Family business Saturday landed me in the Quad Cities, and with the opportunity to spend the night available, the temptation to take in a race was too much to pass up. So I borrowed my daughters car and headed north to the Jackson Co. Fairgrounds in Maquoketa,Ia. It had been several seasons since my first and only visit to the 3/8 mile facility, and I had been trying to figure a way to get there as it seemed like the Darkside promoting team of Ryan Duhme and Tim Current had been churning out some good events. For the first time since I don't know when, mechanical issues interrupted my evening, and it was about 7:40 when I finally made my way through the front gate, as intermission was going on. There was a make up late model feature from their fair race on the schedule, and I had thought it odd that it was going to be run in the regular feature rotation rather than first on the card. But as it turned out, i sure was happy it was scheduled that way!
Arriving late, I had a hard time figuring out who was who, especially in the " local " classes, and where I was sitting the announcer was very hard to hear. Unfortunately, he also chose to announce the lineups mostly while cars were on the track. The hobby stocks ran first, 11 starters taking the green in a very entertaining race that saw four different leaders. Gene Ehlers came away with a popular victory, with only sic cars left at the finish. Next up was the 19 car IMCA sport mod main, and the early laps produced multiple cautions. There was a good battle at the front when things stayed green, with Dan Mohr and Tyler Soppe swapping the lead on laps ten and 11. Mohr grabbed the lead for good on lap 11, and held off Soppe for the win. The Midwest Jalopies ran a ten lap caution free11 car feature but unfortunately I can only say that # 38 took the win.
15 IMCA modifieds came to the track for 20 laps. with Mike Weidmann taking the quick lead from his row two starting spot. He lead throughout a couple of cautions, pulling away to the win while Joe Beal and Kelly Meyer swapped the runnerup spot, crossing the line in that order. The 4 stock field was 14 strong, and gave the nice sized crowd their moneys worth. Three and four wide racing, three cars shown the black flag kept things interesting. Jacob Ellithorpe put his # 72 in the winners circle.
It was now time for the make up late model 25 lapper. Brian Beaudry came from row two to grab the early lead. Following a lap ten caution for debris, Joe Ross put his # R19 out front. As Ross stretched his lead, Justin Kay was working his way forward from his row six start. On lap 22, he moved to the runnerup spot, with Ross holding a straightaway lead. However, a spin by fourth running Brian Meiners brought out the caution. Kay had to go back to third , but the Delaware start put him alongside Doug Nigh behind the leader. Ross and Kay went side by side past the flagman on lap 23, but Kay took over the top spot on the white flag lap, and picked up the checkers. Ross and Nigh came next with Fred Remley and Matt Ryan completing the top five.
The Outlaw super bombers then came to the track for a 40 lap $1,000 to win challenge. This race was also scheduled the night before at Tipton Speedway as a two night series, but that portion fell to rain. 17 cars took the green flag, and almost immediately it became a two car race up front between Nate Yoerger and Wayne Hora. Although Hora pushed hard, Yoerger was not to be denied taking home the big check.
The final race of the night was the regular IMCA late model 25 lapper. Rob Toland started on the pole with Jon Poll outside in what was apparently a draw, redraw format. Two false starts before a lap was run damaged some cars and jumbled the field. Kay had started in the eight hole, but came away from the second yellow with a flat, rejoining the field in the 16th spot. Toland took the early lead, with Nigh in tow, but another scrum on lap two knocked out Remley and Joe Zrostlik, with Remley spilling fuel on the track. Back to green, Kay was already back up to eighth. By the end of lap two he was sixth, and up to fourth on lap four. With Ryan getting squeezed on the bottom of the track on lap seven, Kay moved to third and as the leaders crossed the stripe, he was second. Kay and Toland then ran side by side until the yellow flew on lap 11. Following the restart, Kay took the point and stretched out a commanding lead and held on for his second checkers of the night. Toland had a nice run in second with Nigh grabbing his second third of the night. Beudry took fourth with Doug Yates completing the top five.
Thanks to the Darkside for turning a tough night into a fun one!
I got back home on Sunday in time to pick up Keagan and head for Quincy Raceways. Again we were a bit light on cars, but the racing was top notch. The IMCA turnout was 12 strong, although visiting Jeremy Pundt was knocked out in a lap one feature crash. Brandon Savage took the top spot on the restart, but another caution moved him back temporarily. Following the restart, Savage grabbed the lead and began to distance himself from the field. About this time, his left front wheel began to lay over, the result of a damaged A arm. Still he held a commanding lead through two more yellows. But after a stoppage on lap 16, Abe Huls took advantage of the crippled condition of the # 47s, taking the lead, and bringing modified ace Dave Weitholder in the former Brian Hoener # 5 hobby stock car along. Savage held on for third.
The UMP modifieds had the biggest field, 19 strong, and all took the feature green. Steven Delonjay grabbed the lead from the pole, with Michael Long in second. Following a lap two restart, Long bobbled a bit in turn four, dropping to fourth behind Weitholder and Justin Reed, now wheeling the # B4. On lap nine, Long retired to the pits leaving Reed and Weitholder to swap the runnerup spot back and forth. By the time the caution waved on lap 22, Delonjay had lapped up through seventh position. Two late cautions set up green, white, checkers finishes, on the first, Shawn Deering acme to stop while running fourth, and the Reed machine broke at the same time. Weitholder came home second, with Derrick Carlson charging forward for a season best third.
The IMCA sport mods again raced through a caution plagued 20 laps, with Tony Dunker making it 25 straight events of top two finishes at QR, besting Jeff Klingele and Jeff Delonjay.
The UMP late model count was only ten, and point leader Mark Burgtorf lost his engine in hot laps.
Dustin Griffin set quick time at 13.810 seconds, and rolled a " two " to start outside row one in the dash. Denny Woodworth outdueled Griffin for the ten lap win and the feature pole. the late model lawyer took the early lead, but Michael Long blew past in traffic on lap nine. Jason Perry jumped to third before fading late as the 30 laps clicked off caution free. Long became the first to win three late model features in 2013, with Woodworth, Griffin, Rickey Frankel, and Clint Kirkham turning in top five runs.
The IMCA sport compacts completed the night, with Laine Vanzandt and Pat Dunker trading paint the final five laps. Vanzandt took the checkers with Dunker getting out of the groove out of turn four, giving up the second spot to Kimberly Abbott.
Next Sunday night the ALMS late model tour makes at stop at the Bullring for a $2,000 to win show. Among others, young phenom Bobby Pierce has this sop on his schedule. Hope to see you there!