich passed Franzen in turns 3 and 4, and as Franzen dove low in turn one to attempt to retake the position, he lost the handle on the #35 and spun to a stop in turn 1. From then on, it was clear sailing for Mike Rich as he picked up his first win of the season in just his fourth race of the season.
Current Wissota Sprint point leader Jimmy Kouba came home in the second position, and Proctor native Leigh Thomas made a charge from 12th to 3rd in the final rundown. Raleigh Sandberg recovered to take fourth, and John Nelson rounded out the fastest five. Jimmy Kouba and Franzen took heat race wins for the 13 Wissota Sprints on hand. Rob Caho flipped his #78 sprinter hard off the fourth turn in hot laps, and, although uninjured, did not return to racing.
Heat 1: 1. Jimmy Kouba, 2. Roger Rager, 3. Ehren Layton, 4. John Nelson, 5. Raleigh Sandberg, 6. Rob Caho Jr., 7 Rob Caho Sr. (DNS)
Heat 2: 1. John Franzen, 2. Joe Kouba, 3. Mike Rich, 4. Gary Walton, 5. Joseph Kouba, 6. Leigh Thomas
A-Main: 1. Rich, 2. Jimmy Kouba, 3. Thomas, 4. Sandberg, 5. Nelson, 6. Joe Kouba, 7. Rager, 8. Franzen, 9. Walton, 10. Caho Jr., 11. Layton, 12. Joseph Kouba, 13. Caho
2001 WISSOTA SPRINT TOUR SCHEDULE
JULY: 15TH-Sunday PROCTOR SPEEDWAY MIKE RICH 21st-Saturday VIKING SPEEDWAY ALEXANDRIA, MN 22nd-Sunday BUFFALO RIVER SPEEDWAY GLYNDON, MN 25TH-Wednesday GRAND RAPIDS SPEEDWAY GRAND RAPIDS, MN 30TH-Monday STATE FAIR SPEEDWAY HURON, SD AUGUST: 7TH-Tuesday HIBBING SPEEDWAY HIBBING, MN 15th-Wednesday GOLDEN SPIKE SPEEDWAY SAUK RAPIDS, MN 16th-Thursday VIKING SPEEDWAY ALEXANDRIA, MN 18TH-Saturday NORTH CENTRAL SPEEDWAY BRAINERD, MN 19th-Sunday BEMIDJI SPEEDWAY BEMIDJI, MN 21st-Tuesday GROVE CREEK SPEEDWAY GROVE CITY, MN SEPTEMBER: 1st-Saturday STATE FAIR SPEEDWAY HURON, SD 15th-Saturday BROWN COUNTY SPEEDWAY ABERDEEN, SD WISSOTA WESTERN 100
DATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE