Monday, July 21, 2014

Pierce Gets a Big Ten Win at Quincy

Sunday night the UMP Big Ten late model series completed a 3 race weekend with their second stop of 2014 at Quincy Raceways. And just like the first visit to the track in May, it was young Bobby Pierce taking home the $2,000 top prize. 21 late models checked in for the evening,  with track regular Justin Reed turning the fastest qualifying lap of the season at the track with a lap of 13.490 seconds around the .29 mile oval. The first of 3 heat races was one of attrition. First it was Jamie Wilson making contact with the turn 4 wall. The contact between Brian Dively and Bill Genenbacher saw Dively spin and Genenbacher join him at the tail of the restart, with Genenbacher soon heading to the pits, his night over early. Reed, meanwhile was leading when he suddenly pulled pitside on lap 4, his night also over early. Denny Woodworth then took over for the win ahead of Chuck Mitchell, Dively, and Kenny Vandorn. The second 10 lapper saw Jim Moon spin after contact with Bo Brockway. Pierce led the distance for the win ahead of  QR regulars Clint Kirkham, Jason Perry, and Robby Warner. Third quick timer Rickey Frankel outran Mark Burgtorf to nab heat 3, with first time visitor Gordy Gundaker third and Greg Kimmons fourth. Gundaker, son of Tri City Speedway owners Kevin and Tammy Gundaker is no stranger to Quincy, as he is a catcher on the Quincy University baseball team as well as a late model hotshoe.
 The first feature of the night was a 15 lapper for the IMCA sport compacts. Brandon Lambert set the pace early, with the caution waving on lap 9 when Alex Baker stopped in turn 4, then was hit by Lambert. Although he suffered a crumpled hood, Lambert continued to lead until Austen Becerra was able to drive by on lap 11. Kimberly Abbott then pressured Lambert, but had to settle for third ahead of Cliff Spencer.
 The IMCA sport mods were up next, with Trevor Hagerbaumer leading lap one. Tanner Klingele then took over the top spot, holding on through a pair of cautions. Following a lap 9 restart, Tony Dunker shot from fourth to second and began to run down Klingele. Tanner survived one more stoppage, but the yellow waved again on lap 15, setting up a 3 lap dash to the checkers. The 2 leaders came to the white flag side by side, and Dunker eased ahead, denying Klingele that elusive first feature win. Brad Holtmeyer charged through the field to grab third ahead of Bobby Anders.
 The late model 30 lapper was up next, with an invert of four. This put Mitchell on the pole, with Frankel to his outside, Pierce and Woodworth in row 2. Kitkham had the inside row three starting spot, but he fell to the tail, running one off the pace lap before pulling out, the first casualty of the 19 starters. Pierce powered to the front to lead the opening circuit before Frankel used the high groove to take the lead. With Pierce running the bottom, Frankel moved down on lap 6, but the caution flew on lap 7 for a spinning Mitchell. On the restart, Frankel went back to the top, with Pierce hugging the low side. Bobby would ease ahead in the corners, while Rickey powered ahead down the chutes. On lap 11, as Frankels tires began to " go away, " Pierce eased ahead, then moved to the high side, switching lanes with Frankel. Apparently not liking the rim, Pierce moved back to the low side as a debris caution came on lap 13. On the restart, Burgtorf charged from fourth to second as Woodworth dropped from third to sixth. Dively took over the third spot from Frankel on lap 16 as Pierce opened a commanding lead. Burgtorfs good run ended on lap 21 with a broken bolt in the rear suspension, moving Dively to the runnerup spot in the # 29W he has been driving of late. With Pierce a straightaway ahead, the final caution flew on lap 25  for Camping World truck racer Justin Jennings in the family owned # 56J.
Back under green, Pierce again pulled away for his second win in 3 tries this season at QR. Dively turned in a second place run followed by Gundaker in third. Frankel settled for fourth ahead of Woodworth. The second five was led by Brockway in just his second trip to Quincy, followed by Warner,series point leader Ryan Little, Wilson and late arriving Roger Brickler. John Beck, Kimmons, and Vandorn were the remaining cars running at the checkers.
