San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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Just north of San Marcos (Yarrington Road exit) is one of the few remaining paved oval tracks in the state, Thunderhill Raceway (THR). Saturday night THR provided fans with hours of tire-melting, fender-bending, left turn action.

As early as 5PM, fans were filling the stands to witness pre-race qualifying and, by 7PM the night began with a moving opening ceremony. For this Mother’s Day weekend race, the competitors were allowed to introduce their mothers in attendance, who were given flowers courtesy of Thunderhill Raceway. The celebration of moms continued throughout the night with more flowers distributed to the crowd and door prizes for accomplishments such as – bringing the most children to the track – having the youngest child in attendance – and more.

The racing began with a series of heat races in which drivers were competing for a chance to advance to the Feature Races. The divisions running heat races were Grand Stocks, Thunder Stocks, and ASA A-Line Super Stocks.

The Feature Races kicked off with the Texas Pro Sedans. Tom Johnson started in the pole position with Sergio Hexsel on the outside. Mike Knotts and Mike Merrell formed row two and Jason Krueger and Lalo Leal made up row three.

Johnson grabbed the early lead with Hexsel falling to the inside in second. By lap 15, Johnson had extended his lead to three car lengths. At the line Tom Johnson won by several car lengths over Hexsel. Rounding out the top five are Mike Merrell, Jesse Sandoval and Lalo Leal.

Next up, the NasKarts took the track. The heavy duty go-carts feature fairings and ground effects making them perfectly designed for high speed drafting. This was one of the most exciting races in a night of excitement. A race-long battle between 16-year-old Megan Smith and Brian Kyempel held the crowd’s attention throughout. Kyempel poured it on in the final lap to win it by half a car length. The narration by Megan’s grandfather made the race that much more fun as his commentary was full of great one-liners, and his voice sounded identical to Tommy Lee Jones.

The Grand Stocks’ 25-lap feature began with John Fitch and Cody Smith on the front line, but in no time at all, Carolyn Aramendia took over second, finding herself running side by side with Smith. For the next dozen laps, Aramendia fought to dispatch Smith but only managed to run parallel.

Finally, on the last lap Aramendia, who smartly cooled her tires a bit for a lap or two, got by on the outside coming off turn 2 taking the win by a car length over Smith. If you like side-by-side racing this was one for you.

After the intermission, it was time for the Allison Legacy Series. Eleven cars faced off for the 50 lap ALS race. Shawn Cannon and Morgan LeBaron line up on the front row – Taylor Brandes and Terry Clark in row two – Charles Akin and Chuck Renna in three – Jay Carley and Kris Kerr in row four – Darius Garcia and Gavin Boyett in five – Tom Harwell at the rear.

With five to go Cannon held several car lengths on Brandes with Tom Harwell, LeBaron and Renna stretching out behind the leader. At the line, it was Cannon by a wide margin with Brandes, Harwell, LeBaron as the top four.

The 30 lap Thunder Stocks feature started 16 cars with Steve Osborne and Gary Chancellor on the front row. Osborne and Chancellor went side by side for a couple of laps with Anthony Gordon shooting for third.

The race featured numerous yellow flags as the field had trouble completing one or two laps without some sort of incident. At the flag Chancellor took the win, Joyce, Tschoerner, Lynch and Brungot rounded out the top five.

Seventeen ASA A-Line Auto Parts Super Stocks lined up for their 40-lap feature with Rick Reeves on the pole beside Doug Ayers.

The highlight of this race had to be the battle between Mickey McKim and Duane Toyne. For the better part of the race, Toyne bumped McKim’s rear and even caused a caution flag by knocking McKims bumper loose and sending it skidding across the track in traffic. Toyne dispatched McKim with a few laps remaining and and set his sights on the leader, Matt Hodge.

On lap 32 Toyne got past Hodge with Cary Stapp right on his tailpipe. Toyne was able to hold off Stapp, and at the finish it was Toyne by a car length. Stapp, Mathias, Hodge, and Larry Stein made up the rest of the top five.

The Pro Trucks featured a field of only five but that didn’t damper their enthusiasm for the 35-lap feature. Jim Albert sat on the pole and Jason Marshall held the outside of row one. Jorge Mendoza and Rusty Mirth started in row two. Nick Riddell began alone at the rear.

