Monday, September 19, 2016

Schlenk On Top at Quincy

 Quincy Raceways enjoyed a near perfect night weather wise on Sunday, the next to final night of weekly racing. A solid field of 65 race teams signed in, led by 21 UMP modifieds and 15 UMP late models, with both classes seeing some out of town drivers in search of national points. Noticeably absent was modified national point leader Michael Long, who suffered extensive damage to his # 18L on Saturday night in Peoria,Il.
 Modified qualifying was paced by Kevin Blackburn with a lap of 15.235 seconds, while Rickey Frankel topped the late models at 14.365 ticks of the clock.
  Following heat race action, the first feature was for the ten IMCA stock cars. Rudy Zaragoza jumped out to a big lead before a lap eight caution. On the restart, point leader Abe Huls grabbed the lead ahead of a lap nine yellow for heat one winner and fourth running Jerry Jansen. On the restart, Huls was deemed to have tried to decoy the field with a " jack rabbit " start, and he was penalized one position, putting Zaragoza back out front. Back to racing, Michael Larsen used the high line to move to third. Five laps from the end of the 18 lapper, Zaragoza pushed just a bit up from his low line, and Huls was able to regain the lead. It was now a four car battle, with Abe and Brian Hoener running the bottom, Zaragoza and Larsen up top. Rudy switched lines, looking to find a way by Huls, but to no avail. At the checkers, it was Huls, Zaragoza, Larsen, and Hoener.
  The late model 25 lapper was up next. The four car invert put point leader Denny Woodworth and Justin Reed on row one, with heat winners Rusty Schlenk and Frankel in row two. Reed jumped to the lead, followed by Woodworth, Frankel, Schlenk, and Mark Burgtorf. On lap eleven, Schlenk cleared Frankel for third, now Reed and Schlenk ran the high line, with Woodworth hugging the bottom groove. Denny then found his way to the lead in traffic on lap 19, and the first yellow waved one lap later for Jamie Wilson. By now, McKay Wenger, who failed to qualify when he broke a break caliper  and started in row seven, had charged to fifth. At the same time, Dewayne Kiefer, who cracked an oil cooler in hot laps and also started last, had advanced to seventh. On the Delaware restart, Reed elected the outside line , forcing Schlenk to the inside. However the caution waved for Terry Wilson before a lap was scored, and this time, Reed took the inside line. Still Schlenk grabbed the second spot on the restart, and on lap 21 the Jackson, Michigan traveler grabbed the lead. At the same time, Reed headed to the trailer, and Wenger moved to third. Schlenk kept his # 91 out front for his first QR win of the season, with Woodworth in second. Frankel got back around Wenger for third. and Kiefer finished off his strong run in fifth. Clint Kirkham wowed everyone by running sixth with the Lee County rules crate engine Vanzandt # 21V, ahead of Burgtorf, Jamie Wilson, Trace Westling, and Terry Wilson.
  The IMCA sport compact class turned out only six cars. Darin Weisinger Jr paced lap one, giving way to Brandon Lambert. along with point leader Kimberly Abbott, and Craig Bangert, a four car battle soon developed. Abbott moved to second on lap four, and grabbed the top spot one lap later. As the sixth lap was scored, Bangert was second, and the front two pulled away, running side by side. At the checkers, Kimberly prevailed for the win over Bangert. Lambert edged Weisinger by a bumper for third.
  Robards, Kentucky pilot David Mitchell was unable to make the feature call, leaving 20 UMP modifieds to take the green. Wentzville,Mo. ace Rick Conoyer jumped to the front from his pole position start, with Dave Weitholder in second. The first yellow came on lap two. Back to racing, the front two were joined by Blackburn in a three car battle, with Weitholder putting pressure on the leader on lap six. Conoyer was riding the middle and high lines, while Weitholder moved between the low and middle lines looking for a way to the front. Traffic came into play by lap ten, when the caution waved. Back to racing, action on the backstretch saw Weitholder spinning and Blackburn into his rear quarter. I cannot say for sure what happened, but both cars were sent to the tail. Ray Bollinger also stopped to avoid Weitholder, but he was able to keep his spot, and he was now fourth, with Shaun Deering and Crofton,Kentucky hot dog Trent Young restarting behind Conoyer. It was now a three wide battle for second behind Conoyer, with two more cautions on laps 13 and 14. Following the lap 14 restart, a pile up slowed the action, with Blackburn heading to the trailer. Back under green, Deering secured the runnerup spot, as Conoyer opened up a lead. As  the checkers flew, Conoyer had his second QR win of the season, followed by Deering, Bollinger, and Young. Weitholder recovered to take fifth, and unofficially took over the point lead with one night of racing remaining.
