Sunday, November 19, 2017

Race Night Notes #2: C’mon Mother Nature Give Thunder Hill A Break

Thunderhill-SpeedwayMayetta, KS – We have known for the entire month of May that Mother Nature has not been a fan of dirt track racing.

Mother Nature doesn’t like the great side by side racing action, the family fun, the camaraderie or all the action that Thunder Hill Speedway in Mayetta, KS offers. Why do we know this? For the past 3 weeks Mother Nature has won by raining out each and every event.

She didn’t even give fans a chance to get to get to the races and then rain them out. She has kept everyone from even attempting to go.

There are several racers, pit crew members, fans, sponsors and employees that want to get back to the track and enjoy what they have waited on all winter long! This author included.

So what do you say Mother Nature can we call it a truce and let us get back to what we all love? We will patiently wait your answer, thanks!

Close, tight racing at Thunder Hill. Larry Mzhickteno Photo

Close, tight racing at Thunder Hill. Larry Mzhickteno Photo


Mayetta, KS – Mother Nature was the big winner last week at Thunder Hill Speedway. After opening the 2015 season two weeks ago, Thunder Hill Speedway was ready to keep the momentum going last Saturday night but Mother Nature had other plans. Too much water can be a problem for every dirt track in America. Fortunately for Thunder Hill Speedway they will get the chance to get back to business this week, so in honor of the Race Night Notes From Last Week, we will do it again: TAKE TWO!

Thunder Hill Speedway took their time to open the 2015 race season. Most every track started in April in the area, but Thunder Hill Speedway has had a plan since day 1 and last Saturday night was their first step for this year.

This Saturday night, May 16th, Thunder Hill Speedway presents the Belleville Motor Sports Clash On The Hill Weekly Racing Series. In competition this week will be the BSB Manufacturing IMCA Modifieds, Heinen Repair Service IMCA Stock Cars, Bad Boyz Bail Bond IMCA N. Sport Mods and Midwest Vending IMCA Hobby Stocks.

Saturday night’s races will be the 2nd points race of the season for the best of the best in IMCA racing.

Last Saturday night fans starved for racing in the area flocked to Thunder Hill Speedway in search of some great local dirt track racing. The folks at Thunder Hill Speeday and the drivers gave everyone that showed up their money’s worth and then some.

Last Time At Thunder Hill Speedway….

Last week’s races were just the beginning of what is to come from Thunder Hill Speedway all this season. Racing action will be fast and furious.

In the BSB Manufacturing IMCA Modified Feature Steven Bowers Jr. returned to past glory at Thunder Hill Speedway by winning his 1st IMCA race. It wasn’t easy as he had to hold off a hard charging Jordan Grabouski to get the job done. Brandon Conkwright, the 2nd year driver out of Wamego, looked like a seasoned vet as he went flag to flag in winning the Heinen Repair Service IMCA Stock Car Feature. It was a wild and crazy affair in the Bad Boyz Bail Bonds IMCA Northern Sport Mod Feature. Tyler Frye, always a contender, made the long haul to Mayetta and made it worth his while beating Rodger Peck to the flag stand for win #1. Brian Stich has been a mainstay in the Midwest Vending IMCA Hobby Stock division and last week he showed that he still the one to beat again for another season. Austin Umscheid defended his 2014 title in style in the Casey’s General Store IMCA Sport Compact class as he held on to a close win over Scott Spellmeier.

It was a typical opening night with anything and everything all happening at once. Workers, racers and fans did an awesome job representing the sport all night long.

Setting Up This Week’s Championship Story Lines…

BSB Manufacturing IMCA Modifieds

Steven Bowers Jr. scored the win last week. It was good seeing Bowers return to one of his favorite race tracks in the area. The fans were excited to see him in the Pit Pass Liquor Winner’s Circle last Saturday night and after a very tight win over Jordan Grabouski, Bowers earned it.

27 Racers checked in to do battle on opening night. A Qualifying Feature had to be held to set the 24 car field for the main event.

Many drivers could be found moving through the field last Saturday night. Bowers started 10th and won, Grabouski started 19th and won, 4th was Tom Charles who started 13th, Jimmy Hernandez finished 10th after starting 17th. Needless to say there was some passing going on.

The Hard Luck award of the night in this division had to go to Mat Stallbaumer. Stallbaumer, last year’s champ, failed to start the feature. Murphy’s law hit Stallbaumer all night long, this Saturday look for him to come back with a vengeance.

Does anyone ever not expect Jordan Grabouski to be up front? The Beatrice racer started near the back of the field only to jump the start and be sent to the tail of the field. Even with all the cars lined up in front of him, Grabouski almost pulled off the win. Pretty impressive.

Last week’s Modified Feature didn’t get started like it usually does. It took several starts and more than 15 minutes to get going. Can you say pre-race nerves????

It was nice to see some new faces in the class this season. Some racers have moved up into the Modifieds, like Brian Murphy, and some drivers have just returned to racing, like Jimmy Hernandez. It’s great to see everyone coming out and doing that they love for the fans and the sport.

