Sunday, July 26, 2015

Davenport Tops Erb at the PDC

 My mini vacation started with the IMCA Deery Brothers late model show at Quad City Speedway on Wednesday, the continued with the World of Outlaw late models at Quincy Raceways on Thursday. On Friday, my wife and I took our youngest grandson, Peyton,  to his first major league baseball game in St Louis. Along the way, UMP modified racer Jeff Curl called buddy Darryl with a chance to purchase some backstretch passes to the World of Outlaw late model Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway. It had been more than 15 years since my one visit to Fairbury, about a four hour jaunt from home, so we decided to take in the final night of the two night event.
  Despite a threat of rain, we headed out on Saturday morning, checking in at a hotel, then arriving at the track early to take in the festivities, heat, humidity and all.
  There would be a complete show for the UMP modifieds, plus two last chance races for the World of Outlaw late models, the 100 lap $26,000 to win feature on the 1/4 mile oval, followed by the $2,000 to win mod main event, then a 30 lap $1,500 to win non qualifiers feature for the late models.
 Late model last chance race number one went to Morgan Bagley ahead of Rick " Boom " Briggs. The second 20 lap win went to Jason Feger ahead of Brian Shirey. 18 cars had qualified Friday through six heat races, and four provisional starters were now added to make up the 26 car field. Positions three through twelve, not counting provisionals would be eligible for the 20 car non qualifiers feature.
  With the first of two modified B-mains for the modifieds on the track, first a light, then steady rain began to fall. Fortunately, the heaviest of the showers missed the fairgrounds, and after the rain stopped, the track crew went to work getting the surface back in racing condition. After about an hour delay, we were back to racing, with the order of events adjusted. Follwing the mod B-mains, the late model non qualifier feature was called to the track. 64 late models had signed in on Friday, with 60 back on Saturday. Following the delay, apparently some of the bigger names scheduled to run the $1,500 to win race elected to stay on the trailer, giving us 16 starters for the 30 laps.
 The  race got rolling after a first lap pile up, with Ryan Unzicker taking the lead. on the 14th circuit, Mike Spatola used a nifty slide job in turn four to take the top spot, stretching out to a big advantage. But with four to go, he suddenly slowed, ending his run. This put Unzicker back on the point. As the white flag came out, third running Derek Chandler smacked the wall. setting up a one lap shootout. To the delight of the large crowd, local favorite McKay Wenger pulled off a last lap pass for the win, leading 1/2 a lap of the 30. Unzicker settled for second ahead of Josh Rice, Chad Hollenbeck, and Bob Gardner. Steve Thorsten, Joe Harlan, and Steve Lance Jr. were the only other drivers to finish the race.
  Officials then called for the 100 lap main event, pushing the modifieds to last on the card.
  The redraw of the six heat winners saw Billy Moyer and Mason Ziegler start on row one. Moyer took off in the lead, as he and Ziegler opened an advantage on the field. The caution waved on lap eight for Bagley, who was forced to go to a back up car for the feature, starting him on the tail. Back to green, eighth starting Jonathon Davenport powered his way to third, shadowing Ziegler as Moyer opened up a lead. Following a stoppage on lap 13, Dennis Erb Jr took the third spot challenging Ziegler, taking the spot on lap 23. He then began to run down Moyer, and the two ran side by side, with Erb taking the lead on lap 31. The next yellow came on lap 44, with 14th starting Brandon Sheppard entering the top five. At the halfway point, Moyer retook the lead moving to the high line, as Sheppard moved to fourth. On lap 52, Moyer jumped the cushion in turn two, falling to third behind Erb and Davenport. Moyer repeated the move two laps later, apparently with a handling problem, with Sheppard going around. On lap 56, Moyer smacked the turn four fence, ending his run. On the restart, Davenport and Sheppard battled for second, with Davenport finally pulling ahead, going to the top side of the track,bumping the cushion, as Erb ran a low to middle line. As the leaders caught slower traffic on lap 77, Sheppard also jumped to the high line. A yellow on lap 85 saw the end of the night for Kevin Weaver. Back racing, 2014 winner Tim McCreadie moved to third, and two laps later, series points leader Shane Clanton brought out a yellow with a flat tire. Coming back to the track, Clanton showed some displeasure by " rubbing" Chub Frank, earning himself a black flag. On lap 91, Erb and Davenport ran side by side, with Davenport ahead on lap 93. With four circuits remaining, Frank Heckenast Jr was charging forward on the top side, but got into the turn two wall. The restart was now single file, with Davenport again running the top and Erb down low. On lap 99, Davenport eased ahead, but Erb again powered to the front. On the final lap, the two made contact in turn three, and Davenport came to the line first for the win. Erb settled for second, with Sheppard third. Josh Richards started 16th and finished fourth, with Chase Junghans starting and finishing fifth. Jimmy Owens came on late to run sisth, Bagley moved up 18 spots to seventh. McCreadie faded to eighth, Heckenast ninth, and Frank completed the top ten.
