Neiser, Carson, Triick and Sternberg Look Strong; DeLonge Steals the Win Latethunderbird
Rich Neiser rebounded from an admittedly subpar performance in last week’s American Ethanol Late Model Tour event by going perfect on the night, taking home a heat race win and the feature win on the evening. The feature win was seemingly without doubt until Tom Sprague Jr. reeled Neiser in to within three car lengths. A mistake with two laps to go by Sprague sealed the win for Rich Neiser. Tom Sprague Jr. finished second, Steve Fairbanks finished third, Shawn Reed finished fourth and Bill Bray rounded out the top five.
The other headliner on the night was the Midwest Compact Touring Series coming to Thunderbird Raceway for it’s only dirt event of the season. Thunderbird regulars cleaned up by taking 8 of the top 10 spots. Joey Eller, Matthew Sprague, and Brian Carson took home heat race wins. The B Main saw Dillon Gentry take the win, with Mike Dexter and Dennis Buchner transferring to the A Main. Brian Carson won the A Main over a closing Ryan Hufford, with Berry Medendorp, Estevan Martinez and Joey Eller completing the top five. Carson’s team thrashed to assemble the car, which had no suspension on the car at 4 AM Saturday morning. Carson said, “I can’t thank this team enough, it’s amazing that we were even here, and to come out of the gate like this is unbelievable.”
In the Modifieds, Greg Smith and Trent Musk won their respective heat races. The A Main was an absolute thriller as Mike Epplett, Greg Smith and Bill DeLonge swapped the lead multiple times. Lapped traffic was extremely difficult and did not do any favors to then leader, Greg Smith. Smith and Epplett got bottled up on the bottom and Bill DeLonge snuck through the middle in a four wide exchange and left the pack behind to steal the win. Last week’s feature winner, Gary Vandermark, snuck by Greg Smith to finish second, with Smith taking third, and Trent Musk and Mike Epplett completing the top five.
The Street Stocks made their first appearance of the season, with Nate Triick dominating both ends of the night, taking the heat and feature wins by a large margin. The feature was not without eventfulness, as the track was a little moist on the West end of the track, and needed some more work. The scariest moment of the evening came on lap 7, when Kendall Marlink and Chad Weinrick made contact, with Marlink going near head on into the frontstretch wall. After getting the wind knocked out, Marlink was able to climb out of the car. On the ensuing restart, Nate Triick dominated the remainder of the event. Caleb Bisacky, Kris Fewless, Paul Namey and Doug Kittel completed the top five.
In the Factory Stocks, a large car count saw Robbie Sternberg, Rick Brock Jr., and Dean Rake winning their heats. For Rick Brock Jr, it was his first checkered flag of any kind at Thunderbird Raceway. The A Feature was fairly uneventful, as Robbie Sternberg clobbered the field to win for the second consecutive week. Randy Whitten, Rick Brock Jr., Dean Rake and Andy Traxler completed the top five.
In the Mini Wedges, Trevor Epplett won his first ever heat race in the 6-9 division, and in the feature, Riley Jones fought his way to the win, over Maici Lange, Cooper Busbee, Trevor Epplett and Racer Smith, who completed the top five. In the 10-14 division, Hunter Lange picked up where he left off as the defending champion of the division, and doubled up by taking home the heat and feature wins. Karter Juusola, Ella Mattson, Corcoran Schmitz and Layla Henderson completed the top five.
Full results of all classes can be found at www.thunderbirdracewaymi.com
Coming up next week, it’s Kid’s Night, presented by Walmart, located on E. Sherman Blvd. in Muskegon. Kids 12 & under get free general admission. All classes are in action next week. Prizes and candy will be given away. More details on events and prizes for the kids will be announced on the website and on the track’s social media pages.