Sunday, April 25, 2010

Racin' Down the Road

I am trying to stay positive about all things racing, but I have to say that NASCAR on television is a poor substitute for live dirt track racing. Unfortunately, the tv is all there is this weekend. This was supposed to be my first three race weekend of 2010, with late model points starting at Lee County Speedway, 34 Raceway, and Quincy Raceways. The forecast was a foreboding one all week, and although the promoters held out as long as possible, there was just no way there was going to be any racing within several hundred miles of my northeast Missouri home. The last hope ended shortly after church this morning, when Quincy Raceways officially pulled the plug after nearly 3 inches of rain fell in the last 48 hours. QR has managed to get in 2 nights of action of the 4 scheduled in this rainy April. Last Sunday night was a quickly run show, with the car count a bit light. 14 IMCA late models were on hand, while 4 of our " regulars " chased the Deery Brothers Summer Series 3 day weekend show. With the seemingly non stop April showers, it is amazing that the series was able to get in all 5 of their April events, and the 2 that I was able to attend at 34 and QR were ones to remember. Justin Reed followed the tour for the first four races, then came home on Sunday and turned in top five runs in both his late model and the modified he pilots for Tony Dunker. The 30 lap feature in the late models belonged to veteran Denny Woodworth, the racing attorney, with Reed overtaking Keith Pratt for second place honors on the final lap. Michael Long completed an amazing weekend, with his third modified victory in 3 nights, at 3 different tracks in 2 different cars. Michael sandwiched UMP mod victories in his own # 18 around the $2,000 to win IMCA special in Donnellson, Iowa on Saturday in the Jim Gillenwater owned machine. With QR going to a dash format for the mods, with the top 2 cars from the heats racing to determine the first 3 rows of the feature lineup, Michael looks almost unstoppable. Throughout its 35 year history, Quincy Raceways has been blessed - or cursed - with a steady stream of dominant drivers in the various divisions, from Steve Fraise and Henry Delonjay to Mark Burgtorf and Long. While neither Mark or Michael had planned to be regulars in 2010, Michael may be having second thoughts. Of course, lots can change before September, but right now, Long would have to be consider an odds on championship favorite if he chooses to make a run for it. In contrast, the IMCA stock car class appears to be a wide open shootout, with 8-10 cars that can win on any given night. The problem right now, is finding a way to draw a few more cars in this most competitive of divisions. In the hobby stock class, Bobby anders has been so dominant after 2 nights of racing, that there have already been rumblings about a possible engine claim. It seems like no matter where the track, there is always more fussing and feuding in the lower paying classes. Or am I just imagining that?
One interesting development to watch this season at QR will be the development of youngster Justin Jennings. After a successful career racing go karts, Justin campaigned an asphalt late model to rookie of the year honors last season at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Now he has moved to the IMCA late model division. In just one night of racing, improvement was obvious from the begining of the night until the end, and it will be fun to watch his progress.
While we have had many wet Aprils, I cannot remember when I had only 4 nights of racing in as the month comes to a close, a situation I hope to remedy this coming weekend. Lee County Speedway has rescheduled their IMCA late model " Drive for Five " opener for the final day of April, and that will hopefully be the start of a 3 race weekend as we turn the calender over to May. There are a lot of good options for Saturday, in fact there are no less than 3 events I would like to attend, so we will see if Mother Nature leaves the decision up to me. As for Sunday, Quincy Raceways tops the card. For anyone thinking about making the trip , the new starting time of 5:00 hot laps and 5:30 racing resulted in a final checkered flag at 8:20 last week, even though the first green came a bit late. Sure makes Monday morning easier to deal with! I will sign off now, and catch the end of the only racing there is this weekend - on the tv. See you at the track!

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