 The UMP modified 25 lapper was up next. Michael Long and Dave Weitholder sat on row one, with Dave leading the first three times past the flag stand.  Following a lap 3 , Long grabbed the top spot on lap 4, as third running Steven Delonjay fell back 2 positions to fifth. Long stretched his lead until a lap 9 caution again bunched the pack. On this restart, Delonjay jumped from fourth to second and set out after Long. Michael had his new car on a rail, running the top in turns 3 and 4  and the low side in 1 and 2, while Steven hugged the low line all the way around the oval. Meanwhile, Weitholder and hard luck Jared Schlipman hooked up in a great battle for third. With Long in charge, a lap 17 caution for a tire kicked out on the track set up one last restart. Long, Delonjay, and Weitholder ran 3 wide before Delonjay wrestled away the lead and the win. Long held on for second, with Schlipman getting apst Weitholder for third on the 23rd circuit.
  The final feature of the night was the 18 lapper for the IMCA stock cars, and it, too, was a barn burner. Troy Brierton paced lap 1, with Jake Powers taking over on the second go around. Brandon Savage used the high line to take the point on lap 7, holding on through cautions on laps 9 and 10. Savage stayed in the high line, with Powers hanging close on the bottom. Jake crossed the line first on lap 13, with Brandon back on top the next time past the flag stand. all the while, Abe Huls was moving forward, and the 3 drivers race 3 wide to the white flag. Savage seemed to have a push coming out of the corners, and Huls was able to stick his # 30c in the inside line, taking the lead on the final lap, picking up the win. Savage, Powers, and Beau Taylor completed the top four.
  It was a very entertaining night of racing in front of a good crowd, the track was in excellent shape, and the final checkers waved about 9:10.
  The ULMA late models were scheduled for their first ever visit to Quincy for next Sunday night, but that event was cancelled, so there will be no late model racing Sunday, July 27. But the UMP modifieds will be battling for a $1,250 top prize, with the IMCA sport mods slugging it out for $500 to win. The IMCA stock cars and sport compacts will also be in action. There are lots of good choices for racing this final weekend in July, so head on out to a track near or far!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Beating the Rain at 34 Raceway

 When the weekend started, I was hoping for my second 3 races in 3 nights weekend, but the weatherman seemed to have other plans. Lee county Speedway in Donnellson dodged a bullet to complete the Friday night show, and the odds for Saturday night seemed better as 4 of us rolled out of Quincy in Freds van.
 After an early evening meal, we arrived at 34 Raceway in West Burlington with the sun out and bearing down, and we were able to do some bench racing with old friends as we waited for the 3 class program, highlighted by the UMP Summernational late models to begin. The track crew remained hard at work with the water truck and the roterra trying to build a surface that would withstand the pounding sun, and hot laps began about 20 minutes after the advertised start time. With 15 IMCA sport mods and 11 IMRA midgets joining the 26 UMP late models, that time was quickly made up. time trials for the late models ran off in 3 heat race groups per the pre race draw, with 2 cars on the track at a time. Overall quick time went to veteran Billy Moyer at 15.286 seconds. The Iowa native, who now calls Batesville, Ar home, has been picking and choosing his way through the 33 race in 39 nights tour, and was coming off a Friday night $ 10,000 win in Farmer City,Il. Only Mark Burgtorf failed to make the call for qualifying.
 Racing began at 7:00 with 2 quick sport mod heats, the the late models were up. The Friday night Donnellson winner, Chris Simpson, checked out from outside row one on the highside, hammer down surface,, leading the distance over polesitter Shannon Babb. A false start on the first green flag was the only stoppage in the 10 laps.
 In heat 2 it was again the outside row one starter, Justin Reed who jumped to the lead, with Moyer in hot pursuit. Billy had stumbled on the start, falling back a couple spots, but he was soon bearing down on the # 1st. On lap 6, Justin bobbled slightly in turn 2, and Moyer moved under him to the lead. In the same set of turns one lap later, Reed had a right rear tire come apart, ending his run. Tanner English assumed the runner up spot , holding on to the checkers.
 Another false start began heat 3, then outside row one starter Brian Shirley jumped to the point, holding off Slocum 50 winner and defending 34 Raceway 2013 Hell Tour champion Bobby Pierce to take the win.
 By now, word was traveling through the nice sized crowd, that storms were brewing - tracks to the north and west had already experienced downpours, and it was headed our way. The midgets then rolled off for 2 heat races - it was nice to see Donnellson put 11 support class cars in a single heat, but....
