Monday, September 15, 2014

Season Championship Night at Quincy

Although the 2014 season is far from over, Quincy Raceways staged their season championship night on Sunday, wrapping up track titles in the five weekly divisions. Ironically, one of the larger UMP late models fields of the season was on hand to compete for the $1200 top prize, with 17 cars coming through the pit gate. Ryan Unzicker sets second in UMP national points, and he made his second visit to the track in 2014, starting the night off with the quickest qualifying lap of 13.706 seconds. Heat race wins went to Jason Perry and national point leader Bobby Pierce, and the 30 lap feature lineup was set to go straight up, with no dice roll invert for the night. There was plenty of local drama as well, with 14 time track champion Mark Burgtorf coming into the night with a one point lead over defending champion Denny Woodworth. Denny tried to improve his chances by bringing along his nback up car with Keith Pratt behind the wheel just in case he had trouble with his ride. When Denny crossed the line second to Pierce in his heat and Mark dropped from the third starting spot in heat one to a fifth place finish, it looked like the late model lawyer had the advantage. When the green waved, Pierce, who had two QR wins already under his belt shot to the lead. As Bobby began to build a lead, Burgtorf looked like he found something, and he needed only three laps to come from his row five starting slot to drive past the third running Woodworth. The first caution came on lap seven as McKay Wenger , in his first visit of 2014 had a problem in turn four. Woodworth was back to seventh on the restart and Burgtorf in fourth. On lap 11 Denny gained one spot, and at the crossed flags he advanced to fifth. But three laps later Mark eased ahead of Perry for third. On lpa 21, Pierce had a big lead, but he suddenly went over the top of turn one. He recovered out of turn two to hold the lead, but Unzicker was now closing fast. Lap 23 saw last weeks winner, Gordy Gundaker go off the backstretch to bring out the caution, ending his night while running sixth. On lap 24 Pierce again flew off the track, this time in turn three, and he headed for the trailer, apparently out of brakes, turning the lead over to the second running Burgtorf. But it was Unzicker on top as lap 25 was scored, and Ryan held on for his second win in two tries this season at QR. As he mentioned in his post race interview, his other win also came when Pierce broke while leading back in May. Burgtorf came home second to secure his 15th track title, but first in the UMP years. Perry held off Woodworth for third, with Justin Reed and Wenger completing the top six.
 There was an equal amount of drama in the UMP modified division, as defending champion Steven Delonjay came into the night on a run of bad luck that saw his lead over Michael Long dwindle to two points. With all eyes on these two, Jared Schlipman went out and set fast time, adding a heat race win to his resume as well. Long started outside row one with Delonjay right behind. Robbie Reed jumped to the lead at the green followed by Long and Schlipman. Jared blasted to second on lap two, Long and Delonjay followed. On lap four, Schlipman passed Reed, and the caution waved one lap later. The restart had Schlipman, Long, and Delonjay out front. On lap nine Delonjay used the low line to overtake Michael for second, and he continued to hug the low line while Long pounded the cushion. As Schlipman clicked off the laps out front, Long eased ahead of Delonjay by the slightest of margins on lap 18. Just as it looked as though Micheal would take the runnerup spot and the title, the caution waved on lap 21. Long elected the inside groove on the Delaware restart, presumably to keep Steven from his preferred low line, but Delonjay won the battle to turn one, then went back to the bottom. Long again went to the cushion, but with his tires now cool, he could not catch the # 35. At the checkers it was Schlipman completing the sweep, with Delonjay cementing his fourth straight title in second. Long, who may have regretted missing one points night, took third ahead of Reed and Shawn Deering.
  There was little intrigue in the IMCA stock car title chase, and when point leader Abe Huls grabbed the race lead from Nathan Hays on lap two, the battle was for second. The only thing to slow Abe down as a lap 11 yellow that bunched the field, but back to racing he opened a commanding lead. Jake Powers powered his way around Brandon Savage and Jerry Jansen to take second on lap 13, and two laps later Savage moved to third. At the stripe, it was Huls,Powers,Savage,Jansen, and first time visitor William Dahl.
