Monday, August 25, 2014

Two First Time Winners at Quincy Raeways

Despite another day of oppressive heat, Quincy Raceways promoter Kenny Dobson made the decision to carry on as normal with the racing program Sunday night at Quincy Raceways. Dobson offered up a couple of new promotions, including discounted admission for anyone bringing a new fan to the track, as well as free admission for that new fan. Details on this promotion are on the track website, and I believe the offer is in place for the balance of the season. Plus late model racer Gordy Gundaker is also a member of the Quincy University baseball team, and all QU students were offered $5.00 tickets to come cheer on Gordy. A group of 25-30 students turned out, and cheered enthusiastically for their classmate.
 The biggest on track news of the past week has been the pairing of car owner Rick Frankel and 14 time track champion Mark Burgtorf. Two weeks ago, Mark broke a rod in his engine, apparently bringing his hard luck season to an early end. About the same time, Rickey Frankel decided to step away from driving for a while. So a call went out, and the new team hit the track this weekend.  The # 33F hit the track for the first time Friday night at Tri City Speedway , collecting a runner up finish. Sunday night Mark followed up with incredibly, his first feature win of 2014. Point leader Denny Woodworth set quick time for the UMP late models, then ran second to Jason Perry in heat one. Justin Reed bested Burgtorf in heat two, then Perry rolled a five to set the feature invert. To the dellight of our university fans, this put Gundaker on the pole, with Burgtorf alongside. Gordy jumped to the early lead, but Burgtorf was ahead at the flag stand. The 30 lap event stayed green throughout, and Mark ran away from the pack, lapping up to the fifth place car. Gundaker ran second the entire distance, while Woodworth edged Perry for third. First time visitor Rich Bell brought his # 21B home in fifth after starting in row six. 
 Nascar and television personality Kenny Wallace made another visit to the track with his # 36 UMP modified. The veteran set quick time, and won his heat race, while Michael long captured the other ten lapper. Wallace then rolled a four, and ever the showman, bemoaned his bad luck at having to start the 25 lap main alongside Long in row two, with point leader Steven Delonjay outside row one. But to the surprise of many, it was polesitter Brian Lynn who stole the show. In only his third trip to QR, Lynn put his # 72 out front and on the cushion, opening a sizable lead, even as Long moved ahead of Wallace to third on lap four. Following the first caution on lap six, Michael used the Delaware restart to move past Delonjay in to second. The yellow waved again on lap eight, but again Lynn held the point. As Long chased Lynn, A great three car battle was going on for third between Delonjay, Wallace, and Rusty Griffaw. On lap 15 smoke spewed for Delonjays ride, and on lap 18, fire erupted on the underside of the # 35, ending his night. Following the restart, Long was able to slide up in front of Lynn, but Brian immediately returned the favor, and that momentum carried him all the way to the checkers. Long settled for second, with Wallace third. Shawn Deering came from row six to edge Griffaw for fourth. 
Kale Foster was the only non starter in the mods, as he took a hard roll at the end of his heat race, going over 2 1/2 times in turn three. He was uninjured.
 The IMCA stock car class plays like a broken record at QR - low car counts and amazing racing! The first attempt at a start was waved off as the field got bottled up. On the second try, Brandon Savage found a seam and charged from row three to lead lap one, bringing point leader Abe Huls along. Following a lap four caution, the two leaders ran nose to tail around the top side of the .29 mile oval. As the leaders slugged it out, Terry Houston began to close the gap on lap ten, but five laps later, it was a two car duel. Huls moved down one line, and the leaders were now running side by side. On the final lap, Abe was able to edge ahead slightly, and moved as high on the track as he could while still giving Savage room to race. Brandon held the line, and was ahead by a bumper at the line. Totally gassed by the heat and the action in victory lane, savage thanked Huls for leaving him room to race. Houston crossed the line third, while Jerry Jansen shook the monkey off his back, finishing fourth. 
