The midweek storms in the area helped lay the foundation for a tacky, fast track for this week’s Friday Night Thunder Presented By Coors Light. The action was as hot and heavy as the track surface on what proved to be a beautiful night for racing.
The Village Kitchen IMCA Modifieds provided plenty of thunder on the track as Jeff Bodendorfer led the opening lap from the drop of the green. Josh Lambert quickly worked the high side to wrestle the lead away from Bodendorfer while R.M. Van Pay, Greg Gretz, and Brad Theys staged a three wide battle for fourth behind the third place car of James Tebon. Van Pay, the veteran of the class, emerged from the scrum to give chase to the leaders. Tebon managed to slip past Bodendorfer into second and by the halfway mark Van Pay made his move on the inside to grab third away from Bodendorfer. Lambert built a comfortable lead as laps wound down and the real battle was for second as Van Pay ran down Tebon and the two came across the line in a finish too close to call by the naked eye. Bodendorfer slipped to finish fifth, point leader, Josh Long, wound up fourth, Van Pay lost the battle for second to finish third, Tebon took second, and Lambert scored his first victory of the year at Luxemburg Speedway.
The IMCA Stock Cars have put on a show week in and week out this year and it came as no surprise that tonight was no exception. John Heinz wasted no time in putting his Scooby Snack powered #57 machine to the lead on the opening lap from his P2 starting spot. Hot Rod Snellenberger quickly jumped to third from his fourth row starting spot before caution flew for the 99KK machine of Derek Moede. The restart saw Heinz lead Mike Carter and Snellenberger back to green flag racing conditions. Hot Rod slid past Carter on the outside to claim second while point leader, Mike Coel, then worked inside of Carter to secure third. The Virlee Gunworks caution lights fired up for debris between one and two causing the field to slow. On the restart Snellenberger and Coel battled side by side while Shawn Havel worked his way into fourth. Coel’s machine put on a clinic on how to run on just three wheels as he moved past Snellenberger on the inside with his left front tire so high in the air it looked like a traction roll was imminent. Once clear of Snellenberger Coel started hounding the leader and it wasn’t long before his traction monster was able to best the Mystery Machine of Heinz on the inside as well. Snellenberger also worked the low side to grab second but would not have enough to challenge Coel before the checkers flew. At the line Coel found his way to the Cobbler Shop victory lane for the third time this season while Hot Rod kept his championship hopes alive by finishing second. Heinz held on for third with Havel settling for fourth with Carter rounding out the top five.
The IMCA Northern Sport Mod feature had plenty of contenders looking to find their way to victory lane. Evan Beetie powered past Bradon Kaye from the pole position to lead the opening lap, but before he could attempt to open a lead the caution would fly when Jarred VanLaanen and Dylan Lasee got tangled up together. On the restart Chris Budzban jumped from fifth to third behind Troy DeGrave in second and Beetie in the lead. Another quick caution bunched the field up behind the leader again. As the green flew again Budzo was able to work the high side into the lead. Sawyer Haese found grip on the low side to move into second with DeGrave right on his tail in third. The caution flew again on lap seven and the 21K of Kyle Odekirk suffered a mechanical failure and would see his night end on the hook of the Window Licker Towing and Recovery van. As the green came out DeGrave completed an inside pass of Haese to settle into second while point leader, Vince Engebregtsen, moved into fourth. As the laps wound down Budzo worked out to a comfortable lead while Haese, DeGrave, and Engebregtsen shuffled positions over the closing circuits. Coming out of four to take the checkers Engebregtsen and DeGrave made contact sending DeGrave past the infield tires. Budzo held on for his second win of the season. Engebregtsen came home second, Haese third, DeGrave gathered his machine back up to salvage fourth, and Jarred VanLaanen recovered from the early contact to finish fifth.
Prior to tonight’s race the Street Stock class could have been called the DeGrave and Moede show as the two points leaders had combined to win 9 of the 11 features so far this year. Matt Warner bested those two in the preliminary heat race and looked to do the same in the feature from his outside front row starting spot. Warner would set the early pace at the drop of the green as he led the opening lap. Dave “The Hammer” DeGrave wasted no time in picking off cars left and right as he worked the high side to move past Marcus Moede and Dan Van Pay before putting his car to the inside of Wes Lungwitz to secure second. Moede and Van Pay battled each other for fourth until Lungwitz drifted high and the battle for fourth became a battle for third. Van Pay eventually worked past Moede and locked up third. DeGrave, meanwhile, worked the track furiously trying to run down Warner in the race lead. There would not be enough laps for DeGrave to challenge for the lead as Warner played the show stopper tonight. DeGrave settled for a second place finish while Van Pay held on to third, Moede managed to hold on to a fourth place finish, and James Dahlstrom came home fifth in his first appearance at the track this season.
In the Sport Compact class you’d have to go back to the month of June to find a feature winner not named Calvin Stueck. The driver of the 5S was so successful that a bounty was placed this week for any driver that could knock him off the top of the mountain. Branden Goeser thought he was the man for the job after being able to secure a heat race win over Stueck. Goeser and Stueck jumped into the one and two spots on the opening lap with Goeser getting a slight advantage and Stueck finding himself in the unfamiliar spot of having to give chase. Missy Clark, Justin Finlan, and Arianna Beattie went three wide behind the leaders for third with Clark finding the horsepower to grab the spot. At the front Stueck dogged Goeser lap after lap trying to find a way around the race leader. It was not meant to be as Stueck could not find a way past and Goeser would hang on for the win and collect the bounty. Clark hung on for third, Finlan fourth, and Brian Watzka rounded out the top five.
Luxemburg Speedway will be back in action next week for the second to last points night of the season. All five regular divisions will be in action with green flag racing starting at 7:00.
VILLAGE KITCHEN IMCA MODIFIED 20 LAP FEATURE: Josh Lambert, Casco; James Tebon, Algoma; R.M. Van Pay, Green Bay; Josh Long, Little Suamico; Jeff Bodendorfer, Waterford
HEAT 1) Bodendorfer; Russ Reinwald, Beaver Dam; Long
HEAT 2) Tebon; Jeremy Jacobs, Luxemburg; Lambert
IMCA STOCK CAR 20 LAP FEATURE: Mike Coel, Pulaski; Rod Snellenberger, Pulaski; John Heinz, Green Bay; Shawn Havel, Algoma; Mike Carter, Greenleaf
HEAT 1) Heinz; Coel; Havel
HEAT 2) Snellenberger; Tom Brumlic, Denmark; Derek Moede, New Franken
IMCA NORTHERN SPORT MOD 20 LAP FEATURE: Chris Budzban, Luxemburg; Vince Engebregtsen, Algoma; Sawyer Haese, New Franken; Troy DeGrave, Unknown; Jarred VanLaanen, Luxemburg
HEAT 1) Haese; Evan Beattie, Little Chute; DeGrave
HEAT 2) Engebregtsen; Cody Rass; Doug Mauer, Green Bay
STREET STOCK 20 LAP FEATURE: Matt Warner, Appleton; Dave DeGrave, Luxemburg; Dan Van Pay, Denmark; Marcus Moede, Algoma; James Dahlstrom, Greenleaf
HEAT 1) Van Pay; Travis Zirbel, Green Bay; Dahlstrom
HEAT 2) Warner; DeGrave; Moede
SPORT COMPACT 15 LAP FEATURE: Branden Goeser, Chilton; Calvin Stueck, Clintonville; Missy Clark, Luxemburg; Justin Finlan, Unknown; Brian Watzka, Unknown
HEAT 1) Goeser; Stueck; Clark