By Edward Anschutz
(Sturgeon Bay, WI) December 1, 2012 A near capacity crowd packed into The Draft Haus Sports Bar & Grill in Sturgeon Bay for the Prestige Yacht Coatings Thunderhill Raceway 2012 awards ceremony and banquet. Sponsors, drivers, fans and track workers were greeted with several give-a-ways that included 2013 several season grandstand and pit passes. Each driver in attendance received one free pit pass for the upcoming season.
The 1/3 mile clay oval saw 12 total nights with 154 drivers earning points. Of those drivers 36 scored feature wins. All 6 division’s saw new champions, 4 of which earned their first ever track title.
In the Kelsey Racing IMCA Modifieds Algoma’s James Lee Tebon won the title in dominating fashion with a division high 6 feature wins. The championship was the first ever Tebon, who switched over to a Slick Chassis this season. Billy LeMieux of Sturgeon Bay earned his best points finish of his career with second in the standings. Luxemburg’s Scott Derenne also scored a personal best third. Frog Station’s Dan Ratajczak won 3 features taking fourth and former champion Felix Dart of Algoma rounded out the top five. Algoma’s Tyler Hackett scored 2 feature wins on his way to winning Rookie of the Year honors.
Dave Bouche of Algoma took top honors in the Algoma Motors IMCA Stock Car class. It’s Bouche’s first ever IMCA Stock Car title, he also holds a title in the Street Stocks. The chase for the title wasn’t easy as he had to beat out one of the area’s best and defending champion Troy Muench of Union. Bouche bested Muench by a single point when the final checker fell, leaving fans on the edge of their seat the entire night. Green Bay’s Jeremy Wiitala stayed in the title hunt all season long and finished third in points, just 9 markers back of Bouche. Algoma’s Shawn Havel claimed a division best 3 feature wins on his way to fourth place. Former champion Charlie Kroll of Forestville tied Havel in the standings. Algoma’s Marcus Moede took home Rookie of The Year, placing 8th in the standings with 2 heat race wins.
Sturgeon Bay’s hometown ace, Bernie Reinhardt put his name in the record book by winning the Butch‘s Auto IMCA Northern Sport Mod crown with 4 feature wins. With the championship Reinhardt became the first driver to ever win 3 titles in 3 separate divisions at Thunderhill. Jarred VanLaanen of Green Bay led standings early but came up just 4 points short in a bid for the title. This was VanLaanen’s break out season since moving up from the IMCA Hobby Stocks a few years ago, he scored his first open wheel feature win and bested the class with 7 heat race wins. Sturgeon Bay’s Kelsy Hayes also had a solid season scoring her first of 2 feature wins and finished third in the standings 5 markers back of Reinhardt, which made a great battle for the title all season long. Josh Massart of Brussel’s, made a return to driver seat after several years off and placed a solid fourth in the standings. Veteran driver Ricky LeMieux of Sturgeon Bay rounded out the top 5. Last years IMCA Hobby Stock champion Brandon Peterson was the top Rookie in the IMCA Sport Northern Mods.
Denmark’s Tom Brumlic had a banner year in the LaVine’s Ice IMCA Hobby Stocks. Not only did he score his first career title at Thunderhill, he also won the championship at Luxemburg Speedway and earned the IMCA Wisconsin State title for the second year in a row. Casco’s Derek Moede kept Brumlic honest all year and when the dust settled he missed the title by only 3 points. Algoma’s Travis Hackett earned third place in the standings with a division best 5 feature wins. Appleton’s Brittany King had a banner season placing fourth as well as earning Rookie of The Year honors. Second generation driver Amber Weidner of East Maplewood had a solid season and took home fifth.
In the Lackie Rentals Street Stocks, Dennis Weidner of East Maplewood scored his first ever track championship. Weidner had to overcome a lot of racing bad racing luck, that included the use of an back up car several times. Weidner also faces a physical battle behind the wheel of his #44. He was involved in a farming accident years ago that led to the amputation of his left leg below knee down. He scored a feature win opening night and led the points all season. Jimmy Anderson of Forestville kept the pressure on finishing second in the standings just 3 points back of Weidner. Former champion Geno Sternard placed third with 2 feature wins. West Jacksonport driver, Todd Polster ran a partial schedule and still managed a division best 6 feature wins and came home fourth in the standings. Kevin Luedtke of Sturgeon Bay rounded out the top 5 and earned Rookie of the Year.
Former Rookie Joey Scoon of Sturgeon Bay earned his first track title in the Feisty Fours with a division best 4 feature wins.
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