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!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Long Marches On

  Michael Long continued his march to a possible UMP modified national title Sunday night at Quincy Raceways. Entering the week with a slight lead over chief rival Mike Harrison, Long saw his regular tracks rained out Friday and Saturday, so he journeyed to Spoon River Speedway on Saturday and picked up a win, then headed home for Sunday night action. He paced qualifying with a lap of 14.829 seconds, and picked up his heat race win, following which he rolled the die for a straight up start in the 20 lap feature. 15 cars took the green flag, including Kenny Bringer, who competed in both the IMCA sport mod class and the UMP mod feature. After one false start in the main event, Long jumped to the lead before a lap three caution saw the night end early for Spencer Havermale. On the restart, Dave Weitholder moved past row two starter Rick Conoyer for second. Long and Weitholder quickly distanced themselves from the pack, and as the race reached its mid point, Michael rode the cushion to a commanding lead. Weitholder tried to stay close using the bottom of the speedway. but with no more cautions, Long cruised to the win. Weitholder came home in second followed by Conoyer, Kevin Blackburn, and Shaun Deering.
  IMCA stock cars started off the feature parade, with ten starters. Jerry Jansen was an early casualty last week with still unknown engine woes, so he brought last years # 06 to the track on Sunday. Starting on the pole, he led lap one, but by the second time around, he was shuffled behind Abe Huls, Jake Powers, and Michael Larsen. The caution flew on lap three, and on the restart it was Huls and Powers running the bottom line while Larsen tried to bri8ng in the cushion. AQnother yellow on lap six was followed by a false start, and back to green Larsen found what he was searching for, blasting around Huls on the high side. Abe eventually took to the top groove as well, and the two ran nose to tail until a caution on the white flag lap set up a green, white, checkers finish. The stoppage came for third and fourth place Powers and Shane Paris, as Paris went hot into turn three, sending both cars to the back. Neither driver stopped, but there was debris on the track, and both drivers were charged with the caution. Huls pushed ahead briefly in the closing pair of laps, but Larsen kept his # 48 on the top side, and came first to the checkers. Huls took second ahead of Brian Hoener. Andrew Hustead recovered from the lap six yellow to take fourth ahead of visiting Tyler Gilmour from Peoria,Il.
  Ten UMP late models made the feature call. Jason Perry had posted quick time of 13.677 seconds, but it was Denny Woodworth capturing the first heat. The late model lawyer rolled a four, putting Dustin Griffin on the pole with Perry alongside. Perry shot to the early lead, holding on as a battle raged behind him. Woodworth slipped past Griffin for second on lap six, and the front two pulled away from the pack. But by lap nine, Griffin was again on the move, and lap 13 saw a three wide battle for the top spot. Perry held on, with Griffin claiming second. Three circuits later, Justin Reed cleared Woodworth for third. In the closing laps, Perry stretched his lead, and with race caution free, he cruised to his second win of the season. He joined the list of two time winners at QR this season, with no one having more than two. Griffin took runner up honors over Reed, Woodworth, and Mark Burgtorf. Alan Westling piloted Jim Moons back up car to sixth, passing seventh finishing Moon to do so. Trent Grotz, Cliff Powell and Trace Westling, who retired early, rounded out the action.
  Brenden Ryan was the early leader in the IMCA sport mod 18 lapper before a caution for Justin Ebbing and Tanner Klingele, who became hooked together. Back to racing, Nathan Bringer charged in to second, and on the fourth trip around, he took the lead, with Austen Becerra following in second. After another yellow, row six starter Brandon Lennox advanced to fifth, and then quickly to third. Yet another caution saw Becerra bobble a bit, and Lennox used the opening to climb to second, with Joey Gower moving to third. The lead pack was hugging the inside line while Becerra tried to make up ground on the top of the track. When the checkers waved, it was Bringer with his second win of the season, followed by Lennox, Gower, Ebbing, and Becerra.