Justin Becker. Reed Bros. Racing Photos

Justin Becker. Reed Bros. Racing Photos

BSB Manufacturing IMCA Modified Driver To Watch This Week:

Justin Becker #70, Holton, KS.

Justin’s night ended badly last week. After being involved in 2 cautions, Becker was sent off the track during last week’s feature. It wasn’t the way that Becker wanted to go out on opening night. Becker is capable of winning races. Over aggressive driving can be attributed to the bad luck that followed Becker. Look for Becker to come back out Saturday night to prove a point, that he is one of the best racers at Thunder Hill Speedway. I am a believer and think that Becker will be somewhere in the top 4 on Saturday night.

Modified Top 10 In Points
Pos Driver Car # City, State Points Behind
1 STEVEN BOWERS JR. 77 TOPEKA KS 40 Leader
2 JORDAN GRABOUSKI 30 BEATRICE NE 39 -1
3 MIKE PETERSILIE 25P HOISINGTON KS 38 -2
4 TOM CHARLES 81 BASEHOR KS 37 -3
5 JESSE RICHTER 8R GREAT BEND KS 36 -4
6 CLAY HALE 22H CAMERON MO 35 -5
7 COREY BURCH 747 JUNCTION CITY 34 -6
8 RANDY WILSON A2 WICHITA KS 33 -7
9 LANCE TOWN 21T LOUISBURG KS 32 -8
10 JIM HERNANDEZ 11H TOPEKA KS 31 -9

2015 Modified Feature Winners:
Steven Bowers Jr.

Heinen Repair Service IMCA Stock Cars

This class turned it up a notch this season and it appears that Brandon Conkwright turned his game up an extra notch. Conkwright led wire to wire last week in getting his 1st Career Win! A memorable moment for sure.

Behind Conkwright last week there was a ton of action going on. Some side by side, three wide, fender grinding action! The fans loved it as well as the drivers that provided it.

One of the best battles of the night on the track could be seen with Matt Haid and last year’s champ, Marvin Griffith Jr. The two went back and forth with each other on several occasions. A little paint got swapped and in the end Haid would take the runner up spot with Griffith finishing 3rd.

Two new faces in the Stock Cars were Modified drivers and brothers; Mat & Kyle Stallbaumer. The night didn’t go well for Kyle. He had a hard time getting a handle on his ride finishing 15th. Mat, on the other hand, had a solid run. He started 10th in the main event and drove all the way up to 4th before running out of time.

A former Hobby Stock driver moving into the Stock Car ranks, Dominic Thyfault, had one of the best looking hot rods. Thyfault might not have finished where he wanted to but more seat time will help out, but also having a good looking car helps too.

Rich Boyden. Reed Bros. Racing Photos

Rich Boyden. Reed Bros. Racing Photos

Heinen Repair Service IMCA Stock Car Driver To Watch This Week:

Rich Boyden #4U, Topeka, KS

Rich Boyden is getting back to his roots of Stock Car racing. Last week he didn’t have the race finish that he wanted, but that’s not everything. There is always a silver lining. I think I picked up on one last week watching Boyden. If you kept an eye on this Topeka racer he took to the high side of the race track and made it work. He picked up a few spots each and every lap. Unfortunately, the bad news for Boyden is that something in the car wasn’t right and he had to pull off. This week something tells me that Boyden is going to break out and have a top 5 finish. Watch and see if I am right!

Stock Car Top 10 In Points
Pos Driver Car # City, State Points Behind
1 BRANDON CONKWRIGHT 24C WAMEGO KS 40 Leader
2 MATT HAID 22 MERIDEN KS 39 -1
3 MARVIN GRIFFITH JR 75M HOLTON KS 38 -2
4 MAT STALLBAUMER M80 TECUMSEH KS 37 -3
5 GREG DETERS 29 CENTRALIA KS 36 -4
6 LEIF WEYER 15 CENTRALIA KS 35 -5
7 BOB ARNOLD A55 SALINA KS 34 -6
8 JUSTIN MERRIMAN 25 ONAGA KS 33 -7
9 BOB TROUTWINE 1N1 TOPEKA KS 32 -8
10 DOMINIC THYFAULT 27 WAKARUSA KS 31 -9

2015 Stock Car Feature Winners:
Brandon Conkwright

Bad Boyz Bail Bonds IMCA N. Sport Mods

Tyler Frye worked his way to another win at Thunder Hill Speedway. Last week’s win was a battle. It took Frye time to dispose of Rodger Peck and then he had to hold off a hard charging Austin Carter.

It was nice to see Rodger Peck back racing again. Peck a former Modified driver took some time off and now is back racing full time this season. A longtime racers of many, many decades can and should provide some more excitement to the Sport Mod class.

What if last week Austin Carter would have gotten through traffic quicker? Carter clearly had a fast ride. He won his heat going away and then finished runner up by a slim margin after starting 11th.

Great job to Jacob Davis last week. Davis started 12th and finished 5th, but all race long he looked like the most improved driver in the class. As a matter of fact he was close to pulling off a 4th place finish but bobbled late and lost the spot.

