Conlon and LeMieux Jr. keep Soukup memory alive
By Edward Anschutz
Full Throttle Magazine contributor
Sturgeon Bay’s Terry Conlon and Randy LeMieux Jr. are keeping the memory alive of local Thunderhill Raceway racer John Soukup, who lost his battle with terminal renal cell cancer.
When Soukup was diagnosed with terminal cancer long-time friend Terry Conlon, better known as “TC,” put Soukup back behind the wheel of an IMCA Northern SportMod for the 2012 season.
Soukup had not raced in more than 10 years and the last time he did he was racing for current Thunderhill Raceway track promoter Woody Wodack. Before Wodock took over Thunderhill he took a try at being a car owner. Wodack hand-picked Soukup to be the man behind the wheel and they shared two great seasons together.
Soukup always flew the Woody’s Signs banner through all the years of racing in the Bombers, Street Stocks, IMCA Modifieds and most recently the IMCA Northern SportMods. TC had a car race ready and Soukup split time in the driver’s seat with another Door County native Steve Georgenson. Soukup knew time was running out and racing in 2012 would be his last ride.
With the end of the season near Soukup was caught up in a wreck that left his machine on its roof and parts scattered everywhere. Most family, friends and fans thought they had seen his last race but the crew went to work and in only one week they put the car back together and Soukup climbed back behind the wheel driving his way to a fourth place finish.
Soukup underwent surgery to remove a kidney, chemo therapy and radiation in an effort to slow the disease. Despite all that, and sharing the driver’s seat, he still scored four top four finishes and earned 10th place in the final standings.
Sadly on March 27, 2013 Soukup passed away. With Soukup gone TC wanted to carry on Soukup’s famed No. 99 in his honor. TC was looking for an experienced driver that could challenge for the 2013 IMCA Northenr SportMod championship. Enter another long time pal Randy LeMieux Jr., known as “The Kid.”
Only two weeks into the 2013 season the pair have fit perfectly, LeMieux Jr. has already tasted victory, winning a heat race opening night and finishing fourth twice in the feature sitting tied for the point lead.
Brother-in-law Scott Boulanger of Luxemburg painted and lettered his IMCA Hobby Stock to look like one of Soukup’s paint schemes. They were able to get a picture of it to Soukup before he passed away. Boulanger has scored two feature wins in only two nights of racing.
It’s pretty easy to see John’s looking over us making sure his cars are running up front.
(This article first appeared in the June 2013 issue of Full Throttle Magazine.)