Monday, April 13, 2015

Quincy Opens for Season 41

Despite cloudy skies, Quincy Raceways dodged the rain drops and opened for season 41 in front of a solid crowd and decent car counts, especially considering the weather.  66 race teams checked in in five classes to do battle. Qualifying and the heat races clicked off quickly, with Springfield,Il hot shoe Brian Dively pacing the late models with a lap of 13.378 seconds around the .29 mile oval. Denny Woodworth outdueled Dively in the first late model heat, with Dustin Griffin topping Mark Burgtorf in heat two. NASCAR truck racer Justin Jennings was the only one of the 15 UMP late models to miss his heat, as he burned two spark plugs while qualifying his # 56J. Heat race two was red flagged, as Jim Moon looked to possibly break an oil line, creating a pretty good fire under the hood of his # 1 machine.
 Feature racing started with 14 IMCA sport mods taking the green for 18 laps. Nathan Bringer paced the field early, as nine laps ran caution free. Following the first yellow it was a four wide dash through turns one and two for the lead on the smooth, fast racing surface. Bringer entered turn three too hard and jumped the cushion, and as the pack crossed the stripe, it was Brandon Lennox out front. Tanner Klingele, Brandon Dale - fresh off his third place run at West Liberty - and defending track champion Tony Dunker were pushing Lennox. Klingele was able to pull alongside Lennox as the white flag waved, and trailed by inches at the checkers in a photo finish. Unfortunately, Lennox failed post race tech due to suspension issues, giving the win to Klingele. Dunker was credited with second, followed by Adam Birck and Dale.
 Nine IMCA stock cars signed in, but late arriving Jake Powers could not make his # 0 go, so eight started the 18 lap finale. Jim Lynch charged to the lead, and following a caution period, track champ Abe Huls began to pressure Lynch. On lap 13, Abe made a rare mistake, going over the berm in turn one, moving Beau Taylor to the runner up spot, with Troy Brierton in hot pursuit. As the white flag waved, Brierton looped his ride, setting up a one lap Delaware restart. In those four laps, Huls had moved back to fourth, and now restarted beside Taylor. Lynch held on for the win, with Huls besting Taylor for second, and Jerry Jansen claimed fourth.
 The late models were next on the card, with their feature shortened this season from 30 laps to 25, a move popular with the drivers. Woodworth and Griffin sat on row one, and the late model lawyer, Woodworth, took the early lead. Jamie Wilson started in row six, but quickly powered toward the leaders. The first of two yellows came on lap six, and on the restart, fifth starting Justin Reed shot to the front, and began to distance himself from the pack. Woodworth, Griffin, Wilson, and Burgtorf, back this season in the Rick Frankel machine dueled behind the leader, with Keith Pratt, back in a late model, and Wisconsin transplant Todd Frank looking for running room. The caution waved one more time on lap 20 for young John Hahler, and Wilson saw his third place run end there with a flat tire. Pratt also headed pitside before the restart. Burgtorf slipped back as the green waved, but recovered to follow Reed to the checkers. Woodworth, Griffin, and Dively turned in top five runs, with the second five led by Frank, and Ron Elbe, starting his 38th season at QR.
 With Robbie Reed pulling in to the pit area during intermission, there were 16 UMP modifieds to take the 25 lap feature green. Shawn Deering paced the opening lap, with Michael Long blasting to the front on the second circuit. NASCAR competitor Kenny Wallace made the trip to QR, coming back from Texas, and he quickly tucked in behind Long. The yellow flew on lap ten, and Dave Weitholder, back after missing the end of 2014 with medical issues, gerabbed the runner up spot from Wallace. Wallace soon regained the spot, and those three, along with Pevely,Mo. regular Rick Conoyer distanced themselves from the pack. Despite constant pressure, Long stayed uncharacteristically low on the race track, and led the final 24 laps for the win. Wallace nabbed second, with Conoyer passing Weitholder late for third. Long said he could see the top groove was crumbs, and decided to run the low groove.