 The IMCA sport compact 15 lapper got off to a rocky start, as Bryce Baker and Adam Scott got together, running through the catch fence in turn four. Baker was done for the race, while Scott was able to continue. Point leader and ten time feature winner Austen Becerra suffered a rare mechanical failure, exiting the track on the parade lap. Spencer Coats took off from row one to lead the first two circuits, with two time winner Kimberly Abbott blasting past on lap three. On lap five, former champion Seith Woodruff moved to second and attempted to chase down the # 71. On lap eight Coats reclaimed second, as four cars battled behind Abbott. Woodruff took the spot back one lap later, and the yellow waved on lap 11. Following the restart Coats rolled to a stop in turn two, ending his season best run.
Abbott cruised to her third checkers, trailed by Woodruff, Rachall Rager, and Scott.
 The final feature of the night was the IMCA sport mod showdown, and the 14 starters ran caution free on the smooth, slick track! Adam Birck, wheeling the Van Zandt # 80V paced the field for two trips around before Joey Gower took over. As the laps clicked off, a duel for third developed between Bobby Anders and point leader Tony Dunker. With Anders running the cushion, Dunker used a lower line to attempt the pass. The veteran Dunker found his way to third, but could go no further as the checkers waved for a Gower win. The runnerup finish was a season best for Birck, and Anders held fourth.
The final checkers waved just after 9:00, bring an entertaining night in front of a decent sized 90 degree night crowd to an end. Racing resumes next Sunday at QR, with the scheduled now expanded to end on September 21. There are some scheduling changes, so check the Quincy Raceways website for details.
 Despite this weeks temps, summer is on the way out, so don't miss a chance to take in some racing wherever and when ever you can!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Moyer Tops UMP/Mars Challenge

Ignoring the triple digit heat, Fred, Darryl, and I set out Saturday afternoon for the UMP/Mars Challenge super late model race at I-55 Raceway in Pevely,Mo. Promoter Ray Marler elected to push back the start time 30 minutes because of the heat, but it was still an incredibly warm evening, especially in the outer pit area, where the breeze could not reach the competitors. A total of 93 racers braved the oppressive temps to show up for the four class program, including 29 late models racing for $5,000 to win, and 29 UMP modifieds vying for an $800 top prize. The mods started things off with group qualifying, followed by the late models, with veteran Randy Korte, in his farewll season, posting the quickest lap overall at 12.316 seconds around the high banked 1/3 mile oval. Two heat races for the 20 sportsman cars were followed by three mod heats, then four late model eight lappers won by Tony Jackson,Jr, Brandon Sheppard, Brian Shirley, and Billy Moyer. All but Shirley won from the pole, with Brian starting outside row one, and all four scored fairly easy wins on the extremely tacky, fast, and somewhat rough track.  15 4 cylinder cars contested two heats, followed by position dashes for the mods and sportsman cars. The late models would be starting straight up per Mars rules, so the mod consy was up next. 11 cars were called to the track to contest  the final six spots, but when only five answered the call, the race was waved off. The ten lap 13 car late model B-main saw Justin Reed cruise to the win. Justin had finished fifth in heat two, but broke his transmission as the race ended, necessitating quick repairs by dad Mark and grandpa Wally. The top four from the B transferred on, with Mars adding two provisionals and the track also adding two despite a less than packed house, no doubt due to the heat and humidity. This left five cars on the trailer come feature time, although Iowa driver Ryan Gustin never attempted to qualify in time trials, heat, or consy.
 The Pro 4 feature was up first, with Joe Laws taking the win.
 Mods were up next, with Dean Hoffman charging to the lead from inside row two to lead the first circuit. On lap two, outside row one starter Ray Walsh took over the point, and by lap four, polesitter Mark Minor had faded to fourth, while row four starter Michael Long had advanced to third. Minor retired on lap five, and the caution waved two laps later. On the restart, Long dove under Hoffman in turn two, but was not able to clear the # 1D, with Hoffman running up on the rear fender of the # 18L. Hoffman stopped and was unable to continue, and when  Long was instructed to move to the tail of the field, he retired to the pit area, as well. This moved Jim Black to second behind Walsh, with Bobby Bittle alongside for the Delaware restart. Walsh opened a big lead as Rusty Griffaw began working his way forward, moving to third when the yellow flew on lap 11. Griffaw moved to second as the green waved, with another caution on lap 15. Top five running Rick Conoyer went pitside at this point, as the field now had more than half the starters off the track. One lap back under green, Walsh, who had been dominate throughout, came to a stop in turn two, his night over. This turned the lead over to Griffaw, who had started deep in the field. He held on the final four laps, with Bittle claiming second and Black third.
