By Edward Anschutz
(Sturgeon Bay, WI) August 31 – This Saturday September 4, the IMCA Stock Car class will feature Greg Gretz vs. Charlie Kroll and Ford vs. Chevy in a championship that most likely will come down to the final lap. The two title contenders came into last weeks feature tied for the lead. Gretz would finish 3rd and Kroll 4th, handing Gretz a 1 point advantage heading into the final points night at ThunderHill Raceway.
“Chargin” Charlie Kroll of Forestville, a long time veteran in the IMCA Stock Car Class has raced everything from bombers to modifieds. Kroll a multi-time champion at area tracks in the stock cars claimed the 1994 for title at ThunderHill.
At the time of his ThunderHill title, Charlie was driving for Kurt Gretz in a Ford Thunderbird. Kurt was known for being a chassis guru. 16 years after that title Kroll now finds himself in battle for the Stock Car title with Kurt’s son, Greg Gretz.
“It’s pretty neat to be racing against Greg, I can remember when he was just a young boy helping his dad and I in the shop working on the racecar.” Said Kroll; “I think Greg is a good guy, and as much as I would like to win the title, if I can’t theirs no one else I’d rather see get it than Greg.”
Kroll now in a Chevy the last few years, Charlie went to cousin Ben for a new chassis. Kroll debuted the car at Luxemburg and won the first night out. With expectations set high, Kroll set his goals on winning the track title at ThunderHill.
“The season started out well and we had are sites set on the title, but we had one bad night where we didn’t make the feature and I thought we were out of the title hunt being behind by over 20 points.” Said Kroll.
Kroll would go on to win a feature midway through the season and get back into the title chase as Gretz would suffer trouble late in the season.
“If I win the title I will retire from racing, if not we will be back again next season.” Said Kroll
Greg Gretz of Kewaunee, will come into the final night eying his first career track title. After a intense battle last week with Kroll, Gretz showed he would not let the veteran rattle him, and finished one spot ahead taking back the point lead.
This is not the first time Gretz has had a chance at a title. “We were leading the points at Shawano with 2 weeks to go and I had a family emergency.” Gretz chose to stay with his family and not go racing, he would lose the title by a mere 3 points.
When asked if there’s any added pressure in racing someone who has had great success and used to race for your dad; Gretz stated, “Not really, I race him the same way as I would anyone else.”
Like racecars Greg’s father used to own, Gretz dawns the blue oval running a Ford Thunderbird. “The car is a Wolfe Chassis I purchase from my brother last season.”
Same as Kroll, Gretz started the season with aspiration of winning the title. “You always have the goal of winning the title, but sometimes you just have to see what happens.”
When asked if he will approach the last night any different Gretz stated; “Were not going to be racing the car Friday as we normally do.” We have a brand new car my brother and I have been working on all summer and we would like it to give it a shake down run at Luxemburg and have it ready for the up coming IMCA Super Nationals.”
The two title contenders will settle it on the 1/3 mile clay oval this Saturday night September 4 at Prestige Yacht Coatings ThunderHill Raceway.
Thunderhill is located at the John Miles Fair Park on Sturgeon Bay’s east side with racing in the six divisions beginning every Saturday night through the summer at 6:00 PM. For more information, visit the track’s website at www.racethunderhill.com You can also follow ThunderHill Raceway on Facebook and Twitter.