Albert took the win over Mirth, Marshall, Mendoza and Riddell.

The final event of the evening was the Pro Modified ExpressJet 50. James Cole and John Paul Klewier started on row one with Greg Baber and J.C. Umscheid in row two. Cole got out first followed by H.E. Naumann who had a great start.

On lap 4, Cole suddenly dropped back and headed to the pits. Naumann took advantage of the opening to grab the lead. Despite a hard bump to Naumann’s rear that spun out the leader, Umscheid was sent to the rear by race officials and at the line, it was Naumann with the win.

It was a great night of racing from start to finish, despite some rather long pauses in the action.
To listen to a Newstreamz exclusive recorded at Thunderhill Raceway, click the link below.

[display_podcast]

Newstreamz would like to thank Nick Holt and Texas Speedzone for stats and information throughout the night.

Duane Toyne, driver of the #4 ASA A-Line Super Stock, fought a tough battle for the lead and pulled off the feature win on Saturday night at Thunderhill Raceway.

Photos courtesy of Jeff Garvin

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0 thoughts on “Turn left for fun at Thunderhill Raceway

  1. Amy and I are big fans of the races.

    Everyone out there is awesome and it is great to watch the drivers develop and get to know their stories and to see how much work the drivers and their friends and families put into these teams.

    We started out going to watch Cary Stapp, who is one of the top Super Stock drivers. His father, who works with Amy, does the bodywork and his brother Chase handles the car setup.

    We quickly became hooked on all of the races and each year I even flirt with the idea of getting out there in a grand Stock, which is a claimer class where anyone (like me) can buy any of the cars out there for $1000 and start racing. That’s not an option available to armchair quarterbacks in any other sport that I can think of.

    After the races, you can even go back to the pits and meet your favorite drivers and see the cars close up. For $10 (and free for kids under 12), it’s got to be one of the best deals around.

    I’m working on cleaning up some photos and I’ll post links to those later this morning.

  2. Ted, I heard Amy’s birthday announcement and scanned the bleachers for you. I couldn’t locate you, so give a belated birthday wish to Amy.

    Being a fan of dirt track (my brother raced) and the paved track back in Houston, I too have had those flirtations with wanting to get behind the wheel.

    I heard a lot of good things about Cary Stapp. I look forward to catching as much of season as time allows.

  3. We sit down by turn 4 and I usually spend a fair amount of time with my camera wedged through the fence on a tripod.

    I said I’d post these this morning, but they needed quite a bit of post processing. My camera is not really meant for action shots, especially at night.

    Anyway, here are some shots from a few of the races.

    http://tedandamy.smugmug.com/gallery/4911991_FNB49

  4. REALLY GLAD TO SEE THE MEDIA COME OUT TO SUCH A GREAT RACE TRACK .. ..THEY HAVE A GREAT STAFF ..SOME REALLY GREAT DRIVERS WHO RESPECT EACH OTHER ..THE TRACK AND DRIVERS WORK HARD AT MAKEING THIS THE BEST TRACK TO RACE ON …. OTHERWISE WE WOULD NOT MAKE THE 400 MILE ROUND TRIP WITH TWO CARS ..THE FANS ARE THE BEST .. THEY SUPPORT ALL CLASSES WETHER THEY KNOW YOU ARE NOT ..THANKS CHRIS DOELLE FOR YOUR SUPPORT ..THANKS THUNDERHILL .. .. YOUR FRIEND WITH TPS NUMBER 7 AND 28 …….

  5. Hey Chris, great article. The coverage is really APPRECIATED. Hope you can make it back out many more times this season. And by the way, I think you and Ted should release your passions and both of you grab one of those Grand Stocks and come play….I’ve been working on him. Hope to see you soon.

    Thanks again,and stop by the pit if you have time.

    Ed Stapp

  6. I would like to say Thanx for the great shots that you have taken at the track. I have not beenout the last two races but am planning on getting back out soon. These are some great action pictures. keep up the great work. Do you sell these pictures???
    Thanx.
    Leonard Flores
    Driver #66 ThunderStock

  7. Pingback: Duane Toyne claims feature win in the ASA A-Line Super Stocks : Newstreamz

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