Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bloomer Beats the Field and the Rain

Friday night, buddy Lane joined Fred and I as we made the trip south to Kevin and Tammy Gundakers Tri City Speedway in Granite City,Il. for the $10,000 to win Lucas Oil late model Budweiser 50. A solid field of 33 open late models featured a mix of traveling national and local talent, supported by 28 UMP modifieds and 30 B-mods . As it was here at home, the wether forecast was threatening, and it was announced at the drivers meeting that the show would move along quickly, with as little down time as possible. Late model and B mod hoy laps were followed by the UMP mods, who qualified and hot lapped at the same time. Mike Harrison set quick time at 16.072 on the 3/8 mile oval. Late model qualifying came next, with early qualifier Dennis Erb Jr. turning a lap of 14.350 seconds that held up throughout.
 Four eight lap mod heats ran caution free, then the late model heats were next. The first yellow waved for Reid Millard, as he contacted the turn four wall in heat one. Erb took the win over Brandon Shepherd, Michael Kloos and Jason Feger. Iowa driver Chris Simpson took off from the pole in heat two, fell behind outside row one starter Darrell Lanigan, then grabbed the lead. As local hotshoe Jeff Herzog used the high side to move to second, Simpson clipped the tire in turn four, bringing out caution number two, and ripping the nose off his #32. With his night over, Herzog restarted up front, holding off Lanigan, Ryan Unzicker and Bobby Pierce for the big win. Defending series champ Jonathon Davenport grabbed heat three, ahead of Shannon Babb, Time McCreadie, and Jimmy Owens, as the national stars stole the spotlight. Earl Pearson Jr started outside row one in the final late model heat, but climbed the wall in turns one and two. Scott Bloomquist received a still challenge from local ace Tim Manville, but held on for the win. Don Oneal raced home third, with Steve Francis holding off Pearson for the final transfer spot.
 It was then announced that the planned order of events would be altered, as the rain was headed towards the track. Four B- mods heats were contested, then the  two late model B-mains were called.
 Local veteran Jim Shereck bested Bob Gardner and returning veteran Billy Faust in the first 12 lapper, while  track regular, school teacher Billy Laycock topped 18 year old Kolby Vandenburgh and Hunter Rasdon for the final qualifying slots. Two series provisional spots went to Pearson and Jared Landers, while the track promoters added Gordy Gundaker and Rusty Griffaw driving the Jim Black # 10x on this night. Lucas Oil leading rookie contender Colten Flinner used an emergency series provisional to complete a 27 car starting field.
 The late model feature was then called to the track - with rain on the way track and series officials wanted to make sure the 50 lap headliner was completed. Davenport took off from the outside pole to lead lap one, dragging Erb, Bloomquist and Babb along. The # 6 car opened a big lead, and by lap eight he was lapping cars. With traffic in play, the now second running Bloomquist closed the gap by lap 11, as both leaders ran the high side of the three groove surface. Bloomert then shifted to the low line, briefly taking the point on lap 18. With slower traffic still in play the top two ran side by side, with Jonathon back on top on lap 20. Davenport then pulled a nifty move, splitting the side by side running cars of Feger and Unzicker in turn three, padding his lead. With open track now in sight, the # 6 again opened a sizable lead. Meanwhile there was plenty of movement throughout the top ten, with tenth starting Mc Creadie and 12th starting Oneal moving into the top five. As the race continued caution free, Davenport, who we would later learn had no brakes, ran a very high line, making contact with the turn one concrete wall multiple times. Meanwhile, Bloomquist ran the low line, closing in on the leader by lap 40. Three laps later, Davenport again slapped the wall and Scott moved to the front again. This time, the 52 year old veteran Bloomquist pulled away, taking the win in the caution free event. Series point leader Davenport held on for second, with Erb getting back around the charging Oneal for third in a close finish. McCreadie completed the first five. Lanigan lead the second five ahead of Babb, Owens, Pierce, and 24th starting Landers in tenth.
