San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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January 26th, 2009
Thunderhill throws swap meet

STAFF REPORT

Though the weather for Saturday’s Swap Meet at Thunderhill Raceway (THR) started out cold and very breezy, racers could not be deterred from bringing out their spare racing paraphernalia to sell or trade at the track’s Swap Meet.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to swap their “stuff,” 14 race teams and vendors turned out for the swap meet, which also included the first Test-n-Tune practice session of the year to give drivers from all classes and series an opportunity to shake down their racecars.

Cary Stapp of San Marcos showed up in his sharp-looking Texas Super Racing Series (TSRS) Late Model. He clocked in 33 laps on the track – turning in a top lap time of 15.706 around the 3/8-mile asphalt oval track.

“We were happy to see that so many vendors decided to join us at the Swap Meet,” said THR Owner/Promoter Mary Ann Naumann. “And then we had a great turnout of cars and trucks for the practice session.”

The staff from www.lonestarspeedzone.com spent the entire day at the track shooting videos and talking to the drivers and staff about the upcoming season.

Topping off the day was the 2008 THR/TSRS awards banquet. Special guests included Dennis Ceder, a well-known, retired head football coach from Reagan and Lanier High Schools in Austin. Ceder gave a motivational talk about the similarity of racing to football and the value of being part of a team.

Neil Upchurch, who is the Race and Administrative Director of the Texas Pro Sedans (TPS), presented several awards to the THR staff and recognized his staff and the 2008 TPS champion.

One of the highlights of the banquet was the presentation of the American Speed Association (ASA) Joe Gibbs Short Track National Championship Award to Cary Stapp by Dennis Huth, ASA’s president.

Stapp competed in his ASA A-Line Super Stock car against short-track drivers from all over the nation to earn the prestigious title. One of prizes for winning the national championship title was the opportunity to take part in a test session with Joe Gibbs Racing. Stapp turned in an impressive performance when he took his test laps with the Joe Gibbs team at South Boston Speedway in December 2008.

Championships in the other divisions were also recognized – including Heath Stewart (TSRS Late Models), Jim Albert (Pro Trucks), J.C. Umscheid (Pro Modifieds), Homer Pitner (Grand Stocks) and Joey Tschoerner (Thunder Stocks). Albert and Umscheid were also recognized for earning the state championship titles in their respective classes.

“It was incredible to see so many drivers and their teams participating in the banquet,” Naumann said. “I also can’t say enough about the excitement that the emcees brought to the banquet. Bobby (Chaffee) and Rodney (Rodridguez) were both serious and humorous in showing our appreciation to the drivers and staff.”

Naumann added that she’s thinking about holding two separate events, rather than one banquet each year, simply to offer more recognition to more people.

During the closing remarks, Naumann announced Clifton Winkleman as the new Race Director for the TSRS Late Models. Winkleman is replacing former Race Director Rick Day, who recently resigned to return to his hometown in Tampa, FL. Naumann also named Christine Parks as the new Director of Scoring for THR and TSRS.

Thunderhill Raceway will kick off its 2009 racing season with the Allstate Texas Racefest on March 14. Full Throttle Productions is hosting this popular annual event that will feature the NASCAR Grand National Division, USAC National Midgets and the TSRS Late Models.

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