 12 IMCA sport compacts came to the track for 15 laps to polish off the card. 2015 points runner up Kimberly Abbott started in row three, but wasted little time charging to the lead, and the her first QR win of the season, and second overall. Trent Orwig made the trip south from Floris, Iowa and kept the pressure on Kim, settling for the second spot. Seith Woodruff ran third with Argyle, Iowa driver Barry Taft in fourth.
  The final checkers waved at about the 9:00 hour, drawing the curtain on a very good season opener.
  We counted five to six late models that were not on hand for various reasons this Sunday, and there is reason for optimism with improved car counts in the headliner division as the Broadway Bullring celebrates season number 41.
 Next weekend will hopefully find us at 34 Raceway for the Slocum 50, then back at QR on Sunday. Enjoy some racing wherever and whenever you can!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Opening Night at West Liberty

My 2015 racing season final got rolling Saturday night with the Deery Brothers Summer Series IMCA late model show at the West Liberty, Iowa Raceway. Darryl, Fred, and I made our way north for the three class program which also opened the season at the storied Muscatine County Fairgrounds 1/2 mile oval. We were more than pleasantly surprised to see 43 late models show up - thanks Kevin Yoder for the assist on some unfamiliar cars - for a show that drew 31 entrants one year ago! In addition, 21 IMCA sport mods and 18 IMCA stock cars checked in under sunny skies and warm April temps. West Liberty is known for starting at the advertised time and opening night was no exception, with hot laps rolling at 6:31 on my time piece. A collision at the end of late model hot laps between Nick Marolf and Richie Gustin took a bit to clean up, but the first stock car heat still rolled off at 7:05. Great job as always to the Simmons Promotions group. The first caution flag of the night came in the seventh race, heat race number five for the late models. It was for veteran Jay Chenoweth, who arrived at the track with no number or decals yet on his red and black machine. Third generation teenage driver Tyler Droste was running second at the time, but got shuffled out of a top three feature qualifying spot on the restart. Teammates Scott Fitzpatrick and defending series champion Justin Kay took the first two heat wins, with 2014 race winner Colby Springsteen nabbing the third ten lapper. Track regulars Jonathon Brauns and Ron Boyse were winners in the final two heats. After three sport mod qualifiers, the program moved straight into the Caseys Pizza box redraw, with Andy Nezworski and Boyse capturing front row starting slots for the 40 lap $3,000 to win headliner. Two late model B- mains ran next, with local favorite Denny Eckrich edging second generation hot shoe Ryan Dolan in the first 12 lapper. Brian Harris made a dandy two car pass around Kyle Hinrichs and Rob Moss for the fourth and final qualifying spot at the halfway mark in the second consy and the winner of the series opener last week, Nebraska third generation driver Corey Zeitner took the checkers. With Harris now in third, Hinrichs came back to slip past Joe Zrostlik for the fourth spot on the final circuit.  Ray Guss Jr filled the 24th spot on the starting grid with a hard charger provisional.
 The stock cars started the feature action, running 20 laps. Track champion David Brandies started up front and quickly took command. Johnny Spaw started deep in the field but picked his way to second by the first caution period. Following another stoppage on lap 13, Greg Gill used the Delaware restart to take second , and he and Spaw slugged it out for the next couple of laps. By lap 16, Spaw was again in the runner up spot, catching Brandies with two laps to go. Brandies was able to keep his car wide enough to hold off the # 00, and at the stripe, it was Brandies, Spaw, and Gill.
  The sport mods were up next for 20 circuits. Young Brayton Carter and Brett Lowrie sat up front. The first heat had been won by part time Quincy Raceway driver Brandon Dale, from Memphis, Missouri. It was the second generation drivers first ever trip to the big 1/2 mile, and he easily covered the field in his heat, but drew an eight to start in row four of the feature. Lowrie led the first half of the race, with Carter take over following a lap ten caution. Dale powered his way to third, but could not overtake the lead duo. The race ended under caution with a spin after the white flag waved. It was Carter, Lowrie, and Dale taking the podium spots. Track champion Aric Becker started in row five, and a mid race spin took him out of contention.