  A dozen IMCA sport compacts signed in bolstered  by a trio of Lee County regulars. One of those, Barry Taft, completed only one lap of his heat race before pulling to the infield, done for the evening. Craig Bangert jumped out front to pace lap one, and things got dicey when Brandon Herron spun in front of the field on lap two. Everyone avoided the # 88 and the race stayed green. Perennial front runner Josh Barnes pulled to the infield on lap two, his night over. Bangert continued to stretch his lead, and second running Brandon Lambert also opened an advantage on the rest of the pack. With no yellows, Bangert cruised to a straightaway lead and win. Lambert ran second, while Austen Becerra, shaking out a new # 04 car, finished ahead of Kimberly Abbott and Brandon Reu.
  The quickly run program saw the final checkers wave well before the 9:00 hour.
  Friday night, I hope to be back in my regular spot at Lee County Speedway, as they begin to wind down their regular season, then Sunday it will be regular racing again at Quincy Raceways. Until next time, enjoy racing at your favorite track!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Long Completes the Hat Trick at Quincy

 The weatherman finally gave Quincy Raceways a break on Sunday, with cooler temps, although there were a couple of stray sprinkles early in the evening. Still it was good place to spend my last night of vacation, a busy time even though I managed to squeeze in a night of racing in Donnellson and in Tipton, Iowa. Unfortunately, by the time I could have reported on them, it would have been very old news!
 Sixty one cars signed in at QR, but things got off to a bit of a late start with a medical call in the grandstands following time trials. Jason Perry had paced the UMP late models at 13.303 seconds, and Michael Long was the final UMP modified to qualify, leading the 14 car pack with a lap of 14.609 ticks of the clock.
 Once under way, the nine heat races ran off quickly, but the heavy rains on Thursday night created some bumps in the track which crews ironed out during intermission.
  The IMCA stock car feature ran first, with all but one of the ten cars signed in taking the green. Jake Powers crossed the line first on lap one, and on lap three, a charging Abe Huls got tangled up with Rudy Zaragoza, bringing out the yellow. Back under green, however, it was Brian Hoener out front as Abe moved to fourth in one lap, and was third on lap five before the second and final caution waved. Huls took over second on the restart, and set sail for Hoener. Brian was hugging the low line while Abe chose a higher groove. On lap ten of the 18 lap affair, Huls powered to the front. Four circuits later, Andrew Hustead used that same top groove to claim second, chasing Huls to the checkers. Hoener finished third followed by Michael Larsen and Powers.
  Fast qualifier Perry had captured the first late model heat, and he rolled a zero to set the 25 lap feature lineup straight up. Perry then grabbed the lead at the green, quickly moving to the high line ahead of Griffin. A battle quickly developed for third between Clint Kirkham, Mark Burgtorf, and Denny Woodworth. By the eighth lap, Denny had charged to third, and the leaders hit slower traffic around lap eleven. Point leader Justin Reed joined the fray, moving to fourth on lap 14. Three circuits later, Griffin was bearing down on the leader, and he pulled a slide job in turns one and two for the lead on lap 20. Perry stayed close, but could not return the favor, as Griffin picked up his second checkers of 2016. Perry ran second ahead of Woodworth, Reed, and Burgtorf. Kirkham led the second five followed by Vance Wilson again wheeling the # 6M, Trace Westling, McKay Wenger, and Chuck Mitchell. All 14 starters took the checkers in the non stop event. It was good to see Wenger back at the track, although racing with a cast on his wrist certainly posed a problem. Also, Alan Westling made his first appearance of the season in the Jim Moon back up car. Moon is also reportedly dealing with some injury issues.
 The IMCA sport compacts only showed eight cars, seven started the 15 lap feature which also went non stop. Jeffrey Delonjay jumped to the early lead in his new ride, plain black with a duct taped # 32  on the side. On lap four, Kimberly Abbott took the runner up spot from Allyssa Steele as the two lady drivers tried to run down Delonjay. Darin Weisinger Jr. joined the front group, moving to third just before the half way mark. Three circuits later, Weisinger slipped around Abbott for second. As the leaders charged out of turn two for the final time, Abbott slowed and pulled to the infield with a rare mechanical failure. Delonjay cruised to his second win of 2016, chased by Weisinger, Steele, Brandon Lambert, and Adam Scott.
