A quick turnaround for the Door County Fair was no problem for Luke Lemmens Thursday night as he scored his second straight feature win in the Stock Cars at The Hill Raceway in Sturgeon Bay.
While it was back to back wins for Lemmens, amazingly the other three divisions featured drivers winning at Sturgeon Bay for the first time in their careers; Cole Czarneski in the Sport Mods, Chad Naze in the Street Stocks and Thomas Schulte in the 4 cylinder Bombers.
For the second straight night, Lemmens, son of former Street Stock champ Rick Lemmens, proved to be the dominating force in the Stock Cars. While he didn’t quite lead all the laps like he did last Saturday, he did lead the bulk of them, taking the point in dramatic fashion.
On the 4th lap, he pulled off a 4-wide pass through turn three to take second, then dove to the bottom to instantly challenge Tom Stark for the lead. In less than a lap he completed the deal by passing Stark to take the lead for good.
On the way to the checker, he had to fend off pressure from Billy LeMieux until he dropped from the contest, as well as withstand a challenge from Brett Wenzel after a late restart.
While he had to settle for second, Wenzel’s sixth straight top five finish allowed him to strengthen his division lead, which now stands at 25 points over Brett Koehler. Koehler snapped a bit of a sour stretch with a strong third place finish, in front of Dan Sell, Jr and Charlie Kroll.
The last time Hall of Famer George Henkel saw victory lane in a Modified was May 12, 2001. The start of the Sport Mod feature looked like 2001 all over again as Henkel took the lead at the drop of the green and built up a solid advantage on the rest of the field.
Henkel fans were left to wonder “what if” caution wouldn’t have flown near the midway point that erased that lead.
Czarneski, son of former Street Stock and Modified regular Tim Czarneski, in only his second ever visit to The Hill, was able to slip past after the restart.
He, too, built a comfortable lead that was erased by a caution late. Craig Dorner worked into second with four laps to go and closed to the back bumper of the leader but couldn’t quite pull even.
While short of the win, the second place showing allowed Dorner to jump into second in the season standings, just 7 markers behind leader Randy LeMieux, Jr who finished fifth.
Henkel had the local fans buzzing as he carded his best finish of the year, a strong third, ahead of fellow longtime veteran Mike Plate.
Like Lemmens and fellow first-timer Czarneski, Naze is the son of a former Sturgeon Bay regular; two-time Bomber champ Jay Naze. And ironically, his first career win came at the expense of a racer that competed in the old Bomber class against his dad; Scott Iverson.
After taking a spin in the Justin Hartel machine Saturday night, bitten by the racing bug again, Iverson rolled out his own car Thursday.
Blasting away from the field, and with no cautions to bunch things up, it appeared like Iverson was headed to victory lane for the first time since a Street Stock win in 2004.
But as he worked his way through lapped traffic, Naze was able to chew up chunks of real estate in a short amount of time, closing in on the last lap.
They were dead even heading out of four toward the line on the last lap with Naze edging ahead by inches to claim the victory.
Shannon Guelette placed third, picking up a point in the title chase on Troy Muench who was just behind him in fourth.
It was a career highlight night for Cody Patten who recorded his first top five, running up front solidly for the complete 20 laps.
Four-time feature winner Dave DeGrave had his string of three straight wins snapped as he dropped from the contest early. He retained third in the standings, but now sits 25 points behind Muench.
The final first-time winner was Schulte, who took the lead on lap two from Kyle Walters.
In order to win his first, Schulte had to beat the guy who has more wins in the class at Sturgeon Bay than anyone else. Tony Everard, the current division point leader with 16 career wins in the class, grabbed second but couldn’t chase down Schulte.
With the win, he became the sixth different winner in the class in six nights of racing.
The Hill’s next event is slated for Saturday night, August 7th with a 6:00PM start time. The Raceway’s four regular divisions will be in action, along with a special coin drop at intermission for the kids.
The Hill Raceway results 7/29/2021
Stock Car 20 Lap Feature: Luke Lemmens, DePere - Brett Wenzel, Manitowoc – Brett Koehler, Two Creeks – Dan Sell, Jr, Suring- Charlie Kroll, Forestville – John Anschutz, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 1: Lemmens – Billy LeMieux, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 2: Tony Bouche, Algoma - Koehler
Heat 3: Tom Stark, Egg Harbor - Sell
Sport Mod Feature: Cole Czarneski, Denmark – Craig Dorner, Luxemburg – George Henkel, Sturgeon Bay – Mike Plate, Valders - Randy LeMieux, Jr, Brussels – Cody Rass, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 1: Czarneski – Logan Theys, Luxemburg
Heat 2: Plate - Dorner
Heat 3: Aaron Butterbrodt, Hubertis – Henkel
Shootout: Plate – Randy LeMieux, Jr – Rass – Chuck Carmen, Seymour
Unified Dirt Street Stock Feature: Chad Naze, Green Bay – Scott Iverson, Sturgeon Bay – Shannon Guelette, Luxemburg – Troy Muench, Brussels –Cody Patten, Friendship – Ford Malvitz, Sturgeon Bay
LCQ: TJ Everard, Green Bay – Malvitz – Tyler Fox, Brussels - Amber Delsart, East Maplewood
Heat 1: Dave DeGrave, Luxemburg – Geno Sternard, Brussels
Heat 2: Naze – Mark Spittelmeister, Sturgeon Bay
Heat 3: Iverson - Muench
Baby Bomber Feature: Thomas Schulte, Kaukauna - Tony Everard, Green Bay – Kyle Walters, Green Bay – Kyle Jorgenson, Oneida - TJ Everard, Green Bay – Scott Schlafke, Cleveland
Heat 1: Schulte - Walters