  It was now time to head to the car, and I had to miss Tony Dunker grabbing a win in the 18 lap IMCA sport mod finale, over Austin Howes, Kevin Tomlinson, and Brandon Lennox.
  There is still plenty of racing ahead as the season winds down, so get to the track somewhere and maybe the Positively Racing crew will see you there!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Marlar Dominates at Knoxville

 Saturday Keagan and I headed for Knoxville, Iowa for the final night of the Lucas Oil Late Model Nationals. A total of 69 race teams had participated in one or both of the two qualifying nights, taking their best nights finish to determine their starting spot for the big show. Time trial qualifying plays a big part in the preliminary nights, which are a part of full shows culminating with $7,000 to win feature races. Nine drivers were absent for the final night, leaving us with 60 cars to compete in a C main, B main, and the 100 lap finale.
 The evening began with a 19 car 15 lap C main on the big fairgrounds half mile oval, with national hot shoe Morgan Bagley and Iowa standout Joel Callahan on row one. Five cars were set to transfer to the B-main event. Bagley took the early lead on the tacky fast surface, taking row two starter Rob Toland along. Just after the half way mark, Toland slowed, with heavy smoke pouring from his # 39, ending his second place run. During the caution, another local Iowa racer, Nick Marolf, also forfeited a transfer spot as he headed to the trailer. With Bagley firmly in control, the caution came out once more for a slowing Justin Duty, setting up a one lap dash to the finish. Bagley held on for the win over former Iowan Matt Furman, Mason Ziegler, Ray Guss Jr., and Rich Bell in the transfer positions. Lucas Oil rookie of the year contender Colten Flinner tagged the tail of the race, taking a few laps, as he was locked into the A main with a series provisional.
 Next came the 20 lap B main, with six cars headed to the tail of the A main along with Flinner and a highest point not in the show provisional. Gregg Satterlee took off from the pole, fairly cruising to the win. The real battle came for the final transfer spot. with Jason Rauen edging Frank Heckenast Jr and R C Whitwell for sixth. In between, Chad Simpson took second followed by Chad Mahder, Tim Lance, and Kent Robinson. Spencer Diercks received the second provisional spot.
  I am sure the folks at home watching the live telecast of this event gleaned some interesting info from the talking heads, but it just feels like unnecessary down time sitting in the grandstands. Interestingly, series officials did decide to run all 32 A main cars through a pre race check of rear deck height, and apparently several cars did not pass. They were allowed to return to the trailer to make adjustments.
 Finally it was race time, with Josh Richards, who scored a Friday night sweep, and Jimmy Owens on row one. Owens took the early lead ahead of Richards and third starting Dale McDowell. The leaders hit slower traffic by lap eight, and three circuits later, Richards grabbed the top spot. Following a lap 14 caution, McDowell moved to second on the Delaware restart, with Owens falling back a bit. About lap 18, Tennessee driver Mike Marlar, who started fourth, wheeled his yellow # 157 to third using the high line around the speedway. On the next trip around, Marlar grabbed the second position. Lap 23 saw traffic come into play again, and with Marlar closing, Richards was forced to move up the track to negotiate the lapped cars. The move benefitted Richards, as he increased his lead running the higher line. Two more yellow periods came before lap 30. with Marlar briefly taking the lead down the backstretch. With 70 laps to go, sixth running Shannon Babb came to a stop with a flat tire. Back to green, McDowell retook third, and Billy Moyer, in his final night at Knoxville ahead of retirement, advanced to fifth. Five laps later, Moyer grabbed fourth, and Texas teenager Tyler Erb, who started in row nine, powered to sixth. Lap 38 saw Richards trapped behind a pair of lapped cars running for position, and Marlar blasted to the lead. Chase Junghans brought outa caution on lap 45 as he lost a wheel in turn four, and Chris Simpson went to the work area giving up a top ten spot. A three car battle for second developed back under green, with McDowell slipping around Richards, as Owens rejoined the fray. But just as he moved into contention, the engine appeared to let go on his # 20. Richards powered back to second, and now Scott Bloomquist, advanced to fourth, running around the bottom of the track. Just past the halfway mark, Richards was challenging Marlar, but Tyler erb slowed in turn two, with the yellow flying. Back under green, Bloomquist moved to second, and eighth running Brandon Sheppard entered the top five. Marlar continued to drive the high line, with Bloomquist on the bottom, as McDowell faded to tenth. on a lap 59 yellow, McDowell retired to his pit. The restart saw Bloomer move in to challenge for the lead. Meanwhile, tenth starting Bobby Pierce, who had been lurking outside the top five before falling to 13th, reentered the top five. Following a lap 63 caution, Pierce, the World 100 winner, took fourth. But he smacked the turn four wall on lap 67, damaging his spoiler, losing several positions. Marlar had built a nice lead before Bloomquist started his push with 25 to go. A caution at this point was followed by Sheppard moving to fourth, soon losing to spot to a now surging Pierce. On lap 84, Sheppards top five run ended, and back under green, the two leaders ran side by side. But four circuits later, Richards powered around Bloomer to second, with Marlar well out front. With four laps to go, Richards bad Knoxville luck reared its ugly head, as he ducked to the pits. But there was no catching Marlar, who added his name to the list of prestigious Knoxville winners on this 13 edition of the late model nats. Bloomquist, apparently running with no power steering, came up one spot short of his third nationals win. Pierce crossed the line in third. Moyer suddenly slowed with less than two laps to go, holding on for fifth as Shane Clanton took fourth as the pair exited turn four coming to the checkers. Jimmy Mars came home sixth, ahead of Tim McCreadie, Florida driver Kyle Bronson, Dennis Erb Jr., and Darrell Lanigan. By my count, 13 cars were still running at the checkers. with Don Oneal, Mahder, and Lance rounding out the finishers.