 With the race being taped for television, there was now a very lengthy delay, for interviews and the removal of the Lucas Oil signage. Finally, the modified and B-mod B-mains were contested, and then it was time for the 25 lap modified $1,000 to win finale. The winner from the previous week, Rick Stevenson shared row one with NASCAR legend Ken Schrader, former late model driver Rodney Standerfer and UMP national champion Mike Harrison sat in row two, and hot shoes Michael Long and Dean Hoffman filled out row three of the 22 starters in what shaped up as a classic battle. As the green waved, Stevenson rocketed to the lead, with Standerfer, Schrader and Harrison in pursuit. As the pack crossed the stripe for lap one, the caution waved for a turn four spin. As the field went single file, a single raindrop was immediately followed by a pelting shower. With the still sizable crowd hastily heading for cover, it was announced that the show was over, and that the remaining two features would be completed on dates to be decided later.
  It was about 10:40 when we fired up the van for the long drive home in an off and on rain.
  Though it was disappointing to not get to see the modifieds duke it out, we certainly knew the threat of rain was strong before we headed out, and we applaud Kevin, Tammy, the Lucas officials, and the drivers for hustling to make sure we got to witness the 50 lap headliner.
  As I write this, there is a lot of rain in the Quincy area, but I know Quincy Raceways personnel is hard at work trying to get the track ready for the UMP Big Ten Scottie 42 $2,000 to win late model special on Sunday, May 1. UMP modifieds along with IMCA stock cars, sport mods, and sport compacts are also slated to compete, so keep an eye on the track website for information.
 Later in the week, we will be hopefully be heading back to Lee County Speedway in Donnellson on Thursday for the MLRA late model special, and then on Saturday for a companion event at the Scotland County Speedway in Memphis, Mo. Maybe I will see you Racin' Down the Road!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Elston On Top at Lee County

Friday night was points night number two at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson,Iowa. The car count and crowd were both down a bit on a cool evening, but as is usually the case, the on track action was intense.
 It took only 45 minutes to complete the heat races, and after the briefest of intermission for some track work, the IMCA sport compact feature rolled onto the track. Josh Barnes started in row three, but took the lead from Ron Kibbe just before the mid point of the non stop race. It was the second win in a row for the Keokuk pilot. Darin Weisinger Jr. turned in his best run of 2016 in second, followed by Kimberly Abbott and Brandon Reu.
 Next up it was the 15 car IMCA sport compact main event. The red flag came out before the green waved, as John Oliver Jr. had a fire underneath his #15 machine, ending his run before it started. Austin Howes took the early lead, but Jim Gillenwater worked his way forward from row five using the low line, taking the top spot on lap eight. With Tony Dunker and Joey Gower running side by side on Gillenwaters heels, the yellow waved on lap 12. On the restart, it was obvious Gillenwater had lost a rear spring, and he was unable to turn the car sufficiently to hold off the challengers. Dunker took the lead, and Gillenwater retired to the pits. One more caution followed, and on that restart, Brandon Dale charged to second, but he could not run down Dunker. Gower and Carter Vandenberg crossed the line side by side, with Gower credited with third.
 Only three IMCA hobby stocks signed in, as Lee County continues to battle less than acceptable counts in this division. Dustin Griifths took his second straight win, although Brandon Symmonds stayed on his tail throughout, with Kyle Hamilton retiring to the infield with engine woes.
 The best feature of the night, as is often the case, was the IMCA stock car 20 lapper. Andrew Hustead jumped to the lead, but it was Dean Kratzer quickly to the front. Kratzer paced the field of tightly bunched machines, but about lap seven the yellow waved. After contact with Greg Gill, Jeremy Pundt spun in the middle of the pack, receiving some front end damage, but avoiding disaster. Both he and Gill restarted at the tail. Back to green, Kratzer continued to set the pace, with Jeff Mueller and John Oliver Jr dueling side by side behind him. Following another yellow on lap 12, Mueller powered to the lead in turn two, slipping around both Kratzer and Mueller. One more caution one lap later only slowed Muellers charge to victory. Corey Strothman worked around Kratzer for second, with Gill rebounding to fourth. It was the second win of the young season for Mueller.
 The IMCA modifieds came next, with Kelly Buckallew and his # 10 machine setting the pace for the first eight circuits. Jeff Waterman pressured Buckallew, and grabbed the lead on lap nine, taking Jared Fuller and his sharp looking # 110 ride along in second. With no cautions in the race, Waterman opened a big lead, cruising to win number one of the season. Fuller held second, with last weeks winner Dennis Laveine in third and Bill Roberts Jr fourth.
