By Troy Harrison

Allen Halderman has been one of the most popular IMCA Modified drivers in Thunder Hill Speedway’s history.  He’s also been one of the hardest-luck drivers, but he broke through to the Pit Stop Liquor Victory Lane last year.  Proving that he intends to be a regular visitor there, Halderman pulled out the win Saturday night in the BSB Manufacturing IMCA Modified feature.  Joining him in Victory Lane was Kyle Vanover (Heinen Repair IMCA Stock Cars), Dusty Leonard (Kansas National Guard IMCA Northern SportMods), Jacob Crowell (BuyRaceParts.com IMCA Hobby Stocks), and Scott Spellmeier (IMCA Sport Compacts).

The real star of the evening, with all due respect to Halderman, may have been Tom Charles.  Early in his Modified heat race, Charles and Mat Stallbaumer made contact exiting turn two, which launched Charles into a frightening series of flips down the backstretch wall.  After his carpirouetted end over end and side over side, the popular Basehor veteran was able to walk away with nothing more serious than bumps and bruises.  Special thanks go to the Thunder Hill safety crew for their quick response.

When the BSB IMCA Modified feature took the green, it was Allen Halderman doing the dominating.  After starting third row inside, Halderman quickly made his way to the front and then simply pulled away from the field, sometimes putting a half-second per lap advantage between himself and Richard Spriggs.  A late race caution produced a green/white/checkered finish. On the restart, Spriggs was able to stay with Halderman for most of a lap, but then Halderman pulled out cleanly to take the win.  Spriggs finished second, while Jeff Herbers found significant speed in the last half of the race to advance to third at the finish.  Jesse Richter finished fourth, and Kenny Cross finished fifth.

Last week, Thunder Hill officials announced that they were partnering with Heinen Repair Service to offer a New Winner’s Bonus in the Heinen Repair IMCA Stock Car division.  The bonus went uncollected this week, but Jim Powell Jr. gave it a great shot.  At the start of the feature, Powell and Kyle Vanover started side by side in the third row.  In turn one of the first lap, a hole opened up in the middle and Vanover shot through it into the lead, while the door slammed on Powell.  The feature looked to be over at that point, but instead Powell battled his way through the pack and closed back up to Vanover under green.  The two battled side by side for several laps until a yellow for Matt Haid closed the field up to another green-white-checker. Vanover got a better restart than Powell, and was able to hold the advantage to the end, while Powell left the track knowing that he has the speed to defeat the Nebraska driver.  Powell finished second, with Greg Deters third (after falling to the back of the pack and fighting back through), Marvin Griffith Jr. fourth, and Brian Labonte fifth.  The bonus did bring several new and returning drivers, including the return of popular Eric Weyer.

The Kansas National Guard IMCA Northern SportMod feature likewise turned on a late race yellow, after Travis Runcie had held the lead from his pole starting position for nearly the entire race.  The yellow allowed Dusty Leonard to close to his bumper, and Leonard moved past to take the win, with Runcie finishing second.  Adam Patch fought his way to third, with Eddie Schwope Jr. fourth, and Brian Neiberger making his way into a fine fifth position.

“Oh, so close!” pretty much summed up Levi Austin’s thoughts after the BuyRaceParts.com IMCA Hobby Stock feature. Austin had been absent for a couple of weeks, and came back with a vengeance. Starting outside row 2, Austin quickly worked his way forward and into a pitched battle with Jacob Crowell for the lead that entertained the fans for several laps.  Just as Austin started to pull free of Crowell, he overcooked it and spun with a couple of laps to go, having to go to the back of the pack. This allowed Crowell to take the win over Waylon Banks.  Brian Stich finished third, Levi Gunn fourth, and Jamie Benksin fifth.  Austin was able to work back up to seventh.

Scott Spellmeier again visited the Pit Stop Liquor Victory Lane in IMCA Sport Compacts, with Ronda Mewes second, Danie Ziegler third, Kaylee Diekman fourth, and Jarret Beach fifth.

Next up at Thunder Hill is the traditional summer special, the Oren Covert Memorial.  The Oren Covert Memorial remembers and commemorates one of the original Thunder Hill racers, Oren Covert, who was a fixture on the Topeka area racing scene for more than 30 years.  This year’s Modified feature winner will take home a tool cart as his trophy, plus $600.  The Stock Cars will pay $275 to win, or $475 to win if the winner hasn’t taken a feature win at Thunder Hill this year.  The SportMods will pay $400 to win, and the Hobby Stocks will run for $200 to win.  The Sport Compacts will have the night off.

The Xtreme Motor Sports Clash on the Hill continues Saturday Night, July 21, with the Oren Covert Memorial.  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 142ndRoad (2 miles West of US-75 on NW  142nd Road), in Mayetta, KS.  For more information, please visit www.racethunderhillspeedway.com.