 It was now time for the 40 lap late model finale, with Jackson and Sheppard in row one. Rookie Chris Fisher lined up in his row ten spot, but  went pitside before the green waved, leaving 23 starters. Jackson shot to the early lead ahead of Sheppard and row two starters Shirley and Moyer. On lpa four, Korte passed Moyer for fourth after starting seventh. The caution flew on lap six for a spinning Tim Manville, as row seven starter Bobby Pierce, the national UMP points leader, entered the top ten. One lap back to green, Shirley shot to the runnerup spot and began to reel in the Mars point leader, Jackson. At lap 13, Moyer moved back to fourth, and one lap later Shirley slowed out of turn four, his night over. The Delaware restart saw Sheppard and Moyer line up behind Jackson, and as racing resumed, Moyer out powered B Shepp to take over second. The next lap, the veteran Moyer executed a perfect slide job to take over the lead. He then opened up a sizable lead before a lap 19 stoppage. Michael Kloos, running in sixth, spun in turns one and two, and was hammered by Jason Feger, who had no where to go. Both cars were out of action as a result. Sheppard out gunned Jackson on the restart for second, while Mars points runnerup Justin Asplin made a dandy move in turn four on lap 22 to come from sixth to fourth. On lap 28, Pierce began his charge, reentering the top five, then taking fourth on lap 30. The youngster then ran down Korte, and made several attempts to get by, but the wily veteran used lapped traffic to perfection blocking the passing lanes in turn four, where Pierces car worked best. As the checkers waved, Moyer picked up the win, with Sheppard, strong all night, in second. Korte, Pierce, and Jackson completed the top five. Sixth went to Asplin, ahead of  Manville,Scott Weber in the # 17X usually driven by Matt Santel, Billy Laycock, and Jeff Herzog. As the sportsman cars came to the track, we three hot, tired race fans headed to the parking lot. Reports say Trey Harris took the final race checkers.
 Tonight we will brave the heat again, as I will now prepare for a night of action at Quincy Raceways. If you are in the area, stop in for five classes of action, headlined by UMP late models and modifieds.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Double Features Highlight a Trip to West Liberty

Rain, rain, and more rain washed out any and all racing from southeast Iowa through the St Louis area on Saturday. So Darryl, Fred, and I headed north, determined to catch some late model action. With West Liberty, Independence, and Maquoketa all within driving distance(ugh!), we rolled out early with eyes on the sky. The heavy showers slowed to a drizzle about ten miles north of Donnellson, and by the time we got to exit 80 on highway 27 the skies looked somewhat better, so we headed east towards West Liberty. With our early departure from home, we arrived even earlier than usual at the fairgrounds track, but we enjoyed just sitting in the car outside the pit entrance watching the bulk of the 84 competitors roll in. Jeff has a very thorough recap of the nights action on the " Backstretch," so I will just add that the three of us agreed that it was one of the best shows we had been to all season. Plenty of good racing action, plus double late model features. The program started on time, intermission was only twelve minutes, and the tenderloins were excellent. Andy Eckrich put on a clinic in the make up late model main event, winning from row five. 17 cars were prequalified for the make up show, but drivers who were not in attendance on that June night when the feature was rained out were allowed to buy in for the cost of a second pit pass. Those drivers drew for starting spots behind the original 17 cars. A total of 23 late models signed in, and Brian Harris drew the 23rd starting slot. Undeterred, he wheeled the Lynn Richard # 15R all the way to a sixth place finish. Colby Springsteen, competing in his # 38 with a 1989 retro look of his father Franks car from that season, finished in the runnerup spot, then at intermission was presented with $3700 collected from drivers and fans to aid in expenses incurred when Franks was badly burned while working on Colbys car at Oskaloosa a few weeks back.
 All but two of the 23 late models were able to start the regular feature which wrapped up the program. Ray Guss, who has had an uncharacteristically tough season, started inside row two, and quickly found the top spot. Tenth starting Eckrich broke through mid race and made a bid for the two feature sweep, but Guss was not to be denied on this night. It was still a good night for the youngest of the Eckrich brothers, with a first and a second. Harris followed up his strong run by advancing from ninth to third, and Springsteen added a fourth to his runnerup finish.
