HISTORIC NIGHT FOR LEMIEUX
Posted under Race Reports on July 30th, 2015
(Sturgeon Bay, WI – 7/29/2015)
Chances are, Billy LeMieux will long remember the last week of July, 2015.
After winning two features on Sunday, he came back to repeat the feat Wednesday night as Thunderhill Raceway’s program shifted to midweek to open the Door County Fair.
Joining LeMieux in victory lane on the night were Tyler Hackett in the Modifieds, Randy LeMieux, Jr in the Sport Mods, Travis LuMaye in the Hobby Stocks and Nathan Delsart in the Thunder Trucks.
Winning two features in a night is a slick trick on its own, but four features in a single week had never been done in track history.
LeMieux started the drive to four in the Street Stock headliner. While point leader James Dahlstrom has been his main nemesis on the year, Wednesday featured the return to the track of regular announcer Ed Anschutz, always a threat to win when he puts down the mic to race. But getting to the track late meant he had to start at the back of the feature field.
Three time 4 cylinder champ Tony Everard took the lead at the drop of the green, with a wild melee erupting one lap later. Heavy contact between Michael Wagner and Chris Konitzer sent cars scattering, but the seas parted for Anschutz as he snuck through quickly to fifth.
LeMieux shot to the inside of Everard for the lead on the second lap with Anschutz tucked behind him The question of whether or not Anschutz could corral LeMieux was answered quickly as the latter set sail and cruised to an uncontested win, his fifth of the season in the Streets.
Anschutz held second comfortably over a third place finishing Everard. Next came Jimmy Anderson, the best of five cars battling for the fourth spot to the wire. Clint Evans was rewarded with a fifth place finish in his second visit to The Hill.
LeMieux was back in the IMCA Stock Cars one race later to go for his second daily double in four days.
The early lead was a toss-up for three laps with John Anschutz, Kevin Luedtke and David Reinhardt all in the hunt. Anschutz would eventually win out on lap three, but his stay there was short, as LeMieux worked by him on the inside three laps later.
Different car, same script, as LeMieux again set sail from the field. Division leader Dave Bouche settled into second on lap nine. He needed a caution to close the gap on LeMieux, and got it when Jeremy Anschutz slowed to a stop with five to go.
But the restart delivered more of the same, with LeMieux again running untouched to the checker. Bouche took another step toward a potential fourth straight championship with his second place run ahead of Dylan Heilmann. Scott Reinhardt and Tony Bouche rounded out the top five.
Sandwiched between Billy’s victories, was the Sport Mod feature, with his cousin Randy LeMieux, Jr stealing a share of the feature winning spotlight.
Vince Engebretsen appeared to be headed to the second win of his rookie season. He held a comfortable edge on LeMieux and Bernie Reinhardt just past the half-way mark. But the story line changed with seven laps to go.
Jeff Lautenbach was in line for his best finish to date, but spun in the second turn while running fourth. The ensuing caution set up a restart; and a bit of drama.
As the leaders completed the next lap in a tight pack down the front stretch, Engebretsen and LeMieux touched, with Engebretsen ending up in a slide. He made the save, bouncing through infield and back to the track in third place. The off-road adventure took its toll, as he eventually dropped from the event.
Up front, LeMieux was chased to the checker by Tom Stark, who had a few shots at the lead but could never quite pull off the pass. While LeMieux was able to fend off Stark en route to his first win of the season, he was only able to chop two points off the lead of Chris Budzban in the standings. The defending champ made steady progress through the main, crossing the line third.
Jacob Zellner and Sunday night winner Jarred VanLaanen completed the top five.
Modified veteran Eric Scribner made his second straight appearance at The Hill, and looked to be in position to capture his first win.
The trio of leader Greg Gretz, Scribner and Hackett raced in close quarters until a late caution opened the door for Scribner to slip inside and take over the top spot. Hackett followed into second, but although close, Scribner had command of the fast line and Hackett couldn’t squeeze below him.
That changed with two to go as Scribner made a rare mistake, sliding too high through the second turn. Now with plenty of room below, Hackett pulled even, and away, to his seventh feature win of the season.
The Hobby Stock feature was a bit of a survival test with two multi-car tangles in the first turn. Up front, LuMaye took the lead from Jeff Krauel on lap four.
One of the early incidents involved title contender Dave Schmidt, who was forced to pit under green, returning two laps down. Ford Malvitz was racing LuMaye for the lead as Schmidt raced his way forward, eventually ending up between the two lead lap cars.
With Schmidt below him, Malvitz had no choice but to swing wide on the final lap to try and pass LuMaye. The effort came up short, and LuMaye would lead the field to the feature checker for the first time in his career.
Dean Anhalt was in the hunt for the lead early, eventually settling for third. Krauel turned in his best performance to date, placing fourth ahead of C.J. Weckler.
All three trucks on the track ended up in about the same place at about the same time in the Thunder Truck feature. Leader Nick LeMieux had led to the half-way point, but contact popped a tire ending his bid for a feature win.
Delsart would take command at that point, holding off Tory Peterson the rest of way.
Sunday night August 9th, S&B Trailers will host the Terry Simon Memorial, postponed from earlier in the season. Mayhem will also be on the card, as the annual Trailer Race of Destruction will close out the show. The first green flag will fly at 5:30 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 7/29/2015
Rouer’s Grand Slam IMCA Stock Car 18 Lap Feature: Billy LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay; Dave Bouche, Algoma; Dylan Heilmann, Green Bay; Scott Reinhardt, Baileys Harbor; Tony Bouche, Algoma; Jaime Suchocki, Forestville
Heat 1: LeMieux; Heilmann
Heat 2: Reinhardt; Jeremy Anschutz, Sturgeon Bay
Kelsey Racing IMCA Modified 18 Lap Feature: Tyler Hackett, Algoma; Eric Scribner, Kiel; Greg Gretz, Kewaunee; Tyler DeBouche, Green Bay; Andy Kleczka, Suamico
Heat: Gretz; Scribner
LaVine’s Ice IMCA Northern Sport Mods 18 Lap Feature: Randy LeMieux, Jr, Sturgeon Bay; Tom Stark, Egg Harbor; Chris Budzban, Luxemburg; Jacob Zellner, New Franken; Jarred VanLaanen, Green Bay; Cody Rass, Sturgeon Bay
Heat1: Vince Engebretsen, Green Bay; Stark
Heat 2: Jeff Lautenbach, Sturgeon Bay; VanLaanen
Reese’s Auto Body Street Stock 18 Lap Feature: Billy LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay; Ed Anschutz, Kewaunee; Tony Everard, Green Bay; Jimmy Anderson, Forestville; Clint Evans; Phil Faustini, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 1: James Dahlstrom, Greenleaf; Anderson
Heat 2: LeMieux; Everard
Lackie Rental & Remodeling IMCA Hobby Stock 18 Lap Feature: Travis LuMaye, Forestville; Ford Malvitz, Sturgeon Bay; Dean Anhalt, Mishicot; Jeff Krauel, Sturgeon Bay: Marcus Moede, Algoma; C.J. Weckler, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 1: Weckler; Justin Hartel, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 2: Malvitz; Anhalt
Thunder Truck 9 Lap Feature: Nathan Delsart, Egg Harbor; Tory Peterson, Sturgeon Bay; Nick LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay
Heat: LeMieux; Delsart