 The final race of the night was the 13 car late model headliner. Outside row one starter rookie Bandon Potts elected to start on the tail, moving Derek Liles to the front and the lap one lead, followed closely by polesitter Tommy Elston. The two front runner ran side by side, with Elston nabbing the lead on lap four. As the veteran began to stretch his lead, Colby Springsteen took over the runner up slot on lap six. As  the leaders caught slower traffic, Darin Weisinger ,in his first night at LCS, slowed in turn one. Springsteen was trapped behind, and took evasive action on the high side. But he could not avoid the outside guard rail, making hard contact, ending his run. Back under green, Elston opened a big lead, cruising to his first victory of the season. Jeff Guengerich started in row three, and climbed to second, followed closely by Tom Darbyshire. It was Darbyshires first night on the track in a year and a half, and he was competing with an IMCA spec engine package. Last weeks winner Sam Halstead took fourth, with Todd Frank completing a top five of late model veterans. Liles led the second five, ahead of Charles Vanzandt, Tyler Cale, and Potts, the only cars running when the checker waved.
 By my count, there have now been 15 cars compete in the fledgling late model class, with the car count up each night so far. I have been told of at least one more car nearly ready, in what I would call a successful experiment to this point. The racing at Lee County is top notch, and racing on Friday began promptly at 7:30, with the final checkers waving before 10:00! I would urge my fellow race fans to give Lee County Speedway a look if you haven't already, you will not be disappointed.
 Friday was my only night of racing this weekend, but we will be back on the road next week. And for you late model fans, don't forget the UMP Big Ten late model series Scottie 42 at Quincy Raceways Sunday May 1 with a $2,000 winners payday!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Wenger Wins First at Quincy

 My three race weekend wrapped up with a Sunday night visit to Quincy Raceways. The beautiful weekend weather was again in force, and a large crowd came to witness some excellent racing action.
  Qualifying for the UMP modifieds and UMP late models got the evening going. Michael Long topped the mods with a lap of  14.637 seconds, and Fairbury,Illinois ace McKay Wenger rang up a quick time of 13.044 seconds on the .29 mile oval.
  A make up feature from two weeks prior for the IMCA sport compacts was next on the grid. Seith Woodruff led the majority of the 15 laps, with Brandon Lambert giving chase. In the closing circuits, contact occurred, with Lambert taking the lead and the win. Defending track champion Kimberly Abbott took third.
  In heat race action, rookie driver Kenny Bringer took a nasty flip in his IMCA sport mod. Fortunately, Bringer was uninjured. And with the first sport compact feature in the books, when their first heat was called, only one of the five cars came to staging. So Darin Weisinger Jr. became an odd footnote in my racing history, winning a one car heat!
  The IMCA stock cars ran the first of the regular five main events. Week one winner ( last weeks program was washed out before hot laps) Abe Huls started in row one and never looked back. Andrew Hustead and Brandon Savage took up the chase, with two cautions slowing the action on laps four and nine. In between, Savage moved to second, and soon found himself locked in a side by side duel with Hustead lap after lap. A final caution on lap eleven reset the field, and Savage set sail after Huls. Abe was up to the challenge, grabbing the win. Savage took second,, and as Hustead slow on the final circuit, Brian Hoener took third just ahead of Beau Taylor.
  Michael Long had rolled a six for the feature invert, putting himself in row three for the 25 lap finale. Spencer Havermale scored the first lap lead, but Long was already in the second spot. Following a lap three caution, Michael charged to the front on lap four. He then opened a straightaway lead over Dave Weitholder before Rick Conoyer took second on lap 17. A final caution on lap 22 brought Long back to the pack, but when the green waved, he was again in another time zone, completing a sweep of qualifying, the heat race and feature. Conoyer took runnerup honors, followed by Weitholder, Havermale, and Shawn Deering, who recovered from an early bobble.
  Wenger rolled a two for the late model invert, putting him outside of Denny Woodworth in row one. Those two crossed the line side by side at the end of lap one before Wenger edged ahead. A five car breakaway saw Rickey Frankel in his first night out in 2016, Justin Reed, and Mark Burgtorf chasing the leaders. On lap seven, Frankel moved to second as week one winner Jim Moon caught the lead pack. Frankel held the top spot as lap nine was scored, two circuits later it was Wenger out front. By lap 14, the leaders caught slower traffic, and they continued to swap the top spot. Woodworth joined the battle for the lead on lap 16. Woodworth grabbed second on lap 18, but two laps later Frankel tangled with a slower car, spun and was collected by Burgtorf, ending Frankels challenge. On the restart, Denny had the lead, but McKay pulled even once again. As the two battled side by side, Wenger edged ahead at the white flag, holding on for a thrilling win. Woodworth settled for second, followed by Reed, Clint Kirkham, and Moon in the top five. Keith Pratt, Burgtorf, Derek Fetter, Weitholder in the Moon back up car, and Chuck Mitchell completed the top ten.