 This might have been a logical place for an intermission, but neither fans, drivers, or promoters were interested in that at this point, and the 11 car late model consolation - for some reason dubbed a " C" main - quickly lined up in staging. A lap one restart occurred when Skip Frey looped his ride in turn 2, with the veteran retaining his outside row one starting spot. When the green waved again, polesitter Jason Rauen shot out to a huge lead, and the battle heated up for the remaining 2 transfer spots. Frey and Denny Woodworth dueled for the second spot, as Dustin Griffin stayed close. As Woodworth found a way under Frey at the white flag, Griffin pulled a dandy move to ease past both cars. At the flag, it was Rauen, Griffin, and Woodworth, and the end of the night for Frey.
 The midgets were lined up in staging, and as I took my own quick break, they quickly completed their feature event.
 It was for sure now a race against the clouds, and the late models quickly came to staging. One four wide salute to the fans, and we were going green for a scheduled 40 laps. again, it was the outside polesitter, Simpson darting to the lead, with Babb, Shirley, Moyer, and Pierce in tow. Shirley left the track on lap seven with possible engine woes. The caution waved on lap 10, as Jay Johnson was not able to get off the track in time to suit flagman Jake Croxton. As the green waved again, crowd favorite Brian Birkhofer powered around English to enter the top 5. The yellow flew again lap 12, as a boundary tire was kicked out on the racing surface. On this restart, Birkhofer moved up one more spot, clearing Pierce, for fourth. Lap 13 saw runnerup Babb suddenly pull pitside, and on the next circuit, fourth running Pierce did the same, having broken a power steering pump. By the halfway point, moyer was closing on Simpson and as traffic became a factor, Birkhofer also gained ground quickly on the leaders. with a dozen laps to go, Simpson jumped the cushion in turn three, and both Moyer and Birkhofer raced by before Chris could regain his momentum. Ninth starting Brandon Sheppard found his way past English on lap 30, as Birky tried to get close enough to make a move around Moyer. Billy was having none of that, and with only 11 cars remaining on the track, he sailed to the win, his second $10,000 check in 2 nights, even as his son, Billy Jr was picking up a $10,000 winners check in Richmond, Ky.!
 Birkhofer had come from row four to take second, followed by Simpson, Sheppard, and English. Ryan Unzicker, locked in a tight back and forth battle for the series point championship with Babb, led the second five, with Rauen advancing 9 spots to seventh. Jason Riggs, Griffin, and Woodworth rounded out the top ten, and Steve Lance Jr was the final car on the track in eleventh.
 The checkers waved before 8:30! As the sport mods hit the track, we hit the parking lot, but reports have Creston Williams capturing the non stop event before the rains came.
 It was a fine effort by the promoters, and drivers. I am sure concessions took a hit, but hopefully everyone will remember the extra effort put forth when it is time to support this event in 2015!
 The tour was to move on Sunday to Danville,Il, and will wrap up next week with several stops in Ohio.
 Hopes for a 3 night racing weekend were dashed early this Sunday morning, as the rain finally made its way to the Quincy area overnite, soaking the track and pit area of Quincy Raceways to the point that it could not be made race ready. Plans for next weekend are undecided at this point, but I hope each one of my readers can attend a race somewhere. Maybe I will see you there!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Chris Simpson Tops Lee County Special

Friday night was the start of what I hope will be a three night racing weekend. Checking out of work early, I headed north to the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa, for the late model special held in conjunction with the Lee County Fair. Driving most of the way through pesky sprinkles, I was not at all convinced the show would go on, but about 6:15, as I stoood on pit road chatting with drivers and crews, the drizzle stopped. So along with my sidekicks, we wandered to the grandstand side to plunk down our $15.00 and make our way to our usual seats. The weather and resultant track conditions caused the 3/8 mile to need some extra packing, but hot laps still began about 6:55, just 15 minutes past the announced start time. Six classes were in action, with two of the usual classes, hobby stocks and 4 cylinders, getting the night off, and mod lites, midgets, and late models added to the card. The car count was a bit low in a few classes, but where I was hoping for 15-18 late models, 22 signed in! UMP and IMCA rules were both in effect for the late models, with a $2500 check going to the 40 lap feature winner, and a $500 bonus offered up to the highest finishing IMCA legal car.
 The IMCA sport mod class had 11 entries, and in a rare but welcomed move, only one heat race was run. Most times, 2 heats are run in this case, but 5 car heats on 3/8 mile tracks are not something most folks care to see. Only 4 mod lites showed, I am curious what has happened to this class, as the past few seasons it seemed to be growing steadily.