  Like Huls, Tony Dunker had another track title in hand in the IMCA sport mod division going into the 18 lap finale. Six cautions in the first five laps marred the action, with Patrick Phillips holding the early lead, while Dunker was caught up in two of the mishaps. Bobby Anders was shadowing Phillips, while Brad Holtmeyer recovered from a trip to the hot pit to pound the cushion and come back into the top five. With two circuits left, Anders spun in turn rwo as he tried to overtake Phillips. Holtmeyers comeback ended at the same time. On the restart, it was now Joey Gower in second, but Phillips held on to put his # 65 in victory lane for the first time. Brandon Dale also recovered from an early  trip to the tail to finish third , meaning the heat winners finished top three in the feature. Adam Birck and Tanner Klingele rounded out the top five, with Dunker an uncharacteristic seventh at the finish.
 Austen Beccerra was also unable to back up his track title with a feature win on championship night  - Huls was the only one - as he ran second to Kimberly Abbott. Kim has been the dominant driver the last month, but still finished a distant second in the points chase. Brandon Lambert, Austin McClean, and Spencer Coats turned in top five runs.
 Next up at Quincy is a visit by the MOWA sprint cars on Sunday the 21st, joined by the King of the Bullring sport mod shootout paying a whopping $1253.00 to win. For details and support classes, visit the Quincy Raceways website.
 We have a couple of interesting possibilities for the coming weekend, and at this point the weatherman may be our deciding factor. Until next time...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Moyer Jr. Continues Family Tradition

With a vacation day in hand and Fred behind the wheel, we two plus Darryl and friend Bill, back from Washington state made the journey to Tri City Speedway in Pontoon Beach,Il. It was night number one of the St Louis Showdown, back to back $10,000 to win events, with the mini series moving tonight to I-55 Raceway in Pevely,Mo. Tri City was hit with the same type of monsoon that visited our area, as track owner Kevin Gundaker said they received over five inches of rain Tuesday and Wednesday. But the show must go on, enough water was pumped from the infield to make the place raceable, and although there was plenty of mud in the pit area, the vast expanse of ground available left plenty of room. And it was a good thing, because a huge field of 131 cars in three divisions signed in to race. A whopping 57 B-modifieds, a class only added to the Tri City lineup this season checked in to vy for a $1,000 top prize. 35 UMP modifieds were on hand for another $1,000 to win, and a posted number of 39 UMP late models made the trip for the $10,000, although I am pretty sure that supposedly late arriving Jim Moon was a no show, leaving us with 38 competitors. Water was not even the main issue on Friday night, however, as a persistent harsh wind coupled with temps in the low 50's made it feel like late October racing - winter coats and gloves were in use all around! Large car counts are not unusual at Tri City, and hot laps began only about eight minutes late, at 6:38. Unfortunately, 15 hot lap sessions followed by late model qualifying left the track something of a one laner for the 14 heat races. Track record holder Billy Moyer the elder set quick time for the late models at 16.081 seconds, while Moyer Jr turned the next fastest qualifying lap. The father and soon duo both picked up heat race wins, along with local hot shoe Tim Manville, and Jason Feger. Not coincidentally, all four won from the pole position. Tammy Gundaker had stated at the drivers meeting that they would try to run the show with no intermission due to the car count and low temps, but following the heats the decision was made to start changing the program around. The late model dash was scrapped, and a reworking of the 3/8 mile oval began. We were able to duck inside one of the on site rooms and watch the end of the Cardinal game while track work was going on. Following the track prep, it was B-main time for the mods, the it was the two late model B's up next. At this point track conditions were much improved, and Jared Landers came from row three to take the first 12 lapper over Jim Schereck and Don Hammer. Ryan Gustin led the distance in the final preliminary ahead of Randy Korte and Mark Burgtorf. Burgtorf barely edged out ninth starting Brandon Sheppard in the non stop race, as B Shep seemed to totally miss the set up in his heat. Unfortunately, he would be watching the 50 lap showdown from the trailer. Two local provisionals were added to the field, Scott Henseler from Tri City, and Paul Schrempf from I- 55, and the 24 car field was set. Next up was