SNELLENBERGER TOPS “THE BOUCHE”
Posted under Race Reports on May 24th, 2015
(Sturgeon Bay, WI – 5/23/2015) Rod Snellenberger held off Dave Bouche at the wire to claim the $1,000 top prize in the 7th annual Nathan Bouche Memorial IMCA Stock Car feature Saturday night at the Thunderhill Raceway in Sturgeon Bay.
Other feature winners on the night were Tyler Hackett in the IMCA Modifieds, Bernie Reinhardt in the IMCA Northern Sport Mods, Marcus Moede in the IMCA Hobby Stocks and James Dahlstrom in the Street Stocks.
Fans are used to seeing a solid field of Stock Cars for the Bouche Memorial, bolstered by one of the season’s biggest divisional payouts, and Saturday was no exception.
Derek Moede led the 22 car feature field to the green, and was quickly joined by Rick Dix and John Anschutz in a three car battle for the lead. The event’s lone caution came on the fifth lap as bad luck once again hit Billy LeMieux. While running in contention, a trail of fluid down the front stretch signaled motor problems and again halted his night prematurely.
Dix was shuffled back on the restart as Snellenberger and Bouche raced to the front. Snellenberger established the low groove, going to work on Moede for the lead, with Anschutz keeping pace on the outside.
On the 9th lap, Moede left just enough running room through the first turns to allow Snellenberger to gain the edge. Snellenberger rushed past to the lead, taking Bouche with him in tow. For the remaining 18 laps, it was a two-car race for the win, with Bouche less than a car length behind the leader for the duration.
Snellenberger never faltered, which meant Bouche never had a chance to pull even for a pass attempt. They crossed the line exactly as they had run all race long, Snellenberger first by a slim margin.
Behind the lead duo, Shawn Havel advanced to third and, for a time, was closing on the top two. But the advance stalled in the late stages and he settled for the final podium finish.
Moede and Anschutz ran together for the duration, finishing fourth and five respectively. Dan Sell completed the top six, piloting the Nathan Bouche tribute car.
The win for Snellenberger was his second in a row, and marked his 25th career Stock Car win at Thunderhill
Hackett’s IMCA Modified win was a little less stressful. He made a slick outside move on the third lap to jump from third to first; passing leader Tyler DeBouche and Greg Gretz.
From there he ran uncontested to the checker for his first win of the season.
In most sports, if the end result is seemingly “in the bag”, it’s probably safe to assume you can head for the exits knowing who the winner will be. Racing is not one of those sports.
Tom Stark appeared to be headed to victory lane; safe lead, two lap to go signal given, nothing left to do but cruise home. Stark had gained the lead from Reinhardt on the fifth lap after a side by side duel and gradually pulled away. Then came the second turn of the second to last lap.
He missed his mark and slid high. The huge lead was gone in a flash as Reinhardt pounced on the low groove before Stark could react. Now they were side by side again as they raced to the white flag, but it was Reinhardt who held the preferred line.
Stark tried to fight back from the outside to no avail, as Reinhardt crossed the line first, winning for the second week in a row. Jarred VanLaanen raced to an uncontested third followed by Dennis Miesler and title contenders Chris Budzban and Randy LeMieux, Jr.
As Snellenberger would do later in the night, the win was the 25th of Reinhardt’s Thunderhill career, combining victories over the years in the Bombers, Street Stocks, Stock Cars and now his 13th in the Sport Mods.
In the Hobby Stocks, CJ Weckler used the outside line on a restart to take the lead from Justin Hartel on the second lap of the division’s headliner. Weckler was joined by four others in tight pack up front; Amber Weidner, Ford Malvitz, Dan VanPay and Moede.
With hopes of a first career feature win, Weidner moved inside Weckler to take the lead on the sixth lap. Weckler fought back from the outside to regain the lead. Weidner tried to counter on the inside, but unfortunately she lost the handle in the third turn on lap 8, sliding to the grass to bring out a caution.
With Weidner gone, Moede took up the chase, and it was again back and forth between the top two cars.
This time Moede eventually took the lead for good on the way to his second straight feature win. A last ditch effort by Weckler proved for naught as he slipped high, allowing Dan VanPay to get by for second and Ford Malvitz to grab third. Dave Schmidt came back from an early spin to complete the top five.
Track announcer Ed Anschutz put down the microphone for the night to campaign his street stock. He proved to be a factor early, taking the lead from Phil Faustini on lap six of the feature.
Dahlstrom was also in the hunt, looking for a path pass both just as Michael Wagner smacked the front stretch wall, bringing the race to a halt.
From his outside second row starting spot, Dahlstrom shot to the outside of Anschutz to take over the lead. From there, “The Eagle” managed to keep Dahlstrom somewhat in range, but couldn’t get close enough to mount a serious challenge. It was the third win of the season for Dahlstrom.
Saturday night, Palmer Johnson of Sturgeon Bay will host the show, slated to include the annual Powder Puff races. The first green flag will fly at 6:00 PM.
Thunderhill Raceway is located at the John Miles Fair Park on Sturgeon Bay’s east side. For more information, visit the track’s website at www.racethunderhill.com.
Thunderhill Raceway results 5/23/2015
Rouer’s Grand Slam IMCA Stock Car Nathan Bouche Memorial 27 Lap Feature: Rod Snellenberger, Pulaski; Dave Bouche, Algoma; Shawn Havel, Algoma; Derek Moede, Casco; John Anschutz, Forestville; Dan Sell. Suring
Heat 1: Billy LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay; Moede
Heat 2: Snellenberger; Jeremy Anschutz, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 3: John Anschutz; Rick Dix, Green Bay
Kelsey Racing IMCA Modified 18 Lap Feature: Tyler Hackett, Algoma; Greg Gretz, Kewaunee; Tyler DeBouche, Green Bay; Alan Gibson, Appleton
Heat: Hackett; DeBouche
LaVine’s Ice IMCA Northern Sport Mods 18 Lap Feature: Bernie Reinhardt, Sturgeon Bay; Tom Stark, Egg Harbor; Jarred VanLaanen, Green Bay; Dennis Miesler, Luxemburg; Chris Budzban, Luxemburg; Randy LeMieux, Jr, Sturgeon Bay
Heat: Miesler; Vince Engebretsen, Green Bay
Reese’s Auto Body Street Stock 18 Lap Feature: James Dahlstrom, Denmark; Ed Anschutz, Kewaunee; Phil Faustini, Sturgeon Bay; Allan Schlueter, Oconto; Dennis Weidner, East Maplewood; Chad Dubois, Forestville
Heat: Faustini; Anschutz
Lackie Rental & Remodeling IMCA Hobby Stock 18 Lap Feature: Marcus Moede, Algoma; Dan VanPay, Green Bay; Ford Malvitz, Sturgeon Bay; C.J. Weckler, Sturgeon Bay; Dave Schmidt, Casco; Dean Anhalt, Mishicot
Heat 1: VanPay; Travis LuMaye, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 2: Weckler; Schmidt