Sunday, April 13, 2014

Springsteen First at West Liberty, Rain Tops Quincy

With spring like temps and a bright sunshine,  Darryl, Fred and I headed out Saturday afternoon for what we hoped would be night one of our first doubleheader race weekend of 2014. After looking at the forecast of a 50 percent chance of rain by 9:00 we had spent considerable time discussing alternate plans, but decided to go with our first choice, the Deery Brothers IMCA Summer Series show on the big West Liberty half mile. After a 41 car turnout in what was the series opener the night before in Davenport, the late model count dropped by ten on Saturday, but it was a stout field none the less. The two companion classes were a bit short of cars as well, but with the forecast that was perhaps not a totally bad thing. As with my first two events of the season, their was what looked to be a very good crowd in the grandstands. It would seem the long harsh winter has everyone more than ready to see some racing.
 The IMCA Northern Sport Mods started off the program, with Austin Moyer cruising to the heat race win in the caution plagued six lapper.  However, he was light at the scales, forcing him out of the redraw and a ninth place start for the 15 lap main event.
 The four late model heats ticked off with only one caution, with Kyle Hinrichs, Spencer Diercks, Denny Eckrich, and Ryan Dolan in the Rick Dralle owned machine picked up wins. Of the four, only Eckrich did not come from the front row. Track regular Jonathon Brauns was the only driver unable to make the heat race action, scratching after hot laps with engine trouble.
 Following two IMCA stock cars qualifiers, and the late model redraw, two ten lap B mains ran next. Only the top three from the heats had qualified, leaving the top six from each semi headed for the 40 lap feature. 2013 series champion Brian Harris took an easy win in the first consy, and Tommy Elston outdistanced Justin Kay in the final qualifier. The real drama in that race involved the final transfer spot. Veteran Jay Chenoweth used a last lap pass of Jeremy Grady to get to the big show. Grady, from Story City, was a  previous top competitor in the IMCA late models, but has been absent for several seasons. It was neat to see # 43 back on the track.
 As track officials kept the show moving, the sport mods came to the track for their 15 lapper. Moyer quickly began a charge to the front, aided by a couple of mid race cautions. He was able to run down early leader Cory VanZandt and take the lead on lap ten. VanZandt was out front as the next lap was scored, but Moyer took over for good on lap twelve, holding off VanZandt for the win.
 The stock cars were up next, ten cars scheduled for 20 laps, although only eight took the green flag.
David Brandies, no stranger to West Liberty Raceway, started in row two, and emerged from a three wide duel in turns three and four to lead lap one. From there, he fairly cruised to the victory. Lane Kaufman was running second on lap six when a skirmish on the backstretch sent him spinning. Todd Reitzler took up the chase from there, crossing the stripe in the runner up spot.
 As those around us checked the radar on their cell phones, the 24 car late model feature came to the track to do battle for 40 laps and a $3,000 top prize. Harris fell to the tail for the start, having obviously found issues with the # 15R following his dominate B-main performance. As outside polesitter Nick Marolf took the early lead, Harris made one lap and retired to the infield. Marolf held the top spot for the first ten circuits, but polesitter Colby Springsteen stayed close, and as they came upon a slower car, Colby shot to the lead. One lap later, the first yellow waved for third running Diercks, who had slowed. He may a couple of trips around the 1/2 mile under caution before going pitside. Another yellow one lap later found sixth starting Jeff Aikey moving to third. He was then able to slip by Marolf briefly for second, as ninth starting Jason Rauen charged to fourth. With Aikey now third and Rauen fourth, those familiar with the dustup between the two the night before watched the battle closely, but no hijinks developed. Meanwhile, Denny Eckrich and Dolan were locked in a great battle, first for fourth, then fifth after Rauen cleared the pair. They swapped the spot back and forth on laps 23 and 23. Aikey began pull away from Rauen and close on Marolf, and on lap 32 it was again a lapped car that got the best of Nick, as Aikey took the second spot. As the race stayed green to the end, it was 2013 series points runnerup and weekly national champion Justin Kay on the move. The newlywed started outside row eight, and as the white flag waved, he pulled a dandy move around both Eckrich and Rauen to claim the forth spot and probably the early points lead. At the checkers, it was Springsteen, on top, followed by Aikey, Marolf, Kay, and Rauen. The second five saw Eckrich leading Dolan, Ray Guss Jr., Tyler Bruening, and Elston. Friday night winner Andy Eckrich, the defending West Liberty track champion, started tenth and finished eleventh. My cell phone clock showed 9:30 as the checkers waved! Thanks to SPI for a smooth, fast track and a well run show!