 As is tradition at West Liberty, the late models rounded out the card. Boyse and Nezworski completed lap one side by side, with Andy taking control on the following circuit. He opened a sizable lead over Fitzpatrick, who also had distance over the rest of the pack. Kay started tenth, and by lap seven he  had advanced to fifth. Two more laps and he was fourth, and on lap 11, he took third. As he began to reel in Fitzpatrick, the only yellow of the race came out for a slowing Nate Beuseling on lap 16. On the restart, Kay passed the front two, and began to pull away. Meanwhile, Harris had come all the way from row 11 to about ninth when the caution waved, and he now charged to the number five spot following  the restart. Fourth running Jeff Aikey pulled out on lap 18, as Kay built a huge lead, eventually picking his way past a half dozen or so of the remaining cars. With the race staying green, the 15K went unchallenged to the checkers. He was followed by Fitzpatrick, Harris, Nezworski and Andy Eckrich. The second five had Kevin Kile in sixth, followed by Springsteen, Holladay, Brauns, and Zeitner.
Curt Martin was the nights hard luck driver, breaking in hot laps.
 The Deery Series moves on the Farley and Webster City next weekend, while I will be at 34 Raceway in West Burlington for the MARS/CBC/ALMS $ 10,555  to win late model Slocum 50. Before that, grandson Keagan and I hope to be at Quincy Raceways for the season opener tonight. As I look out the window this Sunday morning, the clouds are moving in, so be sure and call ahead if you are planning to joins us at QR. Race season is here, so we will see you Racin, Down the Road!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Waiting Patiently

Whatever we race fans did to make the weatherman mad, we need to apologize right away!  The 2015 season is not exactly off to a strong start here in the midwest. Last season, we journeyed to Columbia,Mo. on March 14 to watch our Canton High School Tigers, including grandson Keagan, capture the 3rd place trophy at the state basketball tournament on March 14. One day later, Fred and I headed to the Montgomery County , Mo 1/4 mile for our first race of the year. This year the Tigers headed back to state minus Keagan,  and brought back a fourth place trophy, but there was no racing that weekend, to be sure. Early on I was bemoaning the fact that I would not be able to get the following Friday off work to head to Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway in Calvert City for the World of Outlaw late models - as it turned out, that race was cancelled, anyway, with snow and rain in western Kentucky. Last weekend, the Scotland County Speedway in Memphis was able to get in two nights of action, with 82 and 94 cars respectively in what was apparently some good racing action. Also, the Highland,Il Speedway hosted their lid lifter on Saturday with 14 UMP late models. But Friday night was a late work night for yours truly, and Saturday I came down with my spring cold, which is still hanging on. It would not have mattered, however, as this weekend so far has featured only the words " postponed " and " cancelled." The Illini 100 at Farmer City,Il, two complete shows for the WoO late models has been pushed back three weeks. The 40 lap UMP late models series running Friday in Belleville,Il and Saturday at Highland will now try to take to the track next weekend. And the two day spring special for Friday and Saturday at Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Ia was first moved to Saturday and Sunday, and now is set as a one day show starting at 5:00 PM on Sunday. At last report rain was a threat on Sunday. In addition to Belleville and Highland next weekend, the Thaw Brawl for UMP late models is scheduled at LaSalle,Il, a race Darryl and I attended in 2014, the National Sprint League will debut at 34 Raceway in West Burlington,Ia, and the UMP late models will top the card at Tri City Speedway in Pontoon Beach,Il and I -55 Raceway in Pevely,Mo. But next week is also Easter weekend, and so I will most likely not be at any of those events, should they take place. So, it looks like the latest first race in many years for this fan will be the Deery Brothers IMCA late models at the West Liberty Raceway on Saturday, April 11. We will hopefully hit the ground running, however, as the following night will be opening night of season two for the Ciltrak promotion team at Quincy Raceways. And the following weekend will be the " can't miss " Slocum 50 at 34 Raceway followed by night number two at Quincy. So come on, Mother Nature, it's past time to go racing!
 For the time being, I will be watching Quincy Raceways most famous teenager,  16 year old Jake Griffin as he competes today, Saturday , in his first NASCAR Camping World truck series race at Martinsville Speedway. The redhead will be wheeling the Mittler Brothers # 63 machine normally driven by another area product and former Quincy Raceways regular, Lagrange ,Mo native and current Troy, Mo resident, Justin Jennings. Jake has moved from karts thru Kidz Modz, and both dirt and asphalt late models and modifieds. I have had the pleasure of watching the personable young man step up his program, and was fortunate enough to be at Montgomery County to see his first late model win, as well as his first QR victory, which came in his # 08 modified. Good luck, Jake!
