Thursday, February 22, 2018


By Troy Harrison – The number 15 has a special significance to Topeka area race fans, whether they watched racing at Thunder Hill Speedway, Topeka Raceway, or the Topeka Fairgrounds. Fans in other locales got used to seeing the number 15 at the front of the pack as well, for many years. That was the number of “Thunder” Tom Wunder, for many years a fixture in Late Model and Sportsman racing circles.

Whether the car was purple and yellow (really), orange, lime green, or finally black, one thing you could be sure of was that, if Tom was driving it, it was probably going to be battling for the lead. In fact, Tom was the first Sportsman track champion at Thunder Hill Speedway in 1994, one of eight track titles he amassed along with over 200 feature wins. Tom passed away on May 21, 2011, and Saturday night’s “Wunderfest” is held in his memory.

Mystery money will go into the purse in three different classes; $600 will be placed into the Kansas National Guard Northern SportMod purse, $400 into the Heinen Repair Service IMCA Stock Car purse, and $400 into the IMCA Hobby Stock purse. Also in action will be the BSB Manufacturing IMCA Modifieds and the IMCA Sport Compacts.

Tom’s presence will be felt on the racetrack, as well; expected to compete are his brother, Mike Taylor, in the IMCA Stock Cars, and his son Chad, in the IMCA Northern SportMods (who carries Tom’s traditional #15). Beyond this, Tom’s presence is still felt heavily in the pit area of any track in the Northeast Kansas area, where he’s remembered fondly by his many friends – including this writer.

The Xtreme Motor Sports Clash on the Hill continues Saturday Night, August 25, with the Wunderfest which memorializes former Thunder Hill champion Tom Wunder. 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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