Monday, May 25, 2015

Rain Wins at Tri City

 With rain showers and forecasts of more in all directions yesterday, we decided to take what looked like the best chance at getting a race in and headed south to Tri City Speedway in Granite City,Il  for the UMP Budweiser 50 late model $10,000 to win show. Kevin and Tammy Gundaker host this show each year the day after the Show Me 100 in Wheatland ,Mo. When the Show Me final two B-mains and feature was rained out Saturday night and rescheduled for Sunday evening, there was a chance that Tri City would plug the plug on the Sunday show. But the Wheatland folks decided by late morning that their track was too wet, while at the same time it was raining in Quincy, so off we went. While we drove through some showers on the way, the Tri City 3/8 mile was dry when we arrived, though the threat of rain remained. Track officials were well aware of this, and promised to do all they could to get the show in, including skipping an intermission.
 Scott Bloomquist rolled through the gate as the drivers meeting approached, giving us a nice field of 32 UMP late models to go along with 18 UMP modifieds dueling for a $1,000 top prize, and 21 B-mods competing for a $600 payday.
 Late model group qualifying was first, with overall quick time going to track regualar Tim Manville with a lap of 14.867 seconds.
 Following three heats for the B-mods, the late models came back with four ten lap qualifiers. Manville sat on the pole for heat one, but when he jumped the start, the front row was moved back, giving the pole to Jason Riggs. He took the early lead, but was soon run down by the original outside row one starter Brandon Sheppard. B Shepp the held on ahead of Riggs, Jared Landers, and Manville , as the top four transferred to the feature. Heat two when to Bloomquist who overtook polesitter Shannon Babb. Row two starter Bobby Pierce also powered around Babb for the second spot, with fifth starting Kent Robinson completing the top four. Polesitter Jason Feger went the distance in heat three. Outside row one starter Billy Moyer JR. fell back early, but rebounded to take the runner up spot ahead of Kevi Kissinger and Alan Westling. Alan qualified after his father Trace appreared to clip an infield tire while running in the fourth position. The final ten lapper got off to a rocky start when outside row one starter Jeff Herzog made contact with the wall in turns three and four, collecting Brian Shirley and Cody Conner, ending the night for all three. Chad Zobrist, who made have had contact with Herzog, then came from the back to grab the checkers, ahead of Jim Shereck, Michael Kloos, and Jason Rauen.
 Two UMP A- mod heats were next, with ninth starting Michael Long charging all the way to second behind Rick Stevenson in the non stop first eight lapper. Fellow Quincy Raceway drivers Dave Weitholder and Shawn Deering followed Michael to the stripe.
 With heat race action done, the late model B-main came to staging as the first raindrops fell. After a brief delay, the 12 lap event came to the track, 12 cars vying for six transfer spots. Outside polesitter Billy Laycock took the early lead, with Mark Burtorf on his bumper. The top two raced nose to tail as a light rain fell. As the laps wound down, the top two seemed to be playing it cool in the low groove. But former track champ Scott Weber jumped to the high side of the oval, charging past the lead duo in the closing laps for the win. Kolby Vandebergh, Jeremy Sneed, and Mark Voigt also took transfer spots.
 The original plan had been to run the late model feature first, but with no other B- mains, it had been decided to run the A -mods to give the late models B-main cars a chance to prepare for the 50 lapper. It mattered little, however, as the continuing light rain made the track too slick to race on, and the plug was pulled on the action about 8:45.
 It was announced that even though all preliminary races were run, rain checks would be honored through July 12. Thanks to the Gundakers and their crew for doing what they could to give us a night of racing!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Burgtorf Back On Top at Quincy

When setting up my preseason race schedule, I had decided that May 17 would be a rare night missed at Quincy Raceways, as that afternoon would be oldest grandson  Keagans high school graduation. But then promoter Kenny Dobson pulled a fast one, scheduling the Scotty 41 Big 10 late model race for that evening.  Knowing that between awards on Friday and an early graduation party on Saturday, he had probably had his fill of me anyway, when ceremonies ended, I headed for the car, arriving at the track only to then find out that the start time had been pushed back one hour. This was due to an excess of mud and water, the result of several days of rain. Of course, that left more time for bench racing before activities began.