  With the delay, it was now the midnight hour, and we headed for the motel with the mod feature still to go.
   Quincy Raceways has a scheduled night off tonight, so I will try to recover and get ready to head back to work after a busy four days of racing and baseball!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Moyer and Abreu Top Historic Night at Quincy


 The most significant night in the 41 year history of Quincy Raceways is in the books after a successful evening of racing in front of a standing room only crowd on Thursday night. I you were among the 3000 or so folks on hand, you experienced quite an evening. If you were not, boy did you miss out!  The parking lot filled up hours before race time, the adjoining Scott family property was jammed with cars, and vehicles were parked along the four lane highway leading to the track as the crowd continued to filter in during late model qualifying. The beer stand had to be replenished twice, and the kitchen was cranking out food so fast one of the grills caught on fire!
 Even though a job fair contributed to the evening as one of the title sponsors of the " Workforce 40, "
ultimately, this night was, as it should be, all about the racing.
Two classes of cars were on the card, with the Midwest Open Wheel Association 410 sprint cars supporting the World of Outlaw late models. 24 sprinters and 32 late models filled the regular and extended pit areas.
 The night began with late model time trial qualifying. Brian Shirley paced the first group of 16 cars, but first time visitor Tim McCreadie, a New Yorker, set overall quick time with a lap of 13.112 seconds. A series of ruts developed in turn three, making early qualifying a bit of adventure, but it seemed to smooth out a bit as we went along, and some later track prep took care of the issue.
 Three sprint heats were followed by four late model ten lappers. Shirley over Brandon Sheppard, Brandon Overton ahead of Shane Clanton, McCreadie followed by Bobby Pierce, and Billy Moyer topping Josh Richards all took heat wins from the front row.
  Next up was the MOWA position dash. Cory Bruns took the win, holding off a challenge from Chili Bowl winner and NASCAR competitor Rico Abreau.
  Two late model last chance races added six cars to the feature field, with Morgan Bagley and Jimmy Mars taking wins, and two provisionals, based on WoO points went to Boom Briggs and Jordon Yaggy, completing the 24 car field.
  The 25 lap sprint feature ran first, with 23 cars taking the green. Things got off to a bit of a slow start, with Bruns taking off from the pole. Abreau grabbed the lead on lap one, and on the next circuit, Brady Bacon flipped his ride. Bacon was fast early on, but blew an engine in his heat race, changed it, and now was upside down in two laps! A false start on the restart saw Casey Shuman exit the track. Back to racing, Jeremy Stndridge came to a stop in turn two, and as the field slowed, Jimmy Hurley flipped hard in turn three. After one more false start, we were back to green. The field was scrambling for position behind Abreau, who encountered slower traffic on lap 12. Winning a low - high duel for second with Bruns, Hunter Schuerenberg was closing on the leader when his rim riding sent him over the cushion on lap 15, bring out the caution. With a clear track on the restart, Abreau opened up a lead. Jerrod Hull was now on the move, challenging for the runner up spot. At the checkers, it was Abreau, Bruns, and Hull in the top three, followed by Jake Blackhurst and Brad Loyet.