a pair of C-mains for the B-mods, and with the clock ticking it had been decided to push the B-mod B main, and mod feature back in the program and bring the late models out next, much to the delight of the nice sized crowd. Manville shot to the early lead from his pole position followed by Moyers, Jr and Sr. Brian Birkhofer found a seam and powered form outside row four the fourth in the opening lap. Birky then slipped past Moyer for third on the next circuit. By lap nine the leaders hit slower traffic, but by now Manville held a nice lead over Moyer Jr, who had a good margin over Birkhofer, and he the same ahead of Moyer. By lap 15, however, the margin between those four had dwindled, and two laps later Moyer Jr was hounding the leader in heavy traffic. Luck was on Manville side, as the yellow waved one lap later, as Henseler spun in turn four. On the Delaware style restart, Birkhofer jumped to second, and Feger shot around Moyer for fourth. A three car accident in turn two on lap 23 brought out the second caution, and when racing resumed, Moyer Jr. found a bite in the now slickening surface and powered to the lead. One lap later Shannon Babb suddenly slowed, and Jack Sullivan and Billy Laycock stacked up behind him, again bringing out the caution. As racing resumed, Birkhofer also cleared Manville to move to the runner up spot, and national UMP point leader Bobby Pierce was shuffled from eighth back to 11th position. With the race staying green, Moyer Jr opened up a lead, while Birky put distance between himself and Manville, who held a comfortable margin over the next tightly bunched pack of cars. With ten circuits remaining, Birkhofer made his move, closing in on Jr., and when the # 21JR had trouble getting around a lapped car on lap 42, Birkhofer was in position to overtake both cars. However Moyer Jr found an opening, and was then able to hold off the # 15B to the checkers. Manville completed his strong run in third, while a smoking Feger held off Moyer for fourth. Brian Shirley led the second five, besting Dennis Erb,Jr, B main winner Gustin, Korte, and Schereck. Pierce and Gordy Gundaker were next in line, with Laycck completing the group of cars running at the checkers. Two interesting things happened in this race for me, as it was the first time I have seen Moyer Jr in victory lane, and likely the last time I will see the retiring Korte on the track. Best wishes to both going forward. The modified A -main had originally been scheduled to run first, and with Quincy hot shoe Michael Long set to roll off from row three, we were anticipating a good race, but with a B-mod B-main coming to the track next, Darryl with a 6:00 wake up call, and the clocking very close to midnite, we headed for the van. Congrats to Danny Eams on his win in the mods over Rick Conoyer, Steve Picou, Mike Harrison, and Long, and to Ryan Eilers over brother Robbie in the B-mod finale. And thanks to the Gundakers, gracious and friendly as always, for all the hard work to make this show happen. Tonight I will be working my church hog roast and thinking about Pevely - tomorrow night is scheduled to be season championship night in all five classes at Quincy Raceways if " Lake Quincy " has subsided! Where has the season gone?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Gundaker Takes the Cash at Quincy

Quincy Raceways put extra cash on the line Sunday night for the UMP late models, paying $2,000 to win the 30 lap main event. And while the car count was disappointing, the on track action was not! Jason Perry started the night off with a fast qualifying lap of 13.946 seconds. This put the # 27 on the pole for heat one, but it was outside pole sitter Gordy Gundaker who jumped to the lead, taking the win. Mark Burgtorf, in his third week in the Rick Frankel machine led the distance to capture heat two. Gundaker a catcher on the Quincy University baseball team then rolled a " two " for the feature invert, setting himself up on the outside of Burgtorf. A two inch Friday downpour had left the track and pit area a mess, and it took considerable work to even get the .29 mile banked oval in racing shape. Early on, there were a couple of dips in turns two and three, and it was a real crap shoot for the drivers to figure out what lines would be the fastest. And with the sun bringing up some dust, track crews did some watering after the late model heats, so no doubt the surface would change. Then there was more track work at intermission, and the extra work helped, as the dust went away and the holes smoothed out. Burgtorf had bested Gundaker each of the past two weeks, running the high side one night and the low groove the next. So the youngster, just turned 22, shot out to the lead and took off in the high groove, with Mark and Denny