 With all the area tracks having there scheduled pretty well set, there are some very special event I hope to attend in 2015. The second annual Albert Scott tribute race - this year the Scotty 41 at QR, featuring the UMP Big 10 late model series will take place the day of Keagans high school graduation. That could turn into a juggling act! The UMP Summernationals have a Sunday night stop in Quincy on June 21, and of course the biggest show in the history of the track will be on Thursday, July 23. The World of Outlaw late models roll into town along with the MOWA 410 sprint cars, with Steve Kinser competing in the sprints! Promoter Ken Dobson has plans to turns this night into an event to remember and is lining up the sponsorship to do just that! We will highlight many special events around the Tri States as we go along, including the Keokuk, Iowa Racers Reunion on June 20, but be sure and check out the Positively Racing calender when making your plans. But don't forget that weekly racing is what keeps our dirt tracks going, so attend as much as you can.
 Hopefully I will be back in a couple of weeks with some race results and recaps, until then, grab your jacket, and go racing!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Big News From Quincy Raceways

After much speculation, word came down this afternoon that Quincy Raceways has landed a date to host the World of Outlaw late model show in 2015. Officials have been trying for some time to get a date that they felt would give the .29 ,ile " Broadway Bullring " a chance to be successful. Apparently a schedule changed opened up a date, Thursday, July 23, the night before the first night of the Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury,Il. The date corresponds with the Midwest Open Wheel Association Illinois Sprint week, an organization basically headed up by the same folks who put on weekly racing at Quincy. The Thursday date for the 410 sprinters  is usually reserved for Tri City Speedway in Pontoon Beach,Il. but promoters Kevin and Tammy Gundaker agreed to switch nights, and just like that, Quincy will be hosting the World of Outlaw late models and the MOWA sprint cars on the same night! Final details such as times, ticket prices, etc. are still being finalized, but this will for sure be a can't miss event for area fans. It will, of course, be the first ever visit to Quincy for the Outlaws, featuring the likes of Earl Pearson Jr., Darrell Lanigan, Tim McCreadie, and others that many folks only see on television. The Ciltrak promotion team established a relationship with WoO last season, hosting a World of Outlaw sprint car show at Jacksonville Speedway. The Quincy show will come just over a month after the UMP Summernational Hell Tour Stop for the late models, with that event on Sunday, June 21. Check back here or at the Quincy Raceways website for more info.
 Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Looking Backwards and Forward

The  2014 racing season came to a close in the midwest  Saturday with the one week delayed running of the Turkey classic in Springfield,Mo. Although I had tried to fit this race in, the weeks delay took away that possibility. That is unfortunate, as apparently the weather was outstanding for November, and the car count for the three class program topped the 125 mark, including 25 late models, with Tony Jackson,Jr. winning the headliner.
 So my 2014 race total was down a bit due to circumstances both under and beyond my control. Still, I managed to get to the track 38 times at 13 tracks in three states. As usual, Quincy Raceways led the way with 17 nights, although I missed a handful of shows for the first time in many seasons. Three race nights each were spent at Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa, West Liberty, Ia Raceway, Tri City Speedway in Pontoon Beach,Il, and I-55 Raceway in Pevely,Mo. Two evenings were spent at 34 Raceway in West Burlington,Ia., and one night each at Knoxville, Ia. Raceway, CJ Speedway in Columbus Jct., Ia., 24 Raceway in Moberly,Mo., the since closed Montgomery,Mo. County Speedway,
Peoria,Il. Speedway, Quad City Speedway in East Moline,Il., and one new track, Lasalle,Il. Speedway.
The spring visit to Lasalle was track number 57 for me.