  It was now time for the $8,000 to win, 40 lap headliner. The top two from each heat race had redrawn for their staring slot, and on lap one, sixth starting Shirley spun in turn three. According to WoO rules, Brian got his spot back on the false start, as Eric Wells and Justin Reed were also involved trying to avoid the # 3S. Back to green, polesitter Moyer grabbed the lead, with tour points leader  Clanton moving to second on lap two from his row three starting spot. It quickly became a two car batlle, with Moyer now running a middle groove and pinching off the low riding Clanton in turns one and two, where a bump had formed. After the sprint feature, the top groove seemed to be used up, as Pierce was going backwards running there. However, McCreadie began to make a run to the front using the high line as we approached the half way mark. Moyer caught the back of the pack by lap 15, and on lap 19 Clanton made his move, the two leaders side by side on lap 20. Clanton grabbed the lead, then used a dandy move on lap 25, splitting the now lapped cars of Jason Feger and Jason Perry to open a lead, as Moyer was caught in the lapped traffic. With the race staying green, Clanton seemed to have things in hand, but with just two laps remaining, he was forced to check up for  a slower car, and Moyer powered around to regain the lead. The veteran held on the final two laps for a popular win. The Georgia native Clanton settled for a runner up finish and $4,000 pay day. Richards advanced four spots to take third, Sheppard came from eighth to fourth, and Outside row one starter McCreadie grabbed fifth. Shirley started sixth and finished there, Chub Frank came from ninth to seventh, Baggley moved up nine spots to eighth. Rick Eckert wheeled the # 7V up four slots to ninth, with Frank Heckenast Jr advancing nine spots to complete the top ten. Mark Burgtorf was the highest finishing " local," coming from 21st to 16th.
 The Outlaws now move to Fairbury,Il for a two day show, and the sprinters continue on their four day Illinois Sprint Week tour, going to Tri City Speedway in Granite City,Il tonight. Quincy Raceways will be idle this Sunday night, returning to action on August 2.
 Thanks to the Ciltrak group for taking a big risk to bring a national tour to Quincy, it was a night that did not disappoint!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Back on the Summer Series Trail

 With some vacation time lined up, I took advantage of a rain free day and headed north to the Quad City Speedway in East Moline,Il. for only my second stop on the  IMCA Deery Brothers Summer Series late model tour for 2015. My daughter went along to do some visiting while I took in the races, insisting we take her car,but more on that later.
  The tour was down a bit on cars, it was a Wednesday night race in the middle of vacation season, and some drivers are leery of the banked 1/4 mile oval with the unforgiving outside concrete wall. Still, 22 late models signed in, along with 12 street stocks and 11 mod lites, three classes being about right for a week night show, and there was a nice sized crowd on hand to take in the action.
 Two street stock heats were up first, taking to the track about 7:20, after the 6:55 hot laps ran on time and quickly. Nathan Hall picked up the heat one win, and former late model driver Kory Peterson took took heat two, both non stop events. Next the mod lites also ran two non stop eight lappers, with Greg Durbin and Shon Sanders in victory lane.
 Three late model heats were up next. Tyler Droste drew the pole in the first ten lapper, and led flag to flag ahead of John Emerson. Tour point leader Justin Kay started in row four and crossed the line eighth, setting up a long climb in the main event. Shaun Mulvany was scheduled to go from the pole in heat two, but his car had suddenly veered right coming out of turn four in hot laps, sending him into the front  stretch wall, ending his night. This moved Nate Beuseling to the front row, and he captured the race ahead of Andy Nezworski, who made contact with Brunson Behning taking the spot on what was definitely a high side track during the heats. IMCA national point leader Matt Ryan started in row two, took the lead on the first circuit, and held on to best Jon Poll in the final preliminary race. The first caution flags of the night, two of them, came in this race, as Mike Garland smacked the turn one wall, and one lap later, Joe Zrostlik looped his ride.
 The heats were in the books at 8:00, and while the Caseys Pizza redraw for the late models was conducted on the front stretch, some track prep was done to try and add grooves to the racing surface.
  The 15 lap street stock feature rolled out at about 8:35, with all 12 cars taking the green. Rob Henry started outside row one, grabbed the early lead, and held on through two restarts to record the victory. Jeremy Gustaf pressured Henry, settling for second, with Hall in third.
