Photos by Dan Lewis Photography (www.danlewisphoto.net)
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By Edward Anschutz
(Sturgeon Bay, WI) September 3 – 103 cars packed the pits as “Hot Rod” Todd Polster outlasted “Chargin” Charlie Kroll to take home his first feature of the season in the IMCA Stock Cars at Prestige Yacht Coatings Thunderhill Raceway. Other feature winners were Dan Ratajczak (IMCA Modified), Brad Lautenbach (IMCA Sport Mod), Dave Schmidt (IMCA Hobby Stock), Les Sternard (Street Stock) and Charlie Gross (Four-Cylinders).
Rookie Luke Lemmens and Todd Polster battled for lead early in the Stock Car main event, with Polster powering past Lemmens on lap 3. The top 3 in points would suffer a rough night as Dave Bouche and Greg Gretz ended up in the pits before the night was over and point leader Troy Muench made contact with the turn 1 wall and had a lengthy stop on pit lane, but stayed on the lead lap.
Midway way through the contest Charlie Kroll and Shawn Havel would make their presence felt challenging Polster for the lead. Feeling pressure Polster began to hug the tires which left the top side open and Kroll came motoring by and taking the lead with 8 laps remaining. Polster moved back to the high groove and closed back in on Kroll with Havel in toe. A bobble by Kroll out of turn 4 allowed Polster to retake the lead with 5 laps to go. Havel and Kroll hounded Polster the rest of the way but couldn’t get by as Polster picked up his first win of the season also scoring a clean sweep followed by Havel, Kroll, Jeremy Wiitala and Troy Muench.
Troy Muench was crowned the 2011 IMCA Stock Car champion. Muench is only the second driver to win a title in the Street Stocks and Stock Cars the other is Mike Pierrard.
“The Frog Station Flash” Dan Ratajczak took the lead early and dominated the IMCA Modified feature.
Rookie Cory Cochart and Chris Derenne would lock horns while battling for the lead in the Modifieds bringing out the first caution. Derenne and Cochart would be done for the night, that handed the lead to Evan Madden. Madden would quickly come under attack as Dan Ratajczak powered to the outside taking the lead on lap 3. Ratajczak began to check out leaving the battle for second between Madden and Billy LeMieux.
LeMieux made contact with Madden which sent LeMieux spinning out of turn 4. As LeMieux tried to save the car point leader Jay Matthias had no where to go making heavy contact with LeMieux‘s machine. This sent LeMieux to the pits and Matthias down pit lane with a broken steering box and his night would be over. Ratajczak again pulled away on the restart. Todd Dart would make a late race charge to second but it was all Ratajczak who went on to pick of his third feature of the season by almost a straightaway. Dart second, Eric Mahlik with a Sport Mod took an impressive third, Madden fourth and James Lee Tebon rounded out the top five.
“Big Money” Jay Matthias had just enough of a point cushion over “Felix” Todd Dart to take his second consecutive IMCA Modified title. Matthias becomes only the third driver in the Modifieds to take back to back championships, the other two are Dart and Eugene Gregorich.
Brad Lautenbach worked past Todd Weise to take home his fifth feature win of the year in the IMCA Sport Mods.
Keith Peterson and Todd Weise set the early paces in the Sport Mod feature before Peterson’s racer would slow with a suspension failure bringing out the caution which sent point contender Tyler Hackett to the pits. Todd Weise would have Tom Stark battling on the low groove and Weise worked the high side. As Weise and Stark battled for the lead, point leader Brad Lautenbach marched through the field and with 3 laps to go taking the lead away from Weise and went on to win the feature and score a clean sweep. Stark would sneak by for second, Weise third, Mike Joski fourth from row 6 and Ryan LeMieux fifth from row 7.
With the win Brad Lautenbach picked up the IMCA Sport Mod crown. Not only did he take the Thunderhill title, he also took home championships at Luxemburg Speedway, Seymour Super Speedway as well as the IMCA Sport Mod Wisconsin State title. There’s been five different champions in the five years of the Sport Mods at Thunderhill.
Dave Schmidt lead every lap on his way to his first feature win of the season in the IMCA Hobby Stocks.