 The schedules for 2015 are already starting to trickle in, and so far there are some exciting events lining up. Among the " can't miss " shows already set is the Slocum 50 at 34 Raceway on April 18. For the second time, this will be an "open" late model shootout co sanctioned by the Mars/Cornbelt/ALMS late model series. We will once again take a shot at the Lucas Oil late models at Pontoon Beach on May 1, and the following weekend is shaping up to be a season highlight. The MLRA late models are set for a three race swing starting on Thursday, May 7 in Donnellson, and a Saturday, May 9 visit to the Scotland,Co. Speedway in Memphis,Mo. These two $3,000 to win shows less than an hour from home sandwich a Friday night event at the Davenport,Iowa Speedway, creating an opportunity for a big three race weekend. The MLRA guys then make a return to the area in June, repeating last seasons three night swing through Oskaloosa, Iowa on Thursday, June 11, followed by Donnellson on Friday and Moberly on Saturday. The Donnellson and Moberly shows in 2014 were two of the best we witnessed all season! Snippets of the UMP Summernationals schedule are being hinted at, and one rumor has Quincy going back to Sunday night Summernationals race night, with nothing official yet. The Quincy Raceways schedule is currently on hold pending a major race announcement, with details still being worked on. One interesting quirk in 2015 is the fact that Labor Day is nearly a week later than in recent years. This will push the Boone IMCA Supernationals back, effectively eliminating one weekend of racing in the " postseason. " This has already led to some scheduling overlaps, at the present time, the IMCA Deery Brothers finale on the 1/2 mile at Davenport is set to go head to head with the Knoxville Lucas Oil Late Model Nationals. Things could get interesting come September.
 2015 will also be high school graduation year for grandson Keagan, one of my racing companions, so once again, this should be a full summer of activities.
Until next time, stay warm, stay safe, and enjoy the upcoming Christmas season!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Long Night of Great Racing at Shiverfest

With an unofficial car count of 174, our final race of the year in the state of Iowa was a dandy. Shiverfest at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa has become something of a one day version of the Boone Supernationals. There is really no sensible reason, in either case, for that many cars to show up to race for the amount of money paid out, and yet year after year, the pits are full of  many of the top cars and stars of  IMCA. With the warm start to the day yesterday and no threat of rain (or snow), the pits swelled to the largest car count in several years. And although it was a somewhat late arriving crowd, eventually the front gate became a strong one, as well.
 There will be many stories and articles about the actual 36 races that took place, and I confess that I left my big notebook at home and decided to just enjoy the racing as well as a last visit of 2014 with many friends and family, however I would like to share a few thoughts about the event.
 First of all, congratulations to all the drivers, especially the winners, Cayden Carter in modifieds and stock cars - Jason Cook took the stock car checkers but did not make it through post race tech - Dustin Griffths in hobby stocks, Michael Grossman in sport compacts, and Quincy Raceways regular Joey Gower in sport mods. The racing was superior , with only the hobby stock feature something of a runaway despite being the race plagued with the most cautions. It was good to see Dan Keltner back at the track after being checked out at the hospital following his wild ride in which he flipped over the turns one and two guardrail in the sport mod feature. Also hoping that John Whelen is not too sore today after flipping his sport compact multiple times in the closing laps of the sport compact main event. And kudos to Dave Sapp and race director Mike Van Genderen on a nearly perfect racing surface. This was my third visit to LCS this season, and these guys have had an A plus track all three times. And the pace of shows at Donnellson should be a template for every track in the midwest to follow! Get 'em on the track, get 'off, and get the next ones on!
 I would not want to be too critical of any facility that could offer up 174 race teams on the last Saturday in October in the state of Iowa for a $10.00 ticket, but there were a few things rattling around in my head during the very few minutes of downtime. If my fading memory serves, Shiverfest used to be a late afternoon race - hot laps around the 3:30 or 4:00 hour? I realize things like trick or treating on the track and kids box car races - both important and enjoyable events - have been added, but could they happen two hours earlier? Yesterday was probably as warm as the weather will ever be in Southeast Iowa in late October, but... From personal experience, I know the tower in Donnellson is a pretty comfortable place to watch racing, but despite the fact that the " big guy, " aka the LCS flagman stayed true to his habit of wearing short pants, the announcers might have noticed that folks in the stands did indeed have coats, gloves, and blankets in use. Forget what the thermometer says, it was cold. Part of the original allure of Shiverfest was to start around 4:00, and walk out about 9:00 before the temps dropped to 11:30 levels. Again, I realize that they were likely preplanned, but 32 races would have been moneys worth, 30 minutes devoted to " special " races, not necessarily a crowd favorite. One thing that is both a blessing and a curse at LCS is the fact that the races come in such rapid fire succession that it is nearly impossible to announce the starting lineups before the roar of the engines drowns out the PA. Sometimes an early yellow flag offers up time to offer up more information. I like to think I am fairly knowledgeable concerning area drivers, but there were many cars on this night that I will be surprised to see in the results who the driver was. I have found over the years at many different tracks that I prefer one announcer over two. Too often, a two man team seems to get bogged down with idle conversation or a comedy routine. Maybe I am just too much of a " facts" guy?