  The final checkers fell around 10:00 on what turned out to be a nearly perfect evening, weather wise. Although it was a relatively large margin of victory for Marlar, there was plenty of great racing, as this show never disaapoints, and has been on my " can't miss " list for 13 years.
  Tonight, it will be back to Quincy Raceways for the next to last night of weekly racing for 2016. I am expecting some extra cars in the UMP late model and modified classes, as the points season winds down. Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Burgtorf Bags the Big Check at Quincy

 A solid field of 75 cars came through the pit gate Sunday night at Quincy Raceways, led by 22 UMP modifieds and 20 UMP late models. With the IMCA Super Nationals wrapping up on Saturday, points in the three IMCA classes cannot be awarded, so track promoters opened up the rules to allow URSA B-mods to run with the sport mods and UMP street stocks to compete with the stock cars. Several of the regular sport mod drivers took the night off, and the count in the three support classes was eleven in each.
 Heavy rains during the latter portion of the week created a somewhat rough racing surface for the heat races, but grading during intermission left us with a lightning fast .29 mile oval come feature time.
  All but one of the stock cars took the feature green flag, With Michael Larsen winning the drag race into turn one. With no points being given, Brian Hoener turned over driving duties in his # 66 to former track champion Aaron Brocksieck. Even though Aaron has not been a regular competitor for several seasons, he picked up where he had left off, winning his heat race and starting alongside Larsen in the front row. Brocksieck grabbed the top spot before lap one was scored, and before Jake Powers brought out the caution on lap two. Back under green, Brocksieck was hugging the inside line, although Larsen was looking for racing room inside the # 66. As the leaders dueled, Rudy Zaragoza joined the hunt running a higher line. On lap eight, first time visitor Mike Hardwick in one of the three Jacksonville, Il team 67 cars wound up on his side with Dean Kratzer pointing skyward atop the Hardwick car. An engine fire in Kratzers car added to the drama, but both drivers were uninjured, and soon we were back under green. Zaragoza took over the runner up spot, and laps 11 - 13 saw the leaders running side by side. On lap 14 Brocksieck opened a bit of a cushion, and Larsen tried to get underneath Zaragoza, who slid sideways trying to hold the spot. Point leader Abe Huls took advantage of the mix up to move into the runnerup spot, but this night belonged to Brocksieck. Zaragoza recovered to take third, followed by Brandon Savage and Jerry Jansen.