 Despite a terrible forecast and intermittent showers in the area, the new promotion team at Quincy Raceways did not want to cancel opening night two weeks in a row, so they decided to try to get the show in tonight, April 13. The plan was to start two hours early, at 4:00 this week only , to have a cushion against possible showers and an expected drop in temperatures. Family commitments took precedence today, but I was still able to arrive at the track around 4:30, as UMP modified time trials were in progress. I checked in with my seat saver buddies, then headed pitside to make the rounds and watch UMP late model time trials. As might be expected, the car count was a bit light, as I am sure many thought a rainout was immanent. As soon as quick qualifiers Dave Weitholder in the mods and Clint Kirkham in the late models did the Mark Twain Casino crapshoot dice roll to set the dash invert, the IMCA stock car heat came to the track, and I headed to the grandstands. Before I could get across pit road , the sprinkles turned in to a steady shower, and it was only minutes before the Ciltrack promotion team pulled the plug on the show.
 Coming up next weekend is the 5th annual Slocum 50 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington on Saturday, a huge show honoring a very special friend. For the first time, the race will not be an IMCA Summer Series show. Instead, it will be an open engine sanctioned by the MARS  and ALMS groups, with many well known UMP and regional stars expected, including Brian Birkhofer, competing in the 50 lap main event for a top prize of $10,555. Even more impressive is the generous paydown through the field, something that would have made Slocum proud. This will be followed by a salute to another legend, with many of the same cars headed to Quincy Raceways for the $2,000 to win Scottie 40, honering Albert Scott the founder and long time owner of the facility now in its 40th year of operation. Come on sunshine!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Erb Cashes in at Lasalle

 Despite the forecast of cold temps and changes to the schedule, Darryl and I decided to make the long drive to take in the Thaw Brawl at the Izzo family 1/4 mile facility in Lasalle,Il. It was a new track for me, one I had wanted to get to for quite some time. Originally it was to have been night number two of the weekend, with a $2,000 to win UMP super late model show on Friday followed by the $15,000 to win headliner on Saturday. Heavy rains during the week wiped out the Thursday practice session and forced the Friday show to be moved to Sunday. Persistent clouds and a stubborn wind followed us to the track, where the temp registered 42 degrees upon our 4:00 PM arrival. Purchasing grandstand tickets, we circled the vast pit area, checking out the early arrivals. As it turned out, for what I am sure was a variety of reasons, not the least of which had to do with the weather,  the car count turned out to be somewhat less than expected. The late models hot lapped by qualifying groups, with car counts of eight, eight, seven, and six. Wisconsin driver Todd Frank was announced as being in the final group, but his # 21 never hit the track during the night, so the car count sat at 29 or 30. The field filled out with 37 UMP modifieds competing for $1500 to win. 20 street stocks and 25 4 cylinder hornets also checked in.
As hot laps and single car qualifying progressed, a significant rut developed in the middle of turn one, and soon after in turn four. Track crews worked hard throughout the evening to smooth things out, but the otherwise hammer down track simply held too much frost for too long during this long winter.
Kevin Weaver, timing in group two set overall fast time at 12.313 seconds. The top three in each heat were inverted, with the top four from each ten lapper going to the 75 lap finale. Ryan Unzicker captured heat one, Dennis Erb Jr took heat two. Jeep Van Wormer came from row two to nab the third ten lapper, and Brian Shirley was victorious in heat four. Second generation racer Devin Moran made the long tow from Ohio to race for the first time in Illinois. After a heat race altercation with Ray Guss Jr, the only driver other than Frank to not come out for the consy,Moran came back to top the 12 lap B main. Popular youngster Bobby Pierce suffered a broken axle in his heat and was forced to come from row five to ease into the top four to make the feature field. With the American Late Model Series co sanctioning the event, two provisionals were issued to Brandon Thirlby and Phil Ausra.
With all prelininary events in the books, and the huge crowd shivering en masse, the 75 lap headliner came to the track first - thank you to the Izzos!
