Sunday night was the annual Hall of Fame induction night at Quincy Raceways, and one already in the Hall picked up a win while a new inductee came back to race for the first time in many years.
The IMCA sport mods had the night of as a couple of our regulars were preparing to head to the Boone, Iowa IMCA Supernationals, so the 305 sprint cars were added to the card.
Jason Perry topped the 13 car UMP late model field with a qualifying lap of 13.770 seconds, and Michael Long led the UMP mod time time trials.
Nine heat races then ran off in mostly uneventful fashion, with no caution flags until the final modified heat on the multi groove, ever slickening surface. Only a persistent southerly breeze dampened the enjoyment of a nice sized crowd. Ryan Jamison and Robbie Standridge cruised to sprint heat wins,then birthday boy Brandon Savage, winner of the last three IMCA stock car features, was a no show in his heat with engine troubles. The two UMP late model heats turned in to side by side duels, with Denny Woodworth besting Perry in heat one, while Gordy Gundaker outslugged Mark Burgtorf in heat two. Hard luck Shawn Deering exited the track in turn three on his first mod qualifying lap, and despite a bunch of effort from a group of guys in his pit, he was forced to scratch for the night.
Six people were nominated for Hall of Fame induction, and at intermission, they were introduced to the fans on the front stretch, with plaques being presented to each. Long time Mr. Everything at the track, Bob Rhinberger, currently a co owner of the facility was a no show, hopefully all is well with Bob, who rarely misses a race night. John Blickhan, owner of Blicks Construction was honored for his years of providing equipment to the track, while longtime popular flagman Steve Blickhan, who retired a few years back, but is still at the track most Sundays, also joined the Hall. Three former drivers received honors, as well. Quincy native Sam Burgtorf was a dominant bomber and " A " modified driver, winning three track titles, and staging some great battles with another Hall of Famer, Hank Delonjay before hanging up his helmet while still in his prime. Keokuk, Iowa racer Charlie Milligan was a fixture at the track beginning when the facility opened in 1975. Charlie was a force in the full bodied classes, beginning in hobby stocks, and later the highly competitive sportsman division. His #14, and later # 29 could be found up front on any given Sunday. " Teddy Bear " later advanced to the limited late model class before climbing out of the car for good. The third recipient was late model hot shoe Sonny Findling, from Kirksville,Mo. Sonny was a front runner in the 1980's, finishing second in points I believe four times when the track ran under the NASCAR weekly raciing series banner. Sonny eventually gave up weekly racing to concentrate more on specials and touring series. Although it had been many years since the # 8 circled the QR oval, when he learned he was to be inducted, Findling decided to bring along his super late model and enter the nights races! Sonny now races only a handful of times per year, and said he has tried unsuccessfully to " retire " on a couple of occasions. And it sounds as if he is ready to try again, as he stated Sunday may have been his farewell race. All three drivers received warm welcomes and plenty of applause from fans, friends, and family, young and old alike.
Following the presentation, we got back to the business of racing, with five features to be contested.
The 305 sprints were up first, and front row starter Ryan Jamison shot to the early lead. As he stretched his advantage, Caleb Wankel and Johnny Huddleston were battling for second, when Huddleston began to spew a trail of smoke behind his # 8, his night ending soon after on about lap seven. On the restart, Wankel grabbed the lead for one lap before bobbling in turn two, with Jamison moving back out front. Following another yellow, Standridge moved in to challenge, and was scored the leader on lap nine. But two laps later, smoke began to pour from the Standridge machine, and his run came to and end on lap 14. From there, Jamison powered to the win, followed by son Blaine Jamison, Dave Getchell, and Wankel.
The IMCA stock cars ran next, with a couple early cautions slowing the action. Heat winner Troy Brierton led the early laps, before point leader Abe Huls took over on lap four. Huls slid high one lap later, with Jerry Jansen scored first on lap five. By lap seven, Abe was back in command as the pack sliced and diced behind him in typical stock car fashion. Huls claimed the win, with Jake Powers running a solid second over Beau Taylor and Nathan Hays.
UMP late models were up next, and with point leader Woodworth rolling a " two " for the invert, he started outside Gundaker on row one. Gundaker jumped ashead at the green, quickly moving to the high side of the oval, with Perry alongside in the low groove. Gordy pulled ahead on lap two, and on lap four, Burgtorf, again in the Rick Frankel owned # 33F, used the low side to take over the runner up spot. One week earlier, Gundaker had led the opening laps running down low, with Burgtorf eventually passing him on the high side. This time, the second generation driver from St Charles,Mo. stayed on the cushion, but the 14 time track champ gained a little each lap on the low side. On lap 11, Burgtorf easwed ahead, and never looked back as the race went 30 caution free laps. The win vaulted Mark back into the points lead. Gundaker ran second, while Perry held third. Mike Vanderiet Jr made his first appearance of the season at QR, started in row six, and finished fourth, while Matt Santel made his first ever stop at Quincy and gained three spots to finish fifth. After an exciting three car battle with Vanderiet Jr. and Santel, Woodworth faded to sixth. Justin Reed, Jamie Wilson, Bill Genenbacher, and Greg Kimmons completed the top ten. Findling was running around seventh when he pulled out mid race, the only car to fall out of the event.
13 IMCA sprt compacts took the green flag, with Brandon Lambert taking the early lead. The race was stopped on lap two when Rachall Rager lost a wheel in turn three, ending her night. On the restart, point leader Austen Becerra picked up the chase, and he and Lambert ran side by side and nose to tail for several laps. Meanwhile, Kimberly Abbott cleared traffic and began to run down the leaders. on lap eight, she eased around Becerra for second, and one lap later she powered past Lambert for the lead. Two more circuits saw Becerra in second, but he was unable to mount a serious run at Abbott, who picked up her second consecutive win. Beccera settled for second, followed by Brandon Lambert and Craig Bangert.
The UMP modified 25 lapper was last on the card. Michael Long shot to the lead at the green, building a big margin over last weeks winner Brian Lynn and point leader Steven Delonjay as they contested the second.spot. As Steven took over the runner up position, the caution waved on lap four. On the restart, Long took off on the very top of the track, while Delonjay hugged the inside line. Following a lap seven yellow, Delonjay took over the lead, although Long stayed with him, side by side, lap for lap until a lap 15 caution. Two more stoppages in the next three laps seemed to do in Long, as Delonjay pulled away in the final seven trips around the .29 mile oval. Long took home runnerup honors over Lynn, Craig Spegal, and Rick Conoyer.
The final checkers waved at 9:00 on what turned out to be a very pleasant evening, weather wise.
Next Sunday night, the UMP late models will be competing for a $2,000 top prize, as the season quickly winds down around the midwest.