  The UMP Big Ten late model $2,000 to win headliner was up next. Dewayne Kiefer was unable to make the call after running third in his heat, so 19 cars came to the track. Dustin Griffin had set quick time at 13.513 seconds, and outdueled Rickey Frankel in heat one. For Frankel it was his third race and first at Quincy since the hauler crash early in the year that had sidelined him with a shoulder injury. Mark Burgtorf had bested track point leader Denny Woodworth in heat two, while traveler Kevin Weaver, chasing UMP points, topped Jason Perry in the third ten lapper. The top six were then inverted for the 25 lap feature, putting Perry and Woodworth on the front row. It took three tries to get one lap in, as first Bo Brockway, the two time winner McKay Wenger had issues that brought out the caution and sent them to the back of the grid. When racing finally got under way, Perry jumped to the lead taking Weaver along as Woodworth was shuffled back. By lap six Perry was encountering slower traffic, and appeared to make contact with Mike Hammerle, sending the veteran spinning, and bringing out the caution. Back to racing, Burgtorf advanced to fourth, and two laps later he moved to third. The 14th circuit saw Brockway slow as his ride bellowed smoke bringing out another yellow. Under green, Frankel lost several spots, and the yellow flew again on lap 17 for debris. On each Delaware restart, Wever had chosen the inside, leaving the top line to Burgtorf, and on the lap 17 restart, the 16 time track champion took over the second spot. However Griffin lost the handle, in turn three, collecting Chuck Mitchell before the lap was scored. Back under green, Burgtorf again had the runner up spot. Lap 18 saw another caution, as Vance Wilson, subbing in brother Terrys car in the feature, made contact with the front stretch wall. Woodworth was forced to the hot pit with a flat, rejoining the back of the pack. As the green waved, Weaver retook second, and on lap 21 Frankel headed to the infield with rear end problems. Lap 22 saw Shaun Deering, making his late model debut subbing for injured Cliff Powell, slow on the front stretch as the caution waved again. With three circuits to go, a melee occurred on the backstretch as Perry got out of shape, contacting Weaver as he tried to make the pass. Burgtorf was able to fly by, but Weaver did a pair of 360 degree spins in front of the pack. Brian Diveley was actually the only car stopping on the track, and with the caution out, track officials were obviously befuddled with what to do. The cars circled the oval for several alps, and a couple drivers stopped I presume to offer " suggestions." Finally it was decided that all cars would get there spot back as they were scored on the previous lap. Honestly, I am not sure what my call would have been, so I will give officials a pass on this one. With three laps remaining, Burgtorf charged around Perry, to pick up his second win of the season. Perry held off Weaver for second, Wenger came back to score a fourth place finish ahead of Justin Reed. Diveley led the second five, topping Derek Fetter, Woodworth, Wilson, and Clint Kirkham, who caught a ride in the Laine Vanzandt # 21V.
  Next up was the sport compact feature, with eleven starters. Jeffrey Delonjay and point leader Kimberly Abbott sat on row one, with Delonjay taking the early lead. On lap four, as Alyssa Steele entered turn one, the throttle stuck on her # 55s, causing a multi car scrum. Brandon Lambert took a roll in his # 14L, while Steele hammered the guard rail separating the track from the turn two pit area. With a long delay in the works and the clock nearing 9:30, I regretfully took my leave to head across the river. Congrats to Abbott on her win over Craig Bangert and Brandon Herron.
  Another driver chasing UMP points, Ray Bollinger already had one UMP modified feature win under his belt at QR this season, and he knocked Michael Long off his streak of quick qualifying time. But feature time was a different story, as Michael picked up another win followed by Bollinger, and another prior winner, Rick Conoyer.
 The hottest driver at the track not named Long is Brandon Lennox, and he scored another sport mod win ahead of Tony Dunker and Joey Gower.
 QR has two more race nights on the schedule, and following a trip to the Knoxville, Iowa late model nationals, I will hopefully be on hand next Sunday as we count down the 2016 season.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Quincy Raceways Dodges the Rain

 Friday night, a deluge of over two inches of rain caused the creek bordering Quincy Raceways to flood, putting Sunday racing in doubt. But while more showers were in the area Sunday, they missed the race track, and with a lot of hard work, the track and pit area were ready to go.
  A total of 64 race teams signed in, including 16 UMP late models and 17 UMP modifieds.
  Jason Perry paced late model qualifying at 13.609 seconds, while Michael Long led the mods with a fast lap of 14.832 ticks of the clock. Jim Moon was late arriving at the track, missing late model qualifying, while Mark Burgtorf never did get to the track, although  his # 7B was there ready to go.
  The IMCA stock car feature ran first, with nine of the eleven cars taking the green flag. Jerry Jansen paced the first two laps before Dean Kratzer and Jake Powers got hooked together in turn four, ending the night for Kratzer.  Back under green, a blanket would have covered the top four cars, but on lap four first time visitor Travis Johnson, from Springfield,Il. grabbed the lead. Three circuits later, point leader Abe Huls advanced to second, but with no more yellow flags, he could not close the gap to the leader. The best battle on the track was for third, with Brandon Savage and Michael Larsen crossing the line in that order, and Jansen took fifth.
