Photos by Dan Lewis Photography (www.danlewisphoto.net)
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by Tom Wagner
(Sturgeon Bay, WI – 6/11/2011) – James Tebon used a late race pass to propel him to his first IMCA Modified feature win of the year Saturday night at Prestige Yacht Coatings Thunderhill Raceway in Sturgeon Bay.
Joining Tebon in victory lane on Door County Fair night were Troy Muench in the IMCA Stock Cars, Eric Arneson in the IMCA Northern Sport Mods, Nick Everard in the Street Stocks and Travis Hackett in the IMCA Hobby Stocks.
Tebon’s win came at the expense of four-time champion Eugene Gregorich, who took command of the headliner at the drop of the green. He worked to a sizeable advantage over the course of the race’s first half, but lost it as caution bunched the field on the 11th lap.
Gregorich maintained the point on the restart with Tebon right behind in second. Tight quarter racing for third between Chris Derenne, Jeremy Jacobs and Todd Dart eventually led to a second late caution as Derenne was sent sliding into the pack, collecting Jared Siefert and point leader Jay Matthias.
Gregorich worked the high line for the final laps, opening the door on the inside for Tebon. The Algoma veteran took advantage, pulling even and squeezing through to the lead with two laps to go.
Gregorich was able to hold off the charging Jacobs for second, with Dart fourth and Dan Ratajczak crossing the line fifth.
Muench took another step closer to his first Thunderhill IMCA Stock Car championship with his fourth win of the season. The final laps proved to be a duel between Muench and Thursday night’s feature winner, Jeremy Wiitala.
Bret Koehler led the first half of the feature, but on the 12th lap, he found himself under assault from two sides. With Wiitala edging past him from the inside, Muench swung to the extreme outside groove. The three-wide sequence through the corner moved Wiitala to the lead with Muench a close second.
Wiitala was able to keep Muench at bay for five more lap before the eventual winner completed the winning pass on the 15th circuit.
Defending co-champ Greg Gretz made a late move to second with five laps to go, but couldn’t reel in Muench to contend for the win. Wiitala completed a successful Fair week with a third place run followed by Koehler and Charlie Kroll, who nipped Shawn Havel at the wire for fifth.
Defending IMCA Northern Sport Mod champ Arneson picked up two points on division leader Brad Lautenbach with his fifth feature win of the season.
After taking the lead from Steve Georgenson on the 8th lap, Bernie Reinhardt appeared to be in position to win his first feature of the year. Reinhardt’s cause was aided by a battle for second involving Georgenson, Randy LeMieux, Jr, Tyler Hackett and Arneson.
Timing was key, as Arneson finally gained the spot on the 15th lap, one lap before a final caution erased Reinhardt’s lead.
Hampered by a broken spring, Reinhardt proved no match for Arneson, who shot to the lead from the inside on the restart.
Hackett followed through to take the second spot, where he eventually finished. A first lap tangle had sent Lautenbach down pit lane under caution, but the point leader fought back to salvage a third place finish, with Reinhardt fourth and LeMieux fifth.
First place was the best place to be in a rugged Street Stock feature, and that’s where Everard stayed after a lap five pass of Kipp Burlo.
Several incidents thinned the field, none of which hindered Everard as he stayed clear of the carnage en route to his second feature win of the season.
A spirted battle for second between Sternards – Geno, Rick and Les – eventually went to Geno, the division’s defending champ and current point leader. Rick finished a career best third.
Veteran Scott Pagels returned to action and carded a solid fourth place run, just ahead of Connor Iverson who scored his first career top five finish.
C.J. Weckler used a three-wide move from the outside through three and four to take the lead on the first lap of the IMCA Hobby Stock feature. Weckler led the field until the 10th lap, when Marcus Moede’s outside pass put him in control.
Moede would hold the top spot for only three circuits, as Hackett split the seams between the lead duo, slicing through to the lead with just two laps to go.
Hackett would motor away to his third win of the season, with Moede holding off division leader Brandon Peterson for second. Tom Brumlic and Eric Micolichek rounded out the top five.
Racing returns to the Raceway Saturday night, highlighted by the rescheduled Packerland Whey IMCA Modified King of the Hill competition. An additional $1,000 dollars has been added to the purse, courtesy of Prestige Yacht Coatings and Paul J. Georgia, CPA, bringing the total count for the added event up to $1,500.
Witt Peninsula Ford Lincoln will host the regular night’s events, with all six of the Raceway’s regular divisions in action.
Prestige Yacht Coatings 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 at 6:00 PM. For more information, visit the track’s website at www.racethunderhill.com.
Thunderhill Raceway Results 8/6/11
IMCA Modified 20 Lap Feature – James Tebon, Algoma: Eugene Gregorich, Kewaunee: Jeremy Jacobs, Luxemburg: Todd Dart, Algoma: Dan Ratajczak, Frog Station: Jared Siefert, Luxemburg
Heat 1 – Chris Derenne, Luxemburg: Ratajczak
Heat 2 – Jay Matthias, DePere: Tebon
IMCA Stock Car 25 Lap Feature – Troy Muench, Namur: Greg Gretz, Kewaunee: Jeremy Wiittala, Green Bay: Bret Koehler, Two Rivers: Charlie Kroll, Forestville: Shawn Havel, Algoma
Heat 1 – Wiitala: Muench
Heat 2 – Kroll: Koehler
IMCA Northern Sport Mod 25 Lap Feature – Eric Arneson, Oconto Falls: Tyler Hackett, Algoma: Brad Lautenbach, New Franken: Bernie Reinhardt, Sturgeon Bay: Steve Georgenson, Sturgeon Bay: Randy LeMieux, Jr, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 1 – Reinhardt: Kelsey Hayes, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 2 – Hackett: Ryan LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 3 – Randy LeMieux: Lautenbach
Street Stock 20 Lap Feature – Nick Everard, Green Bay: Gene Sternard, Sturgeon Bay: Rick Sternard, Egg Harbor: Scott Pagels, Little Sturgeon: Connor Iverson, Sturgeon Bay: Tony Everard, Green Bay
Heat 1 – Ed Anschutz, Kewaunee: Jimmy Anderson, Forestville
Heat 2 – Tony Everard: Nick Everard
Heat 3 – Kipp Burlo, Sturgeon Bay: Mike Sargent, Sturgeon Bay
IMCA Hobby Stock 15 Lap Feature – Travis Hackett, Algoma: Marcus Moede, Algoma: Brandon Peterson, Sturgeon Bay: Tom Brumlic, Denmark: Eric Micolichek, Luxemburg: Amber Weidner, East Maplewood
Heat 1 – C.J. Weckler, Sturgeon Bay: Moede
Heat 2 – Hackett: Rick LuMaye, Sturgeon Bay