 The four heat winners redrew for starting spots, with Shirley and Erb on row one and Unzicker and Van Wormer in row two. Shirley in his Riggs Motorsports # 81 jumped to the lead, but Erb powered by to lead lap one. The front two began to pull away, with the first of several cautions waving on lap six for Rusty Schlenk. On lap 19, the two leaders exchanged slide jobs for the top spot as Jason Feger moved from roe five into the fifth spot. The caution waved for McKay Wenger on lap 21, and on the restart, Shirley hit the turn four hole, causing a major pile up. Fifth running Scott Schmitt got the worst of it, leaving on the hook, with Feger, who was fourth, suffering a cut tire. It also effectively ended Shirleys quest for the big check. As we got back to green, Van Wormers run ended with an apparent blown engine, and one lap later both Weaver and Shirley were done. By now, Thirlby had entered the top six. 2013 winner Brian Birkhofer was about to go two laps down when he brought out the yellow on lap 34. By now, Iowa City native Matt Furman who now calls Columbus, Ohio home, had charged from seventh starting spot to a somewhat distant second to Erb. The Highside Hustler, Feger lived up to his nickname, charging back to sixth as the caution waved on lap 46 for Rich Bell. All this time, Scott Bloomquist, who started ninth, had run mid pack, avoiding the chaos. Now he began to move, closing on Furman before the #51 suffered a flat, moving Bloomquist to second and Feger to third. With five laps to go, it looked like Black Sunshine was ready to crash Erbs party, with Erb using a dandy move in lapped traffic to keep the lead until  Bloomquist slowed with a flat left rear tire. He made a quick change, and with only six cars on the lead lap and a Delaware restart, he still had time to get to the front. However possible contact saw the left rear down again one lap later.
Fegers night ended following the restart, and Pierce, who seemed to struggle most of the night found himself in the runner up spot after starting 19th! As the checkers waved, Erb had led flag to flag, Unzicker worked the high line all night, starting third and finishing there. Bloomquist came back to fourth, with Jason Riggs having a solid top five, the final car on the lead lap. One lap down in sixth was Billy Drake, followed by Furman, and Wenger. Jason Jaggers was two laps down in ninth, Feger was credited with tenth, while Ausra was still running, three laps down in 11th. Although the modified feature promised to be a good one, the clock had ticked past 11:00, the temperature was now 32 degrees, and we were ready to head for the parking lot. 
LaSalle Speedway is a great place to watch a race, with an empty infield offering good sight lines. The lighting is good, as is the PA, the bleachers set well above the track, and the high banked wide oval offers multiple grooves. Too bad for me it is fours hours from home, but I hope to make it back sometime! Arriving home, I see that the rescheduled show for Sunday was postponed due to water and sewer issues overnight, and mechanical problems with the grader. Still it was surely a successful start to 2014 for the central Illinois track. Our next race will likely be the Quincy Raceways opener set for one week from today, Sunday, April 6. Hope to see you soon, Racing' Down the Road!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

After a state quarterfinal victory last Saturday in Moberly,Mo., the Canton Tiger high school boys basketball team was indeed poised for their first ever Final Four appearance. So, leaving work early on Thursday, we made the two hour plus drive to the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo.. After leading from early in the first quarter on, we fell victim to a fourth quarter rally, losing by one point on a buzzer beating put back to Iberia,Mo. Loss number two on the season set up a third place match on Friday at Mizzou Arena. Again, it was an early out from work, back to Columbia, where the boys went out with a win and a third place trophy by topping the squad from Thayer,Mo. While Keagan and the boys were stunned on Thursday, they bounced back and celebrated a magical 28-2 season. Of course, it just happened to be my Saturday morning to work, so common sense would dictate that I use the remaining weekend to catch up on my rest. Yeah, right. Leaving the office around 11:00, I did a quick walk through of the Quincy Raceways car show at the mall. Although the count was down a bit, there was still some sharp looking new rides, including a new Lazer late model # 1ST, as Justin Reed moves back to the headline class.
 As the temperatures climbed, I made my way home to change clothes - at 1:30 I met up with buddy Fred and we headed back across Highway 19 again, this time en route to opening night at Montgomery Motor Sports Park, where buddy Darryl met us on his way back from a trip to Columbia. 72 degree weather and an amazingly dry facility greeted us at the reopened high banked dirt oval, promoted this season by UMP late model driver Jim Moon. With the unusually hard winter weather, we had no idea what to expect as far as car count, and on the surface, the numbers look disappointing. But the racing surface was well prepared, and the track stayed smooth, although the upper lines never really came in. Hop laps were advertised for 4:15but with opening night  - afternoon? -  and a new promotion team, we expected some delay. But the combination hot lap, qualifying sessions began by 4:45, with four classes of racing kicking off by 5:30. The early start times apparently fooled a lot of folks, many of whom showed up around feature time. By the end of the evening, the stands held one of the larger crowds I have seen at the facility. Moon has indicated he will keep the late afternoon start times every Saturday through the month of April.