 The only real delay in the program came as the first midget heat was trying to get to the track. Several cars did not want to fire, and track officials showed extreme patience in waiting for everyone to get on track, which did not happen. With some not making the call, I am not sure if the total count in the 2 heat division was 12 or 13.
 13 IMCA stock cars checked in for 2 heats, and then it was late model time.
 The first 10 lapper saw Denny Eckrich jump out front from the outside pole, but after leading one lap, his # 50 stalled on the backstretch. Clint Kirkham then assumed the lead, and picked up the win, with Justin Reed in second. Todd Frank, who formerly lived in Wisconsin, but is now listed as living in Montrose, Iowa, had a good battle with Dustin Griffin for third before Griffin slowed on the final lap, turning fourth over to Denny Woodworth.
 Jason Perry took the win in heat 2, followed by sixth starting Spencer Diercks, and a pair of # 58s, Dave Eckrich, and Ray Guss Jr. Second running Jason Utter suffered a flat right front tire on the final circuit. Chris Simpson charged from row 3 to heat 3, while seventh starting Jason Rauen powered his way to fourth before spinning on lap 7. On the Delaware restart, Simpson picked off leader Skip Frey, and coming from the tail again, Rauen hustled his way back to finish third behind Frey. Mark Burgtorf came home fourth.
 Passing points were used to determine the feature lineup, and Simpson would have the pole alongside Diercks.
 Only 9 IMCA modifieds signed in, and ran one heat. Dennis Laviene, reportedly debuting a new power plant, led lap one before pulling to the infield, done for the night.
  Next up came another example of why I enjoy Lee County Speedway =  a 10 minute intermission!
  The feature races ran in the same order as the heats, with the 15 lap sport mod main up first. Jacob Smith led the first 4 trips around before Jim Gillenwater used the low line to grab the lead. The veteran, from Keokuk,Iowa, in his final year of racing stayed out front in the non stop event to pick up another win on his home track. I apologize for not having the name of the runnerup - # 33 - but the 2 track announcers could not be heard over the engines from my vantage point. Tony Dunker and Aaron Brocksieck had a great back and forth battle, first for the fourth spot, then as both moved past Smith, they continued their side by side duel for third, with Dunker finally gaing the advantage. Smith completed the top five. Former track late model regular Kevin Cale was wheeling a # 11R in the sport mod class.
  Only 3 mod lites answered the call for a 12 lap feature, but as the announcer had said earlier, you only need 2 cars to have a race! Dan Keltner led the first 11 laps, with young Devin Rouse pulling alongside as the white flag waved. Rouse the pulled ahead to take the win.
 The midgets then took to the track for 15 laps, with 9 cars taking the green. The third caution free feature saw Aaron Shuck(?) grab the win
  Jake Wenig shot to the lead in the 13 car , 20 lap IMCA stock car feature, with the first feature caution waving on lap 5 for a spinning car. Follwing the restart, John Oliver Jr, who had been hounding Wenig, grabbed the lead, holding it to the checkers. Jason Cook, with a light trail of smoke coming from his # 27J, grabbed the runner up spot on lap 16, as Wenig began to fade. Veteran Louis Lynch came home third. Abe Huls strated in row 3 , fell back early, then climbed back to fourth at the checkers ahead of Wenig.
  All 22 late models hit the grid for 30 laps of action on what could best be described as a " hammer down " track. To the surprise of no one sitting around us, Simpson shot to the lead, and was catching the tail of the field in only a handful of laps. Rauen started sixth and moved to second on lap 12 , slipping around Diercks. The yellow came out on lap 15 for Frey, and by now several cars were on the move - Guss from tenth to fifth, Utter from twentieth to tenth, and Denny Eckrich from last to eleventh.
The seven lapped cars still on the track were all given " lucky dog " passes back to the lead lap! On the restart, Guss jumped to fourth, the one lap later to third around Perry, as Diercks began to fade. The yellow flew again on lap 21 for Dave Eckrich, and on the restart a car got into Brian Harris, sending him around with no laps scored. With 10 circuits left, we stayed green, and Denny Eckrich was now on the move. A great battle ensued for third between Guss and Perry, with Perry eventually regaining the spot. My results are completely unofficial, as cars were tightly bunched at the line. For sure, Simpson scored the win, followed by Rauen and Perry. I had Guss in fourth, just nosing out Reed. The second five I agin could be slightly off, as I had Jay Johnson, Denny Eckrich, all the way from row 11, Utter from row 10, Woodworth, and Diercks. Tommy Elston picked up the IMCA bonus, finishing I believe, thirteenth behind Robby Warner, and Kirkham, who started fourth, but lost brakes in his # 28.