   Clint Kirkham had come from row two to blast past Perry to win the first late model heat on the final lap, but he then needed a push to the pit area and was done for the night. Heat two winner Chuck Mitchell then rolled a four for the 25 lap feature invert, putting visiting Rusty Schlenk from Jackson, Michigan on the pole alongside Perry. Schlenk shot to the lead at the green, Perry got too high on the cushion in turn three, and Mitchell crossed the line in second behind Schlenk. On lap two, Perry cleared Mitchell, and set sail for Schlenk. Slower traffic became a factor on lap seven, with Perry closing on the leader. The first caution came on lap 14 for another first time visitor, Mark Rose, from Dorchester,Wisconsin. On the Delaware restart Mitchell moved back to the runner up spot, but three laps later, it was again Perry in second. Five laps from the checkers disaster struck for Schlenks # 91, as he slowed on the track with possible suspension damage. Dewayne Kiefer and Moon were running in the top six, but contact on the restart brought out the yellow and both cars were sent to the tail. With Perry now out front, one more yellow waved on lap 22, and point leader Denny Woodworth cleared Mitchell for second on the restart. At the checkers it was Perry with his third win of the season followed by Woodworth, Mitchell, Terry Wilson, and Rose. Moon rebounded to sixth ahead of Kiefer, Alan Westling, Trace Westling, and yet another first timer, Bill Kettering Jr. from Pekin,Il.
  The IMCA sort mod feature began with a false start, but they then ran until lap 12 without a caution. Austin Howes jumped to the lead at the green, followed by Tanner Klingele and Mike Goodwin. On lap two, rookie Justin Ebbing grabbed third, with Brandon Lennox moving to fourth. Howes opened a commanding lead over Klingele, who also had a wide margin over Ebbing. Howes entered slower traffic on lap ten before the lap twelve caution. On the restart, Lennox powered to second, with Ebbing shuffled back to sixth. Another caution waved on lap 15, and for the final three circuits, Lennox was on the rear bumper of the leader. But when the checkers flew, it was Howes picking up his second win in a row, followed by Lennox, Joey Gower, Klingele, and Kevin Tomlinson.
  The IMCA sport compact class was short on cars but the action was intense. Second half sensation Craig Bangert, with a new wrap on his # 99B, jumped to the front at the green. Darin Weisinger Jr. set sail in second, but on lap four point leader Kimberly Abbott grabbed the second spot. She then ran down Bangert, and by lap nine they were side by side. Abbott was scored the leader on lap 13, but it was Bangert leading at the white flag. He then held on for the victory, with Abbott, and Weisinger trailing.
  The final race of the night was the UMP modified 20 lapper. Long had pulled a straight up start, setting on the pole with last weeks winner Kevin Blackburn along side. Michael was already building a commanding lead when Spencer Havermale rolled to a stop out of turn two. Back to racing, Blackburn and Dave Weitholder battled for the second spot as Longpulled away. Weitholder claimed the spot on lap five, but the caution waved one lap later. At the half way mark, Long was on cruise control, and he began lapping cars on the eleventh trip around. Blackburn began to fade, as Long picked up the checkers. Weitholder ran second, followed by Shaun Deering, visiting veteran Brian Wolfmeier, and Blackburn. For Long, it was his fourth consecutive night of racing, and he totaled a third and three wins. The victory was his 32nd of the season, 28 counting as full wins, and four coming with a reduced car count, as he continues his march toward a possible national championship.
 Next Sunday the late models will have the night off as the Sprint Invaders will headline the program. Check the track website for support classes.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pierce and Long Stay Hot at Pevely

 Saturday night was night number two for the UMP/Mars late model challenge weekend, with the action moving to I-55 Raceway in Pevely,Mo. The open late models were running for $5,000 to win, with the UMP modifieds competing for a $1,000 top prize. It was actually the third night in a row for these classes, as the long weekend opened on Thursday with the make up UMP Summernationals event at the Lincoln,Il 1/4 mile facility, followed by Friday Racing at Tri City Speedway in Granite City,Il.
 A solid field of 29 late models and 26 mods checked in at Pevely, supported by 21 B-mods and 17 sportsman cars. Group qualifying saw UMP national point leader Michael Long, the last modified to time set the pace at 14.127 seconds on the high banked 1/3 mile oval, while veteran Billy Moyer turned a lap of 12.731 to best the late models.
  Three heat races for the late models saw Moyer edge Bobby Pierce in heat one, Tony Jackson Jr top Hunter Rasdon in the second ten lapper, and local favorite Jeff Herzog come from row three to fly past Kolby Vandenbergh out of turn four on the final lap of heat three.
 Modified heats went to Mike Harrison, Dean Hoffman, and Long.
 With intermission for a bit of track prep out of the way, the 15 lap sportsman feature was first on the grid. Mark Schafer crossed the line first, but despite repeated attempts, he was light at the scale, giving the win to Patrick Hawkins.
