Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

 July 10, 2011 - The rain stayed away Sunday night at Quincy Raceways, but the heat was turned on both on and off the track. It doesn't seem like it should be time for the “Dog Days” of summer, but they seem to have arrived. Despite the baking from the sun, track crews did a superb job of building a racy, dust free surface with multiple grooves. Car counts were a bit less than hoped for, but again, I am sure the heat kept some drivers home in front of the air conditioner. As warm as it is in the grandstands, it is even warmer in the pit area, and even the young,

“In shape " guys were feeling it!

    There was an added attraction during the program, as following the heat races, Quincy Action Hobby sponsored a late model Dash for Cash, featuring the top ten in points in attendance racing 12 laps for a $200 to win, $75 to start payday. The drivers were brought to the front stretch and drew for starting positions, with Darin Weisinger and Justin Reed drawing the front row spots. Reed jumped to the lead at the green, and held the lead throughout. Justin had broken a rocker arm in his engine at the Summer Series race on Thursday, and was hopeful the power plant would stay healthy through the night. The # 1st showed no ill affects as he cruised to the win ahead of Keith Pratt and seventh starting Denny Woodworth.

     Following intermission, the UMP modifieds came track side for their 20 lap finale. The field was a bit light at 12 cars, but a high dollar race down the road robbed us of a few cars who were not in the thick of the points race. All 12 took the green, but a first lap melee took out the # 00 of Ben Huff, with Steven DeLonjay and Shawn Deering going to the back of the pack. Deering apparently suffered some internal problems, and he was not competitive before going pitside. Meanwhile, Dave Wietholder jumped to the lead. and after a lap two caution, things settled down as the green stayed out. Wietholder and Jared Schlipman found themselves in a neck and neck duel, and soon DeLonjay joined the fray. Steven was not merely content to vie for the lead, and he powered around the bottom groove to the lead, and his fifth QR win of the season. The victory was even more dramatic considering his # 35 suffered heavy damage the night before, and he was forced to come from the back with no real help from the yellow flag. Schlipman grabbed second ahead of Wietholder, and son Troy Grotz took fourth ahead of dad Steve.

    The 15 lap IMCA stock car feature was next, and as good a race as the mods staged, the stock car finale was even better! If you don't think seven cars could put on a thrilling race, you would be wrong. Kelly Bartz was having engine woes, and elected to give up his pole position to start in the back of the field. Jerry Jansen and Gabe Harrison got together on lap two, with both going to the back. Andrew Griffin grabbed the lead with Kevin Tomlinson in hot pursuit. Soon Terry Houston joined the battle, setting up a three wide tussle for the top spot, as Aaron Brocksieck closed in. On the final lap, Griffin spun in turn one leaving the others to slug it out. Tomlinson took the checkers first, with Houston second, and Brocksieck, sporting new red still undecaled sheet metal on his # 40, in third.

    The 11 car IMCA late model field rolled out next for their 30 lap main event. Incredibly, this was the first week that the point invert was used to line up the late models, a practice that begins on the third points night of the season. Justin Jennings and Dustin Neese had the front row, and Dustin bolted to the early lead after having captured the second heat win earlier in the night. Meanwhile, Woodworth, who once again started seventh, was the man on the move, taking the top spot on lap seven with Jennings in tow. From that point it was the late model lawyer in charge, as he became the first two time winner of 2011 in the late model division. Joey Gower moved to the runner up slot, with Reed, point leader Lonnie Bailey, and Keith Pratt completing the top five. Jennings had some exciting news, as he has secured a ride in the ARCA race next Saturday at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Justin is one of a rare breed who has both a dirt and asphalt late model program, and just last week finished second on Thursday with his dirt car at Memphis, Mo., and second on Saturday with his asphalt machine at Lebanon, Mo. You can bet I will be searching the networks for a chance to watch the youngster run in his first “big time " event.

    Keokuk, iowa driver Brandon Symmonds jumped out front in the 11 car 20 lap hobby stock feature before Tanner Klingele closed in. With the two young drivers duking it out, Nathan Anders hooked the bumper of Jake Powers, bringing out the caution. On the restart, Symmonds eased by Klingele, and with three laps to go, the two were side by side. Tanner had captured his first heat win of 2011 earlier in the night, and completed the sweep with his first main event win. Symmonds held second, with Powers working his way back to third over Jeremy Buss and Jim Powell. Point leader Steve Carlin lost a top five run when he spun to a stop in turn four on the final lap.

    Last on the card was the ten lap Wild Thing money race. Sierra Bueker had engine troubles early in the night, and Brandon Lambert scratched from his heat. Todd Nelson suffered front end damage on the final lap of the second heat, and only two cars finished the six lapper. But come feature time, all ten cars started, and the action was intense. Nelson recovered to pick up his second straight win, leading Casey Kendrick and Robert Thompson to the checkers. Kevin Baze was a newcomer on the night, racing a black # 7.

    Although the start of the evening was a few minutes late, mostly due to the heat, the final checkers fell just barely after 9:00. Hopefully the weather man will be a bit kinder next Sunday. Either way, we will see you at the races!







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