 The IMCA mods closed out the card, with Smith again grabbing the early lead. Bill Roberts took over on lap 3, and the race was then a battle for second between Smith and Jeff Waterman. The caution waved for debris from the Smith car on lap 13 after he tagged the turn 3 guardrail. On lap 16, Jeff Mueller found a groove down low, and vaulted to the second spot. Roberts cruised to win, Mueller held second, Waterman came home third, Brandon Banks fourth, and Smith completed the top five.
 The final checkers waved about 10:10, way to go Lee County Speedway!
  Although there was a good crowd on hand, it was not as big as the one for the MLRA late models - sorry LCS announcers, but calling them Lucas Oil late models  is just wrong, even if Lucas Oil owns the MLRA - but no doubt the weather was a factor, as well as the true Lucas Oil late models being 3 1/2 hours south in Pontoon Beach,Il. and sketchy advertising, at best. I can only hope that the late models are  a part of the 2015 season at one of the best venues in the midwest, Lee County Speedway!
And by the way, the pork loin sandwiches were excellent!
 Time to put this missive in the can and head for 34 Raceway in West Burlington for the UMP Summernationals race this evening. Hope to see you there!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Urish and Perry Tops at Quincy

 After a holiday weekend of non racing activities, Sunday night found me back in my familiar spot at Quincy Raceways. The Midwest Open Wheel Association 410 cubic inch sprint cars were added to the card this week, and a total of 81 cars checked in led by 23 sprints and 58 cars spread throughout the regular five classes. Michael Long was behind the wheel of the # 1F UMP modified normally driven around the St  Louis area by Mike Francis. It is a car that Long built in the off season. Michael proceeded to turn the fastest modified qualifying lap of 2014 at 14.888 seconds. Justin Reed then topped late model qualifying with a lap of 13.683 seconds around the .29 mile oval.
 The three sprint heats ran first on the card, with series point leader Jarrod Hull taking an easy win in heat one. The second ten lapper was setting up for a great finish when number two point man, teenager Paul Nienhiser miscalculated a turn two slide job as he attempted to move from third to the lead. While he cleared second place Chris Urish, he made hard contact with leader Ryan Bunten, sending both cars pitside on the hook. It was a race of attrition, with only three of eight starters around at the checkers. Australian racer Trevor Reynolds won a duel of # 47s with Brett Sammonds to take the final heat.
 just before intermission, Hull easily captured the six car position dash to set the first three rows of the main event.
 Following a lengthy intermission to rework the racing surface, the feature order was changed up, with the sprints running first. Reynolds got things off to an interesting start when he rolled his ride during the warm up laps! Some quick hot pit work got a new wing on the car, and he rejoined the tail of the field in time for the green.  Hull led the 20 car field as the green waved following one false start. Hull put the # 12 in the low groove, while Urish went to the high side, grabbing the lead one lap later. The leaders encountered slower traffic by lap seven, and they ran in heavy traffic the rest of the 25 laps, as the race went non stop. Nienhauser started in the fifth row, and he soon found his line, as he closed on Hull even as Hull began to reel in Urish. Urish held on by a car length at the checkers, with Hull and Nienhauser bearing down on him.
  Next up was the ten car UMP late model feature. Several regulars were missing on Sunday, but three drivers made their first appearance of the season, including veteran Robby Warner and Peoria area racer Bo Brockway, making his first ever visit to QR. And while Jamie Wilson was on vacation, a look alike # B155 normally driven by cousin Vance Wilson was in the pits. IMCA sport mod driver Brandon Lennox was set to pilot the car, but there was some discussion about a driver competing in both an IMCA and UMP car in the same program. Long time driver Gary Wilson was the scheduled driver at last report.