 It was now time for the 40 lap late model headliner. The heat winners in both the late model and modified classes redrew on the front stretch for there starting spot, and the late models lined up with Jackson and Herzog in row one. 20 qualifiers and five provisionals took the green. Bob Gardner, who needed a push to the pits after hot laps, had missed time trials, but came back to qualify through his heat race. He then dropped to the tail of the starting lineup, but wound up running all 40 laps, finishing 13th. Jackson jumped to the lead at the green, taking Moyer along in second. On  the third trip around, Pierce cleared Herzog for third, but it was Shannon Babb on the move, from row four to fourth on lap five. The first caution came on lap six for a spinning Kenny Rumble, and back under green, Pierce used the Delaware restart to claim second. As lap eight was scored, Bobby had taken over the lead, running side by side with Jackson. One lap later, Moyer slipped around Jackson for the runner up spot. Pierce was hooked up on the high line, and Moyer was also running the top, while Jackson chose the low groove. As Pierce stretched his lead, slower traffic came into play on lap 15. Pierce continued to hold a comfortable advantage, with the second yellow coming with 20 laps in the books. Jesse Stovall had advance ten spots to sixth at the halfway point, but he pulled to the pit area during the caution. Back to racing, Babb took over the third spot behind Pierce and Moyer, with Jackson fading outside the top five, and Brandon McCormick roaring from ninth to fourth. The front two began to distance themselves from the pack before Jackson rolled to a stop on lap 24, ending his night. As the green waved, Pierce began to pull away, again catching lapped traffic on lap 32. About this time, Moyer got too high in turn two, bouncing off the concrete wall, and one circuit later under yellow, the veteran retired to the pits. This put Babb now in the runner up spot, but he could not mount a serious challenge, as Pierce added his second win of the weekend, sandwiching a second place finish to Moyer at Tri City. Babb held on to second ahead of seventh starting Wendell Wallace and Will Vaught. Local standout Rusty Griffaw put together an amazing run in the second half of the race, passing car after car to finish fifth after starting 21st as a provisional. McCormick led the second five ahead of Jack Sullivan, Tanner English, Rasdon and Mississippi driver Ashley Newman.
 The track was plenty racey during the late model feature, but it was beginning to look as though it would be a high side track the rest of the night, making the modified redraw more important than one might imagine. Harrison picked up the first Frisbee with a three on the bottom, Hoffman drew the two, putting Long on the pole. Knowing he needed to get to the top of the track, Michael charged to the front at the green, going to the high side, and setting his # 18L inches from the concrete in the turns. Time after time he built a lead, but numerous cautions brought him back to the pack. The mods did not use the Delaware restart, and Hoffman continued to hold off Harrison for second as Long would again build his lead. Around lap 15 of the 25 lapper, Harrison was able to make his low side dive work to secure the second spot, and he kept Long in sight following a lap 21 caution, but Michael was not to be denied his second win of the weekend. Long continued to stretch his advantage over Harrison in the chase for the national point title. On Thursday, it was Kenny Wallace edging Harrison on the final lap at Lincoln, with Long running third. Friday was a win for Long, with Harrison retiring early, credited with 22nd. Michael will try to add another win tonight, Sunday, at Quincy Raceways. Heavy downpours at Quincy on Friday resulted in a flooded pit area from the nearby creek, but as of 10:00 Sunday morning it looks like conditions are good for racing. However it might be a good idea to check the website after the noon update if you are heading this way. Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Longs Streak Ends, Huls Rolls On

 Some first time winners grabbed the checkers Sunday night at Quincy Raceways, but in the IMCA stock car class, it was a familiar face.
 The night began with qualifying, and Denny Woodworth paced the UMP late models with a lap of 13.974 seconds. And it was no surprise when Michael Long turned a lap of 15:300 seconds to top the UMP modifieds. Woodworth then captured the late model heat, and pulled the zero chip to set the feature field straight up. Long looked to be in command in the first mod heat, but Dave Weitholder stayed close, and he shocked the crowd by flying past Michael for the win coming out of turn four to the checkers. Dave also pulled the zero chip, and we were ready to go feature racing.
  The stock cars were up first, and Jerry Jansen led the first two trips around the oval, with Andrew Hustead taking over on lap three, taking last weeks winner Michael Larsen along in second. With Abe Huls advancing to third, those three and Jansen formed a four car pull away. Following a lap five caution, Larsen got shuffled back to sixth, and Huls took over second. Lap seven saw Abe on top, but Hustead was not giving up, and the two raced side by side, Huls on the low line, Hustead one groove higher. Andrew was scored the leader at the half way point, and the yellow waved on lap eleven. On the restart, Larsen took to the cushion that produced his win the week before, moving to third. By lap 15, it was Huls in front of Hustead with Larsen closing. Andrew led lap 16, then Abe on the 17th circuit as the caution flew. Coming to the green, Larsen got sideways, collection Jake Powers, who retired with a broken front end. As the field came to the checkers, Larsen again got sideways, but it was Huls stretching his points lead with another win. Hustead was second followed by Jansen, Rudy Zaragoza, and Larsen.