 Under the " what's new" category, Michael Long also won his heat race, and was set to roll the die for the 20 lap feature invert. Oddly, there was an " eight" on the die, which Michael rolled, and for the first time that I know of, four rows were inverted for the main event. All but one of the 14 cars signed in took the green flag, with Shaun Deering leading Donovan Lodge as lap one was scored. Long crossed the line sixth, as lap two was scored, he was third, and he was going for the lead when the caution waved on lap three. The Delaware restart put him outside of Lodge, and he shot to the lead going down the backstretch. As he began to build a lead, third running Deering spun in turn one, but fortunately for him, the yellow had just come out for Keven Tomlinson in turn four. It was now Kevin Blackburn, driving the Mike Begley # B4 now in second, and while Long checked out, Blackburn, Deering, and Dave Weitholder waged a battle for second. When Blackburn suddenly exited the speedway on lap eleven, Long had a nearly 1/2 track advantage on the second place Deering. With no further cautions, Michael picked up his third feature win of the weekend as he chases the UMP nation points title, currently running second to Michael Harrison. Deering and Weitholder ran second and third, followed by Spencer Havermale and Frankie Wellman.
  The IMCA sport mod finale was in staging as I headed for the car, with the 9:00 hour fast approaching and a long "catch up" Monday on my mind. Congratulations to Brandon Lennox, who has had an up and down season, as he topped defending champion and new point leader Joey Gower for the win.
  Although I would very much like to be in West Liberty, Iowa for the MLRA/IMCA double late model show on Tuesday, it " ain't gonna " happen, so we will see what next weekend brings. Until then, enjoy the races!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Race, Work, Repeat

 Driving from Canton, Mo. to work in Quincy, Il on Thursday morning, I was both surprised and dismayed to hear on the radio that Quincy had received more than 1.5 inches of rain overnight. The rain gauge report comes from the airport, which is close to Quincy Raceways, so I knew it would take a major effort to get the grounds ready for the World of Outlaw, MOWA 410 sprint car doubleheader scheduled for that evening. And when a brief but heavy shower fell about 3:30 that afternoon, it seemed like that would finish things off. But my workplace is about five miles from the speedway, and fortunately the track did not get that deluge. It had been decided to not open the pit area, which is generally the biggest problem as far as wet grounds, until 4:00 PM, and promoter Ken Dobson had his crew hard at work making the expanded area accessible to the big haulers. So when I arrived after the 5:00 hour, both the pit and spectator parking areas were plenty wet, but open for business. And once again the fans turned out, a bit later for the mid week show, but in numbers large enough that cars were parking well down the shoulder of highway 104.
 24 Sprint cars and 26 late models checked in to do battle, with an $8,000 top prize on the line in the Workforce 40 lapper for the late models, and $2,000 to the winner of the 25 lap sprint finale.
 Brian Shirley has turned quite a few laps at QR, but none since the track was reconfigured a few weeks ago, but he still turned the fastest qualifying lap of 13.562 seconds.
  Three heat races in each class plus a B-main for the late models set the feature lineups, with Quincy point leader Justin Reed and local racer Vance Wilson in the David Miller #6M added as provisionals, giving us 24 starters for each feature.
   All but one sprinter took the feature green, with Parker Price-Miller jumping to the early lead. Nationally known hot shoe Brady Bacon started in row three, but got crossed up in turns one and two on lap two, spinning around and doing a wheelstand in front of the field. Amazingly everyone avoided his car, but he was now stuck at the tail of the pack. Back under green Bacon began to pick off cars as the leader encountered slower traffic on lap six. Joey Moughan was chasing the leader when Paul Nienhauser, popular with the QR faithful powered to the runnerup spot on the 15th circuit. Yellow flags slowed the action on lap 18, then again on lap 20, when Steve Russell flipped his # 20 in turn three. Moughan was caught up in the accident, ending his run. On the restart, Nienhauser worked the high line, while Price-Miller held the inside line. The two ran side by side on lap 20, with the two trading racing lines lap after lap, and indeed from corner to corner. Nienhauser took a shot with a pair of laps to go, but could not clear the leader, then made one final charger in the last set of turns, but with everyone on their feet, Price-Miller was first to the checkers. Jake Blackhurst had the best seat in the place to finish third, with Joe B Miller and AJ Bruns completing the top five.
