Photos by Dan Lewis Photography – www.danlewisphoto.net
By Tom Wagner
(Sturgeon Bay, WI – 7/4/2014) – As he pulled into the pits by himself, Scott “Scooter” Boyea was simply hoping for the best.
Without a pit crew, a night without issues and a safe journey back to the trailer after the feature might be the definition of a good night. As it turned out, his evening turned out significantly better than that.
Boyea scored the most lucrative win of his career, taking home a $1,500 paycheck with a victory in the IMCA Northern Sport Mod, John Soukup Memorial, at the Thunderhill Raceway in Sturgeon Bay Friday night.
Boyea shared the spotlight with four other feature winners on the night; Todd Dart in the IMCA Modifieds, Shawn Havel in the IMCA Stock Cars, Dave Schmidt in the IMCA Hobby Stocks and Von Eytcheson in the Street Stocks.
A one time regular at the Hill in the Modified class, Boyea was one of several visiting teams chasing the area’s highest Sport Mod payout of the year. The list of new faces included former Oshkosh Sport Mod champ Todd Wiese, who established himself early as the man to beat.
From his front row starting spot, Wiese jumped to two sizeable leads, but both times he had to start from scratch due to cautions back in the pack.
After the second restart, Wiese wasn’t able to match his early success, as he couldn’t shake free from Chris Budzban. The Thunderhill co-points leader established the inside line, taking control of the lead on the 13th lap. Two laps later, Boyea entered the fray by passing Wiese for second, and the stage was set for a dramatic run to the finish.
Budzban held the point through the middle third of the 40 lap headliner with Boyea racing right in his shadow. With 13 laps to go, Jason Maccoux bounced off the front stretch wall, bringing out the races’s final caution.
The ensuing restart and race to the checker provided perhaps the best feature finish in recent memory. First it was three-wide for the lead, with Budzban on the low line, Boyea on top, and Wiese getting back in the hunt sandwiched in the middle. After a couple of laps, Wiese drifted back slightly, and it became a two car battle; back and forth. Boyea would be scored the leader one lap, Budzban the next.
On the final corner of the final lap, Boyea made a last ditch run from the outside to cross the line in front by less than a quarter of a car length.
Not far behind the lead trio at the finish was Randy LeMieux, Jr, capping a great run from his 6th row starting spot.
Not to be outdone, the IMCA Stock Cars followed the Sport Mods with a tight finish of their own.
Once again, it was three cars in the mix right down to the finish; Havel, Billy LeMieux and Troy Muench.
After a restart with five laps to go, Muench worked the bottom with LeMieux and Havel to his outside. With a bit more momentum, LeMieux was able to edge past Muench into the lead. Havel followed, and had just enough clearance to change lanes, diving to the inside in front of Muench.
Again it came down to the final corner of the final lap. LeMieux appeared to have the race won from the outside, but Havel conjured up a late surge underneath him to squeak into the lead at the wire by a matter of inches.
Things were a little simpler for Dart as he motored away to his fifth straight Modified feature win. He shot outside of leader Greg Gretz on the 7th lap and then easily cruised away to the checker.
Gretz continued on unchallenged for second, followed by former Sport Mod champ Eric Arneson and Tyler Hackett.
Eytcheson was one of several Street Stockers poised to claim the bounty on 4-time winner Billy LeMieux. But for the third straight week, LeMieux wasn’t around when the checkers were flying, as his night ended midway through the feature on pit lane with the hood off.
Eytcheson would go on to pass leader Mike Conard en route to his second feature win of the season. Geno Sternard matched his best finish of the year with a third place run. Kevin Luedtke raced back from an early spin to place fifth behind Paul Diefenthaler, taking over the division point lead from LeMieux in the process.
The Hobby Stocks ended the night with a good duel of their own. Schmidt took the lead from Amber Weidner on the third lap, and was chased the entire way by Scott Boulanger.
Boulanger stayed close up to the checker, but could never gain the preferred line, as Schmidt held on for his second win of the season.
It’s back to Saturday night racing this week as the Raceway will host the Terry Simon Memorial race, postponed from earlier in the year. Street Stocks will be featured as it’s the division’s turn to compete for the annual King of the Hill honors.
Thunderhill Raceway is located at the John Miles Fair Park on Sturgeon Bay’s east side, with racing in five divisions Saturday nights through the summer at 6:00 PM. For more information, visit the track’s website at www.racethunderhill.com.
Thunderhill Raceway Results 7/4/2014
LaVines’s Ice IMCA Northern Sport Mod 40 Lap John Soukup Memorial Feature – Scott Boyea, Abrams; Chris Budzban, Luxemburg; Todd Wiese, Green Bay; Randy LeMieux, Jr, Sturgeon Bay; Jesse Kroll, Algoma; Cody Schroeder, Manitowoc
Last Change Qualifier – Jason Maccoux, Sturgeon Bay; Derek Kaye, Green Bay; Josh Massart, Forestville; Kevin Bethke, Neenah
Heat 1 – Wiese; Jacob Zellner, New Franken
Heat 2 – Jarred VanLaanen, Green Bay; Cody Rass, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 3 – Kroll; Hunter Parsons, Green Bay
Kelsey Racing IMCA Modified 15 Lap Feature – Todd Dart, Algoma; Greg Gretz, Kewaunee; Eric Arneson, Oconto Falls; Tyler Hackett, Algoma; Mark Joski, Denmark; Chris Pepin, Escanaba, MI
Heat 1 – Dart; Hackett
Olson Fabrication IMCA Stock Car 20 Lap Feature – Shawn Havel, Algoma: Billy LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay; Troy Muench, Namur; John Anschutz, Forestville; Jeremy Wiitala, Green Bay; Mark Schuenemann, Boulder Junction
Heat 1 – Havel; LeMieux
Heat 2 – Anschutz; Dave Bouche, Algoma
Reese’s Auto Body Street Stock 15 Lap Feature – Von Eytcheson, Forestville; Mike Conard, Whitelaw; Geno Sternard, Sturgeon Bay; Paul Diefenthaler, Manitowoc; Kevin Luedtke, Sturgeon Bay; Jimmy Anderson, Forestville
Heat 1 – Anderson; Eytcheson
Heat 2 – James Dahlstrom, Greenleaf; Jeremy Dubois, Forestville
Lackie Rental & Remodeling IMCA Hobby Stock 15 Lap Feature – Dave Schmidt, Casco; Scott Boulanger, Luxemburg; Jeremy Jauquet, Green Bay; Derek Moede, Casco; Marcus Moede, Algoma; Amber Weidner, East Maplewood
Heat 1 – Boulanger; Jauquet
Heat 2 – Schmidt; Travis Lumaye, Forestville