CONGER FINALLY FINDS VICTORY AT THUNDER HILL
P.J. Conger has been cast in the role of ‘great guy who’s an underdog’ for nearly two years in the Xtreme Motor Sports Clash at the Hill, but he finally cast that label off Saturday night for a much nicer and simpler one – “winner.” The popular Conger was able to break out of the top-five and find Pit Stop Liquor Victory Lane in the BSB Manufacturing IMCA Modified Division. Joining him in the winner’s circle were Lance Borgman (Heinen Repair Service IMCA Stock Cars), Kyle Olberding (Kansas National Guard IMCA Northern Sport Mods), Jacob Crowell (BuyRaceParts.com IMCA Hobby Stocks), and Wade Heller (IMCA Sport Compacts).
Conger has been competing at Thunder Hill since the switch to IMCA, always being a consistent top five finisher and hard competitor, but never wearing the mantle of “victor” in a Thunder Hill feature. On Saturday night, it appeared that he was headed for a runner up finish again, as Scott Brown streaked out to the early lead. Midway through the race, Conger found the speed to move his machine past Brown’s, and held an advantage of up to a straightaway. A late race yellow for Kurt Johnston’s spin (who was having a solid top-five run of his own) allowed Brown to close to Conger’s bumper, but he couldn’t make an impression as Conger took the win. Brown finished second, followed by Allan Halderman, Jesse Richter, and Nic Bidinger. The big loser in the restart was Richard Spriggs, who saw a top five run turn into a 12th place finish as he got off line and got freight trained.
The new winner’s bonus in the Heinen Repair IMCA Stock Car feature went unclaimed again, as Lance Borgman was able to snag the checkers. The feature was a wild affair that took four attempts to start cleanly, and when it did, Salina’s Bob Arnold took an early lead. As Arnold attempted to establish an advantage on the field, Jim Powell Jr. and Borgman were charging up into contention. A midrace caution allowed Borgman to take the lead while Powell and Arnold battled for second. KyleVanover’s characteristic dominant speed was absent, as the Beatrice hotshoe was barely able to advance to the top five by race’s end. At the finish, it was Borgman, Arnold, Powell, Brian Labonte, and Vanover.
The Kansas National Guard IMCA Northern Sport Mod feature was the Kyle Olberding show. Olberding simply had the track wired, as he quickly advanced from his sixth row inside starting spot to stalk and pass early leader Brian Neiberger, and from there, Olberding was unchallenged on his way to victory. Behind him, Neiberger had a strong run into second place, with Aaron Hilderman continuing his strong season with another third place. Fourth went to Kurtis Pihl, and fifth to Dusty Leonard.
A first lap crash and a couple of yellows had a big impact on the BuyRaceParts.com Hobby Stock feature, but not on smooth driving Jacob Crowell. Crowell managed to keep himself above and out of the fray, as he had a strong run to take the checkered flag. The first-lap crash eliminated Travis Darnall and Mallory Walters, and both Dominic Thyfault and Levi Gunn were involved in yellow flags. When the smoke cleared, Kelly Pihl was a very happy second place finisher, while Waylon Banks came third, Levi Austin fourth, and Larry Hunter survived his involvement in the first lap scuffle to finish fifth.
In IMCA Sport Compact action, Wade Heller continued his strong showings of late with another feature win over Scott Spellmeier. Jarret Beach was third, Danie Ziegler fourth, and Kaylee Diekman fifth.
The Xtreme Motor Sports Clash on the Hill continues Saturday Night, August 4. 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 www.racethunderhillspeedway.com.