 West Liberty has been one of my very favorite venues since I discovered it in the late 60's-early 70's, and Saturday night did not disappoint. Thanks to the Simmons crew for an enjoyable night of IMCA racing in all classes.
 The deluge of rain wiped out any chance of Quincy Raceways hosting the Sprint Invader - ASCS challenge tonight, Sunday. The Ciltrak group which operates QR is looking at making some late season schedule adjustments, so check the website or this column for updates. Maybe we will see you next weekend as we are Racin' Down The Road.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sheppard Grabs the Big Iron at Quincy

Sunday night it was back to Quincy Raceways for weekly racing. For a while, it looked like Mother Nature might win the night, and with the pit area especially still wet from heavy mid week rains, it would not have taken much to end the nights activities. But the clouds moved on, and we were left with a super fast, smooth racing surface. A total of 59 cars in five classes checked in for the night of racing. Qualifying for UMP late models and UMP modifieds got the show going. Michael Long paced the mods, while Bobby Pierce turned a lap at 13.388 seconds to top the 12 late models. Following his heat race win, Pierce pulled a "5" to set the feature invert for the late models, and first heat winner Keith Pratt drew a "4" to set the mod invert.
 With a lengthy intermission out of the way, the IMCA stock cars came to the track for an 18 lap feature. Only seven stock cars signed in, and Jerry Jansen was a no show, having retired on the first lap of the heat race. Jerry suffered heavy damage last Sunday, and thought he had the # 06 race ready, but it was not to be. But with only six cars, the race was as good as I have seen all season. Nathan Hays led lap one, with Terry Houston taking over on the next circuit. Lap three saw those two, plus Brandon Savage run three wide, and on lap four, Abe Huls powered into second. With those four tightly bunched, Beau Taylor was right there searching for an opening. Savage eased past Huls on lap nine, and on the next trip around, slight contact between Brandon and Houston enabled Savage to take over the lead. Huls eventually move around Houston, and the two leaders ran side by side, Savage on the high side, Huls on the bottom. At the checkers, it was Savage, Huls, Houston, and Taylor, and even I was out of breath just watching!
 With several travelers on hand, the late model 30 lapper ran next. The five car invert had Denny Woodworth and Justin Reed, back after engine woes, up front, with Brandon Sheppard and Jason Perry in row two. Woodworth shot to the early lead ahead of Reed, with Perry moving to second on lap two. Running third, Reed brought out the caution on lap six, as he powered through turn four in a duel with Sheppard. On the restart, Denny stayed on the low side, and B Shepp pounded the cushion to take over the lead. On lap eight Pierce went to the top side, moving to third, then to second on lap 11. By then Sheppard held a straightaway lead. He looked to be on his way to an easy win when Perry contacted the front stretch wall with five laps to go while running fourth. As racing resumed, Sheppard and Pierce both went to the cushion, and Mark Burgtorf, who is suddenly becoming a hard luck driver, exited the track with a puff of smoke. Try as he might, Pierce could not reign in Sheppard, as Brandon picked up his first QR feature win of the season. Pierce, currently leading UMP national points, posted a second to go with his two QR wins of 2014. Woodworth increased his track point lead with a podium finish, followed by Clint Kirkham, Reed, and Evan Fink, as only six cars took the checkers.
 All but one of the 13 IMCA sport compacts took the green, with Bryce Bakers # 27 on the trailer as he sat behind me in the grandstands. Kimberly Abbott suffered heavy damage in her heat race, loaded up, hustled home to get her " back up " car, making it back as the late model feature was rolling out. Austin McClean took the lead at the green, with Brandon Lambert leading lap two. Point leader Austen Becerra soon moved to second, setting up a two car battle for much of the 15 laps. On lap 11, Becerra finally gained the advantage, taking his 32nd win of 2014 ahead of Lambert, Seith Woodruff, and Abbott.