Fans from decades past might have recognized the paint scheme on the #11 of Tracy Schaefer. Schefer’s blue and yellow design is a throwback to his father, racing legend Galen Schaefer. Schaefer didn’t do to bad last week finishing 7th.

A whopping total of 31 Sport Mods checked in on opening night. Again this class is the most popular class when it comes to competitors and they do a good job of providing excitement on the track too.

Austin Charles. Reed Bros. Racing Photo

Austin Charles. Reed Bros. Racing Photo

Bad Boyz Bail Bonds IMCA N. Sport Mod Driver To Watch This Week:

Austin Charles #81, Basehor, KS.

It’s been a theme with this week’s drivers to watch. Most of them didn’t do very well and will be looking to have a stronger finish this week and Austin Charles is no different. Charles had an outstanding rookie season in the Sport Mods. He has high hopes for improving in 2015 and last week wasn’t the way he wanted to start. Charles had brake problems that forced him out of the race. This week I like his odds on doing better this week. It’s a tough task when you look at all the competition that exists in this class. Each and every week you face a risk that you won’t even make the show! Charles is up for the challenge and look for him to better his output this week.

N. Sport Mod Top 10 In Points
Pos Driver Car # City, State Points Behind
1 TYLER FRYE 55 BELLEVILLE KS 40 Leader
2 AUSTIN CARTER 63C JAMESTOWN KS 39 -1
3 RODGER PECK 9 MINNEAPOLIS KS 38 -2
4 BRYAN RIGSBY 12 TOPEKA KS 37 -3
5 JACOB DAVIS 18 BERRYTON KS 36 -4
6 TAYLOR METZ 30 WASHINGTON KS 35 -5
7 TRACY SCHAEFER 11 TOPEKA KS 34 -6
8 RICKY ABRAMS 17JR TOPEKA KS 33 -7
9 JEFFREY MAURO 74 BERRYTON KS 32 -8
10 KAMRON GRUBER 27G GREAT BEND KS 31 -9

2015 Sport Mod Feature Winners:
Tyler Frye

Midwest Vending IMCA Hobby Stocks

Brian Stich has been the man in the Hobby Stock division at Thunder Hill Speedway. Championships and victories this driver has put together driving at Thunder Hill. Last Saturday night, Stich showed he has no signs of letting up on the competition. Stich battled with Tommy Fose and Shay Simoneau before getting win #1 for 2015. After 4 wins last year, will Stich eclipse that win total this year?

One of the youngest racers at Thunder Hill is an 8th grader at Seaman Jr. High, Koby Minnis. Minnis is not only one of the youngest at the track, he is also a rookie to the racing game. Last week in his 1st race he kept his nose clean and worked on getting better and at the end of the night finished a respectable 13th.

The feature event was possibly one of the best races of the night. The finish between the 1st and 2nd place cars was close, but the action throughout the field was exceptional. Look for more of that kind of racing to continue with them this week.

Midwest Vending IMCA Hobby Stock Driver To Watch This Week:

Travis Burger. Reed Bros. Racing Photos

Travis Burger. Reed Bros. Racing Photos

Travis Burger #6B, Nebraska City, NE

Travis had a strong run on opening night, but he wants more. The Hobby Stock track champion from last season won’t be happy until he gets into victory lane. It was just a year ago that Burger won the championship by winning only 1 feature. His championship run contained a ton of top 5 finishes to propel him to the championship. Trust me when I tell you that he wants to be in the winner’s circle badly. Keep an eye on Burger this weekend. I think he is due for a top spot finish.

Hobby Stock Top 10 In Points
Pos Driver Car # City, State Points Behind
1 BRIAN STICH 21 TOPEKA KS 40 Leader
2 TOMMY FOSE 27 SALINA KS 39 -1
3 SHAY SIMONEAU 22SS DAMAR KS 38 -2
4 TRAVIS BURGER 6B NEBRASKA CITY37 -3
5 TYLER HINRICHS 25 AMERICUS KS 36 -4
6 TYLER GARST 53T TOPEKA KS 35 -5
7 RAYMOND BOSCH 97 EFFINGHAM KS 34 -6
8 JAYLEN WETTENGEL 91J TOPEKA KS 33 -7
9 NICHOLAS RONNEBAUM 7N ONAGA KS 32 -8
10 JERRY MOREHEAD 31J OGDEN KS 31 -9

2015 Hobby Stock Feature Winners:
Brian Stich

Racing this weekend will be more of the great exciting action fans have come to love. Make plans on coming out and having some fun and if you have a friend that has never been to the races, bring the with you. There is nothing like bringing a new fan to the track.

Pit Gates Open At 5:00 p.m., the drivers meeting is at 6:30 p.m. and hot laps and racing follow soon after.

Ticket prices are $10 for Adults, Kids Under 12 are FREE!, Pit Passes are $25.00 and Kids Under 12 are $10.

To follow all of the action fans can keep up with Thunder Hill Speedway action by logging on to their website at http://www.racethunderhillspeedway.com or follow them on Facebook at Thunder Hill Speedway!

Thunder Hill Speedway is located at 11995 142nd Rd, Mayetta, KS.

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