By Edward Anschutz
(Sturgeon Bay, WI) August 24 – As the 2011 season draws to a close, pressure is at an all time high for teams challenging for titles at Prestige Yacht Coatings Thunderhill Raceway. With only 2 point nights left teams will be burning the midnight oil checking every nut and bolt to make sure their race cars are ready for the final push as we get set to crown champions in all 6 divisions.
In the Kelsey Racing IMCA Modifieds, Jay Matthias sits atop the standings holding a 9 point edge over Todd Dart. Dart is a former Champion and holds 6 Mod titles. Matthias captured his first career title last season and is looking to repeat. Since the track reopened in 1993 Todd Dart and Eugene Gregorich are the only drivers to have ever went back to back in the Modifieds. Third in points sits 2004 Champion, Jeremy Jacobs who is 16 markers back. Dan Ratajczak and James Lee Tebon sit tied for the 3rd spot 23 points behind Matthias.
Dart leads the division with 3 feature wins, Ratajczak and Jacobs have 2, Matthias and Tebon each have 1 win.
Troy Muench holds the biggest lead of all the divisions, holding a 26 point edge over defending Champion Greg Gretz in the Algoma Motors IMCA Stock Cars. Last years Rookie of The Year Jeremy Wiitala sits 3rd 34 points back. Dave Bouche sat 2nd in the standings for most of the season before mechanical failures have dropped him to 4th 36 points back. Muench holds a title in the Street Stocks which came in 2003 and last year Muench took home the Stock Car title at Luxemburg Speedway. Wiitala holds titles in the Bombers (2001)and Street Stocks (2009). Bouche was the 1996 Street Stock Champion.
Muench also holds the most feature wins in any class taking the checkers 6 times, Gretz has 3 and Wiitala has 1.
The tightest points battle comes in the Butch’s Auto IMCA Sport Mods where Brad Lautenbach holds a 6 point edge over defending Champion Eric Arneson. Tyler Hackett sits 3rd just 11 markers back of the leader. Lautenbach is eyeing his first ever career title and also holds the lead in the IMCA Wisconsin State points and currently sits 6th in the IMCA National points. Arneson is a former Luxemburg Speedway and IMCA Wisconsin State Champion.
Arneson leads the division with 5 feature wins, Lautenbach has 4 and Hackett has 2.
A first time Champion will be crowned in the Coors Light IMCA Hobby Stocks. With Luke Lemmens heading to the IMCA Stock Cars it left the door wide open for another driver to take home their first crown.
Brandon Peterson who was the runner up last season, holds a slim 7 point lead over veteran racer Tom Brumlic. C.J. Weckler has been a model of consistency and sits 3rd in the standings 11 points back. Brumlic is currently leading the IMCA Wisconsin State points.
Fresh off a feature win Brumlic leads the class in wins with 4, Peterson has 3. Peterson has the most points of all the 6 divisions and has averaged a 3rd place finish.
Defending Champion Geno Sternard leads the standing in the Lackie Rentals and Remodeling Street Stocks. Geno suffered a suspension failure Saturday night on the last lap and allowed Tony Everard to tighten the points battle. Everard now only sits 2 points back. Each driver has led the standings this season and looks as though the title will come down to the final lap of the season. Everard is in his second year of the Street Stocks after taking home 3 consecutive titles in the Feisty Four-Cylinders (05‘, 06’ 07’). Les Sternard has held his share of the point lead for much of the season but mechanical issues have pushed him back to 3rd 30 points out. Les came out of retirement at the tender age of 65 years young and raced sparingly the last couple years before running a full season in 2011, he is also the only driver to take points this season that has raced at the old Door County Speedway back in the 70’s.
Geno leads the class with 5 feature wins, Les has 1 win. Though Everard has no feature wins he has averaged a top 5 finish every week.
Calvin Stueck is eyeing his first career Championship in the Denil Auto & Trucking Feisty Four-Cylinders. Stueck currently holds a 9 point edge over Casey Gross and an 15 point edge over last years Rookie of The Year, Joey Scoon. Gross has 2 titles to his credit at Tomahawk Speedway (09’ &10’).
Stueck leads the class with 5 feature wins, Scoon has 2 and Gross picked up his first win of the season last Saturday.
For a complete list of 2011 event please visit the track’s website at www.racethunderhill.com 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. IMCA Modified, IMCA Stock Car, IMCA Northern Sport Mod, IMCA Hobby Stock, Street Stock and Feisty Fours in action. Pit gates open at 3:30 P.M. racing starts at 6:00 P.M. You can also follow Thunderhill Raceway on Facebook and Twitter.