  Shane Clanton was four laps from winning the inaugural Workforce 40 last season before suffering mechanical woes, and the veteran proved that was no fluke by finishing second to Bobby Pierce in the second heat, then drawing the pole position for the main event, with Shirley on his outside. It was Shirley jumping to the early lead, and the caution waved on lap two for a stopped Michael Kloos at the end of the front straight, the first car out of the event. On the restart it was Shirley, Clanton, series point leader Josh Richards, and sixth starting Pierce driving past veteran Chub Frank for fourth. Shirley was dealing with the rather treacherous cushion while Clanton ran the low line, dealing with the treacherous hole coming out of turn two. The front two put distance on the pack before entering traffic on lap ten. Clanton took the opportunity to pull alongside Shirley, then claimed the lead on lap twelve. Clanton then took off, and Richards moved in to challenge Shirley. The caution waved on lap 18 for a stalled Eric Wells, and on the Delaware restart, Richards powered to second. Two laps later the yellow waved again for Vance Wilson, and back to racing, there was drama on lap 22. Richards was moving around the track, and was using the same line as Shirley in turn one, when contact sent Richards spinning. Although he did not stop, the caution came out, and he was restarted where he was on the track when he recovered. On the final restart, fifth starting Rick Eckert grabbed the second spot, but Clanton was checking out. He again hit lapped traffic on lap 32, but he was up to the challenge, picking up the win. Eckert held second, followed by Shirley, Pierce, and Steve Casebolt in a photo finish for fourth. Frank topped the second five ahead of the teenager from Texas, Tyler Erb,
Richards, Frank Heckenast Jr, and Chase Junghans.
  The final checkers flew about 11:00, ending a long but fun night of racing. On a personal note, my son Brent had a medical episode during hot laps requiring a check over by the ambulance crew, but he is on the mend. Also tragedy hit the QR family on Monday, when Gary Wilson, a long time racer and father of current racers Vance and Terry, lost his life in an accident at home. Gary was a popular fixture in the pits at QR, and will be missed.
  Quincy Raceways will take this Sunday off, with racing resuming on Sunday, August 7.
  Friday morning it was back to work with far too little sleep. But by afternoon, I had convinced myself to head for Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa for their weekly show. Stopping to pick up grandson Peyton, we arrived in time to take the Air One bus ride around the 3/8 mile oval and through the pit area.
  86 cars in six classes signed in, including 22 legends cars visiting the track and racing in support of law enforcement. Following hot laps and a candy dash for the youngsters, it was feature time.
  The 15 IMCA sport compacts ran first, with Mike Reu pacing the first go around. Josh Barnes apparently ran out of fuel in his heat race, but still finished fifth, starting where he would have in the invert even if he had won that race. With a full tank, Barnes powered to second on lap two. Five circuits in, Barnes took the lead, with Brandon Reu and Barry Taft running side by side for third. Taft took the spot on lap seven. With a pair of laps left in the 14 lapper, the first caution came out, setting up a green, white, checkers finish. Taft charged to second at the green, with Mike Reu shuffled back, but suddenly Taft saw his night end with a plume of smoke from his engine. Ron Kibbe now sat in second, crossing the line behind Barnes. Kimberly Abbott drove a steady race to take third, and Mike Reu recovered to grab fourth.
 The Legends were up next for 25 laps. Former late model driver Marty Dierks picked up the win.
  All but one of the 14 IMCA sport mods took the feature green. Austen Becerra paced the opening lap, but is was John Oliver Jr on the move, advancing from a row four start to third on lap two. When Becerra spun on lap three, it was Oliver in front, with Jim Gillenwater glued to his back bumper. Jim was running his usual low line, while John took the high road. Tony Dunker worked his way through traffic to fourth on the sixth trip past the flagstand. Tony moved to third on the ninth circuit as Oliver stretched his margin. With no more stoppages, Oliver cruised to the win. Gillenwater settled for second ahead of Dunker, Kyle Hill, and Joey Gower.
