By Troy Harrison

On Saturday night, April 28, the third season of IMCA Weekly Racing at Thunder Hill Speedway kicks off the newly-named Xtreme Motorsports Clash on the Hill.  That’s the new name of the weekly racing program under new title sponsor Xtreme Motorsports.  And under their name, 2012 promises to be the biggest and best season in the Mayetta speedplant’s 18 year history.

“We’re geared up and ready to go racing,”Mike Conkwright said.  “I kind of feel like I used to when I raced latemodels.  I had a brand new race car, all tuned, polished, scaled, and ready to go, and I just couldn’t wait to get in it and drive the thing. That’s how I feel about the speedway now.  We’re set for what I think will be the track’s biggest year ever.”

Last year’s weekly program produced an IMCA National Champion in Beatrice, Nebraska’s Jordan Grabouski, who also scored theThunder Hill BSB IMCA Modified track championship and the regional honors. This year, Grabouski is not committing to running for points anywhere, but he plans to be on hand for several Clash programs; he competed in the Fool’sDay Meltdown four weeks ago but had mechanical issues.

If Grabouski stays true to his word and does not chase the title this year, that leaves the door wide open for a number of Thunder Hill’s weekly stars.  Bryan Rigsby figures to lead the charge, finishinga strong second to Grabouski last year.  Others who should figure in the point battle include the Stallbaumer brothers (Kyle and Mat), Tom Charles, NicBidinger, Jeff Herbers, and a number of other drivers.

The Kansas National Guard IMCA Northern SportMod divisionhas been the fastest growing class of IMCA racing at the Hill, and KyleOlberding won the title last year.  He will be back to defend.  Strongchallenges to him are likely to be mounted by perennial Hill regular RichBoyden, second generation driver Adam Patch, Jesse Shotts, and a host ofothers.  A particularly strong challenge will come from Bryan LaRiviere, the 2011 IMCA Northern SportMod National Champion, who has announced that he plans to compete for the Thunder Hill track title this year.

At the Thunder Hill banquet, Kyle Vanover declared his intention to defend his Heinen Repair Service IMCA Stock Car track title.  JimPowell Jr. pushed Vanover hard last year; Powell will return with the same machine he ran last year.  The Weyer twins (Leif and Eric) will be back.  IfGreg Deters can find the consistency that eluded him at times last year, hewill be one of the favorites to take the title from Vanover.  Deters was the only driver besides Vanover to win consecutive features, reeling off three in a row in midseason.

Brian Stich, the BuyRaceParts.com IMCA Hobby Stock championfrom 2010 and 2011, has declared his intention to travel more and race at different tracks.  Stich may find himself back at the Hill weekly – butif he sticks to his plan, the Hobby Stock point chase is wide open.  Mallory Walters had a fine rookie campaign, finishing second in points in 2011.  Expect her to follow with a strong effort in 2012.  Behind her, it’s a group of Aaron Brown, John Bass, and a few others.  New faces in the class will include top IMCA Central Region drivers Roy and Adam Armstrong, a father and son team.

The wild card will be the new-for-2012 IMCA Sport Compact divison.  This class, an entry level class for front-drive compact cars, will introduce new drivers and new action to the Xtreme Motorsports Clash on the Hill.

The Xtreme Motorsports Clash on the Hill begins SaturdayNight, April 28.  Gates open at 5:00 PM, driver’s meeting at 6:30, hotlaps and races to follow. Adult General Admission is $10.00, kids 6-12 are$5.00, kids 5 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 142ndRoad (2 miles West of US-75 on NW  142nd Road), in Mayetta, KS.  Formore information, please visit www.racethunderhillspeedway.com.