Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans


April 12, 2011 - After a successful opening night at Quincy Raceways, anticipation was high for last Sunday nights visit by the IMCA late model Deery Brothers Summer Series tour. A solid field of 35 late models signed in to vie for the $2,000 top prize awarded after a scheduled 40 lap feature. The first visit by the tour to QR in 2011 was stop number three on the 19 race schedule, and came one day after the Slocum 50 at 34 Raceway in west Burlington, Iowa. The car count at QR would likely have been a bit higher if not for more than usual breakage on Saturday. In fact, former Quincy race winners Rob Toland and Jeff Aikey, both who had problems at 34, were no shows. Still it was a quality group that made the trip south despite a less than favorable forecast for the evening hours. Four heat races and two B-mains filled 20 spots, and a hard charger and three points provisionals completed the 24 car grid. The first feature on the night was the UMP Modifieds, with 18 of the 19 cars taking the green flag for a scheduled 25 laps. Only the 1x of Travis Griffith missed the call, as his power plant lost oil pressure in his heat race. Unfortunately, the mods reverted back to one of their caution fests, and although the racing up front was top notch, the frequent yellow flags put a damper on the action. With storms closing in, the crowd grew more restless, and when the time limit was reached after 19 laps, a collective sigh of relief was evident. Until that point the action was intense, with defending track champion Jared Schlipman using the fast middle groove to hold off a hard charging Michael Long, who tried the top side of the track to move to the front. Michael could not find the bite he needed, and slowly slipped back before contact on the track left him with a tenth place finish. Dave Wietholder dogged the front runners throughout, settling for a runner up finish. Vance Wilson had his # B1 back together, running a strong third, holding off Tony Dunker, who made his season debut. Tony has become something of a lightening rod with fans at the speedway, some love him, some don't, but he is always exciting to watch!

  The hobby stocks were the second feature on the track, and lightning was flashing as the 12 cars ran their 20 lap finale. Fortunately, they were on good behavior, and ran a smooth, quick race. For the second week in a row, Bobby Anders moved quickly to the front and held off all comers for the win. Wes Mayfield shadowed Bobby throughout, with Nathan Anders in third. Brandon Symmonds finally got his # 8 running right and grabbed the fourth slot. Nathan Hays made his season debut, and rolled through the pit gate without so much as a number on his new ride. The crew was busy finishing up the # 11 as race time approached.

  To the delight of the crowd, the late models rolled out next, and with the threatening skies, all prerace ceremonies were dispensed with, and the green flag was waved quickly. With 14 time track champion Mark Burgtorf having pulled the number one spoon giving him the pole position for the finale, most thought the race would be for second. Still there was plenty big names up front, with Iowa hotshoe Andy Eckrich on the outside pole, and defending series champ Ray Guss Jr. lurking in row three and current series point leader Tom Darbyshire in row four. But it was row two starter and second generation racer Matt Bailey who quickly moved up to challenge Burgtorf after the only caution of the race on lap ten, overtaking Eckrich and Tyler Bruening in the process. On lap 12, Bailey eased his # 52 underneath Mark, grabbing a lead he would not relinquish. Burgtorf could pull alongside in the corners, but Bailey pulled away down the chutes until Matt made a nifty move in lapped traffic to open up a little breathing room, racing to a one plus second win. Terry Neal pushed his # 28c around Justin Reed for third; spoiling a top three sweep for QR regulars. Bruening and Guss completed the top six. Two of three Genenbacher Racing team cars made the show, with Jason Perry running seventh, and Jason Frankel bringing out the only caution when he lost a drive shaft on lap 11. Bill Genenbacher sat out the night, as he was having engine issues on Saturday night.

  The IMCA stock cars were next on the card, and showed seven strong this week, a slight increase over week one. The action again was intense, with back and forth action. The final two laps saw the top three swapping places, and for the second week in a row, Aaron Brocksieck nabbed the win, this time by inches over Andrew Griffin, who was making his season debut. Early leader Terry Houston was right there in third, and fellow Ford fanatic Jerry Jansen was fourth. Other newcomers this week were veteran Kelly Bartz in the # 49KB, and Warsaw, IL. driver Gabe Harrison in # 99.

  The 4 cylinder Wild Things ran the final feature, and they also showed several new drivers this week. Casey Kendrick came close to the win one week ago, and this week he made up for it with the victory. Todd Nelson, a member of the Burgtorf racing crew, blasted home in second, followed by Craig Bangert and Seth Woodruff. The Wild Things have the potential to be a fun class if the car count can grow just a bit more.

  The racing surface was even better than week one, staying smooth and fast. Hopefully the south wind we have had the first two nights will ease up, and the dust cloud will cease to be a problem. All in all, 2011 is off to a good start. If you have not been to QR yet, make plans for this Sunday. See you there!






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