  Mike Goodwin vaulted to the lead in the IMCA sport mod main event, holding on through three caution flags in the first six laps. On the next restart, a pile up sent Goodwin to the hot pit and taking out second running Austen Becerra. Back to racing, Joey Gower grabbed the lead with Brandon Lennox giving chase. Another yellow on lap ten was followed by Tony Dunker coming up to challenge Lennox for second. One circuit later, Dunker took second. Gower and Lennox ran the low line on the by now black slick track, with Dunker running a higher line. A final caution on lap 16 created a green white checker finish. At the stripe, it was Gower out front ahead of Lennox, Dunker, Nathan Bringer and Tanner Klingele.
  With the clock approaching my 9:15 self imposed curfew, I headed to the car before the regular feature for the IMCA sport compacts. What I missed was Lambert scoring his second feature win of the night, with Abbott in the second spot and Weisinger Jr. third.
  Next Sunday night, the UMP late models will not be racing at Quincy Raceways. Instead the 305 sprint cars will join the mods, sport mods, stock cars and sport compacts in action with a reduced admission price.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Pierce First Repeat Winner at the Slocum

Saturday night was one of the " can't miss " events on our racing calendar, the annual Brent Slocum 50 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington. This is a family affair for us, as Brent was and his friends and family are very special to us. So six of us piled in my sons vehicle for the journey north, where we met buddy Fred, who had come from Davenport Speedways companion event the night before.
 Though there was late model racing flooding the Midwest on this beautiful Saturday night, there were still 33 of the open engine cars checked in for the $10,555.00 top prize, with the MARS, Corn Belt Clash, and ALMS groups all co sanctioning the event. Not surprisingly, a huge crowd estimated at near 2500 in the grandstand alone was on hand to witness the action.
 2014 winner Bobby Pierce, the second generation pilot from Oakwood,Il set quick qualifying time at 15.212 seconds to claim the first heat pole position.  But it was the outside line with the advantage in the four heat races, as each was won by the outside row one starter. It was 2015 winner Ryan Unzicker besting Pierce, Justin Reed, and Justin Asplin in heat one. The second ten lapper went to Friday nights winner Jimmy Mars ahead of Spencer Diercks, Jason Utter, and Dave Eckrich. Heat three was captured by Jesse Stovall over Brian Shirley, Scott Schmitt and California driver Jason Papich. Chris Simpson scored the final heat win, topping Texan Rodney Sanders, Frank Heckenast,Jr, and Tony Jackson Jr.
 One 15 lap B-main transferred four more to the finale, with again outside row one starter Jason Feger grabbing the checkers followed by Chad Simpson, Gordy Gundaker, and Nebraska driver Tad Pospisil. Four provisional filled out the 24 car starting grid, with what looked to be point provisionals going to Jeff Roth and Payton Looney, a track spot to Mark Burgtorf, and a Slocum 50 postion to local favorite Brian Birkhofer in the Kay racing entry.
 The IMCA stock cars ran the first feature, 15 cars for 20 laps. As he had Friday night in Donnellson, Andrew Hustead led early, but John Oliver Jr was locked in, and took the lead from his row three starting slot after the only caution period of the race came on lap two. Jeff Mueller, who staged a dramatic last to first win on Friday, powered his way forward from row five, and put the heat on Oliver Jr. On this night, however, Johnny would prevail, picking up the win and the $750.00 check. Mueller crossed the line in second, with Hustead third.
 The 305 sprint class, 20 strong on the night, was up next. Heat winner Dave Getchell jumped to the early lead and looked to be in command/ But soon it was Shane Quam up to challenge. Following a yellow on lap eleven, it soon became a three car battle, with Dustin Clark joining the fray. Clark shot the lead and the win, Quam prevailed in second and the veteran Getchell came home third.
 The final race of the night was the 50 lap super late model feature. Following a four wide paraded lap and a missing man formation in honor of Brent, the green flag waved in front of a roaring crowd.
