Photos by Dan Lewis Photography – www.danlewisphoto.net
(Sturgeon Bay, WI – 5/24/2014) – Shawn Havel raced his way through a tight lead pack en route to a $1,500 payday in the IMCA Stock Car Nathan Bouche Memorial Saturday night at the Thunderhill Raceway in Sturgeon Bay.
It was also a good night at the pay window for Sean Jerovetz who pocketed a $1,000 top prize for his win in the IMCA Modified feature. Other winners on the second night of the 2014 season were Chris Budzban in the IMCA Northern Sport Mods, Billy LeMieux in the Street Stocks and Jeremy Jauquet in the IMCA Hobby Stocks.
In the Stock Cars, while Havel had solid control of the second half of the extended 27 lap feature, the first few laps were anything but. John Anschutz paced the opening laps, the lead man in a tight pack of cars racing two and three wide behind him.
Reminiscent of a lead pack you might see at a NASCAR super speedway, Havel found himself in the middle of a three-wide battle for fourth, with two cars running side by side ahead of him. With virtually nowhere else to run, and little room to move up or down, Havel was forced to stay put in the middle and make the best of the situation.
He was able to move forward from one three-wide contest into the middle of another, eventually breaking free to set his sites on Anschutz. Sweeping outside of the leader, he finished off the final pass a few laps before the midway point, then cruised away to the win.
Charlie Kroll would claim the second spot , but could never mount a serious challenge to Havel. Anschutz scored an impressive third against a very strong field, with Dave Bouche winning a race-long battle with Larry Karcz for fourth. Rick Dix ran a consistent race in the top ten finishing with a solid sixth.
In the Modifieds, Jerovetz was fast out of the gate, sprinting to a sizeable margin before anyone had a chance to challenge. With Jerovetz checking out, focus shifted to Benji LaCrosse who was working his way through the field. He moved into third on the 7th lap, and one lap later passed Greg Gretz for second.
In the distance was Jerovetz as LaCrosse began the attempt to chase him down. Whether or not he would have caught him became a moot point halfway home as the event’s lone caution took care of closing the gap all at once.
The stage was set for a shoot out to the checker, but Jerovetz again took control of the point position. While he wasn’t able to run totally free again, Jerovetz edged forward just far enough that LaCrosse could never quite pull even to make a move.
Gretz never dropped from the third spot, with week one winner Troy Jerovetz finishing strong to take fourth ahead of Todd Dart and Jay Matthias.
Having a large lead wiped away by a caution was a fairly routine procedure for Budzban in the Sport Mods. First, there were three early cautions to contend with – two for crashes and one for debris. Then a couple others later on. But each restart played out the same way; Budzban hitting his marks perfectly and pulling away.
While the win was never in doubt, second place certainly was as Ryan LeMieux and Jarred VanLaanen dueled to the wire with LeMieux coming out on top. Bernie Reinhardt held off Jesse Kroll for fourth with J.J. Anderson rounding out the top six.
Billy LeMieux continued his torrid pace in the Street Stock class, winning for the second straight week, and five out of the last six dating back to last season.
He found himself in familiar territory by the third lap, passing Jimmy Anderson for the lead. He did have one more test before the trophy as Aaron Thornton’s disabled racer stopped the event with five laps to go.
Despite it being his first appearance at the Hill, Paul Diefenthaler was fast all night, and used the ensuing restart to move into second. But as has been the case of late, once LeMieux takes the lead in the class, that’s where he stays.
After an early incident that sent him to the back of the field, Kevin Luedtke battled back for a third place finish ahead of Gene Sternard, Fred Davister and Jeremy Dubois.
As the checker was flying in the Hobby Stock finale, it appeared like Jauquet would not be winning his second straight feature.
Jauquet had been leading the race, inheriting the point after Dave Schmidt was forced to the pits under caution with a tire going down.
But Scott Boulanger passed him with three laps to go and was the first to cross the line. However, Boulanger had issues in post-race tech with unapproved ball joints and tires. The resulting disqualification moved everyone up a notch with Jauquet declared the event’s winner.
Derek Moede raced in the lead trio for the duration, winding up second, with Schmidt coming back from the hard luck break early on to take third.
Travis Lumaye and Amber Weidner turned in strong efforts to place fourth and fifth respectively with C.J. Weckler rounding out the top six.
Week three of the season is up next with Palmer Johnson of Sturgeon Bay hosting the show.
Thunderhill Raceway is located at the John Miles Fair Park on Sturgeon Bay’s east side, with racing in five 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 5/24/2014
Olson Fabrication Nathan Bouche Memorial IMCA Stock Car 27 Lap Feature – Shawn Havel, Algoma; Charlie Kroll, Forestville; John Anschutz, Forestville, Dave Bouche, Algoma; Larry Karcz, Jr, Pulaski; Rick Dix, Green Bay
Semi-Feature – Jeremy Anschutz, Brussels; Josh Mroczkowski, Krakow; Tony Bouche, Algoma; John Adams, Denmark
Heat 1 – Kroll; Luke Lemmens, Kewaunee
Heat 2 – Bret Koehler, Two Rivers; Dylan Heilmann, Green Bay
Heat 3 – Dave Bouche; Karcz
Heat 4 – Jaime Suchocki, Forestville; Rod Snellenberger, Pulaski
Kelsey Racing IMCA Modified 20 Lap Feature – Sean Jerovetz, Sobieski; Benji LaCrosse, Green Bay; Greg Gretz, Kewaunee; Troy Jerovetz, Green Bay; Todd Dart, Algoma; Jay Matthias, DePere
Heat 1 – Troy Jerovetz, LaCrosse
Heat 2 – James Tebon, Algoma; Gretz
Heat 3 – Sean Jerovetz; Dart
LaVines’s Ice IMCA Northern Sport Mod 18 Lap Feature – Chris Budzban, Luxemburg; Ryan LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay; Jarred VanLaanen, Green Bay; Bernie Reinhardt, Sturgeon Bay; Jesse Kroll, Algoma; J.J. Anderson, Pulaski
Heat 1 – Budzban; Dennis Miesler, Luxemburg
Heat 2 – Reinhardt; VanLaanen
Heat 3 – Ryan LeMieux; Rick LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay
Reese’s Auto Body Street Stock 15 Lap Feature – Billy LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay; Paul Diefenthaler, Manitowoc; Kevin Luedtke, Sturgeon Bay; Gene Sternard, Sturgeon Bay; Fred Davister, Sugarbush; Jeremy Dubois, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 1 – LeMieux; Dubois
Heat 2 – Aaron Thornton, Maplewood; Diefenthaler
Lackie Rental & Remodeling IMCA Hobby Stock 15 Lap Feature – Jeremy Jauquet, Green Bay; Derek Moede, Casco; Dave Schmidt, Casco; Travis Lumaye, Forestville; Amber Weidner, East Maplewood; C.J. Weckler, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 1 – Moede; Scott Boulanger, Luxemburg
Heat 2 – Jauquet; Weckler