  Only 11 UMP mods were on hand, and even Dave Weitholder, who has not missed a night at QR in several seasons was on the sidelines. Dave reportedly has a hip injury, and the doctors advised him to stay off the track for the night, although he was patrolling the pit area! Craig Spegal and and Michael Long sat on the front row, and they both rocketed to the front on the start, with Michael out front in his
" backup " car. The first yellow waved on lap nine, and on the restart, third starting point leader Steven Delonjay began to apply pressure to Spegal. As Steven took over second, the caution waved again, with Delonjay and Spegal set up behind Long on the Delaware restart. Again Michael jumped out front as Spegal, running his best ever race at QR, continued to hound Delonjay. Spegal rettok the runner up spot briefly, but Delonjay prevailed, crossing the line well  behind Long. Jared Schlipman made his return from engine issues and ran fourth after a good battle with fifth finishing Pratt.
  The last race on the card was the 18 lap IMCA sport mod battle. All 16 competitors came to the grid. Adam Birck paced the opening circuit, with Brandon Lennox taking over to lead the next several trips around. Jim Gillenwater quickly moved to second and on lap four, Tanner Klingele joined the top three. Three caution periods in the next half dozen laps kept things close, and Lennox and Gillenwater completed lap 14 side by side. Gillenwater led lap 15 before the final caution flag flew. On this final restart, Tony Dunker, who had been lurking in fifth, charged to second.  Dunker then out ran Gillenwater on the final lap to pick up the win. Lennox crossed the line in third, but was scored last in the official rundown. I was not around for post race tech, so I am not certain what the issue may have been. Klingele, Brad Holtmeyer, and Bobby Anders rounded out the top five.
  The final checkers waved before 9:00 on what turned out to be a very pleasant night with great racing in all classes. The late models and modifieds are off next week at QR, as the ASCS sprints and Sprint Invaders headline the card along with stock cars, sport mods and sport compacts. The late models and mods return the following Sunday, August 24. The early forecast for this coming weekend is looking a bit dicey, but hopefully we will see you somewhere Racin' Down the Road.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Hess On Top at Peoria

 With Darryl driving and several good choices for a Saturday night of racing, we headed east for our first visit of the year to the Peoria Speedway. Not unlike here at home, it looked as though the track had received a heavy dose of rain, and there was water standing on the low side entrance to turn one when we arrived. But the track crew was working hard, and eventually was able to get the 1.4 mile race ready. Although starting time was pushed back a bit, heat races started at 7:05,  it turned out to be worth the wait! 78 cars signed in to race on five divisions, and much to our delight, a solid field of 21 UMP super late models were on hand, followed by 19 UMP modifieds, 16 hornets, 12 steel block late models and 10 street stocks. As was to be expected, the wet racing surface chopped up a bit in the early going, with the # 26D modified of Derek Doerr rolling his ride in qualifying, ending his night. Late model point leader Todd Bennett set quick time with a lap of 12.300 seconds, while veteran hot shoe Billy Tuckwell paced the modifieds.  Billy Drake looked like he might challenge Bennett for fast time before jumping the treacherous turn three cushion and nearly rolling the # 75 on his qualifying lap. A spectator drew the zero pill for the invert, meaning late model and mod heats would start straight up by times, and the features by heat race finish.
 Track conditions began to improve as the heat races played out. Late model heat three saw the Gardners, John Jr and Bob (brothers?) dueling for the lead, with John in front. Bob tried a slide job with two laps to go, but had to back off when his # 4G slid up the track. As the leaders took the white flag, Bob again tried the move in turn one, but slid into Johm, sending him into a spin. The race was called complete on the white flag lap, and Bob was awarded the win, with John scored as the last car running - sixth - since he was the only one stopped on the track. The decision brought a collective grumble from the by now sizable gathering.
 Following a short intermission while track crews rolled the cushion, a 12 lap late model consy was run to eliminate one car for the 30 lap finale. When Cameron Guidi, who had issues all night with his # 51 pulled to the infield, the race was checkered short of the 12 laps, as the remaining five cars were in the show.
 The 18 lap steel block feature was up first, 11 cars took the green, and Jim Carmody took off from the pole position, leading the first ten laps. Almost from the start, he was pressured by Steve Shannon, one of several racers doing double duty, racing in multiple classes. Coming out of turn two on lap 11, Shannon made contact with Carmody, getting him a bit loose, with Shannon getting around for the lead. The only caution of the race came on lap 15, bunching the field on the Delaware restart. The front two again pulled away, with Shannon hanging on for the win. Carmody came home second, with Brian Crebo third. Shannon was subdued in victory lane, saying he hated to win a race that way.
