Monday, April 4, 2016

Moon Shines at Quincy

  Summer like temperatures greeted a large opening night crowd Sunday at Quincy Raceways. Unfortunately, strong winds out of the south combined with temps in the 70's to create a July like night, with track conditions dry slick and extremely dusty. Opening night bugs with the computer system also caused a delay in the start time, but there was plenty of on track action once things got going. With the exception of the IMCA sport mod class, the car count was also a bit low, but there are simply a bunch of cars not ready to go yet, with a host of drivers spending the evening on the grandstand side. Rescheduled races from Farmer City,Il and West Burlington, Iowa also split the cars on what will go down as a very unusual April Sunday.
  There was a nice tribute to former racer and super fan Kenny Pratt, who passed away just days earlier.
  The UMP modifieds got the evening under way with qualifying, and the hottest driver in the Midwest, Michael Long set quick time.
  UMP late model visitor Mc Kay Wenger abandoned Farmer City for QR, and paced the 13 car late model field with a fast lap of 13.482 seconds.
  Long also captured the modified heat race, and rolled a four to set the feature invert. Defending late model track champion Mark Burgtorf bested Wenger in the first heat, and also rolled a four, putting Keith Pratt and Jim Moon on the front row of the 25 lap feature, while heat two winner Denny Woodworth joined Mark in row two.
  The first feature of the night was a 15 lapper for the IMCA stock cars. Abe Huls parlayed a front row starting spot into a flag to flag victory. The only thing slowing the # 30C was a lone caution period. Brian Hoener chased Huls to the checkers, while Jake Powers and Jerry Jansen swapped the third spot back and forth, with Jake taking the position. Ronolfro Zaracota was fifth.
 The UMP mods were up next for 25 laps. Top contender Vance Wilson watched from the trailer after
 dropping a drive shaft on the final lap of the heat race. Dave Weitholder grabbed the early lead, but Long used a dandy crossover move down the backstretch on lap four to take the lead. Michael built a nice lead before the only yellow of the race brought him back to the field. Back under green, Long eventually built a straightaway lead, picking up his fourth win already in 2016, and his 100th feature checkers at Quincy Raceways. Weitholder scored the runner up spot ahead of Shawn Deering, Rickey Frankel, and Spencer Havermale.
  UMP late models came to the track next. As the pack took the green, John Ketterer got crossed up near the flag stand, smacking the wall head on, ending his night. At the same time, Pratt clipped a tire, damaging the front end of his ride and sending him to the trailer. It took two more restarts to get going, and on lap two, Justin Reed, who pulled out of his heat race, came to s stop in turn two, taking him out of contention. Back under green, Terry Wilson was in the mix when he contacted the backstretch guardrail, ending his night. Through the early chaos, Moon held the top spot, with Woodworth applying pressure. With the laps now ticking off, Moon held the low groove, with Woodworth trying to find a bite higher up the .29 mile oval. Denny may have actually been scored the leader on lap 11, but Moon pulled back ahead the next lap. Meanwhile, row three starter Rusty Schlenk, the Michigan ( Ohio?) hotshoe who spent the weekend racing " down south, " slipped around Burgtorf and began to pressure Woodworth. This was all the help Moon needed, and he was able to stretch his lead in the final half dozen laps. It was an emotional victory for the " Moonman," who shared that it was the biggest win of his career, especially after four years of trying at QR.  Woodworth, Schlenk, Burgtorf, and Clint Kirkham turned in top five runs, followed by Wenger, Derek Fetter, Ron Elbe, and Dave Weitholder wheeling the back up Moon # 1.
  Next up was the IMCA sport mod 20 lap finale. Tanner Klingele put his machine out front, opening up a nice lead as a pack of four cars sliced and diced behind the youngster. Veteran Tony Dunker rolled around in fifth until " go time," and on the final circuit, he somehow split the cars of Austen Becerra and Brandon Lennox as the trio race down the back chute. Becerra tried to fight back through the final turns, but at the flag it was Dunker in the runner up spot, followed by Becerra, Lennox, and Austin Howes.
  As the ten car IMCA sport compact feature prepared to roll off, the EMT's were called to the grandstand for a medical call. Unfortunately, the quickest way to the incident was to park the EMT vehicle under the flagstand. As it became obvious that the delay would be a lengthy one with an ambulance being called, officials decided to send the 4 cylinder warriors to the trailer and schedule double features for next Sunday.
 With cooperation from Mother Nature, we will shoot for a triple header this weekend starting Friday night at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, the West Liberty Raceway for the IMCA Deery Brothers Summer Series for late models, and back to Quincy Raceways on Sunday.  I would like to congratulate UMP modified racer Donovan Lodge and his new bride, Shawna Weisinger Lodge.
 See you at the races!

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