  Again, all 11 mod lites took the green for 15 laps. Sanders shot to the lap one lead, the caution flew at the end of the lap, but it was scored as official. Shon again shot ahead on the Delaware restart, and only a lap eight red flag slowed his run. A two car collision in turn four left Dan Guss a bit shaken, and he took a right pitside in the ambulance. When racing resumed, Sanders held off another former late model driver, Jason Masengarb, and Brian Schnell for the win.
  With Garland joining the field on the parade laps, 21 cars took the 50 lap late model feature green. Heat one winner Droste drew the pole position, and he shot to a big early lead with row two starter Nezworski in tow. The high side still seemed to be the fastest line, but unlike the heats, the middle and low grooves also offered effective lines. Droste closed in on slower traffic by lap eight, maintaing his advantage until the first yellow on lap 15, as he made contact with Jay Chenoweth, resulting in a flat for Chenoweth. Back to racing, fifth starting Todd Malmstrom took the second spot from Nezworski. As those two and Scott Fitzpatrick battled for second, Droste again opened a commanding lead. On lap 23, Malmstroms night ended with a puff of smoke, and one lap later the caution waved as fourth running Beuseling slowed, ending his run. Following the restart, Nezworski moved to second, and ninth starting Ray Guss Jr charged to third. As Droste again opened up a large lead, Jeff Aikey joined the fray in fourth on lap 27. Droste was using the top groove, Nezworski hugged the low side, and Guss ran the middle line. Another stoppage came on lap 32, as Fitzpatrick apparently suffered a flat, ducking to the pits for quick repairs. On the restart, Guss jumped to the high line, with Nezworski moving up as well, although he soon dropped back to the low side. Again Droste stretched his lead, and on lap 38, Guss smacked the turn three wall as he tried to power around Nezworski. The 58 car went on the hook, ending his run. Back under green, Ryan, who had drawn a row six pizza box to start 12th, moved to the runnerup spot, taking Behning along from fifth to third. One more time the caution waved, as Fitzpatrick, back on the move forward, climbed the wall in turn three, riding it around, showing the crowd the underside of his # 24. With a final shot at the leader, no one could mount a serious challenge, as Droste simply had his # 31 set up perfectly. The third generation driver led all 50 laps for the win, with Ryan taking a hard fought second. Behning claimed third, with Aikey fourth. Although not a factor for the win, Kay advanced 16 spots to record a top five finish. Nezworski faded to sisth, followed by Zrostlik, Thad Wilson in the # 11 car, Emerson, and Gary Webb. One lap down, Ryan Dolan was the final car still running at the checkers.
 The action ended about 9:45, and as I made my way to the pit parking lot, my daughter called to say as she sat in the car waiting for me, a rock, or more likely a dirt clod flew over the wall, smashing her windshield. Fortunately, it was right of center, so it did not hamper my vision on the drive home. If you follow this blog, you will remember that the last time she let me use her car to go to a race, I suffered a flat tire in the Maquoketa parking lot!
  Thanks to Marsha and the staff at QCS for a very entertaining night. With Sunday being their regular race night, I don't get many opportunities to visit, but I never come away unhappy. Thanks also to Bob Litton for keeping letting me join his group in the grandstands.
  As I write this, Quincy Raceways is preparing for the biggest night in the 41 year history of the track, as tonight the World of Outlaw late models will be joined by the Midwest Open Wheel 410 sprint cars in what should be an awesome, two class program. According to promoter Ken Dobson, plenty of tickets remain, the sun is shining, hope to see you there. Unfortunately, Steve Kinser will not be racing, as he was involved in a rollover accident Saturday night at Eldora Speedway, and is too sore to make the trip. Still it sahould be a great night of racing!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Smyser Smokes the Field at Moberly

 With track after track falling to the rain to the north, Darryl and I took a chance and headed south for our first visit of the 2015 season to the Randolph County Raceway in Moberly,Mo. RCR had been a scheduled destination in June for the visit of the MLRA later models, but like about one third of our scheduled this year, rain took care of that.
 Moberly has the latest arriving crowd of any track we attend, and 15 minutes before go time, the stands looked barren. However attendance picked up nicely as racing began, including the surprise arrival of buddy Bob Litton, who made the trip all the way from Iowa City to take in some action!
