2013 HELLOS AND GOODBYES
Thunder Hill Speedway has taken many changes over the past three seasons from major clean-up, track re-banking and resurfacing, new lighting both on and off the track, upgrades to bleachers and facilities, new press box/scoring tower, new water truck and our electronic scoreboard and scoring system new to us last season. There are a few things that have remained the same, that is the faces behind the scenes that makes Thunder Hill such a great place to be. The people that truly help make for some of the most exciting, edge of your seat, Saturday night dirt track racing action around. We would like to take a minute and reflect on some of these faces and would like to say goodbye to some of our loved ones.
First, we would like to say thanks to Dave Brenn for all his dedication and loyalty for the past three seasons. It has been both a pleasure and a relief to know we had the very best of the best. Our hearts are sad as we not only lost one of the best tech guys, but a member of our racing family. Lucky for him, we live really close and get plenty of time together both on and off season. Best of luck Super Dave!
Our second goodbye goes out to Randy and Kim Lynch who has managed our concessions for the past two and a half seasons. Most of us will never know how hard it is to make some of the best hamburgers and hotdogs around in 100 plus temperatures with no air conditioning while trying to keep track of a great looking bunch of teenage kids. Kim is fighting advanced stage cancer and both Randy and Kim could use your prayers right now. God Bless! We love you both!
Our final goodbye is to John Lowrey, who has announced at our track since our first season of operation. John spent some time mentoring my son in the announcers booth, and has helped us by making us feel very welcomed in the Topeka racing area. John will be exploring some new ventures this season and we would like to wish him the best of luck. We won't say goodbye to you John, as we hope you will be back to visit us frequently.
Most of you don't realize what happens before, during and after the races. It takes a very specialized team to put a show together and get it off without a hitch. We would like to welcome back the following people:
Retta Watson (my mother) will return this season. In the years past Retta has spent most of her time managing on the stand side, but this year she will be spending some valuable time in the pits learning the ropes. Racers please be sure and welcome Retta, and whatever you do, be nice to my momma!
Kerry Becker will be back as our Speed Net Specialist. Kerry does a fabulous job getting our racers checked in, line-ups done, transponders lined out and your payout ready. There really isn't a whole lot Kerry can't do!
Jeni Baxter will be back as our lead scorer. She is instrumental in the use of our electronic scoring system. Rachel Likens will join Jeni again this year, as our back up scorer and raceceiver specialist.
Kellie Haney will be back as our lead pit gate. Kellie keeps everyone organized and all the paperwork straight as you enter the pit area.
Phil Boatright, Dan Haile and Richard Veach will all be back as security at our three main gates. Dave and Henry Cox will return as well in our wreckers.
Lance Swain, will be on his 19th season with Thunder Hill. He will return as our front straightway official. Lance is one of the few officials not moving around this year, as none of us can do as great of a job as he does. Tim Pralle will be back as our head flagman and will have a variety of sidekicks this year to assist him. Mike, Brandon Conkwright and Kevin Umscheid will also continue as track officials. They will be moving around trying different positions out this season.
Larry Mzhickteno will also be returning this year and continue doing photography. Both Kevin and Larry spend so much of their valuable at the track both on and off season. Their friendship and dedication to the Hill is greatly appreciated.
Colby Neiswender and Chrissia Weeks will be returning this year as concession managers. Colby and Chrissia joined our track last year, and have helped in multiple areas of the track. We are so excited to have them return this season.
We will have a new voice, but not an unfamiliar one, in our announcers booth this season. Bill Grit announced several times last season and did infield interviews throughout the season last year. Bill hosts Racetalk Live with Bobby Potts at Speak Easy in Salina on Tuesday nights, April through October. We welcome Bill to our racing family.
Now on to what you have all been waiting for. After careful consideration we have brought two new faces to our tech area. Levi Gunn and Craig Harper will be teaming up together in our tech area this year. Levi's a Design Engineer for Mac Process, and has raced both hobby and sport mods for the past 12 years. Levi joined IMCA racing in 2002 and has had a passion for IMCA racing every since. Craig has worked in different areas of the track since we opened. He came to us with a vast knowledge of racing experience. He crewed with Al Purkey for 16 years, and after moving back to Manhattan, crewed with Conkwright Racing for 8 years. Both Levi and Craig will be great assets to our tech area as they continue to strive for parity both on and off our track.
Thunder Hill will be revving up their season with two practices on April 13th and 20th. Our season opener is scheduled for April 27th. For more information, visit www.racethunderhillspeedway.com