  The Lee County late model turnout was a season low eight on this night. Tommy Elston finished third in the heat race, but drew the number one pill for the 25 lap finale. Tommy jumped to the lead as the green waved, with heat winner a row two starter Sam Halstead on his tail. As Elston opened a lead, Tyler Cale shadowed Halstead for several circuits before falling back slightly. As the race went caution free, Elston opened a more than 1/2 lap lead, picking up the win. Halstead, Cale, Jeff Guengerich, Derek Liles turned in top fives, followed by the Van Zandts, Laine and Charles. Gunner Frank was unable to complete the 25 laps.
 IMCA stock cars were up next, with all but one of the 14 cars on track. Andrew Hustead  was the early leader over Mike See, Jeremy Pundt, and Oliver Jr. Donnellson native Pundt slipped around See on lap two, and one lap later, he grabbed the lead. Lap five saw Oliver move to third, and five circuits later, he took second as the crossed flags signaled the halfway mark and point leader Jeff Mueller advanced to fourth. The first caution came one lap later for a spinning third place Hustead. Back under green, it became a three car duel, with Pundt and Mueller hugging the inside line, and Oliver pounding the cushion as he looked to double up on feature wins. Mueller changed lines more than once, searching for a way around the front duo, but Pundt stayed true to the low line, hitting his marks every corner of every lap. As the checkers waved, a jubilant Jeremy Pundt had picked up his first feature win of the year. Mueller scored a runnerup finish ahead of Oliver and Ryan Cook in the # 27.
  IMCA modifieds rounded out the evening, 14 strong. Jardin Fuller paced lap one ahead of Levi Smith, with a lap two caution. Bill Roberts Jr nabbed third on the restart, and second on lap four, with defending track champion Jeff Waterman moving to fourth. The sixth time around, Smith smacked the turn two guardrail, falling off the pace. It was now Waterman in third, and visiting Colt Mather in fourth, and the top four put distance on the field. Roberts used the high line to grab the lead on lap nine, three circuits later Waterman took second. Mather grabbed the third spot and was battling for second. Roberts had a nice lead when the yellow flew on lap 14. Mather used the Delaware restart to grab second , and two laps later he overtook Roberts for the lead. When the final checkers of the night waved, it was for Mather. Roberts held second and Waterman settled for third.
 The clock read just past 10:00 as we headed to the car after another fun night at LCS.
  With Quincy off Sunday, my next action will be back in Donnellson Monday for night one of the back to back $1,000 to win late model specials. This is a schedule change from the preseason, when a single pay two day show was the original plan. We are just about to August, so enjoy racing every chance you get.

Monday, July 25, 2016

First Time Winners Beat the Heat at Quincy

 Three of the five weekly classes at Quincy Raceways saw new winners in victory lane, while the other two had drivers there for the second time in 2016. Once again the program was moved back one hour to try and deal with what was still hot and humid conditions.
  The fans at Quincy have been a hearty and loyal bunch, but both car counts and fan count were down a bit this week. Of course, with the World of Outlaw late models and MOWA 410 sprint cars rolling in to town on Thursday, some folks may have decided to save their pennies for the big mid week show.
  Justin Reed paced UMP late model qualifying at 13.371 seconds, and Michael Long once again topped the UMP modifieds with a lap of 14.626 ticks of the clock.
  Following heat race action, the IMCA stock cars started off the feature action. After a pair of false starts, the front row was moved back one row, but Chester Peek headed for the pits. Brian Hoener then grabbed the lap one lead with Beau Taylor in hot pursuit ahead of Abe Huls. When lap two was scored, it was Huls out front, and the point leader hugged the low line with second running Hoener in the middle groove and Taylor also on the bottom. The sixth time around, Hoener bobbled and fell to third, but two laps later things changed in a big way. Huls hooked the inside tire between turns three and four,getting sideways and rolling his # 30C two times, ending his night. Taylor assumed the lead on the restart, but Hoener muscled to the front on lap eleven, holding on for his first ever IMCA stock car win. Taylor held on for second ahead of Jake Powers, Rodolfo Zaragoza, and Michael Larsen.