 With all that said, Shiverfest 2015 has more or less been confirmed, and the Good Lord willing, I will be there to watch was has truly become a staple of midwest racing.
  I am not sure if my 2014 race season is over, but either way, thanks for reading and check back in as I will be sending out thoughts and opinions as we anxiously await another race season.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Kay Makes a Clean Sweep at Liberty 100

Saturday night we ventured north for night number two of the revamped Liberty 100 at the West Liberty, Iowa Raceway. Around 100 cars signed in for the night, after the Friday night portion of the show had featured two rounds of heat races in the five classes  and the IMCA Deery Brothers Iron Man feature event. Night number two was set to include last chance races and a total of six features, but due to less than full fields in three of the " support " classes, only the IMCA modifieds and late models needed the B-main events. All but the late models would line up their main events by passing points, while the late models qualified the eight heat race winners from Friday, then took six from each of two last chance races Saturday, then filled the field with a hard charger and three provisional starters.
 Two last chance races from the 28 car IMCA modified  field ran first, followed by the two BH's for the lates. Mike Murphy Jr from Colona,Il, and Tiffin, Ia driver Denny Eckrich topped the two 12 lap events.
  The first feature of the night was a 15 lapper for the 16 car IMCA sport mod field. Bryan Brinker and second generation driver Shawn Cooney dueled up front until the caution waved on lap 11. On the restart, Cody Harris blasted to the lead and held on for his first ever feature win. Brinker and Cooney followed, while Friday nighrt heat winner and track champ Aric Becker settled for seventh. A special thanks to Kelly Underbakke Becker for updates from Friday nights show.
 The IMCA stock cars ran next for 18 laps. It is fascinating to me how much variance there is in car counts in the stock cars, and West Liberty is one of the tracks that struggles in this area. Twelve cars checked in, I am sure in no small part due to the two day show at Lee County Speedway.  Even with the low count, they had an unusually high number of cautions, and the 18 laps seemed to take forever. And I say this while admitting that the stock cars are one of my favorite classes. I am not positive, but I think track champ Davis Brandies was a no show on night one, signing in night two to tag the tail of the feature.  Veteran Johnny Spaw started in row two in the second night out in his # 00, taking the lead on  lap three. When the caution waved on lap six, Brandies was up to fifth. On the restart, the # 71 vaulted to third, and two laps later he powered to second on the big half mile. Following a lap 11 yellow, we suddenly had a back and forth three car scrum, with Spaw, Brandies, and Brandon Jay. Jay slipped to second on lap 16, and the battle between him and Brandies kept the focus off Spaw. At the checkers, it was Spaw, Brandies, and Jay in that order.