 This time it was the polesitter taking the early advantage, with Unzicker charging to the lead ahead of Mars and Stovall. The caution waved at the completion of lap two as Eckrich came to a stop off turn four. Stovall gained the runner up spot on the Delaware style restart, but fifth starting Pierce mad a bold move through three and four, passing three cars to move to second. On the seventh circuit, Bobby moved to the lead and began to build a cushion. Lap 13 saw Gundaker slow on the front stretch with a flat tire, bringing out the caution. Back under green, Pierce was a rocket, lapping cars and building a nearly staraightaway lead at one point. 29 laps ticked off before a final caution came out after 41 circuits had been scored, when top five runners Stovall and Shirley made contact while dueling for fourth. It marked the end of a good run for the #00 of Stovall.
 With the green flying one final time, Pierce again built a cushion, and at the checkers he became the first two time Slocum 50 winner in the third season it has been an unlimited engine event. Unzaicker took runnerup honors, followed by Shirley and Chris Simpson. Feger picked up the $500.00 hard charger bonus, as the " Highside Hustler" put on a show coming from row nine to nab fifth.Mars, Heckenast, Sanders, Utter,and Jackson completed the top ten.
 The Slocum 50 spokes team of Jessi Mynatt and Brad Stevens announced that over $40,000 in scholarships in Brents mane have now been awarded, as this event continues to grow and thrive. Thanks to them, the Slocum family, and the owners and operators of 34 Raceway for making this a marquee race and tribute to Brent.
 My three race weekend wraps up tonight at Quincy Raceways, with UMP late models and modifieds, joined by IMCA stock cars, sport mods and sport compacts. If you see me there, say " Hi."

Friday, April 15, 2016

Halstead Wins First Ever at Donnellson

"Superman" Sam Halstead picked up his first ever late model feature win at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa, as the new crate late model division opened the weekly portion of the season. Halstead over took early leader Jeff Guengerich just past the halfway mark. Guengerich had led after slipping around Tyler Cale on lap five. Sam had raced to the front from the eighth starting spot. row three starter Colby Springsteen, looking to make it two in a row at LCS chased Halstead to the checkers. Guengerich settled for third, followed by Tommy Elston and Todd Frank. A dozen cars signed in, an increase of two from the Spring Extravaganza, as more cars become complete.
 Dennis Laveine made a successful return to the IMCA modified class with a thrilling pass of Jeff Waterman with six laps to go after the two # 71 machines had dueled lap after lap. The veteran driver from Burlington charged from row five to join the fray as Waterman was working past early leader Levi Smith. Bill Roberts Jr. overcame a mid race spin to come back and take third.
 The IMCA stock car main event was an edge of your seat affair in the early laps. Several of the 17 starters retired at nearly the same time with flat tires, as there was apparently some kind of debris on the track. Jeff Mueller was forced to start near the tail of the pack aster a heat race tussle, but he methodically worked his way forward. Dane Fenton and John Oliver Jr. staged a tight battle until Oliver looped his ride in turn two, opening the door for Mueller. The Mt Pleasant ace then powered to the lead, and won going away. Greg Gill made a late move to second as the white flag was set to wave. Fenton settled for third ahead of Abe Huls, and Oliver came back to fifth.
 The IMCA sport compact feature saw New London,Mo driver Brandon Lennox lead flag to flag, but the win was not an easy one. Brandon Dale mad a dramatic run to the front to challenge Lennox before a restart saw him fall back. Jim Gillenwater moved to the runner up spot following a restart with five laps remaining, but could not move past the leader. Oliver Jr. held off a late charge from Tony Dunker to claim third.
 Only four hobby stocks signed in, but even that feature was a hard fought battle, the win going to Dustin Griffiths.
 Keokuk driver Josh Barnes took a flag to flag win in the IMCA sprt compact division over a field of 19 cars.
 80 plus cars, a smooth as glass track and a two and a half hour show made for a superb night of racing in Donnellson on this Friday night. And now off to bed and a trip tomorrow to 34 Raceway for the Slocum 50. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

One for Three for the Weekend

 What was a planned three race weekend turned in to one show and one false alarm this weekend. The  Friday show at Lee County Speedway in Donnellson was cancelled early on due to wet conditions and a less than favorable forecast. So we eagerly anticipated a visit to the West Liberty, Iowa Raceway on Saturday for what would now be the lid lifter for the IMCA Deery Brothers Summer Series late models. With a trunk full of clothes, Darryl, Fred and I  headed out to the fairgrounds half mile, fully aware that we were in for cold night. Arriving early at the speedway as is our custom, we were delighted to see cars stacked up on the street headed in to the track. Indeed, the five class program saw something around 120 cars signed in, headlined by 36 late models.
