With temperatures plunging into the 20’s, fans and drivers gathered at Sandusky Speedway (OH) for the 36th annual Wild Bill Hangover Race to ring in the new year with racing.

The annual January 1 show features three divisions, including an unlimited “Champagne Stock” division, a limited “Moonshine Stock” division geared towards Street Stocks, and a front wheel drive “Whiskey Stock” division.  Whiskey Stocks were the most popular this year, with a field of nearly 25 drivers competing for a trophy.

In a Champagne Stock class filled with odd aerodynamic designs, Ron Miller reigned supreme in his sideboard dirt late model.  This was Miller’s 11th “Hangover” victory in 12 attempts.  When asked in victory lane by Sandusky track announcer Doug Dock how long he would continue to run the race, Miller responded, “Until it isn’t fun.”  Miller has run the “Hangover” race for the last 17 years.

Steve Hursey, AJ Padgett, Mark Kachenmeister, and James Harding round out the Champagne Stock top five.
The Moonshine Stock division came down to a battle between Dave Gumby and James Harding, but the winner would end up being decided in the pits.  Gumby, a dirt racer, brought a brand new car out for the asphalt half mile and made the outside groove work throughout the day to make passes.  He quickly race through the field from eighth, taking the lead from James Harding early in the 20-lap feature.
Gumby would take the checkered flag first, but was defeated by his new car.  Its tube-type front clip was illegal for the Moonshine Stock division.  He was also disqualified from his heat earlier in the day for running a four-barrel carburetor in a two-barrel division.  James Harding was named the winner of the race, with Jeff Bowling, AJ Padgett, Oak Warnick, and Bailey Delfosse rounding out the top five.

John Goodman got the year rolling, literally, in the Whiskey Stock division.  The front wheel drive racer rolled his Cobalt in practice, landing the car on to the inside wall.  He was OK, but done for the day.  The remaining 20-plus cars took the green flag for a spin-filled 15 lap feature.  With track temperatures plunging below 20-degrees, the front wheel drive cars slid through the turns like they were on a dirt track.

Racing was intense at the front of the field.  Leaders Joe Oliver and Kevin Broski battled lapped traffic and each other until Oliver was tagged by Broski and sent for a “splashdown” in a frozen-over ditch.  After being pulled out by the tow truck, Oliver was allowed to take back his spot at the front of the field.  Oliver would face challenges by Trent Aslaksen and Kelly Lillie down the stretch, but would hold them off for the win.  Richard Clem and Mike Rose would round out the top five.

The Whiskey Stock feature was marred by a severe three-car crash halfway through the race.  Three cars collided in turn two and spun into the tractor-tire protected wall.  One driver was injured in the crash, requiring a lengthy red flag to transfer them to a local hospital by Perkins Township Fire Department.  The driver is not being named at this time.

– Patrick Hahe – Speed51.com Contributor. Photo Credit: Speed51.com

Cold, Snow & DQ at Sandusky’s Annual ‘Wild Bill Hangover Race’