 Justin Reed and Jason Perry had captured the two heat races, then reed rolled a three for the feature invert, putting Mark Burgtorf on the pole with Perry to his outside. Point leader Burgtorf took off as the green waved, and built a nice lead. After falling back some, Perry hooked up his # 27 on the low line and by lap 21 of the 30 lapper, he was dogging the leader. Burgtorf  was running the middle groove, and the leaders crossed the line side by side on laps 25 and 26. On lap 27, Michael Larsen came to a stop on the front straight, bringing out the only caution of the race. Burgtorf held the point in the Delaware double file restart, but Perry was not to be denied, and he managed to get under the # 7B, taking his first win of 2014 and denying  Burgtorf  his first trip to victory lane.  Reed retook third from Warner, and Denny Woodworth completed the first five.
  It was now on the wrong side of 9:30 with four features still to go and an early Monday on my mind, so I headed for the car.
 Congrats to Steven Delonjay ( mods ), Abe Huls (IMCA stock cars), Tony Dunker ( IMCA sport mods), and Austen Becerra ( IMCA sport compacts) on feature wins.
  I hope to start a racing weekend with a trip to the Lee County Fair in Donnellson, Iowa Friday for UMP/IMCA late models, the 34 Raceway Saturday for the UMP Summernationals, the back to Quincy Sunday for a  five class weekly show.
  Maybe we will meet Racin' Down the Road!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Birky Takes A Squeaker Over Mr Smooth

 Saturday night, Fred and I decided to thumb or noses at the forecast of rain and head south to the I-55 Raceway in Pevely,Mo for another installment of the UMP late model Summernationals. The traveling series had suffered yet another rainout the night before in Paducah - it seems rain or the forecast of- is a part of every event this season. Driving through a downpour around Troy,Mo, partly sunny skies but a negative forecast greeted us as we reached the 1/3 mile high banked speedplant co owned by Ken Schrader and Ray Marlar.
  A solid if typical field of 38 super late models checked in to do battle for the $10,000 top prize - we never found out why the #56 of Mars star Tony Jackson,Jr, who picked up a Friday night win at Tri City Speedway across the river in Pontoon Beach,Il rolled into the pit area but did not sign in to race. 32 UMP modifieds also checked in for the $1,000 winners check, with 19 AARA sportsman cars racing for $400 to win filled out the three class card.
 It was announced in the drivers meeting that rain was on the way and the show would be moving quickly, and the statement was followed through. Hot laps began at 6:30, with the mods qualifying by heat race group, eight cars at a time!
 The late models then qualified in  two groups, three cars at a time, with group " A " filling heats one and two, and group " B " forming heats three and four. Track regular Scott Weber set overall quick time at 12.938 seconds, with Billy Moyer pacing group " B " at 12.940, as the track stayed consistently fast.
 The first of four mod heats saw Quincy Raceways regulars Dave Weitholder and Michael Long start up front, and the two veterans raced side by side for eight laps, Weitholder in the preferred high groove and Long on the bottom side, with narry a touch between them. Michael finally gained the advantage on the final circuit for the win. Ken Schrader cruised the the second heat win, and heat three saw Mike Harrison take the win. Donavan Lodge was leading Ray Walsh in the final heat when contact sent Lodge hard into the turn one concrete wall, badly damaging his # 32. Walsh was sent to the back, and Jim Black held on for the win, with Walsh moving back to third before the checkers flew.
  Late model heats were next, and the first ten lapper was as good a race as we have witnessed all season. Jesse Stovall and Brian Shirley traded slide jobs and the lead multiple times in the non stop event, with Shirley on top at the checkers. Randy Korte, in his farewell tour, and Dennis Erb, Jr. then ran side by side in heat two, Korte low and Erb high,  until a lap seven yellow. Erb faded following the restart, with "King Kong" taking the popular win. Moyer led flag to flag in heat three, with one caution slowing the pace. The ten car field freight trained around the bottom groove, with Brady Smith chasing Moyer to the checkers. The final heat rolled after a false start, with Brian Birkhofer leading from the outside pole. Two caution periods did nothing to deter the # 15B, with Bobby Pierce rolling home second. It seems there is always at least one " loaded " heat race at these type of shows, and on this night it was heat four. While pole sitter Jason Feger held third, Brandon Sheppard and Shannon Babb had a back and forth duel for the final transfer spot, with B- Shepp sending Babb to the B-main.