  The late models were up next, and row three starter and two time winner Justin Reed was a no show with mechanical woes. Woodworth grab the lead at the green, with third starting Mark Burgtorf running the high line in second. Lap three saw the 16 time track champion take the lead, and one lap later Jason Perry grabbed second also running the cushion. The caution came on lap five, and back to racing, Burgtorf, Perry, and Woodworth ran three wide through turn two, with Denny back to second. Another stoppage came on lap seven, and back under green it was now Burgtorf, Dustin Griffin, and Perry running three wide. With Burgtorf staying on the cushion, Griffin challenged on the inside line, showing Mark his fender before the final caution on lap 21. Burgtorf was not to be denied, and he led the final four circuits to pick up his first win of 2016. Griffin rode home in the runner up slot ahead of Woodworth and Perry. Terry Wilson took home fifth ahead of Charles Vanzandt, late model rookie Trent Grotz, and Cliff Powell.
 The IMCA sport compacts came to the track next for 15 laps. Jeffrey Delonjay jumped to the lead ahead of Allyssa Steele. On lap three, Craig Bangert charged to second with Kimberly Abbott in tow. Following a restart, Abbott nabbed second, and a three car scrum developed. Soon Delonjay and Abbott pulled away, Jeffrey running on the bottom and Kim a line higher as she searched for a way around the # 32. Delonjay continued to hit his marks, holding off the point leader for the win. Bangert took third, Darin Weisinger Jr was fourth, and Brandon Lambert nosed past Steele at the checkers for fifth.
  It was now UMP modified time. Weitholder and heat two winner Frankie Wellman sat in row one, with Long and Russ Coultas in row two. Weitholder jumped to the lead, with Long trailing. Staying green, the front two ran this way, Weitholder on the inside and Long running low in turns one and two and pounding the cushion in three and four. Long closed the gap by lap nine, and 15 trips in, slower traffic got heavy. As the leaders cam past the flag stand, a slower car forced Weitholder to move up to the middle groove as Long tried to move to the front on the high side. There was not enough real estate, and contact occurred between the leaders, leaving both with flat tires. Weitholder quickly went to the hot pit, while Long stayed out, but he would not be allowed to restart with a flat, so he also went to the hot pit. Weitholder made it back to the tail in the two lap grace period, but Long came out late, spinning in turn two to bring himself back to the pack. It was now Kevin Blackburn out front in the Mike Begley # B4. Blackburn has held the ride for about a month, and has been fast, but mechanical issues have ended some strong runs. No such issues would stop Kevin this night, however, and he picked up his first main event win. Trying to make up ground, Weitholder looped his ride, but stayed on the gas and kept going on the final lap 15 restart. Coultas had a strong run in second, Long came back from eleventh to third, Darin Weisinger nabbed fourth, and Spencer Havermale completed the top five. Michael had been going for his third win of the weekend, as he continues to lead the UMP national points.
  The final race on the card was the 15 car IMCA sport mod feature. Tanner Klingele led through a lap four caution,  ahead of Justin Bartz, Kevin Tomlinson, point leader Nathan Bringer, and Austin Howes. By lap seven, Howes had powered his way to second, and was challenging for the lead, while Brandon Lennox rim rode his way to third. It was now Klingele on the bottom, Howes in the middle, and Lennox on top, as the track may have been the raciest it has been all season. Howes grabbed the leadon lap ten and began to pull away. Meanwhile, Klingele and Lennox staged a side by side battle for second. As Lennox grabbed second on lap 14 the yellow waved, giving the spot back to Klingele, although it was of little consequence with the Delaware restart. But as racing resumed, Lennox did not get the start he hoped for, and Bringer moved to third. Howes again pulled away, picking up I think, his first QR win of 2016. The battle raged on for second, with Klingele prevailing. Lennox recovered for third, with Bringer and Tomlinson turning in top five runs.
  Today I learned the sad news that long time area racer and engine builder Jack Evans passed away Sunday night. Jack was  a regular in the stands at both Quincy and Donnellson, and I had my final conversation with him Friday at Lee County Speedway. Thoughts and prayers go out to Jacks family and friends.
  See you at the races.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Donnellson Beats the Rain - Almost

 The Lee County Speedway added the Sprint Invaders to the regular five division program on Friday night, and despite threatening skies all night, they almost got through the 20 race program unscathed. But the rain finally came early in the IMCA sport mod feature, which will apparently resume next Friday on season championship night. Kudos to promoter Mike Van Genderen for recognizing the threat of impending weather and cutting out some of the post race hoopla and moving the show along.