The UMP street stocks ran first on the card all night, and with 8 cars in the pits, they ran an 8 lap heat and a 20 lap feature. Moon had stated, and the announcers repeated often, that each race, heats and feature would be allowed one caution flag for every five laps, plus one " freebie." Apparently the drivers took this to heart, as any spinning car was given as much time as possible to get moving again, and those that could, did. The SS feature went non stop green to checkers, with Tony Walker leading the distance over Mike Goodwin and Trev Jacoby. After staring on the outside pole, the third generation racer Jacoby fell back, then charged to second, But he looped his # 82J in turn four of the final lap trying a last ditch pass for the lead before recovering for third.
Next up was the UMP B-mods. The 11 car field covered 20 laps around the 3/8 (?) mile with only two stoppages. David Melloway took the checkers, with Jim Lafferty Jr, grabbing the runnerup spot from Gary Oliver on the white flag lap.
While the pair of announcers were lax at giving lineups and names in these  two classes, they stepped up their performance for the headline classes.
Third on the card were the UMP A mods, the largest class, with 18 entries. They were set for 30 laps of  feature action following two heat races. It had been announced that one lucky program holder held a special program that would allow them to pick a feature invert number for all classes. Apparently no one claimed the honor, so the features lined up straight up by heat finishes. This put former late model driver Corey Daughtery and the " Festus Flash " Rusty Griffaw on row one for the main. Griffaw jumped to the front, but a first lap caution set up a complete restart. When the green waved for the second time, Daughtery held the advantage. The only other caution came on lap 12, and on lap 13 Griffaw found a line around Daughtery down low to claim the lead. For the next 17 circuits, he opened a sizable lead, while Daughtery did the same over third place Jeff Asher.
The final race of the night was the 30 lap UMP late model finale. Only six cars had checked in to race, and veteran Mike Hammerle was unable to answer the bell in the heat or feature, even though the push vehicle tried hard to help the # 16H fire for the finale. Heat winner Michael Kloos and runner up Scott Schmitt, both Illinois hot shoes, sat on the front row.Schmitt took the early lead, holding the spot for the first 19 laps, as Kloos applied heavy pressure. As the top two came up on the slower car of Alan Westling on lap 20, Schmitt went high to make the pass, but Kloos found a line on the inside, passing both cars to take the lead. With the # 6K now in charge, the second running Schmitt brought out the only caution as he slowed with a flat tire on lap 23. He then retired for the evening, turning second over to Dewayne Kiefer. Although he had been trailing the leaders by a good distance, the St Genevieve,Mo. pilot found new life, putting pressure on the leader for the final seven laps. Kloos held on to claim the $1000 top prize ahead of Kiefer, with Greg Kimmons and Westling next, both one lap down to the leaders.
 The top three in all four main events did quick interviews in victory lane, which those in attendance seemed to enjoy. The final checkers waved at about 7:50, with a huge fireworks display beginning on the white flag lap of the late model main.
 Although the car count was light, the racing was good, and the new promoter kept the show moving along. I hope to make it back to MMSP soon.
  The temperature dropped dramatically on the drive home, and we  drove to church Sunday morning on snow covered roads, so our next racing trip may be who knows when? The NDRL show at Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway for the final weekend in March has already been postponed, knocking one potential show from our schedule. Heres hoping for more days like Saturday, and more dirt track action . Hopefully we will meet again soon, Racin' Down the Road.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Hoops Before Hot Laps

Since I have been writing this blog, I have pretty much confined myself to writing about racing, the sport we all love. But today, I am going to step outside the lines for a moment. I want to offer up congratulations to the Canton, Missouri High School boys basketball team. After a hard fought  two point district championship win on Saturday, the Tigers moved one step closer to a trip to Columbia with a sectional title victory Wednesday night, defeating old nemesis Cairo by seven. On Saturday, they will play a state quarter final game against Father Tolton out of Columbia, with the winner going to the final four. Should they make it to the state championship game, it will be played - wouldn't you know it - the same night as our first planned race for 2014!  Many of you who know me also know my oldest grandson, Keagan, who is by my side at most of the races I attend. Keagan also spent the 2013 race season as a  driver check in assistant and scorer at Quincy Raceways. He has played basketball since seventh grade, and is now a 6'6" junior still growing into his slender frame. His basketball skills are somewhat modest, but he was called up to the varsity squad for depth as the JV season was winding down, and has now spent ten victorious games watching, learning, and picking up a few minutes of playing time here and there for the now 26-1 Tigers. He has been put on notice to spend the summer in the gym, hopefully he can now start growing bigger and stronger instead of taller and taller. I think he passed grandpa up sometime around five years ago! As someone who loves sports but had zero talent in any of them, it is thrilling to watch him and this group of hard working, respectful young men chase such a lofty goal. It is also satisfying to see this community of 2500 or so follow the team up and down the highway on these cold, snowy winter nights to cheer them on! With only eight teams remaining, there are no easy wins, indeed the run could end in the next game. But if  the Tigers manage to get to the title game on the big floor at Mizzou on the night of March 15, this proud grandpa will be there to cheer them on. Race season will just have to wait a few more days!
Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sad News

The racing off season has been a sad one for race fans in the area. Three men who were involved in area dirt track racing in different ways have passed from this life recently. It was not until recently that I learned that David Guymon, from Keokuk, Iowa passed away on September 28. David was a fixture along with his wife in their bag chairs behind the turn one bleachers most Sunday nights at Quincy Raceways. Although in failing health, he was always ready to talk racing until the engines fired. Although Quincy may have been his " home track, " he could be seen in the bleachers at many tracks such as West Liberty, Iowa, and Wheatland, Mo. He kept close tabs on his favorite driver, Tommy Elston. His death came one day before the season finale at QR. Unfortunately, as with so many race track friends, we lose touch during the off season and did not hear of his passing for several months. Loyal fans like David are special, and he will be missed.
On January 8, a true dirt track legend departed this world. Ernie Derr, one of the " Keokuk Comets, " died at age 92. Ernie was the king of the original IMCA, winning over 300 sanctioned features in the 50's, 60's and 70s. Along the way, he collected 12 IMCA  national championships, and captured many other events, including several USAC checkers. Ernie lived across the street from my elementary school, and I remember well taking a detour down the alley to peek in his immaculate garage after school to get a peek at his 1963 Pontiac # 1. Memories of him duking  it out with fellow hometowners Ramo Stott, Dick Hutcherson, and Don White will always be special for me. His passing garnered national attention and was accompanied by much deserved praise.
 Just yesterday, January 20, I received an e-mail from crewman Paul Jones that Hannibal, Missouri racer Jim Brown had passed away at the too young age of 54. Jim had raced for 30 plus years, wheeling the sharp looking # 83 bomber/hobby stock at Quincy Raceways until the class was discontinued. The veteran then turned his attention to the Randolph County Raceway in Moberly, Mo., where he captured the 2013 hobby stock championship. He spent his Sunday nights in 2013 as a spectator at Quincy, and always took time to stop and update me on his Saturday night at Moberly. Jim was a rare type who was both proud when he did well, but had no trouble admitting if he messed up. I think he was pleased that we made it to Moberly last season to watch him race, and he was also proud of his track title.
 Although these three men followed different paths to the race track, they were all an important part of our dirt track family and will be remembered often and missed dearly. RIP, David, Ernie, and Jim.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Countdown to 2014

  As the calender turns to 2014, it is time to start thinking in serious terms about the upcoming dirt track season. My wife thinks I am jumping the gun, but scheduling vacation days at my workplace can be tough, so I am always happy to have series and track schedules out before January 1. The traveling series have done a good job this off season, and as a result, I have been able to piece together a preliminary line up. And despite the skepticism of my racing companions, opening night for me is set for March 15. This is the projected opener for Montgomery County Speedway, the 1/4 mile high banked track near the junction of I-70 and Highway 19 in east central Missouri. After an abbreviated schedule last season, the facility is set to resume a full time schedule in 2014, with colorful UMP late model driver Jim Moon taking over the reigns. With help from another late model pilot, Trace Westling, the Moonman will be staging Saturday night racing featuring four classes including  UMP late models, modifieds, B-modifieds, and sportsman/street stocks. Moon seems to have done his homework, and although he will not be allowed to sell alcohol per his lease, there is room for optimism that he will be successful.