 Regular race nights at RCR include five classes, including ULMA steel block late models, USRA modifieds, USRA B modifieds, hobby stocks and 4 cylinder cars. The mod classes had nice car counts of 17 and 16 respectively, though the other three groups were a bit short.
 USRA modifieds were first on the card, and they ran three heat races to begin the action. Quincian Steve Grotz dominated heat one, but was apparently disqualified for an illegal frame rail, ending his evening. In heat three, veteran Hugh Eddy got out of shape in turn two, was sideways down the backstretch when he was hit by Ronnie Woods, sending him into a series of flips. Eddy emerged uninjured, but his # 5% car received heavy damage.
 The rest of the heat race action went off quickly and uneventfully, and following a short intermission, it was feature time. The A -mods again ran first, with 13 cars answering the bell. Justin Allen inherited the pole from Grotz, but he spun in turn one, bringing out the first caution. This moved Robbie Reed to the pole on the restart. Back under green, Tim Dotson had a tire go down, and he smacked the backstretch wall, creating a lengthy delay, as his car finally was removed from the track with the roll back truck. Back to racing, Reed opened a big lead, but it was caution again on lap four for Dylan Hoover, who exited the track, leaving ten cars to slug it out. By now, fifth row starter Woods, and Allen from the back side by side behind Reed for the Delaware restart, with Allen moving to second as the green waved.Woods retook second on lap seven, with a debris yellow at the half way mark on lap ten. Back under green, both Woods and Allen slipped past Reed, but one lap later, Reed got around Allen for second. Laps 14 and 15 saw Woods and Reed swap the top spot, but during a lap 16 yellow, Woods went pitside. Reed seemed to have trouble getting up to speed on the restarts, and this time Tyler Shaw took his first lead of the race. However the caution waved before a lap was scored, putting Reed back out front, as Bill Baker had his engine let go. Racing yet again, Allen spun coming to the white, and was waved to the pits as this was his second charged caution. Only four cars remained for the two lap shootout, with Reed picking up his third win in a row over Shaw and Fred Stotler.
  With the eight caution marathon over, the nine car hobby stock main was next. A lap one caution saw two of the competitors duck to the pits for tire changes. , but when racing resumed, there was a hot four car battle for the top spot. The yellow flew just past the halfway mark at lap seven, and on the restart, Tim Dawson charged form third to grab the lead from Tim Pettibone. Dawson quickly opened a commanding lead, but one lap later, we were under caution again. Again Dawson built a big advantage, as we stayed green to the checkers. Dawson grabbed the win over Pettibone, visiting Bobby Greene from Tracy, Iowa, and Chris Baker.
  Six RCR sport 4 cylinders signed in and took the ten lap feature green. After another lap one yellow for the stalled car of Brooke Hasler, we stayed green. Robert Winfrey paced the first eight circuits before Matt Barnett took away the top spot and the win.
  All but one of the 16 B-mods started their 15 lap main event, as Cody Henderson had alreaded head home with mechanical woes. Staying with the theme, there was a lap one yellow for debris, then Cody Agee opened a sizable lead before the next stoppage on lap five. Agee held the point through a lap eight debris yellow, and picked up a flag to flag win over Galen Hassler and Tyler Lewis.
  The final race of the night was the 20 lap ULMA late model battle. After several years away from racing, second generation hot shoe Chris Smyser has returned in his familiar # 25S, Crump/Smyser machine. Chris dominated the first heat race and from the pole quickly powered away from the nine car feature field. The only thing slowing him down was a lap two caution when veteran racer Larry Winn smacked the turn one wall. From there, it was all Smyser, as he lapped up through fourth place to pick up his fourth straight win at RCR. Jon Melloway finished a distant second, with Cody Holtkamp also on the lead lap. Tommy Cordray, Darren Turner, and Daryl Dooling were also on track at the checkers, with rookie Monty Umfleet, David Melloway, and Winn credited with seventh through ninth.
 We rolled out of Moberly about 10:30, making it within 25 miles or so of home before torrential rain made our last few minutes of driving home separately something of an experience. There had been enough rain around the immediate area - something between four and six inches - that Quincy Raceways had posted their cancellation notice for tonight before I had rolled out of bed. What a miserable season to be a race track promoter.....