  Following two sportsman heats captured by Chuck Goodman and Trey Harris, the late model C-main came to the track. Eight of the ten eligible cars entered the ten lap race, which transferred three to the B-main. Paul Roider was leading the charge until spinning on lap three. One lap later Steve Lach looped his ride, and on the restart, second running Mike Vanderiet spun.. Vanderiet recovered to challenge for third but again lost the handle coming to the flag. Austin Rettig, Alan Westling, and Butch Kruckeberg moved on. The three transfers were allowed to add fuel if needed as the BN-main came to the track immediately. With only two cars qualifying for the 40 lap finale, Michael Kloos grabbed the lead from row two, leading all twelve laps, although pushed by Babb to the checkers. Four provisionals, including a surprised Mark Burgtorf were added to complete the 22 car field.
 As the B-main and provisional transfers made hasty changes, the mod B-main clicked off a quick race, with Tyler Rataczyk besting Tim Hancock.
 The announced intermission was scrapped, as the 22 late model starters came to the track quickly. Following a false start, the caution waved on lap one, as Burgtorf found himself turned around in turn three, ending his run. Gary Christian, in the CJ Rayburn house car may have also been involved, as he retired at the same point. When racing resumed,Moyer, who had drawn the pole in the heat winners redraw, jumped out front, with outside polesitter Birkhofer and row two starter Korte in tow. Those three began to put distance on the field, and Moyer had lapped Ryan Unzicker when the red flag waved for Rickey Frankel, who climbed the turn two wall and rolled slowly onto his top on lap 20. Birkhofer had begun to pressure Moyer as the red came out. While the track was cleared, fourth running Stovall went to the trailer with a flat tire. When racing resumed, Birky again took up the charge, hugging the low line. Moyer preferred the top side in turns one and two, and the middle line in three and four. With the two leaders running in their own zip code and sprinkles coming down, Birkhofer was able to slip past Moyer on lap 38. It was the second time in a month that he had eased past Moyer for a $10,000 pay day at Pevely. Bobby Pierce dueled first with Stover, then  Korte and Erb, finally advancing five spots for a third place finish. Korte came home fourth, with Smith completing the top five. Erb, Shirley, Kloos, Jack Sullivan, and Feger completed the top ten. With the sprinkles turning to a light rain, we quickly headed for the car, thinking the night of racing was over, Arriving home three hours later, I was surprised to see that the final two features were run, with Harrison besting Schrader and Long in the mod finale, while another # 15B, Matt Brucato grabbed the sportsman win.
 I have rarely witnessed a bad night of racing at I-55, and Saturday was no exception. Our neighbors in the grandstands, a couple who traveled from Alabama to scratch the track from their bucket list, seemed to enjoy the action as well, even as the changing breeze blanketed us with crumbs from the track in the late going.
  Family plans will dominate next weekend until Sunday, when, hopefully, I will be in my regular spot at Quincy Raceways. We are about to the unofficial half way mark of the 2014 season, so get out and support our sport as much as you can!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Moyer Shows the Way at Tri City

 After a disappointing rainout Thursday night at Quincy Raceways with 30 UMP Summernational late models on hand 30 minutes before hot laps, we were ready to try again Friday night. Keagan was till away at Boys State, but Fred, Darryl, and I headed south to Kevin and Tammy Gundakers Tri City speedway in Pontoon Beach ( Granite City ), Illinois for the $10,000 to win showdown. The pit area was filling up nicely when word came that Belle Clair Speedway just down the road in Bellville,Il. had fallen victim to the ominous looking clouds building overhead. The late influx of cars from there swelled the field to 43 UMP super late models and 47 UMP modifieds, also vying for a $1,000 top prize. 15 crate late models and 26 B-modifieds also checked in, giving us 131 cars in four classes! It was later announced that the second largest crowd ever at the track filed in even with the threatening skies.
 The modifieds qualified during their hot lap session, with NASCAR veteran Kenny Wallace setting quick time at 17.215 seconds around the 3/8 mile oval. As the sprinkles and distant lightning strikes comtinued , local favorite Tim Manville bested the touring late model drivers with a lap of 16.322.
 The modifieds then ripped off four qualifying heats races caution free on what was fast becoming a one groove on the low side track.