 By the time the stragglers wandered in, we had a nice 75 car field in the five divisions, highlighted by 21 UMP late models. When the track was finally worked in, the surface was smooth ans super fast, and remarkably stayed smooth all night!
 Late model qualifying was lead by first time visitor Daryn Klein, a St Louis area racer who turned a quick lap of 13.445 seconds. Michael Long paced UMP modified qualifiers with a fast lap of 14.742 ticks around the .29 mile oval. Late model heat wins went to Klein, Clint Kirkham in his first night out of the season, and Brian Dively, fresh off leg surgery. Klein then rolled a " two " for the feature invert, putting himself on the outside front row fore the 41 lap $2,000 to win headliner.
  First up though, was the 18 lap IMCA sport mod feature. Watching this class evolve over the two plus seasons has been like watching a child mature. The culmination of this came with a 17 car, 18 lap non stop feature. Adam Birck and Tanner Klingele put on a clinic, slicing and dicing through lapped traffic while swapping the lead. Birck lead early, Klingele moved ahead in traffic on lap seven, Adam regained the spot again in heavy traffic on lap 14. The completion of lap 16 saw the two side by side at the flag stand before Tanner pulled ahead on the white flag circuit. It was win number two for Klingele. Birck was followed by Nathan Bringer, point leader Joey Gower, and Tony Dunker.
 The IMCA stock cars ran next, 13 strong for 18 laps. Michael Larsen, in his second night out, jumped to the lead. A first lap yellow brought a restart, but again Larsen got the jump. While Michael hugged the low groove, Dodge pilot Troy Brierton challenged on the high side until a lap 11 yellow.. By the time, Abe Huls and Jim Lynch had joined the fray while Beau Taylor looked for an opening. A rash of yellows slowed the action on laps 14,15, and 16, with contact between Huls and Lynch sending Lynch into a spin. The race finally went green, with Larsen holding off Huls for the win. Taylor ran a strong third, Jeremy Buss took fourth, and Lynch came back to finish fifth.
 Kirkham was scheduled for a pole start in the late model main, but he fell to the back on the parade lap with mechanical issues. And Matt Santel, who ran second in heat three was a no show for the lineup, along with John Hahler. Klein shot to the lead at the drop of the green, and on lap two, row two starter Mark Burgtorf took over the second spot. From there, it was a two car race as the youngster and the veteran ran away from the field, navigating lapped traffic to perfection by lap seven. Klein made contact with the wall around lap 15, damaging his rear spoiler, with part of it landing on the track and bringing out the only caution of the race on lap 16. It looked as though the loss of aerodynamics would slow Klein, but on the restart, he again took off like a rocket. Justin Reed, meanwhile, had missed qualifying after troubles in hot laps, the pulled off in his heat, starting near the tail of the main event. He had worked his way to fifth before exiting the track on lap 31 ending a frustrating night for him. Burgtorf continued to hound the leader, and with clear track in front, he made his move on lap 35 as Klein pushed up the track ever so slightly. Klein made a late charge in the closing laps, but Burgtorf was now in command, rolling to the win in the epic battle. Dively ran a solid third, while Jim Moon came from row six to grab fourth ahead of Jamie Wilson. Keith Pratt paced the second five ahead of Denny Woodworth, Chuck Mitchell, visitor Greg Kimmons, and Trace Westling.
 the UMP modified car count was down this wee, with a dozen entries, but the outcome was more of the same. After setting quick time, Michael Long won his heat, and rolled a " one " to start on the pole of the 25 lapper. All he did from there was lead every lap for his fourth win in four nights of action at QR. Only a trio of cautions scattered throughout the race allowed the field a glimpse of the # 18L, as he settled into a nearly half lap lead by lap 15. Dave Weitholder was able to slip past visitor Brandon Roberts early for second. Steven Delonjay captured third, followed by Robbie Reed and Roberts.
 As the hour was now pushing 10:00 and I had an early Monday morning following a long weekend, I headed to the car before the IMCA sport compact feature came trackside to wrap up the night. Congrats to Keokuk, Iowa driver Michael Grossman, who ended Kimberly Abbotts three race winning streak at QR for 2015. Kim still came back from a weekend vacation watching racing to finish in the runner up spot.
