Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans


April 6, 2011 - The 2011 racing season kicked off right on schedule Sunday night April 3 at Quincy Raceways. There has been great anticipation throughout the off season concerning the changes being made for the new season, particularly the reshaping of the track. The consensus among fans and drivers alike was that the early returns indicate that the changes were successful. Excepting a growing rut in the middle of turn one, the track was smooth and fast, and most impressive to this reporter was the side by side racing coupled with the fact that races were won from all three grooves on the speedway, a marked change from 2010. In addition, passing was done from the troublesome bottom groove - no longer will QR be known as a "follow the leader" around the top track. Another positive change from last year was a program starting on time - perhaps even a couple minutes early - and a final checkered flag waving just before 8:30. There were lots of happy faces leaving the

"Bullring" on Sunday. The next order of business will be to get the car counts up, something that should mostly take care of itself once points racing begins and word gets around about the improved conditions. That points racing begins in four classes this Sunday, as last week was a "mulligan", a paid warmup night of sorts, although the UMP Modifieds and IMCA stock cars did collect Illinois state and national points. Per IMCA rules, late model points will not start until April 24, however the late model count will number in the dozens this Sunday with the first visit of the Deery Brothers Summer Series tour. The third scheduled event on the 19 race series will pay $2,000.00 to win the feature race. Davenport, Iowa driver Brian Harris, who has not raced in Quincy for a few seasons, enters the two race weekend as the series point leader, while local drivers Jason Perry, Justin Reed, Mark Burgtorf, and Jason Frankel all sit in the top 20. After the Saturday Series race, Perry, Burgtorf, and Reed all ventured back to their home track, and all three ran top six in the 30 lap feature. Front row starters Keith Pratt and Lonnie Bailey led the first three laps before Perry charged from his row two slot to grab the lead. From that point on, Jason built a huge lead, as several drivers dueled for position behind him. Eventually Burgtorf took over the runner up spot, but could not pick up much ground, settling for second at the checkers. Defending track champion Denny Woodworth came home third ahead of Bailey, Pratt, and Reed.

  The UMP modified car count of 12 was easily the biggest surprise and disappointment of the evening, although I feel certain the mods will eventually feature the largest average count this season at QR. Even with the small field, there were plenty of heavy hitters in the group, and the action was intense. Unfortunately, Vance Wilson, back in the mods this year after a successful season campaigning a late model, was not a factor. Vance broke a water pump in his heat race, and scattered internal parts on the speedway. Vance said his Pierce car was bad fast before the breakage. On a personal note, Vance’s brother Terry, who as some of you know had a health emergency at the track last week on a practice night was in the pits helping his brother and father Gary, and feeling much better. Terry hopes to have his # 15 mod back at the track soon. The ten car main event took the green with second heat winner Michael Long on the pole, and he quickly checked out on the field. As a group of cars swapped spots behind, Shawn Deering was also able to separate himself from the pack and put pressure on Michael.

The caution flag flew for the first time on lap 20, and fans got to see the new NASCAR style side by side restart the mods will use in 2011. Still it was to be all about the # 18L, even as the final yellow waved on lap 22. Following Long and Deering to the checkers was Dave Wietholder, Rickey Frankel in the Mike Begley owned # B4, and Steven DeLonjay.

  The IMCA stock car field has been a source of concern over the last year, and we will certainly need to see more cars to keep the class viable. Still it is way too early to panic, and the action could not have been any better. Defending track champ Terry Houston looked to be on his way to a feature win, but Aaron Brocksieck had other plans. Sporting new colors and even a new number, Aaron took over the top spot and picked up the initial win of 2011. Ford powered drivers Houston and Jerry Jansen took the next tow spots ahead of Kevin Tomlinson, and Abe Huls, who was driving the # 10 his cousin Doug piloted in 2010.

  The first feature of the night was the 12 car hobby stock 20 lapper, which turned in to something of a runaway. 2010 points runner-up Bobby Anders jumped out front in the caution free event and cruised to the win. Tanner Klingele ran an impressive second ahead of Jake Powers, heat one winner Nathan Anders, and Jeremy Buss. Wes Mayfield has moved back to the hobbys this season, but suffered engine woes throughout the night.

  The 4 cylinder class returned to QR for 2011 now called "Wild Things" and running rules based around the track where they originated in Donnellson, Iowa. While there were a couple of local cars out already, the bulk of the field were Lee County Speedway regulars. While the first 11 laps were somewhat uneventful, the cars lived up to their name after the white flag. Race leader Bill Michel lost a wheel in turn two, handing the lead to Casey Kendrick who also encountered difficulty. As the cars came to the flag stand, veteran Fort Madison, Iowa driver Chuck Fullenkamp, who was third on the white flag lap, took the win. Chuck had raced a few times at QR when the 4 cylinders raced before, but this was his first win. Springfield, Il. racer Todd Nelson, whose has been a part of Mark Burgtorf's operation the past few seasons, took second, while Kimberly Abbott from Camp Point took third.

  All in all, it was a very positive start to what will hopefully be a fun six months of action at QR. If you were there, you know what I mean. If you were not, mark your calendar for this Sunday. With 40 plus late models likely on hand, we will hopefully have a chance to show off a great "new" Quincy Raceways. See you there! 





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