 Late model heats came next, with Manville leading all the way to win heat one over Michael Kloos, seventh starting Mark Burgtorf, and Rodney Melvin.Billy Moyer Jr came from row two to top heat two ahead of polesitter Ryan Unzicker, Brian Birkhofer and Jim Shereck. The first caution of the night came during heat three for a slowing Austin Rettig. Brandon Sheppard cruised to the victory followed by Bobby Pierce, Shannon Babb and Rick Eckert in what was an incredibly loaded eleven car ten lap event. The final heat saw Billy Moyer get past polesitter Randy Korte on the final circuit. Chris Simpson and Brian Shirley also transferred to the 50 lap A-main.
With the skies looking better, the crate and B-mod heats ran off quickly, followed by the modified C  main. The late model C main saw Jay sparks out front for the distance with Billy Laycock in pursuit. Several drivers took a stab at the third and final transfer spot, including local standout Scott Weber, Matt Santel, Ryan Little, and Dewayne Kiefer, but popular veteran Mike Hammerle held on to claim a spot in the B-main. Before the twelve lap consy, however, promoter Gundaker and crew decided to rework the track to try and add multiple grooves to the surface. although it took about 45 minures, the results proved successful.
  With a top and middle groove now as fast as the low side, Jason Feger was able to charge from the third row to take the win over early leader Tanner English. 18 cars were now locked in to the 50 lap finale, with four provisional being added - Pennsylvania driver Gregg Satterlee, Scott Scmitt, Weber, and Jason Riggs. Although I realize it takes a healthy dose of " freebies " to keep car counts up on the tour, I would sure like to see more qualified cars have a shot at the big check! If memory serves, as I was away from my seat a while, I believe the mod B-main ran next, setting the grid for the two traveling series.
 Responding to some criticism received when a fourth class was added to the program, the Gundakers had made it clear that the late model feature would run first.
  The four heat winners had redrawn to set the first two rows of the 50 lapper, with Moyer and Manville on row one. Moyer held serve by a bumper on lap one, but Manville took over on the following circuit. With Sheppard and Moyer Jr falling back slightly, it became a two car race, until Korte began to catch the leaders on lap eight. A handful of the cars running at the back of the field pulled out, and it was lap 20 before traffic became a factor. Several laps later, Manvilles # 33 seemed to develop a push and he began to drift high in turns three and four. Moyer grabbed the lead on lap 30, while Korte began to fade  and Moyer Jr. rejoined to lead pack. Lsp 35 saw the younger Moyer move into the runner up position, well behind his father. Two laps later a rejuvenated Sheppard overtook the fading Manville, bring Birkhofer tenth starting along with him. Kortes run came to an end on lap 39 as he dove to the infield. The race stayed green from start to finish,  With Moyer crossing the line well ahead of his son, B Shepp, and Birky. Babb gained six spots to take fifth. The second five has Shirley moving up ten spots to sixth ahead of Manville, Unzicker, Kloos and Eckert. the 50 laps took less than 15 minutes to complete!
 Although the hour was late, we were anticipating a competitive modifield feature, with literally the best of the midwest on hand. Following one false start, the green waved, and Rusty Griffaw and Dean Hoffman crossed the line side by side to complete lap one of 25. Rusty hugged the low groove and Hoffman blasted off the cushion to gain the lap two advantage. One lap later, mike Harrison rode the high line to second. On lap three, 16 starting Michael Long had used the now super fast top line to charge to seventh., and as Hoffman and Harrison duked it out, Long rolled to fourth behind Ray Walsh.
Harrison soon found his ideal line, and opened a sizable lead, while to other three now battled for second. Long continued to flirt with disaster on the high side, but it paid off, as he was able to claim the runner up spot. He was never able to make a serious run at the 24H, as this race, too, went green to checkers, caution free! Hoffman held third, Griffaw rebounded for fourth, and Indiana ace Levi Kessinger rolled home fifth.
 Still on the car was a B-main for the B-mods, crate and B-mod features. But the midnight hour was drawing near, and it was time for we three to head for home.
  Thanks to Kevin and Tammy for another quality show.
  Sunday night is midseason championship night in all five classes at Quincy Raceways IF the waetherman cooperates. Hope to see you Racin' Down the Road.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Quincy Hell tour Rained Out

The skies threatened off and on all afternoon as I wandered around the race track. A light sprinkle passed through about 4:00. Then at about 5:15, the wind shifted and the monsoon hit. With an hour still to go before hot laps, there were 28 late models in the pits or on pit road, plus 22 modifieds, and two trailers I did not get names on before the rains came. Looked like it would have been a good show. Go ahead and blame me, seems like the rain has followed me around in 2015.