 Next up for Quincy Raceways is an appearance for the MOWA 410 sprint cars on Sunday, May 24 for the Memorial Day weekend special. The late models will take the night off, giving the stage to the sprinters.
 Take advantage of the holiday weekend to enjoy some racing action!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Marolf Goes Wire to Wire at West Liberty

Our racing weekend was supposed to begin on Thursday night at Lee County Speedway, but a late afternoon shower not only wiped out the MLRA late model special, but coupled with a forecasted weekend full of rain caused the entire three night mini tour to be cancelled. With Friday off, we were hoping for better news from Jacksonville,Il Speedway, where the UMP Big 10 late model series was set to kick off their schedule. The Ciltrak group held off as long as they could, but again rain and the forecast of more forced the event to be called off. We now set our sights on Saturday, and a look at the radar showed promising conditions to the north. A morning call to buddy Bob Litton confirmed that West Liberty Raceway looked like a go, so off we went for our second visit of 2015 to the big 1/2 mile.
 While the grounds were dry, it was obvious the track had seem rain recently, and dust would not be an issue. There was a bit of a bump entering turn one, but otherwise the track seemed smooth and super fast. About 75 cars in five divisions checked in before a solid Mothers Day eve crowd.
  Some top contenders had issues in the heat races, particularly in the IMCA stock car class. Nathan Wood was leading heat number one, when fire erupted underneath his # 52 machine as he came through turn four headed to the checkers. In heat number two, defending champion Davis Brandies had his chances come to an end with a puff of smoke on lap two. Both hot shoes were done for the night.
 In the second IMCA late model heat, Colby Springsteen had a big lead on the final circuit when he suddenly slowed in turn four, coasting to a fourth place finish, and heading pitside behind the wrecker. Colby, however had repairs made by feature time.
 The IMCA sport mod feature was first up, with 12 starters. The first caution waved on lap two, when Dan Keltner rolled to a stop on the backstretch after being hit by a dirt clod. Dan appeared to be okay after being checked out by ambulance personnel, but he called it a night at that point. On the restart, high school senior Brayton Carter grabbed the lead, moving from third to first, and taking Memphis,Mo driver Brandon Dale along.The caution flag waved again on lap six, bunching the field, and again on lap 11, as Dale and defending track champ Aric Becker dueled behind Carter. On the restart, Becker powered to second, and Cody Harris followed in third. The top four stayed the same to the checkers, with Carter taking the win over Becker,Harris, and Dale.
  Next up was the 15 lap stock car main, with 12 of the 16 entrants coming to the grid. A lap one yellow forced a restart, with Chad Coyne taking the top spot ahead of Brandon Jay. Veteran Johnny Spaw was working his way through the pack, grabbing third on lap six, and the runnerup spot two laps later, just ahead of another yellow. When the green waved again, Spaw rocketed to the lead and quickly checked out. Shane Paris came on strong in the second half of the race, claiming second ahead of Coyne and Doug Sylvester.
 Ryan Walker had the fastest hot rod among the 14 IMCA sport compacts, taking the lead on lap three of the ten lap feature, and cruising to an easy win as the race went non stop.
  There was a star studded 20 car field of IMCA modifieds, with 18 taking the green for 20 laps of racing. A lap one yellow resulted in a lengthy delay, but when racing resumed, Andrew Schroeder pulled out to a big advantage. Dakota Hayden and Chris Zogg waged a tight battle for second, with Cayden Carter soon joining the fray. Zogg fell a bit off the pace, as Hayden and Carter raced side by side four times around the speedway before Carter took command on lap ten. A caution one lap later erased Schroeders big lead. On the Delaware restart, Larry Herring jumped to third, as Carter shadowed Schroeder lap after lap. Carter made his move to the front on lap 19, and the race ended under yellow, with a spinning  car in turn four after the leaders had taken the white flag. The second generation racer Schroeder had to settle for second, trailed by Herring, Hayden, and Jerry Luloff
 The headline event and final race of the night was the 25 lapper for the 13 IMCA late models.
