Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Look Back and a Peek Forward

As the days of another year winds down, it is time to take a look back at yet another racing season. Despite more than a fair amount of interference from Mother Nature in what eventually turned out to be a very dry year overall, and serious medical issues for one of my racing companions, 2012 ends with some pretty typical stats. When all was said and done, I attended 46 events at 15 different venues in five different states. As usual, Quincy Raceways led the way, as I was on hand there 21 times, missing only one show due to a family obligation. Next up was four shows at I-55 Raceway in Pevely,Mo., followed by three trips to West Liberty, Ia. Two nights each are in the books for Columbus Junction and
34 Raceway in West Burlington, in Iowa, Montgomery Motorsports Park in Montgomery Co., Missouri, Highland, and Peoria in Illinois, and Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. One visit each was made to Farley and Knoxville,Iowa, Tri City Speedway in Pontoon Beach,Il, Lakeside Speedway and Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas, and a season ending visit Scotland Co. Speedway in Memphis,Missouri. Three new tracks dotted the schedule, as the year included first time visits to Peoria, and the two Kansas tracks. The weekend in Kansas was my first visit to a Nascar track since the mid 1980s and confirmed my belief that dirt tracks are where I belong. With that being said, I do have some grandsons that probably deserve to make that decision on their own, so maybe in 2013...
 There have been several blogs devoted to the writers top races of the season. Perhaps I just appreciate the racing more as I get older, but thinking back, I find it difficult to pick out five, or even ten top races in 2012. There were a couple of yawners here and there, but very few times did I leave the track unhappy with the racing. All but three of my events featured my first love, late models, with 384 different drivers in competition. I suspect part of the reason it was such an enjoyable season was the variety of drivers and sanctions I was able to watch. UMP,IMCA, MLRA,MARS, Lucas, plus several non sanctioned late model shows, as well as two MOWA sprint events, the Nascar race and the season ending special at Memphis made for a satisfying line up.
  While Dustin Griffin lead the way with five late model feature wins, one more than Mark Burgtorf, the most memorable winners circle ceremonies centered around Jake Griffin. The now 14 year old made amazing strides in his dirt racing program, picking up wins at Montgomery Co., then Quincy, and wowing the crowd at night two of the Liberty 100, with back to back strong showings in the open late model and open modified features.
  As we look ahead to 2013, many tracks and series have released schedules, and the early part of our season is starting to come together. Next up, however, is the Quincy Raceways banquet on Saturday, January 8, where trophies will be awarded from a very successful first season of UMP sanctioned late models. The QR season is set to begin on Sunday, April 14, by that time we hope to have a few races in the books, including  one of our " can't miss " events, the IMCA Derry Brothers Summer Series Slocum 50 at 34 Raceway on Saturday, April 6.  The fifth annual special will pay a whopping $5,000 to win and $500 to start. This will apparently be the only IMCA late model show at the 3/8 mile facility this season, as the ownership group headed by Amy and Jeff Laue is following Quincy Raceways by switching to UMP late models for the new season. They will open with a UMP/ MARS/ Cornbelt co sanctioned event on April 20, and follow up with another nine or so late models races throughout the summer, including a July 13 stop on the Summernationals tour.
 For their part, QR will host the Summernationals on Tuesday, July 2. Keep an eye on the calender here at Positively Racing.com for updates and any possible changes.
 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Racin' Down the Road!

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