 Next it was the street stocks, eight starters for 15 laps. Heat winner Chuck Barnes Jr, took off from the pole, leading the distance. Two cautions for spinning cars kept the field close, with Todd Farris shadowing the leader. Following a lap ten yellow, Barry Sauder joined the pursuit, and he moved to second with two laps to go. Sauder made a bid for the win out of turn four coming to the checkers, but came up a 1/2 car length short.
 The UMP modified were up next, 15 cars for 20 laps. Austin May and Eric Bruce made up the front row, with double duty Charley Hess and Tuckwell on row two. It took a couple of tries to get one lap in, on one start May jumped the turn two cushion, but was able to restart on the pole - the UMP lap one forgiveness rule. A major pile up on lap three took out two cars , but after that, things settled down. On that start, Bruce fell back several spots, but on lap six, he made a dandy move out of turn two, moving from fourth to first. As the laps clicked off, Dan Dozard began to challenge the leader. Bruce had been running the high line, but he soon changed to run the low groove in turns three and four, where Dozard was faster. Slower traffic came into play in the closing laps, and Dozard moved alongside Bruce on the final trip around, but  Bruce hung on for his 16th win of 2014. Hess trailed the leaders in third
  Now it was time for the late model finale.Hess and late arriving Mike Provenzano sat on the front row, with Bob Gardner and Bennett in row two. Hess took the early lead, with Gardner claiming second on lap two. By lap five, Drake, who had come from row four in his heat to finish third, had moved from row four in the feature up to fifth. One lap later he blasted through to third. Hess and Gardner hugged the low groove, while Drake pounded the cushion. On lap ten, Hess drifted up the track, and Gardner grabbed the lead. The front two swapped the point over the next couple laps, with Hess regaining the top spot in traffic. I looked up from my notes with ten or so laps to go and saw that I had missed Drake getting around Gardner for the runner up spot. The veteran then chased Hess to the checkers, but Charley was flawless the rest of the way. He looked exhausted in victory lane, having run 20 laps in the mods to a third place finish, then jumping in the late model for a 30 lap win on a track that was surely a challenge. Drake turned a bad start into a good night, bringing the # 75 home in second. Gardner took the third spot ahead of Bennett and Provenzano. Bo Brockway led the second five, ahead of Ryan Little, Greg Kimmons, and unofficially Roger Rebholz and Evan Fink, though those last two may be flip flopped in the final rundown. With the hornet feature in staging, we headed for the car just minutes before the 10:00 hour.
 Our first look at track conditions made us question our choice of tracks, but it turned into a good night of close, competitive racing, with a decent car count. Thanks to the Peoria Speedway staff for working hard to put on a quality show.
  The sun is out and the breeze is blowing, so hopefully we have enough drying going on to get the pits and track ready for racing tonight at Quincy Raceways. Unofficial word has the top two in UMP national points, Bobby Pierce and Brandon Sheppard on the way to slug it out for the title. Come on out if you can!

Monday, August 4, 2014

First Time Winners at Quincy

Two first time winners celebrated Sunday night at Quincy Raceways, as second generation drivers Gordy Gundaker and Tanner Klingele picked up wins.
 First, however, it was the IMCA stock cars taking to the .29 mile oval for their 18 lap main event. Nine cars took the green flag, as Robert Thompson was done after hot laps. Troy Brierton took off from row one, with Jerry Jansen in pursuit. Thr front two were well ahead of the pack when Gabe Harrison lost fire on lap nine. On the restart, on got sideways, creating a multi car scrum. Both he and Jansen, who appeared to have the rear end knocked loose for his ride, were unable to continue. Rather than a side by side restart, third running Jake Powers was given the top spot, but one lap later Brandon Savage eased around Jake for the lead. Terry Houston powered to second on lap 13, but Brandon held on for win number three of the season. Houston, Powers, point leader Abe Huls, and Jim Lynch completed the top five.