 Jeff has a complete review of the nights action at his Backstretch site, and I will just add some random thoughts.
 Only the first of the four  late model heats saw a winner come from out of the front row, as defending series champ Justin Kay topped Jeff Aikey in the first ten lapper after starting in row two. Kays teammate, Scott Fitzpatrick came from row three to take the third and final transfer spot in heat four, passing John Emerson on the final lap. Tyler Bruening came out of row two to capture the second twelve lap B- main. The series has added a non qualifiers race in 2016 which will be contested any time there are 32 or more entries. Corey Zietner outdistanced Cayden Carter in the $300.00 to win ten lap event.
  Kudos go out to Simmons Promotions and IMCA for skipping the Caseys General Stores front stretch redraw on such a chilly evening and moving straight to feature racing following the late model B-mains.
 The IMCA sport mod 15 lap finale had only one caution period on lap eleven before Tyler Soppe edged row five starter Brett Lawry by half a car length for the win to lead off the main events.
 Johnny Spaw started mod pack in the IMCA stock car 15 lapper and slipped past David Brandies on the ninth circuit for the win. It seems like every time we visit West Liberty, the stock car feature is a battle between these two.
 Steve Struck nabbed the IMCA sport compact win over the largest field - 20 - of the 4 cylinder machines we have ever seen on the big half mile.
 Defending track champ Kurt Kile charged to the lead at the start of the IMCA modified 20 lapper, but a lap one caution negated his pass. When racing resumed, Kile could not repeat his move, and as the race went on, he faded from contention. Kenny Kostenbader held the top spot until a lap eight yellow. Former hot shoe Matt Bodman, back after a six year hiatus, grabbed  the lead on the restart, and held off Kostenbader for the win.
  After the late model non qualifier race, it was time for the 40 lap main event. Veterans Denny Eckrich and Jeff Aikey sat on row one, and while they dueled up front, all eyes were on third starting Kay. As Aikey led early, Kay was challenging when a lap seven pile up eliminated four cars, including returning Rob Toland. On the restart, Kay slipped to third, but retook the runnerup spot from Eckrich on lap nine. Aikey ran a middle groove, while Kay challenged on the low side. Another stoppage came on lap 15, and back to green, Eckrich again took second. Lap 17 saw Aikey and Eckrich side by side, and on the next trip around, the Flyin' 50 of Eckrich was out front. From there, Denny began to build a commanding lead of nearly a straighaway. That advantage disappeared as the yellow wave on lap 33 when Nick Marolf, running in the top ten, was slow to exit the track on the backstretch. Back to green, however, Eckrich again built a lead as Kay pressured Aikey for second. Richie Gustin, who took the green in row seven,  charged to fourth around eighth starting Matt Ryan, and the top five crossed the striped in that order. The second five was led by Tyler Bruening ahead of Ryan Dolan, Kevin Kile, 19th starting  Jon Merfeld, and 18th starting Emerson.
 It was a cold but happy group the headed to the car as the clock ticked close to 11:00 PM.
 Today, Sunday, it rained most of the day here in Canton, Mo., but promoter Ken Dobson was holding out hope for a positive outcome at Quincy Raceways. There were 14 UMP late models in the pits at the track, as well as a nice group of UMP modifieds, IMCA stock cars, sport mods, and sport compacts, but the persistent drizzle turned the pit area into a mud bog, and despite constant work, track conditions began to deteriorate, so about 5:30, the races were called off.
 Again next weekend we will try for a triple header, beginning Friday at Donnellson, Saturday at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa for the much anticipated Slocum 50, then back to Quincy on Sunday. Come on, sunshine!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Moon Shines at Quincy

  Summer like temperatures greeted a large opening night crowd Sunday at Quincy Raceways. Unfortunately, strong winds out of the south combined with temps in the 70's to create a July like night, with track conditions dry slick and extremely dusty. Opening night bugs with the computer system also caused a delay in the start time, but there was plenty of on track action once things got going. With the exception of the IMCA sport mod class, the car count was also a bit low, but there are simply a bunch of cars not ready to go yet, with a host of drivers spending the evening on the grandstand side. Rescheduled races from Farmer City,Il and West Burlington, Iowa also split the cars on what will go down as a very unusual April Sunday.
