THUNDER HILL HONORS 2011 CHAMPIONS
OnSaturday night, January 21, Thunder Hill Speedway honored its track championsand top finishers from the 2011 season. Some 300 attendees packed theGreat Lakes Ballroom at the Prairie Band Casino and Resort, and after thebuffet survived the onslaught of hungry racers and fans, the evening’s MC“Super” Dave Brenn took themicrophone to pass out recognition.
Firstup were the BuyRaceParts.com IMCA Hobby Stock drivers, who were topped by BrianStich, the only returning champion from 2010. Stich announced hisintention to pursue the Kansas State IMCA Hobby Stock title in 2012 bycompeting at Thunder Hill, Salina, and even WaKeeney on some Sundays. Oneof the biggest cheers of the night was for the second-placed Hobby driver,second generation racer Mallory Walters, who had an excellent season in herfirst year driving stock cars.
“Finally!”was the first thing that Kyle Olberding said as he took the microphone toaccept the Kansas National Guard IMCA Northern SportMod championship. Olberding had made a strong run at the 2010 title, winning more than any otherdriver, but coming up short. In 2011, Olberding combined consistent topfive finishes with a win and excellent reliability to take the title. Olberding indicated that he would be returning to the high banks in 2012.
TheBeatrice invaders took two track titles, and the first of those champions wasHeinen Repair Service IMCA Stock Car champion Kyle Vanover. Vanovercombined perfect attendance with the most wins of any driver in the class tocapture his first Thunder Hill title. The value of perfect attendance wasshown by the fact that the driver with the second-most wins, Greg Deters,finished sixth because he missed two nights. Vanover also indicated thathe would be back in 2012.
Theevening’s biggest honoree was Jordan Grabouski, who not only captured theBSB Manufacturing IMCA Modified track championship, he also snared the titlesat US-30 Raceway and Beatrice Speedway on his way to becoming the Regional andIMCA National champion. From the array of people at the tables, itappeared that Grabouski and fellow titlist Vanover brought a significantportion of the residents of Beatrice, NE down with them.
Finally,representatives of the class sponsors (BuyRaceParts.com, Kansas National Guard,Heinen Repair Service, and BSB Manufacturing) were honored with plaques. Every champion, during their speeches, expressed appreciation for theleadership and promotion that the Conkwright family has shown the racers in thelast two years. At this point, a well fed (and in some cases, welllubricated) group of racers were unleashed on the casino, which very well mayhave been the biggest winner of the night.
ThunderHill Speedway will open in April with a full weekly schedule of IMCAracing. The BSB Manufacturing IMCA Modifieds, Heinen Repair Service IMCAStock Cars, Kansas National Guard IMCA Northern SportMods, and theBuyRaceParts.com IMCA Hobby Stocks will be joined in 2012 by the IMCA SportCompacts. For more information, watch www.racethunderhillspeedway.comfor updates.
FINAL2011 Points Top Ten:
BSBManufacturing IMCA Modifieds:
10. Tom Charles
HeinenRepair Service IMCA Stock Cars:
2. JimPowell Jr.
3. MarvinGriffith Jr.
10. Leif Weyer
KansasNational Guard IMCA Northern SportMods:
10. Darin Nelson
BuyRaceParts..comIMCA Hobby Stocks:
10. Brock Alverson