By Edward Anschutz
(Sturgeon Bay, WI) April 8, 2014 – With the WDOR season opener on Saturday April 26 fast approaching, race teams scamper ready their race machines. It’s that time of the year where the shop lights stay on a little longer and cases of beer become payment for the crews to keep pushing to finish the race cars. Drivers will have a whole new ball game at Thunderhill Raceway so to speak with the track receiving a complete over haul that included the track being completely reshaped, recut banking and brand new clay which will provide some awesome 3-wide racing. The test and tune on April 19 could give those drivers the upper hand on the new track layout.
In the Kelsey Racing IMCA Modifieds it’s been James Lee Tebon leading the field the past two seasons with back to back championships. Rookie of Year and multiple feature winner Greg Gretz could be one of many drivers to challenge Tebon’s bid for a 3-peat. Despite a late start Gretz came home second in the standings last season. Sean Jerovetz will make his return; he’s no stranger to success at the Hill with a 1997 Stock Car crown. He has also earned several track titles in the Modifieds the last couple seasons. You can never count out the king of the Modifieds, Felix Dart who is a threat anytime he pulls in the back gate. “The General” Troy Jerovetz is fresh off a runner up points finish at the Oshkosh Speedzone also plans to chase his first title at Thunderhill. Last year saw several drivers show up to chase big money races, this year will bring the same. Watch out for guys like former Sport Mod champ Eric “Chummy” Arneson, former National Champ Benji LaCrosse, former King of The Hill winner Tim Czarneski, former Hill champion Jared Siefert and Slick Modified Chassis builder Russ Reinwald.
The Olson Fabrication IMCA Stock Cars have defending champion Dave Bouche eyeing a first ever 3-peat in the division. Last year’s bridesmaid Shawn Havel, will have a Wolfe Racing chassis at his disposal in the attempt to win his first track title. John Anschutz, Scott Reinhardt and Jeremy Anschutz had their best points finish and will look to unseat Bouche. A sleeper in the bunch could be Bret Koehler who will be wheeling a brand new Medieval Chassis. Jamie Suchocki had one of his best seasons to date, with a little luck he could lay claim to the throne. Add in drivers like Charlie Kroll, Billy LeMieux Tom Brumlic, Jeremy Wiitala, Dennis Weidner, Troy Muench, Tony Bouche and it’s clear to see why they call this class, too tough to tame.
Bernie Reinhardt has been the man to beat in the LaVine’s Ice IMCA Sport Mods. Reinhardt has won the title the past two seasons but it wasn’t easy. Last year’s title chase came down to the final laps of the feature where he’d clinch it by a mere 2 points over “The Kid” Randy LeMieux Jr. LeMieux Jr. will once again drive for car owner “TC” Terry Conlon. Their team will battle for the crown in 2014. Jarred VanLaanen has been in the title hunt the last 2 seasons but has fallen just short when the final checker flew. JVL is desperate for that first title in his Harris Chassis. Josh Massart was one of the hottest drivers at the end of the season with multiple heat and feature wins. Massart has the pedigree and heritage to win the title. Cody Raas, Jacob Zellner, Kelsy Hayes, Dennis Miesler, Rick LeMieux, Ryan LeMieux and Martin Kelsey will challenge for wins with hopes of working up the points ladder.
Scott Boulanger was the man to beat last year in the Lackie Rentals IMCA Hobby Stocks. Despite a dominate championship season Boulanger had his hands full of Derrick Moede. Moede will once again stand ready to chase down Boulanger. Former Luxemburg Speedway champ Marcus Moede will make his return to the division and will join his brother Derrick in the title hunt. Former Hill champ Joe Hegnet, Amber Weidner, CJ Weckler, Dave Schmidt and Eric Micolichek will be in the mix.
The Reese’s Auto & Body Shop Street Stock title will be up for grabs as defending champ Keith Kickbusch is not planning on racing full time Saturday nights. The Street Stocks grew leaps and bounds over the last two seasons and this could be the best in recent history. Billy LeMieux tied for second in the standings last year and led the class in feature wins. He either won or broke. Kevin Luedtke had his best season to date tying LeMieux for that runner up spot. Look for those two drivers to be the front runners. Jeremy DuBois, Todd Wagner, Mike Sargent, Geno Sternard, Von Eytcheson and Joey Scoon will be nipping at their heels.
Drivers and schedule subject to change. Drivers will be chasing $20,000 in contingencies in 2014.