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Full night of Racing at Quincy

 After a literal " month of Sundays " rainouts, Quincy Raceways was rewarded with clear skies and a big crowd this Sunday. 63 cars checked in to do battle in five divisions, plus a make up feature for the IMCA sport mods.
 The rains interrupted the UMP Summernationals show two weeks prior, and the late model and modified main events will be made up at the end of August, but the sport mod feature started the program off on Sunday.
 After a false start, Nathan Bringer took the early lead, with Adam Birck taking the top spot on lap two. The front pair staged a tight battle, crossing the line side by side on lap nine before the first caution waved one lap later. Following the restart, Austin Howes took second from Bringer on lap 11 before the yellow flew again on lap 12. At this point, row six starter Brandon Lennox was on the move, sitting in the fourth spot. Bringer regained the runnerup spot on the restart, then crossed the line first on lap 14. Birck retook the point one lap later, and the caution waved on lap 16. On the restart, Lennox spun, setting up a green, white, checkers finish. Birck held on for his first win of 2015, followed by Howes, Joey Gower, Bringer, and veteran Gary Wilson.
 Things had gotten off to a bit of a slow start, as a hole developed in turn three during hot laps, and late model drivers Mark Burgtorf and Jason Perry both rolled tires off the rim in qualifying, with Burgtorf failing to register one lap time. So the track crew went to work before the sport mod makeup feature, and did a nice job of restoring the track. Then just as the second late model heat came to the track, not one, but two medical emergencies in the grandstands brought the action to a halt again.
 Still the heat races went off smoothly, and after a very short intermission, it was feature time.
 The IMCA stock cars ran first, with Michael Larsen taking the lead at the green, with Jake Powers in hot pursuit. Abe Huls began to run down the leaders, with the first caution coming on lap nine. At this point, Jim Lynch, wheeling a # 4J machine instead of his # 566 ducked to the work area with a flat tire. On the restart, Huls moved to the lead, with another quick caution slowing the action. Under green again, row four starter Beau Taylor charged to the second spot. Taylor kept Huls in range, but could not get close enough to make a move for the lead. Lynch came back to finish third, followed by Larsen and Powers.
 Next up was the 17 car, 25 lap late model finale. Fast qualifier and heat one winner Justin Reed had rolled a four for the feature invert, putting Chuck Mitchell and Keith Pratt in row one, with Reed and heat two winner Denny Woodworth in his new look, new ride # 45DW in row two. Mitchell took the lead at the green, with Pratt on the high side and Woodworth low applying pressure. The caution flew when Pratt looped his ride on lap four. On the Delaware style restart, Woodworth and row three starter Brian Dively lined up behind Mitchell. " B Dive " took the lead on lap five, with Reed powering in to second. The front two then began to distance themselves from the field. Burgtorf, who had started ninth in his heat and in row four of the feature, moved to third on lap seven, as six cars battled side by side for spots three through eight. On lap 14, Jamie Wilson took to the high side on the now dry slick track, charging to third. Dively remained in charge, although Reed was closing as the leaders worked lapped traffic. With five circuits to go, the caution waved, bunching the field, putting the checkers up for grabs. But Dively, who saw his # 11D get upside down in qualifying at the Summernationals show, was up to the challenge, as he picked up his first ever QR feature win. Reed held on for second, Burgtorf rettok third. Woodworth and Perry followed, as Wilson fell to sixth in the closing laps. Pratt recovered to finish seventh, ahead of Clint Kirkham, and the Westlings, son Alan ninth and dad Trace in tenth.
 14 UMP modifieds checked in for the evening, with Michael long again setting quick time and picking up a heat win. Michael rolled a two for the feature invert, sharing the front row with Dave Weitholder, followed by Donovan Lodge and Steven Delonjay in row two. Long and Weitholder took off in a two car duel, crossing the line side by side on lap eight. With Weitholder holding a slim lead, Long suddenly exited the track on lap ten with a flat tire/ Long went to the trailer rather than stopping to bring out a caution. Weitholder then built a big lead before the caution waved on lap 19 of the 25 lapper. On the restart, Lodge and fifth starting Rick Conoyer battled for second, but now it was Delonjay showing some muscle. Conoyer won the duel for second, with Delonjay coming to third. Two laps later, Delonjay moved to the runnerup spot, but Conoyer would not go away. Weitholder took over the track points lead with his first win of 2015, followed by Delonjay edging Conoyer in a side by side finish. Lodge claimed fourth, while Shawn Deering came from the back row to fifth after falling out of his heat race. Deering had picked up his first win of the season when QR staged a four class " make up " race on Friday night.
