Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Showin' Off the New Rides

The weekend marked the annual Quincy Raceways show at the Quincy,Il Mall. A record 38 cars spread out through the six classes jammed the mall, with lots of fans checking out the machines and talking to the competitors. The top preseason story of 2012 is the switch to UMP sanction for the late model class. Ten teams had their machines on display, and as expected there were some interesting story lines. Defending point champion Justin Reed was quick to mention that the open rules package was new to him, and he would likely have a learning curve. Justin has mapped out a 50 odd race schedule he would like to undertake in 2012. Conversely, point runner up Denny Woodworth has done a lot of open racing for several seasons, and should have a bit of a comfort level. Matt Bailey will begin the season with an IMCA spec engine, competing on Saturdays at 34 Raceways, then swapping out wheels and tires to run at his hometown track on Sundays. Dustin Griffin will be back on his hometown dirt after capturing the UMP Pro Crate national championship in 2012. Meanwhile, his 13 year old cousin, Jake Griffin, back from Speedweeks racing has mapped out an ambitious schedule. Jake will be racing Friday nights with the asphalt late models at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, with an assist from veteran driver Johnny Spaw. Plans are to race modifieds, perhaps both A and B, at Spoon River Speedway on Saturday, then the youngster will hit the QR bullring on Sundays with both his UMP late model, and UMP modified. Vance Wilson is back in a late model for this season after spending 2011 in the modified division.
A nice group of 15 modifieds, split between UMP A's, and IMCA sport mods were on hand. Veteran Tony Dunker displayed a car for each division, although he has traded his trademark # 4 for #3 in the sport mods. Dave Weitholder is already on his second body after a couple of weeks of hard racing in Florida! Points champ Steven Delonjay will be back to defend his A mod title.
The big story in the IMCA stock car class was the appearance of a car unfamiliar to many QR fans. Ty Hill, who is a regular at the Boone Speedway had his # 3H ride in the show. Ty is originally from the Quincy area, and has raced in Quincy during stock car specials. With his parents still living just a few miles from the track, Ty has made tentative plans to be at QR for at least half the shows in 2012.
Those who read this column know that I am a big late model fan, but it was a hobby stock that stole the show for me. Rounding a corner at the far end of the mall from where I started, I came upon the # 1 of Richie Wagy. Richie has been an off and on racer for many seasons at QR, but his new ride will make him a legend among us old timers. Richie spent the winter putting together a 1957 Chevy to compete with hobby stocks. Seeing this machine took me back to the days when my hair was black, and guys I knew actually made money racing. It would not be appropriate for me to root for Wagy to win every Sunday, but i will sure be rooting for him to do well enough to keep the old Bel Air on the track all season!
Racing in the area kicked off Saturday with Jack Sullivan taking the checkers ahead of 29 other late models at Springfield,Mo Raceway. This weekend, the UMP cars will battle, weather permitting in a two night combo series at Belleville and Highland, Il. Quincy Raceways will drop the green flag on April 1 with a full program. Let's hope the weather holds!

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