 The first 50 lap late model feature was up next, and this one would be the final Deery Brothers Summer Series event for 2014. By virtue of starting his heat race on Friday, Justin Kay from Wheatland, Iowa had clinched the series championship, so he would be racing for pride and dollars. The Casey General Stores pizza box redraw between the heat race winners found Ray Guss Jr and Todd Malmstrom on the front row. Guss crossed the stripe first on lap one, with Malmstrom taking over from there. Third starting Todd Beuseling passed Guss for second on lap four. His row two mate, Kay had fell back early, but moved to third on lap 13. As the leaders pulled away, Beuseling took the top spot one lap later.  On lap 16, Kay took over the runner up spot. The first caution waved on lap 21, and following the restart, Beuseling opened a big lead, while Kay had a comfortable margin over the third place car of Andy Eckrich. As the leaders hit slower traffic on lap 30, Kay closed in on the # 46. During the time, row four starter Brian Harris slammed into one of the tractor tires in turn two while taking third from Eckrich. following a lap 33 caution, Harris moved to second, but again Beuseling pulled away. With nine laps to go, Kay regained second, closing in on the leader. Two laps later, he grabbed the point. During a lap 44 yellow, Harris went to the trailer, giving up a third place run. It was though by announcer Jerry Mackey at this point that Kay had a flat left front tire, but a track by track officials determined that it was just very low, and he was allowed to continue. As the green waved, tenth starting Denny Eckrich took over second, but Kay pulled away for the win. At the checkers, it was Kay, D, Eckrich, Beuseling, Colby Springsteen, and series rookie of the year Ryan Dolan, who had started in a provisional starting spot in row 11. 20 cars finished the main event , all on the lead lap. The main reason was the format for the second 50 lapper. all cars finishing on the lead lap would be inverted for the start of feature two. Any lapped cars, of which there apparently were none(?), would line up next, and cars that dropped out - there were four of them - were replaced by non qualifiers from the 34 cars on hand. I should mention here that 38 late models has signed in on Friday, with four not returning.
  As temperatures began to drop, the IMCA sport compact 12 lap finale came to the track, with Shaun Slaughter topping the ten car field.
 Up next was the 25 lap IMCA modified shootout. 24 cars took the green, but a massive seven car pile up in turn one eliminated four cars, with Chris Zogg winding up upside down. Following a lenghthy
red flag period, 20 cars restarted, but two more dropped out after taking the green. Kelly Shryock in a # 44 and track regular Kurt Kile started on row one, with Kile leading lap one. Those two quickly separated from the pack until the third stoppage on lap 16 bunched the field. Scott Dickey and Bruce Hanford were racing hard for third when Dickey spun on lap 19. On the restart the fifth starting Hanford grabbed second, and began to work on Kile. Hanford had the lead as lap 321 was scored, but Kile was back in front on lap 22. The top three were glued together as the checkers waved, with Kile scoring the win, Shryock back in second, and Hanford third. Dickey came all the way back to fourth at the checkers.
  It was now time for the final race of 2014 at West Liberty, the second 50 lap $3,000 to win late model battle. Jeremy Grady and Nick Marolf held the front row.  Matt Ryan was one of the four cars added to this race after setting out the first. Matt had been victimized by a mishap in his B main, and was caught up in a multiple car pile up on lap one in this race, ending a frustrating night. As racing resumed. Grady grabbed the point with Marolf in tow. The two swapped the lead on lap four, the again on lap six. By lap 13, 22nd starting Kay was up to sixth, and when the caution flew on lap 15, he was fifth. As the Delaware restart took the green, he advanced to fourth. Lap 16 saw fifth starting Chad Holladay take the lead, with Kay moving to third. The flying # 15K took second on lap 17, and blew past Holladay two laps later. By the time the caution came out on lap 42, only five cars remained on the lead lap. Even with the field tightened up, Kay had no issues, cruising to his 31st  feature win of 2014, making a $6,000 Liberty 100 clean sweep in the process. Row eight starter Dolan had taken the runner up slot on the restart, adding a second to his fifth in the points feature. Denny Eckrich came from row nine, adding a third to his earlier second. Andy Eckrich followed his older brother, giving him a fourth to go with a ninth in feature one. Holladay was the final car on the lead lap in fifth.
 The long but entertaining night of racing ended around 11:15. Fans and drivers alike missed the info from the electronis scoreboard, which was vandalized since the last race, and could not be quickly repaired. Although no help to the racers, Mackey did his usual outstanding job of keeping the fans informed of the lap count, lapped cars, etc. Thanks, Jerry!
 With the sketchy weather this time of year, I am not sure if there will be more racing in 2014 for me, but there are still a couple of attractive options, including the two day show next weekend in Memphis,Mo., and Shiverfest the following weekend in Donnellson, Ia. Someday I hope to make it to the late November Turkey Classic in Springfield,Mo., maybe 2014 will be the year? So hopefully we will still meet up in 2014, Racin' Down the Road.