 The IMCA sport compact class was unusually short on entrants Sunday, and Austin McClean left the track on the parade lap, leaving only five cars to do battle. Kimberly Abbott, who looks well on her way to being the first female points champion in the 41 year history of the track, picked up her fourth win of 2015 after a lap four restart pass of Brandon Lambert. Brandon took second ahead of Rick Coats, Reverand Jerry Bown, with fifth place credited to Darin Weisinger Jr., who pulled out early.
 With the clock nearing my self imposed Sunday night curfew of 9:30 and the regular sport mod feature still to go, I decided to head across the river. As a result, I missed the first feature win for Patrick Phillips,  who outlasted Lennox, Tony Dunker, Tanner Klingele, and Gower.
 As I compose this column, rain is falling again, with a forecast of  more throughout the week, so we will hope for another good weekend and who knows, maybe even two nights of racing!?!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rain...Again

 Quincy Raceways staff did an amazing job to get the race track and especially the pit area serviceable Monday night for the rescheduled UMP Summernationals event. Early on the Ciltrak team was rewarded, as 33 super late models checked in to race, the second highest total thus far on the tour. Add in 22 Summit Racing UMP modifieds, including Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace, and two heats worth of IMCA sport mods, and we were set for a great night of racing. The crowd came a bit late, with Monday being a work day, but by the time series point leader Bobby Pierce had set quick time for the late models, and track point leader Michael Long posted the fastest lap for the mods, the stands were filling up nicely. The late arrivers may have missed track regular Brian Dively roll his number 11D late model during qualifying. Brian recently had knee surgery, but reports only  being a bit sore today.
 Heat race action was hotly contested, and the fans were paying close attention during Longs heat race when starter Chris Miller did not like the first two attempts at a start as Michael and hotshoe Nick Hoffman could not stay side by side. after two tries, the front row was moved back one row. Long was not to be denied, however, as he powered through for the win.
 The four late model heats went to polesitters Pierce over Shannon Babb, Gordy Gundaker ahead of Keith Pratt, Billy Moyer Jr besting Dennis Erb, Jr, and outside row one starter Jason Feger pushed to the limit by Brandon Sheppard.
 By this time, it was obvious that bad weather was coming, so the late model C-main was scrapped and the B-main was called to the track, with all non qualified cars competing for two more spots on the feature grid to go with the 16 from the heats. But as the cars came to the track, word came from county emergency services that it was time to vacate the grandstands. Within a quarter hour, the rain began, and as has so often been the case lately, it turned into a monsoon! Needless to say, it was a long ride home for fans and drivers alike.
 As of this posting, Ciltrak officials are working on a date to complete the evenings events - late model consy and three features. So hopefully everyone held on to their rain checks. I will post more info when it becomes available, and the Quincy Raceways website is also updated regularly.
 The tour moves on to Peoria tonight, and I have an unconfirmed report of 48 late models there tonight, as drivers try to get some racing in. I am hoping to rejoin the series Saturday night at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., weather, river levels, and bridge closures permitting.  Lets all hang in there, and take in some racing when we can!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Good Times at a New Track

 Monday was a scheduled vacation day, so with the early postponement of the Quincy Raceways UMP Summernational event to Monday night due to wet grounds.I began looking for  a place to take in some racing on Sunday where the rain might hold off for a few hours.
 With a Facebook assist from late model driver Bobby Hansen, Darryl and I rolled out for a first time visit to the Benton County Speedway in Vinton, Iowa, about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Canton,Mo.
 We were immediately impressed with the fairgrounds facility, and the 1/4 mile black dirt track looked to be in decent shape considering the two plus inches of rain that apparently fell there on Saturday. The total car count of 89 in six divisions also was a plus, but the thing that realy caught our attention was the large crowd that pretty much packed the grandstands!