Sam Halstead in his new Swartz chassis # 84 and Nick Marolf in his black # 33 sat on the front row.
Nick charged to the lead at the drop of the green, with Kevin Kile coming from row two to second, and Springsteen following in third from row three. The race stayed green, as row four starter Andy Eckrich advanced to fourth on lap 13, followed by row five starter Brian Harris to fifth. Kile began to close the gap as Marolf negotiated traffic on lap 14, but Nick cleared slower traffic and again began to pull away. Kile made one last challenge on lap 20, but could not get close enough to make a move as the race stayed green until the end. Springsteen held on to third, followed by Eckrich in fourth. Harris slowed on the final lap, rolling to a stop near the back pit entrance, and did not cross the finish line. Kyle Hinrichs, Jonathon Brauns, and Ron Boyse completed the lead lap finishers in fifth through seventh.
 The final checkers waved about 10:00, ending a good night of racing.
 Racing for tonight, Sunday,at Quincy Raceways is still on, with the late models having the night off and the UMP modifieds and IMCA sport mods racing for extra prize money with reduced price admission to the grandstand. There is threatening weather in the area, so call the track or check the website before leaving home. It will be a rare Sunday night off for me, as I will be attending the high school Baccalaureate service in advance of grandson Keagans graduation next week. Yep, I'm getting old!
 Next Sunday Night, QR will feature UMP late models for $2,000 to win in a Big 10 shootout, the Scotty 41. Lets hope graduation does run too late!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Last Lap Wins Highlight Quincy Raceways

Things were moving along nicely Sunday night at Quincy Raceways when a renegade rain shower brought the action to a temporary halt during the second UMP modified heat race. Fortunately track officials were able to keep equipment on the track until the shower ended, and 45 minutes or so later, we were back to racing.
 With more rain a possibility, the running order for the feature events was adjusted, with the UMP late models running first. Justin Reed was late getting to the track as his hauler broke down along the short drive, but he arrived in time to set quick time at 13.303 seconds. He then won the first heat, but rolled a three for the feature invert. This put heat two winner Denny Woodworth on the pole, and Keith Pratt in a second Woodworth car on the outside. Pratt jumped to the early lead, bringing Woodworth and Reed along in an early breakaway. Reed suddenly headed to the pits on lap 16, turning it into a two car race. The race stayed green, and traffic came into play in the closing laps. With two circuits to go, Pratt took a high line in turns one and two, and Woodworth made up several car lengths running the low groove. Coming out of turn two on the 25th and final lap, Denny powered past Keith and lead one trip past the flagstand for his first win of the year in the caution free event. Mark Burgtorf raced home third ahead of Brian Dively and Jim Moon. Ron Elbe led the second five, with Trace Westling and Terry Gallaher rounding out the cars running at the checkers.
 The IMCA sport mod 18 lapper was up next. Austen Becerra jumped to the early lead ahead of Nathan Bringer. Joey Gower was moving forward quickly when the caution came out on lap six. Becerra continued to lead, but following a lap nine yellow, contact between Bringer and Brandon Dale allowed Gower to move to second. Following another caution two laps later, Brandon Lennox began to pound the cushion, moving to the runner up spot on lap 12 after starting in row eight. The yellow flew again one lap later, and Gower retook second on the restart, then took the lead on lap 14. Yet another caution on lap 16 created a three way battle for second as the race went back to green. Becerra and Tony Dunker made contact and both cars slid off turn two as a result. The crowd came to life as the two drivers exited their cars to " discuss " the situation. When things calmed down, a one lap dash to the checkers saw Gower take the win. Lennox claimed second , with Bringer and Jim Gillenwater rounding out the top four.
  Next up, season high 14 IMCA stock cars came to the grid. Following a lap one yellow, polesitter Beau Taylor grabbed the lead. Second row starter Jim Lynch took the lead on lap three as Abe Huls and Michael Larsen battled for third until Larsen suffered a flat tire on lap six. Two more caution periods slowed the 18 lapper, and after an exciting side by side duel, Huls eased ahead of Taylor for second. Lynch, Huls, and Taylor crossed the stripe in that order, wuth Andrew Hustead rounding out the top four.