  The UMP late models were moved to second on the card. Heat winner Dustin Griffin had pulled a zero draw, giving us a straight up start. Griffin jumped to the early lead, followed closely by Reed, Denny Woodworth, Mark Burgtorf, and Jason Perry. As Terry Wilson retired early, Perry and Burgto9rf swapped positions back and forth, and Woodworth pushed Reed for second. With everyone running a low line, Griffin began lapping slower cars by lap 13. Reed was able to get a lapped car between himself and Woodworth, but by lap 21, the late model lawyer was again glued to Reeds back bumper. As the 25 laps went caution free, Griffin cruised to his first win of 2016. Reed stretched his points lead with a runner up finish ahead of Woodworth, Burgtorf, Perry, and Cliff Powell.
  The IMCA sport compacts ran next. Allyssa Steele held the pole after winning her first ever heat race earlier in the evening, and she tucked into second in the 15 lap finale behind Craig Bangert. Defending champion Kimberly Abbott advanced to9 fourth on lap two, but Bangert opened a nice lead as Steele and Darin Weisinger Jr. dueled for second. Weisinger took the spot on lap four, and Bangert continued to stretch his lead as Abbott entered the top three on lap six. On the ninth circuit, Kimberly was shadowing Weisinger, and she used a high side pass to grab second three lap later. With no cautions, Bangert stayed in control for all 15 laps to score win number two. Abbott, Weisinger, and Steele followed in that order.
  Michael Long had captured the first UMP mod heat, and pulled a second row start for the 25 lap feature. That put Darin Weisinger and visiting Kelly Kovski in row one ahead of Dave Weitholder and Long. Kovski, in only his second ever visit to QR, took the early lead with Weitholder in tow. The caution waved on lap two for a spinning Kevin Tomlinson, and on the restart, Long moved to second using the middle line. The second a nd final yellow came out for a spinning Ronnie Yelton on lap five. Back to action, Kovski, from Springfield,Il., hugged the inside line along with third running Weitholder while Long tried a higher line. Michael changed his angle of pursuit several times, and the leaders hit slower traffic about lap 14. Long got close on the 19th lap, but Kovski, a former late model pilot, held his line, and picked up his first ever checkers at Quincy, becoming only the second driver to beat Long in 2016. Weitholder took third, with Weisinger and another visitor, Kenny Shaw from Brighton,Il. completing the top five.
  The IMCA sport compacts would round out the card. Nathan Anders was set to start on the pole, but elected to tag the tail of the 18 lapper. One false start for a spinout and we were under way. Mike Goodwin paced the opening lap ahead of Austen Becerra, Tanner Klingele, and Joey Gower. On lap four, Becerra mounted a challenge for the lead, taking over one lap later, taking Gower along in second. Following a lap six caution, Goodwin was shuffled back, and Justin Ebbing powered to third and point leader Nathan Bringer entered the top five. With lightning flashing in the east, Bringer took fourth at the half way mark. On the 15th circuit, a lapped car spun in front of second and third running Gower and Ebbing. Both cars were headed to the tail, and Gower had to visit the hot pit with a flat tire. Becerra led the restart, now trailed by Bringer, Klingele, and Brandon Lennox. Lennox was behind the wheel of the Wesley Mayfield # 21M after blowing an engine the night before at Moberly,Mo., aqnd he fell off the pace on the restart, rolling to a stop on the backstretch. One more restart saw Klingele and Bringer hook bumpers in turns one and two setting up a green, white, checkers finish. Becerra was unfazed, picking up his second win of 2016. Goodwin recovered for second, Ebbing charged back to third, and Spencer Coats stayed out of trouble to record a solid fourth.
  With the big special on Thursday, QR will be idle next Sunday. Even with some reserved seats presold, there will be plenty of good spots on Thursday, and Quincy fans will get one more chance to see Billy Moyer in action in what is supposed to be his final season. Hoping the weatherman cooperates for this big show!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lucky Sevens at Quincy

 The decision to move the race program back one hour through the month of July to combat the heat worked out well for one long distance traveler to Quincy Raceways, at least for a while. With rain and storms creating havoc across the I-80 corridor, IMCA sport mod driver Andrew Burk decided to head south. The Quad City Speedway regular made a late afternoon call to Quincy for info and then headed out for the three hour drive to Quincy. For several weeks the sport mods have run fourth on the QR card followed by the IMCA sport compacts, but this week the mods ran first, UMP late models second, the compacts, UMP modifieds and IMCA stock cars went from first to last. But the later start gave Burk plenty of time, although a group of his followers rolled in as his heat race came to the track.
