Leibhart, Kirchoff, Olmstead, Pfeifer, Frenier cash in at Colby

Ryan Kirchoff raced to his first Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMod feature win of the season, and first in the class since 2019, Friday at Thomas County Speedway. (Photo by Brittany Jo Lewis)

By Sheldon Wickwar

COLBY, Kan. (June 21, 2024) – Mother Nature threw a bunch of wind at Thomas County Speedway on a Friday night that saw a couple close finishes, some dominant runs and a driver breaking through for a big win.

Visiting victory lane were Brock Leibhart in the Mach-1 IMCA Sport Compacts, Morgan Olmstead in the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks, Ryan Kirchoff in the Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMods, Kyle Pfeifer in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars and Jeremy Frenier in the Friesen Performance IMCA Modifieds.

Leibhart grabbed the lead early in the 4-cylinder feature, holding on to the point despite getting a little too high on lap five and losing some momentum. Mortensen got to the leader’s back bumper but could not deny Leibhart his third win of the season and ninth straight top-10 finish. Third was Gage Porter.

Multiple restarts and the best efforts of Brady Bencken couldn’t shake Olmstead from the front spot in the Hobby Stock main.

Olmstead picked up win number 10, returning to the Kansas dirt scene after a trip to the Dakotas and Canada where he found good maple syrup and bacon, while visiting victory lane on three occasions on the tour. Second was Bencken and third was Mitchell Fischer. 

Northern SportMods were next and while Monty Nordyke was quick to find the race lead, it did not last long as a very hungry Kirchoff stormed to the front then built a big lead, up to a straightaway over second running Brianna Maughlin.

Lap six saw Kirchoff enter lapped traffic while the rest of the top five behind him all jockeyed for position. Lap eight saw Walt grab second and he started to find a lot of speed on the high side. Kirchoff set sail on lap 11 after lapped cars he’d negotiated slowed Walt, going on to win his first feature of the season, and just career win number two, the first one coming in 2019.

Ryan was overjoyed to find victory lane again and recalled thinking that win number one came fairly easy, and his father Jack said number two might not come so easy. It took four and a half years, but Ryan finally found career win number two, during a special season as Jack Kirchoff picked up a feature win earlier in the year in Dodge City.

Second was Walt and third was Adam Weber.

The stock cars were fourth on the program they ran one heat race won by Wheat Lippelman. Their fifteen-lap feature started with a front row of Wheat Lippelman and Chris Oliver. The duo raced side-by-side for most of the first lap, before Tathan Burkhart grabbed the race lead at the line. Burkhart led the first few laps, meanwhile Kyle Pfeifer had moved into second place. Lap six saw Pfeifer lead barely after getting by on the top side, but Burkhart battled back. Lap seven saw 

Pfeifer take the lead seven laps into the Stock Car main and ran side-by-side with Tathan Burkhart for the remainder of the feature. Pfeifer held off the young gun to pick up his fourth win of the season while Cris Oliver ended in third.

Modifieds closed out the program with a 15-lap feature event paced by Frenier and Drew Miller at the start.

Frenier gained the early lead and raced out to a big advantage. Clay Money, Eddie Belec, Kyle Rohleder and Dylan Sherfick all made up ground to move themselves into the top-five but none of them could catch Frenier.

A late-race caution did not slow down Frenier as he fired off well off of the restart and never looked back. He picked up win number two on the season and number 90 for his career in the division in front of Belec and Money.

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