Saturday, January 20, 2018

Don Garst Race Returns To Thunder Hill On Memorial Weekend

By Troy Harrison – As Thunder Hill Speedway prepares for Saturday night’s edition of the Xtreme Motorsports Clash on the Hill, track officials, racers, and fans are already looking forward to Saturday night, May 19, when the annual Don Garst Memorial takes place.

The Garst Memorial is Thunder Hill’s longest running special event, held in memory of the track’s first-ever flagman, Don Garst. Racers across the Midwest, this writer included, have fond memories of the man who was a friend to nearly everyone he met, and who was also one of the best short-track flagmen in the area. Part of the way Don is remembered is by the Garst family, and others, putting up extra money for the class purses.

The BSB IMCA Modified Memorial Feature, therefore, will pay $1000 to win. The rest of the purse will rotate down one spot; second place will pay the $450 that the regular weekly feature winner is paid, and so on. The feature for the IMCA Hobby Stocks will pay $600; second place will pay the $140 normal weekly winner’s share, and on down. has added purse money to the Heinen Repair Service IMCA Stock Car feature, as well. The feature winner in this class will take home $425. The rest of the payout will remain the same as a normal weekly event. The Kansas National Guard IMCA Northern SportMods will compete for their regular weekly purse, and the IMCA Sport Compacts will have May 19 as an off night.

For this Saturday night, the biggest question may be, “Who can beat Kyle Vanover in the Stock Car division, and when will it happen?” The Beatrice driver, last year’s Track Champion in the Heinen Repair IMCA Stock Cars, has been unbeaten, untied, and un-scored-upon in the 2012 season. Since winning the Fool’s Day Meltdown feature, Vanover has also taken the checkered in
both Clash on the Hill features. Vanover’s streak won’t continue, but it
will be a dogfight to see who can beat him.

Tom “The Rooster” Charles took the checkered in the BSB IMCA Modified feature last week, and this division promises heavy competition for the Bonner Springs veteran. Nic Bidinger has shown the speed to be a big winner in 2012, but hasn’t quite gotten to Victory Lane. The 2010 Track Champion, Jeff Herbers, gave Charles a good run last week and could well find himself taking the cash this week as well.

Bryan LaRiviere showed why he was the National Champion in the Kansas National Guard IMCA Northern SportMod division last year by taking the win last week, and he’ll be a favorite for this Saturday night. Last year’s track champ, Kyle Olberding, didn’t make it easy for him last Saturday and won’t this week, as well.

The IMCA Hobby Stocks and the Sport Compact divisions still seem wide-open, with no defending champion in either division and nobody yet asserting themselves as a favorite for this year’s title.

Speedway management has also made a policy change, starting this Saturday night. Kids 12 and under will now be free for General Admission to the grandstand. Previously, kids 5 and under were free and kids 6 to 12 were $5.00.

The Xtreme Motorsports Clash on the Hill continues Saturday Night, May 12. Gates open at 5:00 PM, driver’s meeting at 6:30, hotlaps and races to follow. Adult General Admission is $10.00, kids 12 and under are free. Coolers are allowed (Canned beer only – no glass bottles) for a $10 charge.
Pit passes are $25.00.

Thunder Hill Speedway is located at 11995 NW 142nd Road (2 miles West of US-75 on NW 142nd Road), in Mayetta, KS. For more information, please visit

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