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Kyle Johnson tops Red Cedar Speedway racers

MENOMONIE  – Five first time winners graced victory lane Friday night at the Red Cedar Speedway. Three drivers also earned their first ever wins at Red Cedar but it was “Quick” Kyle Johnson who stunned the crowd as he ran away from the field to win his first ever Midwest Modified feature race. Sharing the top honors were Jay Richardson who won his first ever feature race in twenty nine years of racing at Red Cedar and second year driver Kent Harmon who also visited victory lane for the first time since starting his Pure Stock career.

Johnson has been around racing most of his life, helping his father “The Hawaiian Flash”, Mike Johnson during his long racing career until starting racing himself the middle of the last decade. Racing on a very limited budget, both generations would race as hard as they could until their equipment gave out, and then they would be sidelined until they could muster the dollars to get back on the track.

Even this year, Kyle has made only limited appearances at area tracks after blowing a motor very early in the season, but Friday the stars were aligned and he ran away from a full field of Midwest Mods.

Rookie Austin Ellis took the early lead from the outside pole after a rocky first start saw Nate Spence end up on his side,  and set a fast pace with Johnson moving from the second row to challenge him for the lead. Ellis led for several laps until Johnson was able to make a high side move and drive into the lead. Still, Ellis hung right with him as Johnson continued to ride the high side. Shane Halopka was on the move too, and he drove up from the fourth row to battle for second and then passing Ellis for the position.

Halopka tried to move in on Johnson but Kyle was riding the cushion and was very fast and Halopka wasn’t able to narrow the margin. Kyle continued as his fast pace and never faltered as he drove home with a comfortable margin to record the historic win. Behind Halopka, Ellis garnered his best finish to date with a third with Kerry Halopka and Grant Southworth, from eleventh, rounding out the top five.

Richardson has driving in many different classes at the speedway over the years, but Friday night was the first time that everything came together for him and he drove home for a resounding victory in the Modified feature. Jay started on the outside of row one but he had to play second fiddle for a number of laps as rookie Jordan Hessler paced the field. Hessler was running strong and it took quite a few laps before Richardson was able to make a high side move and drive into the lead. Once in front, Jay gradually pulled away in the nonstop main, until he had a comfortable working margin. Hessler continued his solid run as Cory Williams moved into third and tried to track him down.

Up front, Richardson continued in his groove and drove away from the field as he raced home unchallenged for the win. Hessler also finished off a solid drive by coming home second ahead of Williams while Jake Hartung made a late charge from eleventh to finish fourth ahead of Steve Hallquist.

Brett Myers was the early leader in the Pure Stock feature until Harmon moved up from the second row, found an opening on the low side and drove into the lead. Once in front, Harmon put a little distance on the field while a heavy battle for second broke out, and Jason Havel found room to move into second. He then attempted to flag down Harmon while the battle behind him continued.

Harmon was rolled up front, and Havel wasn’t able to cut into his margin, even as the laps ran down. Harmon continued to maintain his lead as the leaders took the white flag. Battling for position, Myers and Jeremy Dahl got together under the flag stand and Myers went for a spin. Since all cars took the white flag, the race was called complete with Harmon earning his first ever win over Havel.

Krysta Swearingen blew a radiator hose and spewed water all over the track under the final yellow and things got worse for her after she weighed in light and was disqualified. Dahl ended up in the third position and was scored ahead of Randy Burton and Cody Tisdale.

Olson earned his first Super Stock win of the year with a strong performance. Steve Thomas was the early leader but when a fueling problem hit him, he slowed on the back chute and stacked up the field which resulted in Gunnar Watkins and Tom Karis getting tired up and triggering a lengthy yellow.

On the green, Olson shot into the lead and started to put distance on the field. A big battle for second saw Mike Keller come charging up from the fourth row and drive into the position using the high side. A spin triggered the yellow again and due to time constraints, the race went green, white and then checkered. Another spin delayed the final laps, but when it was finally completed, Olson powered away from the field and fought off a late challenge from Keller to take the win. Jason Forehand finished third while Luke Plank moved up from twelfth to finish fourth. Gunnar Watkins crossed the line fifth but was disqualified for a wheel issue, giving the position to Darrel Hazelton.

After a first lap spin, the Street Stock feature went nonstop and the field spent the entire event trying to track down Kummer. Cody took the lead early from the outside of row one and then put some distance on the field before Adam Soltis moved into second and tried to track him down. Soltis would get within three car lengths but from that point, he could get no closer and Kummer had his line and was rock solid up front.

Despite pressure from Soltis and Sam Fankhauser, Kummer drove home for the win. Soltis had to settle for second ahead of Fankhauser, Mike Knudtson and Jake Hanson.

The Late Model and Hornet features fell victim to the track curfew and will be made up next Friday night, July 25th. The Dunn County Fair will be in full swing next Friday and admission to the races will be just $5. WAXX 104.5 and Tractor Central will sponsor the races which will feature a full program in all seven classes plus the two makeup feature events. Race time is 7 p.m.