 First though, came qualifying for the UMP classes. Dustin Griffin toured the rebuilt racing surface in 13.694 seconds, while Michael Long went for another sweep with a lap of 15.131 seconds. Although the program started about 20 minutes late, the heat races clicked off in good time. Besides Burk, who advanced to third in his heat from the tail before finishing sixth, former track regular Matt Bailey who now lives in the St Louis metro area made his first visit to the track with his # 52 late model. The long distance award - sort of - though went to Roger Martin from Monticello, Arkansas with his
# 60M modified. Martin races in a B-mod type class at home, but is not sport mod legal, so he joined the UMP mods. He is currently in the area working on the pipeline, and brought his hot rod along for some racing! Martin was obviously underpowered, but hopefully had some fun, anyway!
 Following intermission, it was sport mod feature time. The 17 car field had an awful time getting started with three cautions before one lap was scored. On the third attempt, a multi car pile up in turn one saw Burk get the worst of things, as his # 20KB was on the hook before a lap was completed.
Finally under green with 14 cars left, Austin Howes and Tanner Klingele were now on the front and they stayed that way for a lap or two before Howes pulled away slightly. Brandon Lennox then powered to the front to challenge Klingele for second running the until now ignored high line. With Lennox now in second, the top three gained some separation from the pack as Howes hugged the low line and Lennox worked the top groove. On about lap nine, Lennox grabbed the lead, pulling away in traffic. Howes made contact with a lapped car, falling to third before coming back to challenge Klingele. Amazingly, we stayed green for all 18 laps after the initial troubles. Lennox picked up another win, followed by Klingele and Howes. Kevin Tomlinson climbed in the Glen Wiley # 26 and ran fourth, but failed to report the driver change, resulting in a DQ. Fourth then went to Joey Gower and Justin Ebbing rounded out the top five.
  As the race ended, the lights in corner three went off making  turns three and four too dark for safe racing. After a delay to diagnose the problem, no fix was imminent, so former racer Joe Hooper headed out to retrieve some portable lighting so the show could go on.
  Finally ten UMP late models lined up next for 25 laps. Jason Perry and Denny Woodworth started in row one, with Justin Reed and Griffin lining up behind them. Perry quickly grab the lead and went to the high side with Reed in second. When Reed bobbled slightly, Woodworth climbed to second. Somewhere around lap ten - the scoreboard was also not in use on this night - Woodworth shot to the lead. The first caution came with twelve laps in the books as Vance Wilson, subbing for Cliff Powell, came to stop on the backstretch. Back to racing, Denny took the low line while Perry again went high. On the 16th circuit, Perry reclaimed the point. With three laps remaining, the second and final yellow waved as Clint Kirkham jumped the bank in turns three and four. At the same time, a smoking Bailey exited the track. One more wave of the green saw Reed slip around Woodworth using the high line to take second. Griffin overtook Mark Burgtorf for fourth at the checkers. Trent Grotz made his late model debut doing a nice job in sixth in the car formerly driven by Terry Gallaher.
  IMCA sport compacts were up next, with an added twist. Part time racer and full time track supporter Pat Dunker offered up a $50.00 bill for a back row challenge to any compact driver, and Kimberly Abbott took the challenge. Alyssa Steele led lap one, with Darrin Weisinger Jr scoring the top spot on lap two. Abbott was up to fourth when she was involved in an early caution, again going to the tail of the seven car field. Heat winner Craig Bangert was up to second before exiting the track, and now Abbott had the runner up spot. Just past the halfway mark of the 15 lapper, Kimberly found a line around Weisinger to take the lead which she would not give up. Weisinger crossed the line second followed by Steele and Adam Scott.
 There were still two features to go, but 9:45 was past my self imposed work night curfew, so I reluctantly headed to the car. Michael Long did indeed pick up the sweep, time trials, heat race and feature ahead of Dave Weitholder, and Kevin Blackburn in the Mike Begley # B4. And Abe Huls returned from his Canadian fishing expedition to best Jake Powers and Michael Larsen in the IMCA stock car finale.
 Racing in the Midwest is in high gear, so grab a friend and head to a track this weekend!