 Frankie Wellman paced the 14 car UMP modified 25 lap main early, as fast qualifier Michael long bounced off the tall cushion in turn two, falling from second to fourth. As racing resumed after a lap three restart, Long moved to third by lap five, second on lap six, and first one lap later. Wellman and Steven Delonjay tried to keep pace, but Long soon opened a nearly 1/2 track lead. Dave Weitholder slipped past Delonjay on lap 21, and with the race staying green, Long cruised to his third win in three tries at QR. Wellman brought his ride home in the runnerup spot, holding off Weitholder and Delonjay.
 The IMCA sport compact 15 lapper  was last on the card. Heat winner Jeffery Delonjay took the early
lead, wheeling a #55s car he apparently borrowed for the night - more on that later. A three wide battle developed behind the leader, with Seith Woodruff breaking away to close on Delonjay. Kimberly Abbot has finished well back in the heat race, but she was now on the move, taking third on lap six. Woodruff took the top spot on lap eight, with Delonjay back out front for lap nine. It was Woodruff agin leading lap ten, and it now became a three car scrum for the lead. Abbott took the point for the first time on the white flag lap, capturing her third win in as many nights this season. Woodruff, Delonjay, and Barry Taft completed the top four.
 Delonjay was running # 55s as a tribute to sport compact driver Alyssa Steele, from Keokuk. The 17 year old suffered broken bones and other serious injuries last Thursday night while working on her brand new # 55s machine at her home when the brakes apparently failed. She was airlifted to University of Iowa Childrens Hospital where she has undergone several surgeries. Alyssa, who is my great niece will have a lengthy recovery period. Cards may be sent to University of Iowa Childrens Hospital, PICU room 17 , 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242.
  Next Sunday night, the late models will have the evening off at Quincy Raceways. The remaining four classes will be in action, with the UMP mods racing for a $750.00 top prize while the IMCA sport mods duel for  $500.00 winners check. Reduced admission prices will also be featured. And the following week, the UMP Big 10 late model series will come to town for the Scottie 41. We are looking forward to the MLRA late model swing through Donnellson and Davenport, Iowa and Memphis,Mo this weekend. Come on weatherman, treat us right!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Bloomquist Ekes One Out at Tri City

Friday night found us at Kevin and Tammy Gundakers Tri City Speedway in Granite City,Il. for the first time in 2015. With a vacation day in hand, we made the two and 1/2 hour plus drive to take in the first visit of the season of the Lucas Oil late model series in a $10,000 to win show headlined by a 50 lap feature event. 45 super late models checked in, with 24 UMP modifieds and 28 UMP B-mods rounding out the three class show.
 The late models qualified three at a time in two groups. Shannon Babb had the quickest lap in group and overall, at 14.794 seconds, while Dennis Erb Jr was fastest in group two. Straight up starts put Babb on the pole for heat one, and he managed to hold off series points leader Jonathon Davenport following a ferocious battle in the first of four ten lap heats to earn the pole for the money race. Scott Bloomquist won heat two from the pole as well, with Steve Francis in the runner up spot. Local racer Darrell Moser use the high side of the 3/8 mile oval to charge from the eighth starting spot to third, then giving up the spot to Billy Drake and barely holding off Ryan Unzicker for the fourth and final transfer spot. Erb captured heat three from the pole, and once again the outside polesitter came home second, this time another # 28, Jimmy Mars. Heat four saw outside row one starter Bobby Pierce on top over polesitter Brandon Sheppard. Defending series champion Don Oneal overtook Sheppard at one point before settling for third.
 With 16 cars qualified, two 12 lap B-mains were run. Back from a broken arm, Jason Feger took the first consy from the pole over outside row one starter Dewayne Kiefer, and Eldora Speedway defending modified champ Matt Westfall. Iowa driver Chris Simpson looked to have the third and final qualifying spot locked up, but made have played it too cautious in lapped traffic, and Westfall slipped past in turn four of the final circuit. Chris Brown took the final consy from outside row one with polesitter Ryan Unzicker second. Row two starters Jim Shereck and Michael Kloos dueled for the third slot before a lap seven caution. Wendell Wallace moved up to challenge on the restart, but contact with another car ended his charge. Jeremy Payne then moved to fourth, and then into the final transfer spot.