 We are also considering an early season visit to one of our favorite venues, Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway, near Calvert City, Kentucky. The 3/8 mile super wide oval has been silent since previous owner Sherri Heckenast pulled the plug in I believe 2009. Once billed as the " Taj Mahal of Racing," the facility sold at auction last summer to a pair of Kentucky business men looking to restore it to premier status. They have scheduled a weekend of racing sanctioned by the fledgling NDRL series at the end of March. It appears this will be our only chance to catch an NDRL show in 2014, as this is as close as it comes to our area. Unfortunately, LaSalle, Il also has a big weekend of UMP racing on the same dates, so the weatherman may be called on to make our decision.
 My " home " track of Quincy,Il Raceways will also be under new management in 2014. Last Chance Promotions, led by frontman Ken Dobson has leased the .29 mile oval, with a car show the weekend of March 15 and 16 at the Quincy Mall, followed by an opening date of April 6. They have released a tentative schedule, and an ambitious one, at that. There will be several $2,000 to win UMP late model specials, starting with the 40th anniversary 40 lap Scottie 40 on April 20, honoring the founder and long time owner of the facility. In addition, Dobson scored a major coup in securing a much earlier date for the annual UMP Summernationals show. The tour will stop by during the first full week, on Thursday, June 19, sandwiched between Spoon River Speedway and Tri City Speedway in Granite City,Il.  While QR is giving the late models a few nights off, they have a nice slate of other specials planned, including MOWA, Sprint Invaders, and ASCS  sprinters. Last Chance Promotions will also be in charge of the race programs in Jacksonville, and Lincoln,Il.
  Saturday, April 19 is the date for the 5th annual Slocum 50 at 34 Raceway. For the first time, the race will not be an IMCA event, with a co sanction by the ALMS, MARS, and Cornbelt series. The race will pay a whopping $10,555 to win. Although some folks lamented the change, I know without a doubt that Brent would have loved the idea of a high dollar big motor race on his home track. 34 will only host one other late model show this season, a UMP Summernationals race on July.
 Late model racing will return to the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson for the first time in a while in 2014. The MLRA series will make an appearance on Friday, June 13, one night after a stop at the big half mile in Oskaloosa.
  In addition, there are a handful of Deery Brothers Summer Series and Lucas Oil races that will hopefully be a part of our early season schedule.
 Check out the schedule section on the Positively Racing home page and lets make this a successful spring for all our area tracks.
  Happy New Year from all of us at Racin' Down the Road!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Look in the Mirror

With the 2013 calender on its last legs, it is time to for a review of what seems like a long ago season.
For the third straight season, though not by design, I made it to the track on 45 occasions. In doing so, I visited 14 different tracks, including three new ones, bringing my total to a rather modest 56.
The new venues included Belle Clair Speedway in Belleville,Il for an opening night special in March which also opened our season. There were June trips to Macon,Il Speedway for NASCAR night with Richard Petty, Tony Stewart, Ken Schrader, and Kenny Wallace, and the UMP Summernationals show at Paducah International Raceway in Kentucky. With late models as always my preferred class, I witnessed 44 late model main events, even though three shows were rained out before hot laps. This was aided by twin feature shows at Davenport, Maquoketa, and West Liberty, Iowa.
Quincy,Il Raceways, where I continued to pen an internet column, led the way with 20 nights, followed by five at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Ia, four each at Pontoon Beach,Il and Pevely,Mo. There was two trips each to Davenport and West Liberty, and single visits to Macon and Belleville, Paducah, Moberly,Mo., and Maquoketa, Independence, Knoxville, and Donnellson, Iowa. The Lee County Speedway in Donnellson was the only show with no late models on the card, but the ever popular Shiverfest offers a neat season ending show. Mark Burgtorf bested 318 late model competitors with five feature victories, followed by Bobby Pierce and Michael Long with four each, and Brandon Sheppard and Shannon Babb with three. Darrell Lanigan took the biggest one night prize at the Knoxville, Iowa late model nationals, while Brian Birkhofer benefited from a Jimmy Owens DQ to take home a cool $20,000 at the rescheduled NDRL show at I-55 Raceway in Pevely.
Along the way, we developed a diverse schedule, taking in many sanctions. There was World of Outlaws, Lucas Oil, NDRL, Mars, ALMS, Cornbelt, UMP weekly and Summernationals, IMCA weekly and Summer Series, ULMA. and MOWA ( 410 sprints.)
 The 2014 schedules are being released almost daily, and next week I will offer a look ahead at some of the dramatic changes and some of our tentative plans for the upcoming season. As I pen these thoughts, it is 83 days until our projected season opener on March 15. Check the Positively Racing events calender and start your planning as well.
Until next time, Merry Christmas !