 Hot laps were set to go a 6:00, but announcer and fellow Positively Racing columnist Ryan Clark informed the throng that due to the wet track conditions, only the IMCA late models would be hot lapping. This was later amended to allow several first time drivers to also get in a few laps. Even with this, racing began shortly after 6:00.
 It was our first time to see Iowas version of Micro Mods, and before one lap was complete in heat one, the # 71 of young Mr Cordes was upside down on the front stretch!
 The running order for the night was adjusted, with the late models making their second of five visits to the track in 2015, and a desire to keep the narrow hobby stock tires off the oval for as long as possible.
 So after 11 heat races in five of the classes, the micro mods came back for their 12 lap feature. All 13 started, but again, a lap one mixup involving three cars found young Mr Murty upside down. when things got rolling, the 6E machine opened up a big lead, winning by nearly 1/2 a track. I apologize for the lack of correct names, but the PA was a bit hard to understand, however, I believe the winning drivers name was something like Don Ehbert.
 Next up came the IMCA sport mods, with 13 starters of the 15 cars signed in. Again, a lap one rollover by Dave McCalla, who put his ride on its side in turn four, slowed the action, But when racing resumed, Tony Olson showed why he has now captured four straight feature wins, putting his # 23T in victory lane.
 Following the sport mod main, the IMCA hobby stocks ran two quick heats featuring 14 cars, then it was back to feature time.
 Two IMCA stock cars failed to make the call, giving us 12 starters. By the time the caution waved on lap six, row five starter Damon Murty had his # 99D in the runnerup spot. Contact on the restart saw Murty fall to fourth, and for several laps he remained there as the leaders ran side by side in front of him. Patience finally paid off, and he grabbed the lead on lap 12, holding on for the win.
 All 16 IMCA modifieds took the green, with point leader Troy Corders losing a front wheel on the start, ending his run. The yellow waved again on the restart for an incident involving for track champion Corey Dripps, who had apparently not been to Vinton for some time. Many eyes were on the USMTS standout, but it was Mike Burbridge who opened a commanding lead. Meanwhile, Scott Hogan and Dripps began to work their way forward. When the caution flag flew on lap ten of the 20 lapper, both were now in the top five. Still it was Burbridge out front, and a three car battle for third on lap 17 saw former late model pilot Jerry Dedrick squeezed over the bank off turn two. When racing resumed, it was Burbridge, Hogan, and Dripps in the top three spots in a single file formation. Hogan made the winning pass on the white flag lap, and Dripps eventful run came to an end with a last lap spin. The win gave Hogan the point lead, while Burbridge settled for second.
 There was a nice field of 17 IMCA late models on hand, with heat wins going to Dirk Hamilton, Jon Passick, and Jerry King. Hamilton and Passick lined up on row one for the 25 lap finale. with Passick jumping to the early lead. The caution came out on lap four for Mark Hurst, and at the same time, Todd Cooney was pushed to the pit road apron for a tire change. Ryan Dolan, the feature winner on the first visit of the late models to Vinton in 2015, had now advanced from row four to fourth on the Delaware restart. Dolan would take over third, but head pitside three laps later, with heavy smoke rolling from his # 51 machine. Hansen also retired at this time with handling problems. IMCA national point leader Paul Nagle had started rown four also, and now challenged Passick for the top spot. With restarts now single file, the race stayed green for the nest dozen or so laps,with Nagle in charge. But just as it looked as if the # 05 would be in victory lane, his ride also quit with a puff of smoke. The final caution came with two circuits remaining, with Ben Seemann coming to a stop, and it was now row seven starter Chargin' Charley McKenna challenging Passick for the lead. But Passick was able to hold the low groove, and keep Mckenna at bay, picking up the win. Sean Johnson ran a steady third, with King and John Emerson rounding out the top five. Curtis Glover led the second five ahead of Hamilton, Cooney, Scotty Welsh, and Seemann.
 With one feature left to go, Darryl and I took our leave at about 9:10 for the long drive home.
 It is not often I get to venture to far away tracks on Sunday nights, but a trip back to Vinton sometime would be something I would look forward to.
 It is time to wrap this column up and head to Quincy Raceways. Hopefully the rain holds off long enough to get in our first night of UMP Summernationals action!