March 14, 2011

Past the Pit Gate


  by Danny Rosencrans


  The 2011 race season unofficially began this weekend with the annual Quincy Raceway car show at the Quincy Mall. Close to 30 race teams had their rides on display to the delight of race fans hungry to get started with the season. Quincy is fortunate to have a particularly friendly group on drivers who are always willing to spend time with those of us who enjoy "bench racing." I also had the chance to visit with track co owner Tony Rhinberger, who indicated that there has been some drying at the speedway, and he feels like a bit of warm weather and some March winds, the .29 mile oval will be ready to go for the first of four practice nights on Friday, March 25. In fact, an entire weekend of practice is scheduled, with Saturday and Sunday evening events followed by one more on Wednesday, March 30. This will hopefully set the stage for opening night, Sunday, April 3. All five classes will be in action, as QR has added the popular 4 cylinder Wild Things to the 2011 lineup. The cars will be running Lee County Speedway rules, and while there should be some local cars to start the season, most of the early competition will likely come from the north. While there were no Wild Things at the car show, the other classes were well represented.

   More than I can ever remember, it seems young drivers and veterans alike decided to change color schemes and in some cases even numbers for the new season. While none of the hobby stocks on hand changed numbers, Jim Powell and Bobby and Nathan Anders in particular debuted eye catching new schemes. Jeremy Buss and Adam Scott have stayed close to their well known schemes.

   IMCA stock car champion Terry Houston abandoned his familiar silver ride for a bright red backdrop on his new # 97 Ford. Aaron Brocksieck went a step further, with a pink machine, as he is teaming with the local breast cancer center to highlight the fight against this disease. Part of Aaron’s commitment is selling the ribbons on which you can write a name or a message, and have it placed on the car for only $5.00 each. This is a great way to help the fight and get your name on a race car! As part of his new design, Aaron has changed his number to 40A from his regular 04A.

   The UMP modified class had some changes as well, with Ben Huff adding a "zero" to become # 00. Steven DeLonjay has a great look on his #35, but it was Shaun Deering who seemed to be the people’s choice with his new look # 16. Trent Grotz not only had a new look, but was also able to show off a new addition to the family, son Arca. With mom Teri Sue a former go karter, and granpas Steve Grotz and Terry Gallaher, is there any doubt what the future holds for the youngster? Dave Wietholder had a new skin on the modified he has already raced several times this year, as he journeyed to speed weeks in Florida. Defending points champ Jared Schlipman has a sharp new look, while the # B1 of Vance Wilson looks a lot like 2010, except that he has moved back to mods after a year in late models. Vance was the subject of a feature article in the latest issue of Dirt Late Model magazine. Jake Griffin will be back with his now familiar # 08, while

newcomer Patrick Phillips displayed a # P65.

   Ten IMCA late models, plus the Jake Griffin crate late model accounted for the largest turnout at the show. Jason Frankel is back in style, and should be a fixture at the track once again. Justin Reed, who now calls Belleville, Il. home, has went to a basic white backdrop, a popular look in 2011. Justin is set to chase the new Q34 joint point fund championship offered in conjunction with 34 Raceway in West Burlington. The extra fund now pays a whopping $1500.00 top prize to capture the combined total points at the two tracks, the lions share of a $5000.00 total outlay. Nick Ingalls had his season end about midseason last year due to a crash, so he has changed things up by going with a cherry red # 5 ride. Mark Burgtorf has also went to a basic white design. Mark indicated he will be running more of a regional schedule again this season, although he will be a threat to capture the April 10 visit by the Derry Brothers Summer Series. The Mopar team cars of Bill Genenbacher and Jason Perry showed up, with "Wild Willy" featuring a multicolored layout, while Jason’s machine conjures up thoughts of Billy Moyer cars. Clint Kirkham is another who has went to the white dominated scheme. Keith Pratt debuted his 2011 GRT, choosing bright yellow with a green # 33 for a standout look. Also with a new GRT is defending champion Denny Woodworth, who stayed with his tried a true look. Rookie of the year Justin Jennings has added a “J" to his #56 black machines. Justin will get in one more summer of racing before leaving this fall for school in North Carolina.

   Everyone is anxious to get started on a new season on the redesigned QR oval. Racing in 2011 will begin with hot laps at 6:00 PM and racing at 6:30. With opening night less than three weeks away, it is officially time to get exited about racing season!



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