PHILLIPS TAKES MLRALATE MODELS OVER ANDERSON AT THUNDER HILL
By Troy Harrison
When the 800 horsepower Late Models of the Lucas Oil Midwest Late Model Racing Association come to the high banks of Thunder Hill Speedway, two things are certain. The first is that the racing is going to be outstanding. The second is that the winner will have to beat Terry Phillips. Phillips, whose first win at the Mayetta speedplant came in an OLMA race in 1994 (the track’s first season), eked out a close win over a late-charging John Anderson on Saturday night. Also finding the Pit Stop Liquor Victory Lane in the regular Xtreme Motor Sports Clash on the Hill classes were Jordan Grabouski (BSB IMCA Modifieds), Kyle Vanover (Heinen Repair IMCAStock Cars), Dusty Leonard (Kansas National Guard IMCA Northern Sport Mods), and Adam Armstrong (BuyRaceParts.com IMCA Hobby Stocks).
Early on, it appeared that Jesse Stovall might just be able to notch his first Thunder Hill win in the MLRA feature, as he moved out to what appeared to be a commanding lead. However, Phillips was able to reel in Stovall and whipped past him on lap 16. Anderson, meanwhile, was recovering from an early slide in the feature to pass Stovall and even mount a challenge to Phillips late in the race. Anderson took a last-ditch run at Phillips and the two made contact in the first turn on the white flag lap. Both kept their cars straight, and Phillips scored the narrow win over Anderson, Stovall, Tommy Weder Jr., and Tony Jackson Jr.
Jordan Grabouski again was the story in the BSB Manufacturing IMCA Modified division; however, it took a while to develop. Kurt Johnston, an infrequent competitor on the high banks the last several years, took the lead at the start of the race, but lost it to P.J. Conger. For a few laps, it looked like it might finally be Conger’s night. Meanwhile, Grabouski moved to fifth, and then quickly up to third. To Conger’s disappointment, Grabouski powered past Conger and Johnston, eventually winning by roughly a half lap interval. Conger had his best run of the season with a second place finish, while Johnston did the same in third. Also having his best night of the year was Richard Spriggs, and Justin Becker rounded out the top five.
Kyle Vanover suffered mechanical issues last week that broke his season-long win streak in the Heinen Repair IMCA Stock Car division. The Beatrice driver was content to let last week be last week, however, and simply started a new streak. Vanover passed early leader Brian Labonte midway through the feature, and then outdistanced the rest of the field. Labonte finished second, with Jim Powell Jr. third, Marvin Griffith Jr. fourth, and Kevin Vanlaningham fifth.
It’s getting harder to win the Kansas National Guard IMCA Northern Sport Mod features from deep in the pack, which is an indication that the top 10 cars are very close together. Winning the race from the inside second row this week was Dusty Leonard of Marysville. 2010 track champ Eddie Schwope Jr. continued to return to form with a second place finish, with Kurtis Pihl third. The best charge of the night was put on by Luke Stallbaumer with a run from 14th to fourth, and Kyle Olberding took fifth.
In the BuyRaceParts.com IMCA Hobby Stock class, the story was Levi Gunn’s return to action after competing in Northern Sport Mods. Gunn appeared intent upon taking the trophy back home with him, sprinting out to an early lead, with Adam Armstrong and Dominic Thyfault giving chase. Armstrong was able to pull in on Gunn, and when Gunn pushed up on corner exit, Armstrong took the lead he would not relinquish. Ultimately, Jesse Vanlaningham made the pass on Gunn and Thyfault to take second, while Gunn held onto third and Thyfault finished fourth. Rounding out the top five was Jacob Harms.
The Xtreme Motor Sports Clash on the Hill continues Saturday Night, June 23rd, with the KTPK Truck Giveaway Night. 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