Woodworth in pursuit. The caution flew on lap six as Justin Reed s # 1st made an ugly sound and rolled to a stop in turn two. On the restart, Burgtorf fell to fifth, with Woodworth jumping to second. Two laps later, Jamie Wilson powered to third around Jason Perry, but on lap 11 Perry took the spot back. On lap 14 the struggling Burgtorf stopped to bring out the caution and then headed to the hot pit area, restarting in tenth. On the restart Perry moved quickly to the runner up spot, the charged past Gundaker for the lead. He began to open a lead before a debris caution on lap 20, with Burgtorf again going to the work area. On the restart, Gundaker pulled a successful slide job in turn four, but a pile up behind the leaders negated the move, with Wilson going to the hot pit. as the field realigned, Perry was observed with a flat right rear tire. He finally went to the work area, but could not make repairs in his alloted two laps. Racing resumed, and Perry edged up the apron of the track, bringing out the caution and drawing a black flag to end his night. Back to action, Gundaker was in control, with Burgtorf on the move. He quickly advanced to third, but could not get around Woodworth. Gundaker picked up win number two at QR, with Woodworth second and Burgtorf third. Denny closed thr point gap to one behind Mark with one night of late model racing to go. Wilson recovered to finish fourth, and Trace Westling used the bottom groove to turn in his first top five of 2014. Jim Moon was a late arrival, coming thru the pit gate at intermission, and he raced a high as third before crossing the line in sixth. After the race, Burgtorf indicated he had a shock freeze up, necessitating the two trips to the work area. While the UMP late models and modifieds raced for points, the IMCA classes used a non points draw, redraw format for the night. This put Abe Huls up front for the 18 lap feature, and the point leader led from start to finish to pick up the win. The rtacing was tight behind him, wqith the usual slicing, dicing, and position swapping. Terry houston worked hard to try and close the gap, but as he did, Beau Taylor picked his way forward. when the checkers waved, three cars crossed the line side by side, with Taylor claiming second, Houston third, and Brandon Savage in fourth. Huls appeared to run the last dozen or so laps with a possible broken shock, as the left rear showed considerable wobble, but he held on for the victory. With a late start due to the rain and the two breaks to rework the track,time was becoming a factor for me and grandson Parker, as we both had early calls on Monday. The IMCA sport compact feature came to the track,with point leader Austen Becerra jumping to a commanding lead. When the caution waved about half way thru, we regretfully headed for the car, something I normally would not do at Quincy. Checking the results, I see Becerra picked up the win over Kimberly Abbott and Brandon Lambert. The UMP modified point race looked to be all but over a few weeks ago, but leader Steven Delonjay has hit an uncharacteristic run of bad luck. Last night it was an accident knocking him out of the running with a 14th place finish. Coupled with Michael Longs win, and the title will now come down to next weeks season championship night. Steven now hold only a two point advantage, so as with the late models,the title will come down to which of the two finishes ahead of the other in the feature event.Kenny Wallace and Brian Lynn chased Long to the checkers. With no points offered, the sport mod class was opened up to allow other B-mod cars, and a nice field of 26 signed in. The cars seemed surprisingly evenly matched, with IMCA regular Joey Gower taking the win ahead of the B-mod driven by Vance Wilson, and track pint leader Tony Dunker.The sport mods will be racing for a whopping $1253.00 top prize in two weeks - ramrodded by Tony Dunker, thus the payoffs ending in "3" - in conjunction with a return visit by the MOWA 410 sprint cars. Yet another night has been added to the schedule on Sept. 28, and it will be a $5.00 fan appreciation night unless the season championship night this coming Sunday needs to be postponed. Late models will not run if the fan appreciation night goes off as planned. Next up for me looks like a visit to Tri City Speedway in Pontoon Beach,Il this Friday for $10,000 to win super late models, coupled with a $1,000 payday for both modifieds and B- modifieds. Maybe we will see you there!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Point Leaders Dominate on Hall of Fame Night at Quincy

 Sunday night was the annual Hall of Fame induction night at Quincy Raceways, and one already in the Hall picked up a win while a new inductee came back to race for the first time in many years.