 With 22 cars qualified, two high point Lucas provisionals were added, West Virginias Eddie Carrier Jr., and Ohios Devin Moran. Tri City provisionals went to Billy Laycock and Kolby Vandenbergh, and another West Virginia driver, Mike Benedum took a Lucas Oil " emergency " provisional spot, giving us a 27 car field!
 Modified heats went to Quincy Raceways and Tri city regulars Michael Long and Dave Weitholder, sandwiching a win by Matt Mevert.
B-mod  heats went to John Stanton, Jake Trebilcock, and I-55 Raceway sportsman hotshoe Trey Harris.
 Only seven B-mods cane to the track for a consy which was scheduled to transfer four to the main event, and when one cat pulled off on the parade lap, the decision was made to cancel the race and move the remaining six cars to the feature.
 Tri City had advertised that the 50 lap late model main would roll off first and after a short intermission for some track grooming the 27 cars came to the speedway.
 Babb took the lead as the green flag waved, and Pierce jumped to second from row two on lap two. Bobby quickly went to the high side of the oval as Babb ran the low groove, and Pierce took over the lead on lap three.  On lap five, Davenport took over the runner up slot , also running the high line, with Pierce running up against the concrete wall. The leaders were running in heavy lapped traffic on lap 14, when Bloomquist moved to third and closed on the top two. The veteran claimed second one lap later, and lap 18 saw a three wide duel for the point. Babb moved back to the number tow spot by lap 21, now running side by side with Pierce. Ten laps later, it was again Bloomquist in second, with Pierce at times stretching out to a commanding lead, the being slowed by lapped traffic. Bloomquist was closing the gap when the only caution of the race waved on lap 36. Two things became obvious aas the cars circled the oval waiting to go back to green. Babb had suffered front end damage, and he headed pitside, ending his night. Pierce, meanwhile has made contact more than once with the concrete, as he rode the ever disappearing cushion, and his rear spoiler showed significant damage. When the race restarted, Pierce again went upstairs, but his momentum was gone, and with Davenport searching the low groove, Bloomquist blasted to the lead. Circuit # 37 saw ninth starting Earl Pearson Jr. enter the top two, with Sheppard grabbing third. As Pierce fell out of the top ten, Pearson began to reel in the leader, and in a scene reminiscent of the Knoxville Late Model Nationals in 2014, the large crowd rose to their feet as Pearson took the high line in turn four to try to overtake Bloomquist the way Brian Birkhofer did seven months ago. But this time, the veteran Bloomquist held on for the win. Sheppard rolled home third ahead of Oneal and Francis. Mars headed up the second five, leading Erb Jr. Unzicker, a fading Davenport, and 24th starting Laycock.
 The race was night number two of a three night swing which started at Macon,Il, and would conclude on Saturday in Paducah,Ky.
  There were still two features to run, but Darryl had an early work day on Saturday, so we headed for the parking lot and were on the way home before 10:30.
  Stanton picked up the B-mod win, while leaders Long and Mevert were involved in an incident in lapped traffic while battling for the lead in the $1,000 to win modified finale. Rusty Griffaw then charged from fourth on the restart to pick up the win.
 While the heat races suffered a bit from the " fast cars starting in the front " format, the 50 lap headliner did not lack for action and plenty of passing. Tri City almost always offers up good racing, and only the distance from home coupled with their Friday night racing keeps me from making more trips to take in the action there.
 Things are looking like a " go " for Sunday night at Quincy Raceways, with some good choices coming up next weekend. Get out and enjoy some racing action wherever you are!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Things Are Looking Up at Quincy Raceways

 After a week off due to inclement weather, it was back to racing Sunday night at Quincy Raceways. Close to an inch of rain fell on the track on Saturday, and early Sunday, promoter Kenny Dobson and his crack staff decided to cancel the first week of Sunday afternoon action at the new go-kart  track and try to get the .29 mile oval in racing shape for Sunday night. Thanks to tireless work from Tommy and his crew, the track came around, and the soggy pit area was groomed enough to hold the 70 plus race teams in attendance. That number is an increase of ten or so over last season, and it looks as though all classes may see some growth.
