NICHOLS TAKES NEW WINNER’S BONUS IN XTREME MOTOR SPORTS CLASH ON THE HILL
By Troy Harrison
The New Winner’s Bonus in the Heinen Repair Service IMCA Stock Car Division had gone uncollected for several weeks now, and fans were starting to wonder if anyone could beat the Beatrice speedsters, Kyle Vanover and Lance Borgman. As it turned out, someone could – four-time National Champion Mike Nichols. Nichols made the tow down from Harlan, Iowa, and took the money back with him. Joining him in the Pit Stop Liquor Victory Lane was Brendon Gemmill (BSB Manufacturing IMCA Modifieds), Kyle Olberding (Kansas National Guard IMCA Northern SportMods), Kelly Pihl (BuyRaceParts.com IMCA Hobby Stocks), and Kaylee Diekman (IMCA Sport Compacts).
The BSB Manufacturing IMCA Modified feature was one of the better ones of the year, featuring one of the Hill’s hometown drivers squaring off against two of the best IMCA shoes in the nation. At the start, it was home driver Derrick Brown streaking out to a straightaway lead over the pack. Brown looked set to take his third win of the year until a midrace yellow allowed the pack to close onto his bumper. In this case, “the pack” consisted of 11th starter Brendon Gemmill from Ponca City, OK, and last year’s National Champion Jordan Grabouski, who started 20th and had sliced his way past 17other drivers. On the restart, Brown appeared to lose his rhythm slightly, and Gemmill and Grabouski overwhelmed him in turns one and two. Gemmill and Grabouski diced back and forth for a couple of laps until Gemmill eased away for the win. Grabouski held on for second, while Brown finished a very competitive third. Wichita’s Randy Wilson ran a strong fourth, and Kurt Johnston rounded out the top five.
KyleVanover has been dominant in the Heinen Repair Service IMCA Stock Car Division, which has allowed the New Winner’s Bonus to stack up. The extra bucks brought a season-high 20 IMCA Stock Cars to the track, and they saw a four-time National Champion take the win. It wasn’t easy for Mike Nichols, however. At the start, Matt Haid and Brian Labonte moved out to battle for the lead in an attempt to make the feature their private race. Meanwhile, 11th starting Nichols was working his way around the field on the outside. Lance Borgman worked around Haid and Labonte on lap five, and became the target Nichols was shooting for. Nichols continued to run the outside line and finally made it past Borgman for the win just past halfway. Borgman kept second until the finish. Jim Powell Jr. finished third, with Tyler Phelps fourth and Labonte fifth. Vanover retired with a rear-end problem. The new winner bonus will start again nextweek at $50, and escalate each week it is unclaimed.
Kyle Olberding is in top form; in fact, he’s made himself the dominant driver in the Kansas National Guard IMCA Northern Sportmods. Polesitter Gary Holthaus led at the start, but was quickly passed by the fourth-row starting duo of Olberding and Dusty Leonard. Olberding and Leonard fought for the lead for four laps, at which point Olberding kicked in the afterburner and pulled away from Leonard to hold a lead that he would never relinquish. Leonard finished second, with Rich Boyden returning to form with a third place finish. Darin Nelson came home fourth, and Holthaus picked up a fine top-five finish.
Kelly Pihl has been knocking on the door of a feature win in BuyRaceParts.com IMCAHobby Stock action during the second half of the season. On Saturday night, that door swung open and Pihl drove through it and into Victory Lane. His chief opponent was outside front row starter Josh Haid, and it took Pihl a few laps to get by him. Once past, Pihl was able to hold off second place finisher Jacob Crowell. Taking third was Ryan Gilland. Waylon Banks followed up last week’s win with a fourth place, and Jordan Junker completed the top five.
Kaylee Diekman put on quite a show in the IMCA Sport Compact feature. She spun early and went to the back of the field, then fought her way forward to pass Scott Spellmeier and take the victory. Spellmeier finished second, with Brandon Lobdell third, Al Rice fourth, and Jarret Beach fifth.
The Xtreme Motor Sports Clash on the Hill continues Saturday Night, August 25, with the Wunderfest which memorializes former Thunder Hill champion Tom Wunder. Extra money will be on tap in the Northern SportMods, the Stock Cars, and the Hobby Stocks. 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.