 The IMCA sport mods had the night of as a couple of our regulars were preparing to head to the Boone, Iowa IMCA Supernationals, so the 305 sprint cars were added to the card.
 Jason Perry topped the 13 car UMP late model field with a qualifying lap of 13.770 seconds, and Michael Long led the UMP mod time time trials.
 Nine heat races then ran off in mostly uneventful fashion, with no caution flags until the final modified heat on the multi groove, ever slickening surface. Only a persistent southerly breeze dampened the enjoyment of a nice sized crowd.  Ryan Jamison and Robbie Standridge cruised to sprint heat wins,then birthday boy Brandon Savage, winner of the last three IMCA stock car features, was a no show in his heat with engine troubles. The two UMP late model heats turned in to side by side duels, with Denny Woodworth besting Perry in heat one, while Gordy Gundaker outslugged Mark Burgtorf in heat two. Hard luck Shawn Deering exited the track in turn three on his first mod qualifying lap, and despite a bunch of effort from a group of guys in his pit, he was forced to scratch for the night.
 Six people were nominated for Hall of Fame induction, and at intermission, they were introduced to the fans on the front stretch, with plaques being presented to each. Long time Mr. Everything at the track, Bob Rhinberger, currently a co owner of the facility was a no show, hopefully all is well with Bob, who rarely misses a race night. John Blickhan, owner of Blicks Construction was honored for his years of providing equipment to the track, while longtime popular flagman Steve Blickhan, who retired a few years back, but is still at the track most Sundays, also joined the Hall. Three former drivers received honors, as well.  Quincy native Sam Burgtorf was a dominant  bomber and " A " modified driver, winning three track titles, and staging some great battles with another Hall of Famer, Hank Delonjay before hanging up his helmet while still in his prime. Keokuk, Iowa racer Charlie Milligan was a fixture at the track beginning when the facility opened in 1975. Charlie was a force in the full bodied classes, beginning in hobby stocks, and later the highly competitive sportsman division. His #14, and later # 29 could be found up front on any given Sunday. " Teddy Bear " later advanced to the limited late model class before climbing out of the car for good. The third recipient was late model hot shoe Sonny Findling, from Kirksville,Mo. Sonny was a front runner in the 1980's, finishing second in points I believe four times when the track ran under the NASCAR weekly raciing series banner. Sonny eventually gave up weekly racing to concentrate more on specials and touring series. Although it had been many years since the # 8 circled the QR oval, when he learned he was to be inducted, Findling decided to bring along his super late model and enter the nights races! Sonny now races only a handful of times per year, and said he has tried unsuccessfully to " retire " on a couple of occasions. And it sounds as if he is ready to try again, as he stated Sunday may have been his farewell race. All three drivers received warm welcomes and plenty of applause from fans, friends, and family, young and old alike.
 Following the presentation, we got back to the business of racing, with five features to be contested.
