Photos by Dan Lewis Photography – www.danlewisphoto.net
(Sturgeon Bay, WI — 7/30/2014) There may not be a way to prove it, but race fans may have witnessed a bit of history Wednesday night as the Thunderhill Raceway’s five division program kicked off grandstand festivities at the 2014 Door County Fair in Sturgeon Bay.
Tyler Hackett in the IMCA Modifieds, Jaime Suchocki in the IMCA Stock Cars, Cody Rass in the IMCA Northern Sport Mods, Street Stocker Billy LeMieux and IMCA Hobby Stock point leader Jeremy Jauquet proved to be feature winners on what may have been the fastest paced night of racing ever at the fairgrounds race track.
A grand total of two cautions — one in the Modified feature, the other in the Stock Car feature — were the only delays in the action, with threatening weather at the Raceway’s doorstep for most of the night.
Not counting a Sport Mod heat that did end under caution because of a last lap spin, the first stoppage of an event that was under green didn’t come until the Modified feature late in the program. It came before the first lap could be scored as Greg Gretz slipped free in the fourth turn.
After that, the Mods clicked off 15 quick laps on the smooth & fast racing surface without further incident.
Hackett proved to be the pacesetter for the duration, holding point leader and seven time winner Todd Dart at bay for most of the event.
Dart took second from Gretz on the fifth lap, and with ten to go, seemingly would have plenty of time to catch Hackett and challenge for the lead. But Hackett had other ideas, maintaining a six to eight car length advantage to the checker en route to his first feature win of the season.
The other feature caution was a bit more dramatic. Mike Wietor jumped from his front row starting spot to claim the lead as the IMCA Stock Cars took the green. Wietor looked comfortable running the outside line for the first couple laps, but on the third circuit, he slid sideways through fourth turn, crossing down into rush hour traffic.
The first few cars avoided trouble — most of the middle of the pack did not. The first hit came from 2-time feature winner Bret Koehler, who had nowhere to go as Wietor slid down in front of him. The ensuing hard contact started a chain reaction collision with five more cars sliding into the fray; including front runners Rod Snellenberger and Scott Reinhardt.
Miraculously, all seven cars were able to drive away, even the battered Wietor machine.
With Wietor retired for the night, Tom Brumlic inherited the lead as the green flag flew again.
Brumlic’s stay in the penthouse was brief as Dylan Heilmann shot from the outside of the second row to claim the lead on the restart. Action behind him was intense, as anywhere from six to eight cars ran in a tight pack behind him jockeying for position.
Suchocki and Brumlic raced side by side for seven laps, up to the race’s midpoint, before the eventual winner was finally able to secure the spot and set sail for the leader. With five laps to go, he caught Heilmann, and it was back to side by side racing, this time for the point.
It took a full lap, but Suchocki was able to edge past into the lead, then pace the final four laps to his first feature win of the year.
Title contenders Shawn Havel and Dave Bouche used late charges to surge by Heilmann into second and third respectively. Snellenberger rebounded from the early wreck to battle back to a fifth place finish.
There were no late race dramatics to be found in the IMCA Northern Sport Mod feature as the event could have been subtitled the Cody Rass show.
Rass took the lead on the first lap — and that — was pretty much that. He pulled away to a commanding advantage, and without any cautions to bunch up the field, was never seriously challenged on the way to his third feature win of the season.
Josh Massart had second to himself for most of the way, until Ryan LeMieux’s late charge gained him the position on the last lap. The pass was important, as it allowed him to pull within three points of division leader Chris Budzban who finished fourth.
Billy LeMieux is no stranger to dominant wins in 2014, and his 6th Street Stock victory was no exception to that. Working to the inside of Fred Davister on the third lap, LeMieux took command and breezed home from that point.
While the win was never in doubt, second place was, as Mike Sargent, Jeremy Dubois, Kevin Luedtke, Geno Sternard and Davister were all in the hunt until the checker.
Luedtke eventually prevailed, and with Sternard finishing behind him in third, was able to pull within a single marker of the former class champ for the point lead.
Top spot in the Hobby Stocks did change hands as Jauquet recorded his fifth feature win of the season. Marcus Moede held the lead for a single lap, but from that point on, the spotlight belonged to Jauquet.
Moede held off Dave Schmidt at the wire to finish second, matching his best finish of the year so far. Derek Moede posted a fourth place run. Good, but not good enough to hold the point lead over Jauquet.
It’s back to Saturday night racing on August 9th as Quietwoods RV Sales and Service will host the show. The Raceway’s regular divisions will be in action, with the annual Trailer Race of Destruction slated to cap off the program.
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 7/30/2014
Kelsey Racing IMCA Modified 15 Lap Feature: Tyler Hackett, Algoma; Todd Dart, Algoma; Greg Gretz, Kewaunee; James Tebon, Algoma; T.J. Smith, Menasha; Tyler DeBouche, Suamico
Heat: Tebon; Gretz
Olson Fabrication IMCA Stock Car 20 Lap Feature: Jaime Suchocki, Forestville; Shawn Havel, Algoma; Dave Bouche, Algoma; Dylan Heilmann, Green Bay; Rod Snellenberger, Pulaski; Josh Mroczkowski, Krakow
Heat 1: Billy LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay; Mike Wietor, Green Bay
Heat 2: Mroczkowski; Suchocki
Heat 3: Heilmann; Tony Bouche, Algoma
LaVine’s Ice IMCA Northern Sport Mods 20 Lap Feature: Cody Rass, Sturgeon Bay; Ryan LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay; Josh Massart, Forestville; Chris Budzban, Luxemburg; Randy LeMieux, Jr, Sturgeon Bay; Josh Lambert, Casco
Heat 1: Randy LeMieux; Lambert
Heat 2: Rass; Jarred VanLaanen, Green Bay
Reese’s Auto Body Street Stock 15 Lap Feature: Billy LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay; Kevin Luedtke, Sturgeon Bay; Geno Sternard, Sturgeon Bay; Mike Sargent, Sturgeon Bay; Jeremy Dubois, Sturgeon Bay; Dan Juszczyk, Sobieski
Heat 1: Fred Davister, Sugarbush; Luedtke
Heat 2: Sargent; Dubois
Lackie Rental & Remodeling IMCA Hobby Stock 15 Lap Feature: Jeremy Jauquet, Green Bay; Marcus Moede, Algoma; Dave Schmidt, Casco; Derek Moede, Casco; Travis Lumaye, Brussels; Amber Weidner, East Maplewood
Heat 1: Derek Moede; Lumaye
Heat 2: Marcus Moede; Jauquet