  The UMP late models, 12 strong were next on the grid for 30 laps of action. A heat race incident involving Jason Perry and Denny Woodworth saw both cars retire early, with Denny forced to go to his back up car after contact with the turn four wall. This put the two top contenders outside rows five and six on the starting grid. Mark Burgorf and Gordy Gundaker picked up heat race wins, and with the new lineup formula in use, Mark was set to roll the invert dice for the feature. Being a bit short on crew this week, he asked Michael Long, who was rolling for the modifieds to roll for him, and Michael rolled a " five. " This put Rickey Frankel on the pole with Jim Moon alongside. Rickey jumped to the lead at the green, quickly setting up in the low groove. Burgtorf, who had an issue with the engine belt in the heat, took off on the top side, moving past fast timer Dustin Griffin for second on lap six. Two laps later, Mark used the high side to grab the lead, as he searched for his first win of 2014. On lap 11, Griffin, also running the top, jumped the cushion and fell from third to ninth. On the following lap, something went wrong on the # 7B, and Burgtorf, in a puff of smoke, slid over the banking in turn one, ending his night. Frankel now had the top spot again, with Michael Long, Gundaker, Moon, and a hard charging Perry in the top five. Gundaker jumped to the high side on the restart and grabbed the lead just before the half way mark of the race. As the youngster stretched his margin, Frankel slid out of his froove on lap 26, with Perry moving to second. As this was happening, Gundaker was being careful working a slower car, abd Perry made up ground quickly. But the Quincy University baseball standout was able to clear the lapped car, and held on for his furst ever UMP late model win. Perry, Frankel, Moon, and Woodworth rounded out the top five. It was only the second visit to QR for the Gundaker team, as his mom and dad, Tammy and late model legend Kevin keep busy operating Tri City Speedway in Pontoon Beach,Il. However, the # 11 team has indicated they plan to be QR regulars for the remainder of the season.
 IMCA sport compacts came to the oval for a 15 lap main event next. As has been the case often in 2014, they ran a caution free race, and it took Austen Becerra all of four laps to secure the top spot. Brandon Lambert and Spencer Coats crossed the stripe side by side on lap one, with Lambert easing ahead. Becerra took second on lap three, then moved to the point one lap later. The front two remained that way, with Kimberly Abbott clearing  Craig Bangert late in the race for third. Barry Taft made the haul from Argyle, Iowa to run fifth. It was the 30th overall feature win in 2014 for Becerra.
 Michael Long set quick time for the UMP modifieds, with 17 cars timing in. Bad luck once again struck Shawn Deering, who spun a driveshaft out in his heat race. He started the main event, but retired quickly. Donavon Lodge made the trip to QR Sunday, but had a flat on his hauler along the way, ariving late. He then had mechanical issues with his # 32, actually missing the start of the 25 lapper. However he made it out after a first lap caution. On each of the ensuing cautions, he ducked to the hot pit area, but finally called it a night, credited with a disappointing15th place finish. Keith Pratt took off with the early lead through a flurry of early cautions, and by lap three, Dave Weitholder had moved from a row four start to third, with Long now in second and front row starter Delonjay falling to fourth. Back to green, Long powered to the lead on the high side, and on lap seven Delonjay claimed second. Cautions followed on laps nine and ten, and on the lap ten restart, Delonjay grabbed the lead running the bottom groove. His big lead evaporated with a final caution on lap 16, but he was hooked up and cruised to the win, stretching his points lead. Long, Weitholder, Pratt, and visiting Brian Lynn completed the first five.
 IMCA sport mods had the finale, 13 cars for 18 laps on the smooth, slick track. Adam Birck, subbing in the VanZandt # 80V led the opening laps. Following a lap three yellow, 19 year old Tanner Klingele charged to the lead, holding off Joey Gower as the caution flew for the only other time on lap seven. On the restart, Tanner, with three consecutive runner up finishes, built a sizable lead. Gower continued his pursuit, with Brandon Lennox riding the rim to third place as the laps wound down. Klingele was not to be denied this time, and he celebrated in style his first sport mod feature win. Gower, Lennox, point leader Tony Dunker, and Bobby Anders chased him to the checkers.