 Mark Burgtorf set quick time for the late models on what started out as a dusty - hard to believe it! - racing surface, at 13.997 seconds. Wentzville,Mo hot shoe Rick Conoyer paced the modifieds at 15.169 seconds, as the dust began to settle. While Mark led flag to flag in his heat, Rick suffered a flat tire, relegating him to the back of 25 lap feature line up.
 With 11 heat races and a 20 minute intermission out of the way, feature racing started with all but one of the 19 IMCA sport mods taking the green for their 18 lap main event. Austin Howes led lap one before Nathan Bringer powered his sharp looking # 79 to the front. On lap six, veteran Joey Gower grabbed the lead, with the first caution coming on lap ten. On the Delaware restart, Brandon Dale and Tony Dunker climbed to second and third, with Tony on the bottom side and Brandon up top. Soon they traded grooves, battling each other as they tried to reel in Gower. The caution waved again on lap 14. On the restart Gower and Dunker pulled away, with Bobby Anders working his way to third. Gower was able to lengthen his lead in picking up the win. Dunker and Anders followed, with Bobby Six charging from ninth to fourth in the closing laps.
 The IMCA stock cars, 12 strong, came to the grid next for 18 laps of action. The normally well behaved stockers were feeling frisky on Sunday, enduring about three weeks worth of cautions. But when the leaders came nearly five wide out of turn four completing lap three, it was the highlight of the night! Andrew Hustead was the early leader, with Jim Lynch emerging from the lap three melee with the top spot. Beau Taylor survived the bumping and banging to nab the runner up spot, but cut a tire in the process, ending his run. Lynch opened a sizable lead, as Abe Huls started his march to the front. Following a lap ten yellow, it was Jim and Abe side by side. On lap 14, Lynch hooked his # 566 in turn one, spinning around, with Huls flying off the top of the track to miss hitting him. Fortunately for Huls, the yellow came out at the same time for Jake Powers, and with Lynch temporarily sidelined in the infield, Huls held the lead. Yellow fever took over, with both Trevor Hagerbaumer and Hustead in the second spot in the closing laps. But when the checkers flew, it was Huls followed by Powers, Jerry Jansen, and Hustead. Lynch had rejoined the field, crossing the line in fourth, but was a lap down.
  The UMP late model count grew to 14 as Mike Hammerle came through the gate as hot laps were being run. Only John Ketterer failed to make the feature call, as he made hard contact with the wall in hot laps, and was on his way home by feature time. Burgtorf had rolled a " one " to set the feature invert, and he quickly pulled away from heat two winner Jamie Wilson as the green flag waved. Third starting Justin Reed, the week one winne4r, applied some pressure early, but Burgtorf began to build a lead when the only caution of the 25 lapper waved for first time vistor Bobby Regot on lap seven. Denny Woodworth challenged Reed for the second spot on the restart, as Burgtorf pulled away. Reed finally cleared Woodworth, closing on Burgtorf in traffic, but to no avail. Mark led all 25 laps to put the Rick Frankel # 33B in victory lane for the first time in 2015. Reed came home second, With Keith Pratt slipping past Woodworth for third. Brian Dively, nursing a leg injury, took fifth. Wilson headed up the second five, followed by Chuck Mitchell, Hammerle, Jim, Moon, and Ron Elbe.
  The 17 car UMP modified field had two scratches from the feature. First heat winner Michael Long also rolled a " one " for the invert, and the young veteran then put on a dominant performance in the 25 lap race. He quickly jumped to a straightaway lead over Dave Weitholder, and when thew caution waved on lap 14, he was a full half track ahead of the # 05 of Weitholder. On the restart, defending track champion Steven Delonjay briefly grabbed the runner up spot, as Long again rocketed away from the pack. As Michael pulled away, the 15th starting Conoyer was picking off cars as he moved forward. The yellow erased Longs advantage on lap 19 and again on lap 23, but it only cut the margin of victory for the #18L. Conoyer slipped past both Weitholder and Delonjay in the closing laps to claim the runner up spot. Delonjay held off Weitholder for third.