Dave Schmidt would jump from row two and set a blistering pace as he pulled away from the rest of his competitors. 2011 Luxemburg Speedway champion Marcus Moede would give chase quickly moving into second. Tom Brumlic made a late race charging moving into third with 5 laps to go. Schmidt would dominate the event winning by over a half a lap. Moede would hold off Brumlic for second, fourth to CJ Weckler and fifth to Travis Hackett.
Brandon Peterson would drive a safe race finishing inside the top 10 and securing his first ever track championship in the IMCA Hobby Stocks.
Tom Brumlic took home the IMCA Hobby Stock Wisconsin State crown.
The “Black Stallion” Les Sternard powered by Kipp Burlo with 5 laps remaining to win the Street Stock feature.
Kipp Burlo would set the early paces of the Street Stock feature before last weeks winner Aaron “The Hammer” Thornton worked by down low taking the lead on lap 4. Thornton’s reign up front wouldn’t last long as his engine would expire 3 laps later. Burlo would inherit the lead but was quickly challenged by 67 year old Les Sternard. Sternard led the final 5 circuits to take home his second feature of the season in the caution free event followed by Burlo, George Paul, Tony Everard and Nick Everard rounded out the top five.
Tony Everard and Geno Sternard came into the night tied for the lead in the Street Stocks. Everard came out on top finishing two spots ahead of Sternard. This is Everard’s first Street Stock title. Everard becomes the first person at Thunderhill to hold titles in the Feisty Fours and Street Stocks.
Charlie Gross battled his son Kasey to the checkers taking home his second feature win of the season in the Feisty Fours.
Calvin Stueck took home his first ever track title taking home top honors in the Feisty Fours.
Thunderhill Raceway would like to thank everyone for their support all season, we wish everyone a quick off season and look forward to seeing you all in 2012.
Thunderhill 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 You can also follow Thunderhill Raceway on Facebook and Twitter.
KELSEY RACING IMCA MODIFIED FEATURE: 1. Dan Ratajczak, Frog Station; 2.Todd Dart, Algoma; 3.Eric Mahlik, Green Bay; 4. Evan Madden, Algoma; 5. James Lee Tebon, Algoma
HEAT 1: Billy LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay
HEAT 2: Madden
ALGOMA MOTORS IMCA STOCK CAR FEATURE: 1. Todd Polster, West Jacksonport; 2. Shawn Havel, Algoma; 3. Charlie Kroll, Forestville; 4. Jeremy Wiitala, Green Bay; 5. Troy Muench, Union
HEAT 1: Bret Koehler, Two Rivers
HEAT 2: Tim Jandrin, Kewaunee
HEAT 3: Polster
BUTCHS AUTO IMCA SPORT MOD FEATURE: 1. Brad Lautenbach, New Franken; 2. Tom Stark, Egg Harbor; 3. Todd Weise, Algoma; 4. Mike Joski, Green Bay; 5. Ryan LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay
HEAT 1: Tyler Hackett, Algoma
HEAT 2: Weise
HEAT 3: Lautenbach
CONSI 1: Jeremy Cota, Oconto Falls
COORS LIGHT IMCA HOBBY STOCK FEATURE: 1. Dave Schmidt, Algoma; 2. Marcus Moede, Algoma; 3. Tom Brumlic, Denmark; 4. C.J. Weckler, Sturgeon Bay; 5. Travis Hackett, Algoma
HEAT 1: Moede
HEAT 2: Schmidt
LACKIE RENTALS STREET STOCK FEATURE: 1. Les Sternard, Sturgeon Bay; 2. Kipp Burlo, Sturgeon Bay; 3. George Paul, Luxemburg; 4. Tony Everard, Green Bay; 5. Nick Everard, Green Bay
HEAT 1: Aaron Thornton, Maplewood
HEAT 2: Jeremy DuBois, Algoma
DENIL AUTO 4 CYLINDER FEATURE: 1. Charlie Gross, Gleason; 2. Kasey Gross, Gleason; 3. Calvin Stueck, Clintonville; 4. Michael Verheyden, Green Bay; 5. Matt Borths, Sturgeon Bay
HEAT 1: Verheyden
4 CYLINDER BACKWARDS RACE: 1. TJ Everard, Green Bay