In all probability, no one in the house at The Hill Raceway in Sturgeon Bay will forget Saturday night.
On the night honoring his late father, Troy, Cody Rass held off a hard-charging Chris Budzban to win his first Sport Modified feature race of the season, completing a clean sweep of the division on the night.
Close finishes were the order of the day as all division finals went down to the last lap. A late pass brought Brett Koehler back to victory lane in the Stock Cars for the second straight week, while Ed Anschutz in the Street Stocks and Scott Schlafke in the Baby Bombers also brought home close wins.
It was also Hall of Fame night for the raceway. Joining the Door County Motorsports Hall of Fame, the 2019 class included Racin' Jason Geyer, Lynne "The Fox" Wolfgram and the Schmelzer brothers; Bobby, George and Mike
Decked out in a Troy Rass throwback paint scheme, Duane Mertens took charge of the Sport Mod main at the drop of the green.
After a solid heat win, Mertens again ran well in the feature until he slipped high out of four on the sixth lap, opening the door for Pepe Vlies and Cody Rass to scoot by. Vlies held the point for four laps, until Rass picked up a head of steam and passed him from the outside lane.
Once up front, Rass pulled away to a seemingly comfortable lead, despite a rally from Budzban. The point leader edged past Vlies with five to go and began to close on Rass.
With laps winding down, it appeared time was on Rass’ side, but a caution with just three laps to go wiped out the advantage.
With Budzban on the outside of the second row, Rass moved high for the restart, not allowing his pursuer a chance to make a run. Rass popped out to a quick two car length advantage, holding it the final laps to the checker.
Despite not winning, Budzban took another big step toward the championship as he now holds a 17 point edge on defending champ Tom Stark, who fought back from a lap one melee on the initial start to place fifth. Finishing in fourth was Jarred VanLaanen who, like Mertens, was also sporting a Troy Rass #9 paint scheme.
Zach Spangenberg appeared to be headed toward his first Hill feature win as the Stock Cars pounded out 20 straight green flag laps in their feature.
He led from the drop of the green and looked to be uncatchable, but Koehler mounted a steady drive forward, claiming second with 8 laps to go.
With just two laps to go he was just about to Spangenberg’s rear bumper when the leader slipped high, allowing Koehler to seize the bottom lane and pull even.
The two raced side by side for the final two laps, with Koehler hanging on by half a car length at the stripe.
While he wasn’t able to challenge for the win, Brett Wenzel’s third place finish jumped him into a tie for the division point lead with Larry Karcz, Jr heading into the final point night. And with the two race win streak, Koehler is now just two back of the lead, with Scott Reinhardt just 6 back.
Multi-time champ Dave Bouche returned to the top ten in the standings after placing fourth.
Before returning to his track announcer duties, Anschutz took one more shot at a win after falling just short on Fair night.
He swung to the outside of 2-time winner Chase Solomon on the fourth lap, but even though he led the rest of the way, it was far from easy.
David Hoerning and Dave DeGrave also moved past Solomon into contention. Hoerning had runs on the outside and then the inside but couldn’t quite pull even. Then it was DeGrave’s turn, but he too, couldn’t quite get by.
A final caution with five to go gave each a last chance, but a perfect restart by Anschutz settled things as he raced away to his 28th career Sturgeon Bay win, tying him with Dave Bouche and Von Eytcheson for 10th all-time.
While Solomon didn’t get the win, he found himself back in the points lead as Dan VanPay, who entered the night on top, dropped from a probable top six finish to the pits on the final lap.
In the Baby Bombers, Schlafke took the lead on the 5th lap from Dallas Topel. Adam Broehm chased him the rest of the way, but was never quite able to pull even.
The win was Schlakfe’s second of the year, moving him into second in the standings, 9 points behind Tony Everard who placed third.
Next on the schedule is Championship night at The Hill, along with the return of former NASCAR star David Reutimann. Reutimann will do double duty this year, racing in both the Sport Mod and Stock Car classes. .
Action in the four divisions is slated for Saturday night, August 31t h with a 6:00PM start time.
The Hill Raceway is located at the John Miles Fair Park on Sturgeon Bay’s east side. For updates, check The Hill Raceway’s page on Facebook.
The Hill Raceway results 8/17/2019
Stock Car Feature: Brett Koehler, Two Creeks – Zach Spangenberg, Manitowoc - Brett Wenzel, Manitowoc – Dave Bouche, Algoma – Jeremy Anschutz, Brussels – Tom Brumlic, Denmark
Heat 1: Aaron Karcz, Pulaski - Wenzel
Heat 2: Jeff Lautenbach, Sturgeon Bay - Koehler
Heat 3: Larry Karcz, Jr, Pulaski – Spangenberg
Sport Mod Feature: Cody Rass, Sturgeon Bay – Chris Budzban, Luxemburg – Jeff “Pepe” Vlies, Kewaunee – Jarred VanLaanen, Luxemburg – Tom Stark, Egg Harbor – John Koessl, Gills Rock
Heat 1: Duane Mertens, Luxemburg - VanLaanen
Heat 2: Rass – Dennis Miesler, Luxemburg
Heat 3: Vlies - Koessl
Street Stock Feature: Ed Anschutz, Two Rivers - Dave DeGrave, Luxemburg – David Hoerning, Grand Chute - Chase Solomon, Oshkosh – Marcus Moede, Algoma – Chad Naze, Green Bay –
B-Main LCQ: Amber Delsart, East Maplewood – Jeff Krauel, Carlsville – Roger LaViolette, Forestville – Jim Reinhardt, West Allis
Heat 1: Hoerning – Nick Wunrow, Denmark
Heat 2: Dan VanPay, Denmark - Naze
Heat 3: DeGrave – Anschutz
Heat 4: Ford Malvitz, Sturgeon Bay - Moede
Baby Bomber Feature: Scott Schlafke, Cleveland – Adam Broehm, Newton - Tony Everard, Green Bay – Jordan Gracyalny - Nathan Lisowe, Luxemburg – Dallas Topel, Green Bay
Heat 1: Schlafke – Broehm
Heat 2: Everard - Lisowe