Ever since I was a kid it has always been my dream to someday race a stock car. When I was a kid the dream consisted of racing a late model at the area dirt tracks, especially Shawano Speedway. I haven’t realized that dream, but over the years I have been able to fulfill my dream of racing in other ways.
Around 15 years ago I raced a Front-Wheel Drive Studded car on Shawano Lake for one season with the Fire on Ice Auto Racing Club. I also dabbled with racing a go-kart on dirt and ice. And in the mid-1990s I raced in a special media race at Shawano Speedway. In that race, some of the Hobby Stock drivers at that time let the members of the media borrow their cars and race them. So even if I haven’t fulfilled my dream of racing weekly during the summer months, on several occasions I have been able to fulfill my dream of racing.
On Saturday, Feb. 5 I was able to add another racing experience to my list of racing moments, as I raced in a special media/celebrity race. This special race was part of the weekly Tilleda Thunder on Ice program on Tilleda Pond in which local members of the auto racing media and drivers who race at area tracks during the summer took part in the race.
Drivers who race weekly at Tilleda let the media/celebrity drivers borrow their cars for this race. Drivers who donated their cars for this race included: Les Slater, Peter Forstner, Bert Moede, Jeff Jolitz, Justin Kraeger, Andrew Pfister, Andrea Olson, Ben Michonski, Chucky Forstner, Mel Westphal, Ben Jonet and Perry Burgard. I got to drive Jonet’s car in the race.
Participants in the race included: Jeremie Hedrick, Bill Pretzel, Brady Bennett, Randy Kamanik, Lowell Bennett, Paul Parker, Chico Reidner, Aaron Belik, Tim Rothe, Braison Bennett and Will Lang. That was also the finishing order of the race, with Hedrick taking the win.
I wound up finishing 11th in the race. I was hoping to finish better, but got spun on the opening lap after the race was restarted. Since the race isn’t stopped for spinouts unless the driver’s door is exposed, I was way behind everyone from the get go. I recovered and held my own, passing one car, and was officially lapped by only Hedrick.
I wish I wouldn’t have spun on the first lap, because I’m curious as to how well I would have kept up to the summer drivers. Either way, though, I had a lot of fun. I mean, I can say I traded paint with Lowell Bennett, a driver who has had success in both dirt and asphalt racing. Since our race was the last race of the program, it was also fun hanging out with the drivers during the racing program while we waited for our race. Some of the drivers even kidded with me, asking me if I was getting nervous. I can honestly say that I didn’t get nervous. It was more a feeling of excitement.
I have to thank Jonet for letting me race his racecar. I also have to thank Randy Van Hoof for organizing the event. And the final thank you goes to the Tilleda Thunder on Ice club for letting us be a part of its racing program.
Before ending this blog post, I have to give the drivers who race there weekly the credit they deserve. Tony Everard won the Front-Wheel Drive Studded feature. Chucky Forstner won the Rear-Wheel Drive feature. Dusty Grall won the Front-Wheel Drive Non-Studded feature. The ATV Studded feature was won by Rocky Schreiber, while Lance Strandberg won the ATV Non-Studded feature. Zachary Raab won the Mini-Quad feature.