Monday, September 2, 2013

National Title Chase Resumes at Quincy

The Labor Day weekend show at Quincy Raceways had a different look. With the IMCA Supernationals starting Monday, the sport mods and stock cars were dropped from the card, while the MOWA 410 sprint cars raced for a $2,000 top prize. The four class program was a pleasant change. The start times were pushed back one hour to summer hours due to the heat, there was a lengthy intermission during which the track was reworked, and still the final checkers waved not long after the 9:00 hour. Of course, only having four caution flags total in the four main events made up a lot of time and made for some great racing!
 The evening started off with Dave Weitholder setting quick time among the 17 UMP modifieds at 15.283 seconds. The ironic part of that is that both Weitholder and Michael Long were slated to race Sunday at Tri City Speedway in Pontoon Beach,Il. A late afternoon downpour cancelled that show, and came early enough for both those drivers as well as a couple other mod hotshoes to point north to QR. Dave then rolled a " one, " earning the pole for the six car ten lap fast dash, which he led from flag to flag despite pressure from points leader Steven Delonjay.
 UMP national late model points leader Brandon Sheppard turned the fastest lap in qualifying at 13.978 seconds, then rolled a " four " for the dash invert. Jason Perry took the early lead before Rickey Frankel moved to the lead. On lap four, with Sheppard out front, national points runnerup Bobby Pierce pulled a turn four slide job to take the lead and the win, putting the two youngsters on the front row for the feature.
 Meanwhile, 16 year old Paul Nienhiser came from row four in his heat race to take second to Joey Moughan. Moughan took the early lead in the dash before Nienhiser blasted past, pulling away to a big win.
 The modified feature was up first, with 16 starters. Weitholder took the lead at the green while the back of the pack jammed up. Rusty Griffaw came from row two to second, while outside polesitter Delonjay settled in third. The yellow came out on lap two for Jeff Yates who had been shuffled back on the start and spun on lap two. The race then stayed green, with Delonjay challenging Griffaw in lapped traffic on lap 12. The yellow flew again on lap 22 for a tire kicked out on the racing surface, then again one lap later as Dean Vickers slowed while running seventh. As the laps wound down, Keith Pratt took his ride to the top of the track, moving to fifth.  At the checkers, it was Weitholder completing a clean sweep, followed by Griffaw, Delonjay, Chris Spaulding, and Pratt.
  The Midwest Open Wheel Association 30 lap sprint car main was up next. All 17 cars took the green, and Nienhaiser took the early lead before the only yellow waved on lap two. MOWA uses single file restarts, and by lap seven, Nienhiser was lapping the back of the pack as he pounded the cushion in turns one and two. Joey Moughan kept the # 9 in his sites, and he closed in in the leader by lap 12 as traffic continued to be a factor. On lap 18 Moughan blasted by on the low side, but two laps later Nienhiser used a breathtaking high side move to regain the point. When the checkers waved, the top two had a straightaway lead over third place A J Bruns, Jarrod Hull, and Jim Moughan.
  Bobby Pierce is known to prefer the bottom groove most everywhere he races, and QR is no exception. In contrast, Brabdon Sheppard likes to hit the cushion, so the feature lineup put both drivers in their preferred spot. Pierce led lap one, but Sheppard flew past on lap two. By lap 12 the leaders had caught the back of the pack, but try as he might, Pierce could not get close enough to make the pass, as his car seemed to have a push, especially in turn two. On lap 16, Mark Burgtorf found his way around point leader Denny Woodworth for third. The race went 30 caution free laps, and only the top four finished on the lead lap. Frankel took fifth, followed by Dustin Griffin, Perry, Ron Elbe, and Jared Schlipman. Former driver Justin Jennings made the trip home to wheel his family owned # 56J, but gave up the driving chores to Long when he made it back from Pontoon Beach. Michael dropped out of the feature early, as did first time visitor Dillan White.
  Nine of the ten IMCA sport compacts on hand started the 12 lap finale. Kimberly Abbott charged from row three to lead lap one, but on lap three, Austen Becerra made the winning pass. Skip Dunker had actually led part of lap one before falling to sixth, 2012 point champion Seith Woodruff  was back in the compacts while continuing to wheel the # 15V modified. Abbott came home second, with Dunker, Woodruff, and Brandon Lambert next in line.
 Next week looks like only Sunday night racing for me, but maybe I will see you Racin' Down the Road.

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