 The 305 sprints were up first, and front row starter Ryan Jamison shot to the early lead. As he stretched his advantage, Caleb Wankel and Johnny Huddleston were battling for second, when Huddleston began to spew a trail of smoke behind his # 8, his night ending soon after on about lap seven. On the restart, Wankel grabbed the lead for one lap before bobbling in turn two, with Jamison moving back out front. Following another yellow, Standridge moved in to challenge, and was scored the leader on lap nine. But two laps later, smoke began to pour from the Standridge machine, and his run came to and end on lap 14. From there, Jamison powered to the win, followed by son Blaine Jamison, Dave Getchell, and Wankel.
 The IMCA stock cars ran next, with a couple early cautions slowing the action. Heat winner Troy Brierton led the early laps, before point leader Abe Huls took over on lap four. Huls slid high one lap later, with Jerry Jansen scored first on lap five. By lap seven, Abe was back in command as the pack sliced and diced behind him in typical stock car fashion. Huls claimed the win, with Jake Powers running a solid second over Beau Taylor and Nathan Hays.
 UMP late models were up next, and with point leader Woodworth rolling a " two " for the invert, he started outside Gundaker on row one. Gundaker jumped ashead at the green, quickly moving to the high side of the oval, with Perry alongside in the low groove. Gordy pulled ahead on lap two, and on lap four, Burgtorf, again in the Rick Frankel owned # 33F, used the low side to take over the runner up spot. One week earlier, Gundaker had led the opening laps running down low, with Burgtorf eventually passing him on the high side. This time, the second generation driver from St Charles,Mo. stayed on the cushion, but the 14 time track champ gained a little each lap on the low side. On lap 11, Burgtorf easwed ahead, and never looked back as the race went 30 caution free laps. The win vaulted Mark back into the points lead. Gundaker ran second, while Perry held third. Mike Vanderiet Jr made his first appearance of the season at QR, started in row six, and finished fourth, while Matt Santel made his first ever stop at Quincy and gained three spots to finish fifth. After an exciting three car battle with Vanderiet Jr. and Santel, Woodworth faded to sixth. Justin Reed, Jamie Wilson, Bill Genenbacher, and Greg Kimmons completed the top ten. Findling was running around seventh when he pulled out mid race, the only car to fall out of the event.
 13 IMCA sprt compacts took the green flag, with Brandon  Lambert taking the early lead. The race was stopped on lap two when Rachall Rager lost a wheel in turn three, ending her night. On the restart, point leader Austen Becerra picked up the chase, and he and Lambert ran side by side and nose to tail for several laps. Meanwhile, Kimberly Abbott cleared traffic and began to run down the leaders. on lap eight, she eased around Becerra for second, and one lap later she powered past Lambert for the lead. Two more circuits saw Becerra in second, but he was unable to mount a serious run at Abbott, who picked up her second consecutive win. Beccera settled for second, followed by Brandon Lambert and Craig Bangert.
The UMP modified 25 lapper was last on the card. Michael Long shot to the lead at the green, building a big margin over last weeks winner Brian Lynn and point leader Steven Delonjay as they contested the As Steven took over the runner up position, the caution waved on lap four. On the restart, Long took off on the very top of the track, while Delonjay hugged the inside line. Following a lap seven yellow, Delonjay took over the lead, although Long stayed with him, side by side, lap for lap until a lap 15 caution. Two more stoppages in the next three laps seemed to do in Long, as Delonjay pulled away in the final seven trips around the .29 mile oval. Long took home runnerup honors over Lynn, Craig Spegal, and Rick Conoyer.
 The final checkers waved at 9:00 on what turned out to be a very pleasant evening, weather wise.
 Next Sunday night, the UMP late models will be competing for a $2,000 top prize, as the season quickly winds down around the midwest.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Two First Time Winners at Quincy Raeways

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

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Moyer Tops UMP/Mars Challenge

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

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Double Features Highlight a Trip to West Liberty

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