  The IMCA sport compacts finished off the night, with all ten cars coming to the line. Spencer Coats paced lap one, with Seith Woodruff nosing past as lap two was completed. Coats stayed close until a recurring mechanical issue ended his run during a lap five caution, which also saw the # 33 of Trent Orwig come to a stop. Orwig is a top contender in the All Iowa Points, and is making the trip to QR all the way from Floris, Iowa.  Following the restart, Kimberly Abbott, the current All iowa leader, powered around Woodruff and cruised to her second win at the Bullring in as many tries. Seith claimed second ahead of Brandon Lambert, and John Girdley  from Wayland, Iowa.
 The two nights of action in 2015 have been among the best we have seen at Quincy Raceways in a long time, and the final checkers waving again just after 9:00 made for an enjoyable night at the track.
 The early forecast for the weekend looks dicey, but we will try to get in a couple nights of racing this weekend. so kjeep an eye on the sky, and lets go racin'!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Slocum 50 Notes

 As usual, my Positively Racing cohort, Jeff Broeg has an excellent recap of the racing action last night at the 7th annual Slocum 50 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa. So I will just add a few notes of my own following a good night of racing.
 If you are a regular reader of this column, you know that Brent Slocum and his family were and are very special to my family. Brent was the best man at my son Brents' wedding in 2003 after the two became friends while Slocum competed regularly at Quincy Raceways where son Brent was track announcer. My son, his wife and son were able to attend the race last night for the first time in a while, as my daughter in law has health issues that keep them away from regular visits to the tracks. This year was extra special for us, as my daughters son, Keagan, who has been going to the races with me for about 11 years now, will graduate from high school next month. Since the Slocum Foundation began awarding scholarships to high school seniors, it has been a goal of Keagans' to compose an essay worthy of an award. And last week he found out that he was one of the seven recipients in 2015. Although only eight years old at the time of Brents untimely passing, Keagan had been around the personable Slocum more than a few times, and was a High Five fan for sure. Although obviously far more difficult for the family, being in the stands with just grandpa on the night of  the accident had a profound effect on him, and I think receiving the scholarship was in part his way to honor Slocums' memory. The hard work, dedication and friendship from Brad, Jessi, and the Slocum family is very special to all of us.
  To say that we were lucky to witness a full night of racing last night is an understatement. It was almost like we were racing under a dome, as the rains circled all around the speedway. As they did last season when storms threatened the UMP Summernational late model show, Amy and Jeff Laue and their crew stepped up and did their best to move the show along. I don't know if the rain we drove home in ever found the speedway, but at one point I also mentioned to my son that I we would probably have to be satisfied with the five late model heat races.
 After Hall of Famer Billy Moyer took the lead on lap six and opened up a sizable lead, I began searching through the field for battles for position, while still keeping an eye on the leader. Although about ten of the 25 starters eventually pulled out, there was plenty of action behind the leaders. And with a handful of laps to go, you could see that either Moyer was slowing a bit or Ryan Unzicker was getting faster. Unzicker, the 2014 ALMS region champion, a top UMP regular season and Summernationals contender, shadowed the veteran, then tried to find racing room in the very bottom groove of the slicked off 3/8 mile oval. Then on the final circuit, as the top two headed to turns three and four, Unzicker made a move reminiscent of the final turn of the Lucas Oil late model nationals at Knoxville Raceway in 2014. That is when Brian Birkhofer went to the top of the track and used his momentum to overtake Scott Bloomquist at the checkers. Unzicker made the same type of move with the same result, and took home $ 10,555.00 for his daring effort. I don't know if the large crowd was thrilled for Ryan, or just in awe of his charge, but everyone was on their feet as the checkers waved!
 What had the makings of a bit of a " Ho-Hum" race turned into one that will be remembered and talked about for a while!
  Late afternoon showers hit the Quincy area around 3:00 PM, and just minutes after I received a text that the ALMS/MARS/Cornbelt Clash stop tonight at East Moline Speedway had fallen victim to weather, a call came telling me that the weekly show scheduled at Quincy Raceways had suffered a similar fate. So we will have to be satisfied with one night of racing this week and start making plans for next week. Maybe we will see you Racin' Down the Road.