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Mark Thomas wins 2nd RCS Feature
Coach T Down Low, Chris Burback photo
Coach T Down Low, Chris Burback photo
June 22nd 2009 - EDITOR'S NOTE: Coach T won his 2nd feature race at Red Cedar July 3rd...way to go Mark!-BRONCO

Thomas T's Up Red Cedar Speedway Foes

By Ed Reichert

Menomonie WI, June 19 Mark Thomas, coach of the U.W. Stout Women's Basketball program, has on occasion gotten a bit agitated over some officials calls, and has received his share of technical fouls. Tonight the rest of the Midwest Modified field was screaming for a technical when Coach T left them in his rear view mirror as he drove on to a decisive victory and his first feature win of the year at the Red Cedar Speedway. Joining him in victory lane for the first time this year was Modified driver Brent Prochnow while the beat went on for both Mike Keller and George Richards as they added to their win totals.

Jesse Glenz and Randy Smeltzer battled on the opening lap of the Midwest Modified feature before Smeltzer took the spot. However, he was challenged on the next lap already as Thomas moved up from the second row. Mark wasted little time as he drove past Smeltzer to take over the lead. Moving in to challenge him for second was Ronnie Rihn and soon a great five car battle for the second spot saw Smeltzer, Rihn, Shane Halopka, Jim Bourn and Mark Gerth jockeying for position. Two yellows for minor spins slowed the action, the later of which set up a three lap sprint to the finish.

Thomas pulled away from the pack once again as he was leaving nothing to chance. However, the battle for second and beyond was just as wild and at the line Smeltzer did a great job hanging on for third as he edged Rihn, Bourn and Halopka.

Prochnow�s first win was a little less intense. He started on the second row and quickly moved past Steve Hallquist and Bill Stettner to take over the lead. Once in front , he gradually pulled away from the pack. Once early yellow bunched the field but on the restart, Prochnow again pulled away. The slick track was just to his liking, and by the end of the contest he had built up a straightaway lead on the field.

The battle behind him was a good one though, as Bryan Nayes and Jay Richardson fought for second. Richardson finally took the spot but he was soon challenged by Mark Hessler, who found a line on the high side that he liked. As Prochnow disappeared into the evening, Hessler continued to work the top side and he drove past Richardson to secure the second spot. Nayes hung on to fourth with his new car while Rich Lofthus, himself in a different ride, came from the back to finish fifth.

Keller scored his third Super Stock feature win in a hard fought battle with Darrel Hazelton and Shawn Huse. Hazelton and Charley Obermueller battled on the opening lap before Hazelton took the point and then Huse moved up to challenge him.

After two quick yellows bunched the field, Hazelton and Huse continued to fight for the lead but Keller was on the move after starting eighth on the grid. It quickly became a three car battle and when Keller found a fast lane in the middle of the track, he powered into the lead and left Hazelton and Huse battling for second. Huse tried the high side and while he could get close, Keller was just a little too quick for him and drove on for the win. Hazelton made a strong run on the final lap but Huse was able to edge him for second with Aaron Wilson and Jason Forehand trailing.

Mike Harshman took the early lead in the Pure Stock feature but George Richards wasted little time as he made a strong move in turn two and cut between the rows of racers to move from fourth to the lead before a lap could be completed. After that, it was just a question of how big his final margin was going to be. Harshman was in a good battle for

second with Luke Plank as they jockeyed back and forth for the position before Plank was able to take advantage of lapped traffic to take second. Harshman had a real bad break as he got turned around by the slow car, and with the race staying under the green, he lost a number of positions before he could continue on.

At the line, Richards has a straightaway over Plank, Chris Wert, Willy Hughes and Ron Hoffman.

Next Friday night the Late Models return to action with the normal five class program scheduled. Race time is 7 p.m. on Value Implement/Dirt Track Specialties night. On July 3, the special event will be the Fireworks 40 with the Late Models racing for $2,000 to win and no increase in spectator admission.