  There was a nice tribute to former racer and super fan Kenny Pratt, who passed away just days earlier.
  The UMP modifieds got the evening under way with qualifying, and the hottest driver in the Midwest, Michael Long set quick time.
  UMP late model visitor Mc Kay Wenger abandoned Farmer City for QR, and paced the 13 car late model field with a fast lap of 13.482 seconds.
  Long also captured the modified heat race, and rolled a four to set the feature invert. Defending late model track champion Mark Burgtorf bested Wenger in the first heat, and also rolled a four, putting Keith Pratt and Jim Moon on the front row of the 25 lap feature, while heat two winner Denny Woodworth joined Mark in row two.
  The first feature of the night was a 15 lapper for the IMCA stock cars. Abe Huls parlayed a front row starting spot into a flag to flag victory. The only thing slowing the # 30C was a lone caution period. Brian Hoener chased Huls to the checkers, while Jake Powers and Jerry Jansen swapped the third spot back and forth, with Jake taking the position. Ronolfro Zaracota was fifth.
 The UMP mods were up next for 25 laps. Top contender Vance Wilson watched from the trailer after
 dropping a drive shaft on the final lap of the heat race. Dave Weitholder grabbed the early lead, but Long used a dandy crossover move down the backstretch on lap four to take the lead. Michael built a nice lead before the only yellow of the race brought him back to the field. Back under green, Long eventually built a straightaway lead, picking up his fourth win already in 2016, and his 100th feature checkers at Quincy Raceways. Weitholder scored the runner up spot ahead of Shawn Deering, Rickey Frankel, and Spencer Havermale.
  UMP late models came to the track next. As the pack took the green, John Ketterer got crossed up near the flag stand, smacking the wall head on, ending his night. At the same time, Pratt clipped a tire, damaging the front end of his ride and sending him to the trailer. It took two more restarts to get going, and on lap two, Justin Reed, who pulled out of his heat race, came to s stop in turn two, taking him out of contention. Back under green, Terry Wilson was in the mix when he contacted the backstretch guardrail, ending his night. Through the early chaos, Moon held the top spot, with Woodworth applying pressure. With the laps now ticking off, Moon held the low groove, with Woodworth trying to find a bite higher up the .29 mile oval. Denny may have actually been scored the leader on lap 11, but Moon pulled back ahead the next lap. Meanwhile, row three starter Rusty Schlenk, the Michigan ( Ohio?) hotshoe who spent the weekend racing " down south, " slipped around Burgtorf and began to pressure Woodworth. This was all the help Moon needed, and he was able to stretch his lead in the final half dozen laps. It was an emotional victory for the " Moonman," who shared that it was the biggest win of his career, especially after four years of trying at QR.  Woodworth, Schlenk, Burgtorf, and Clint Kirkham turned in top five runs, followed by Wenger, Derek Fetter, Ron Elbe, and Dave Weitholder wheeling the back up Moon # 1.
  Next up was the IMCA sport mod 20 lap finale. Tanner Klingele put his machine out front, opening up a nice lead as a pack of four cars sliced and diced behind the youngster. Veteran Tony Dunker rolled around in fifth until " go time," and on the final circuit, he somehow split the cars of Austen Becerra and Brandon Lennox as the trio race down the back chute. Becerra tried to fight back through the final turns, but at the flag it was Dunker in the runner up spot, followed by Becerra, Lennox, and Austin Howes.
  As the ten car IMCA sport compact feature prepared to roll off, the EMT's were called to the grandstand for a medical call. Unfortunately, the quickest way to the incident was to park the EMT vehicle under the flagstand. As it became obvious that the delay would be a lengthy one with an ambulance being called, officials decided to send the 4 cylinder warriors to the trailer and schedule double features for next Sunday.
 With cooperation from Mother Nature, we will shoot for a triple header this weekend starting Friday night at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, the West Liberty Raceway for the IMCA Deery Brothers Summer Series for late models, and back to Quincy Raceways on Sunday.  I would like to congratulate UMP modified racer Donovan Lodge and his new bride, Shawna Weisinger Lodge.
 See you at the races!