  The headline of this piece refers to two second generation feature winner, but in truth, all five are in that category, or close. Gundaker, Klingele, Delonjay, and Becerra all have fathers who raced, and as I have mentioned before, Savage is a grandson of legendary Ramo Stott. The racing bloodlines run deep at Quincy Raceways!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

An Action Filled Night at CJ Speedway

 With a vacation day on Friday, and no racing last weekend, I was determined to catch some action last night. Darryl, Fred and I watched the radar throughout the day and decided north looked safer than south. So after a lot of calling and facebooking, we confirmed that CJ Speedway in Columbus Junction,Iowa was racing and late models were on the card. We arrived at the 4/10 mile fairgrounds facility in plenty of time and settled in amongst a good sized crowd.
 The heat races for the six class program actually a few minutes early, and ran off in good time. There was a 25 minute intermission, but the large number of kids in attendance were given hayrack rides through the pits. there were also lots of Little Racer Car Club giveaways. CJ probably has more kids per adult than any track we attend, a good sign for the future of racing in that area.
 The first feature of the night was for the mod lites. I am not sure what has caused the drop in car count in this class, but it seems to be down wherever we see them. Still, the six cars on hand put on a good ten lap show. Collin Ball had things in hand until a lap seven caution erased his nice sized lead. On lap nine, Dan Keltner was able to get past Ball to take the win.
 Next up was the 11 car four cylinder ten lapper. 74 year old Wayne Noble led lap one. Following a restart, Corey Sheetz pulled ahead for one circuit. The two raced side by side on lap three before Noble reclaimed the top spot. Noble, the " Mayor of Newport," cruised to the win with Bill Whelen slipping past Sheetz on lap nine for second.
  Old friend John Richardson had told us on arrival that the growing truck class was the group to watch, and for sure the nine car group seems to lead the track in drama. Austin Kemper led lap one before the first of numerous cautions periods. Jacob Brown took over on the restart as things got interesting. Lots of bumping, banging, black flags and catcalls from the grandstand filled the ten laps of action. Brown obviously had the truck to beat, and I was surprised to learn it was his first win. After an early trip to the tail, Billy Stanford charged back to take second.
 The  11 IMCA stock car took to the track for 15 laps. Travis Finke grabbed the point on the start, leading the first five circuits. On lap six, Dane Fenton slipped past, with Lane Kaufman moving to second. The two leaders had a close battle going before what appeared to be contact on the backstretch on lap 11 sent Kaufman off the track with a flat tire. On the Delaware restart, Kurt Kinsley grabbed the second spot, but Fenton held on from there. It was his first stock car win after a successful career in hobby stocks.
 A dozen IMCA modified checked in, with 11 taking the 15 lap featurgreen. Steve Stewart powered from row two to lead the opening lap, and I said to Darryl, " the race is now for second. " But, wrong, again. Stewart held the top spot through a lap seven yellow, as a pair of # 20s, Dan Albright, and John Fellman battled side by side behind him. On lap nine, Stewart suddenly slowed in turn two, bringing out the yellow. Fellman and Albright restarted side by side, dueling through one more caution period. They completed lap 13 side by side, then Fellman edged ahead for the win.
 Rounding out the night was the 15 lap IMCA rules late model main event. Only four cars checked in this week - point leader Tom Darbyshire and Tommy Elston were a couple of drivers I had called who could not make it on Friday.  Veteran Wappello driver Jay Chenoweth # 6 led the opening trip around the oval, and heat winner " Superman " Sam Halstead  took over on lap two, taking Jonathon Brauns along as Chenoweth bobbled in turn four. Lap six saw Brauns put his # 22B out front, and he built a straightaway lead in the non stop event. As Brauns took the white flag, he slowed and pulled to the infield pit area, handing the lead back to the # 84 of Halstead.  Sam then took the checkers well ahead of Chenoweth, who was locked in a battle with Hal Russell, driving an old Dough Nigh machine, now numbered J6D. Russell, who campaigned several years ago in a # Z2 had been off the racing grid for some time. The word going around was that Brauns was simply testing out his " big " engine and outlaw tires this night, possibly ahead of the open show this Tuesday in West Liberty.
  Thanks to announcer Gene Arnold for the info, and the staff at CJ Speedway for an entertaining night of racing. Tonight, a little Alan Jackson at the Mississippi Valley Fair in Davenport, the tomorrow back to Quincy Raceways for UMP late models and modifieds along with IMCA sport mods, stock cars and sport compacts. Se ya Racin' Down the Road.