 The IMCA sport compacts ran the first feature. Barry Taft jumped out to an early sizable lead before a caution on lap three for Ron Kibbe. Back to racing, Brandon Reu stayed with Taft as Josh Barnes, who dropped out of his heat race, advanced to third. By lap nine, Taft again held a commanding lead as Barnes challenged for second, taking the spot one lap later. But the race belonged to Taft, with Barnes, Reu and Mike Reu trailing.
  All 13 IMCA modifieds took the feature green, with Jardin Fuller leading through a lap two yellow. Fuller, Dean McGee, and Jerad Fuller putting some distance on the field. After a lap four caution, Dennis Laveine joined the lead pack. On the sixth circuit, Jeff Waterman took over fourth. while Bill Roberts Jr. came from ninth to fifth. As the group entered turn four, there was contact between Roberts and Waterman, with Scott Dickey having no where to go. Dickey hit the Roberts car, and ending Scotts run, and sending the other two to the back. Back under green, Jardin pushed up the track in turn four. While McGee was able to clear the leader, the rest of the field temporarily bunched up, giving McGee a chance to put some distance on the now second place Levi Smith. By lap 13, Laveine had taken over second, with Roberts in third, and three laps later, Roberts muscled around Laveine in turns one and two. With no more stoppages, McGee fairly cruised to the win. Roberts took second with the #71s, Laveine and Waterman completing the top four.
  A nice turnout of 27 Sprint Invaders needed three heat races, a Shake Up dash of the top two from the heats, and a B-main to set the 20 car starting field. I will admit, the dash seems a bit meaningless, as the winner then draws for a feature invert. Seems to me, that winning the dash would give the winner the pole for the main event, otherwise the first two in the heats could just redraw for the front three rows, but, anyway... The yellow came out on the opening lap as Harold Pohren put his ride on its side, and Damian Getchell, having nowhere to go, also got upside down. After a lengthy delay, Pole sitter John Schulz led the first scored lap ahead of Chris Martin. Another caution flew on lap two for the starting cone on the track. When racing resumed, it was Schulz running the high line Martin on the bottom, Wayne Johnson moving to third, and Jon Agan fourth. Danny Lososki sthad started in row six, and quickly advanced to sixth. Agan suddenly exited the track on lap 19 of the 25 lapper. With Schulz in command, having taken the white flag, the yellow came out for a collision in turn four setting up a one lap dash to the checkers. Schulz was not to be denied, however, putting his # 99 in victory lane. Martin came home second, with Lasoski slipping past Johnson for third.
  The IMCA stock car class had only ten cars sign in, and point leader Jeff Mueller pulled out of the heat race, apparently with a cranky clutch. As some light sprinkles fell, Jeremy Pundt grabbed the lead from Andrew Hustead on lap one. Hustead remained glued to the back bumper of the #52J. John Oliver Jr moved quickly to third, with Mueller coming from row five to challenge Oliver. On lap eight of the 20 lap event, Mueller rolled past Oliver and began to challenge for second. As the crossed flags signaled the half way mark, Mueller took over the runner up spot, closing on the leader by lap 13. The leader all hugged the inside line, and Pundt continued to hit his marks, picking up his second win of 2016. Mueller unofficially secured the track point title with his second place finish, Oliver ran third, and Hustead took fourth.
  With more sprinkles falling, the Lee County late models came to the 3/8 mile oval for 25 laps. Tommy Elston and Sam Halstead entered the night tied for the points lead, And heat one winner Elston drew the outside front row slot, while Halstead started sixth. Pole sitter Tyler Cale led the first two trips past the flagstand, with Elston driving to the front on lap three. Halstead advanced to third on the same lap.. As Elston stretched his lead, Derek Liles and Todd Frank staged an entertaining side by side battle for fifth. On the 11th circuit, Laine Vanzandt backed his ride into the turn three guardrail, although he was able to rejoin the race. With the help of the Delaware restart, Halstead took command of the second spot. Todd Frank also charged to fourth on the restart. With seven laps to go, Frank took over third. In the closing laps, Cale faded with a flat tire. Elston was unchallenged, picking up the win, and taking a one point lead over runner up Halstead. Frank and Jeff Guengerich turned in top four performances, with Liles overtaking Cale for fifth. Newcomer Blake Woodruff brought his # 30 home seventh, followed by Gunner Frank, Charles Vanzandt, and Trent Grotz.
 With the final feature, the IMCA sport mods on the track, the rains came, putting an end to a full night of racing.
 Next Friday will be the end of regular season racing at Donnellson, although there are a couple of October specials on the schedule. Sunday night you can find me at Quincy Raceways for weekly racing. Maybe I will see you there!