Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

 July 17, 2011 - Quincy Raceways is finally on a roll, as Mother Nature has replaced Sunday rain with clear skies, but plenty of heat!  No doubt the excessive temps have taken a toll on both fan attendance and car count, but both were up a bit this week, and the on track action was intense. A solid field of 18 UMP modifieds highlighted the night’s activities, and they were first on the feature card. Unfortunately, much of the field was not on their best behavior, and although I did not count caution flags, I did watch the clock, and I had an unofficial time of 42 minutes to complete the 25 laps. And by the time the checkers waved, the track was shiny black at both ends! The frequent stoppages had little affect on the hottest driver at QR, Steven DeLonjay. The second generation pilot muscled his # 35 to the front early, and hit his marks throughout the marathon for his fifth straight main event win. Things were anything but smooth behind him, as the competitors jostled for position, and jostled each other as tempers flared, and sheet metal was bent. At the checkers, defending champion Jared Schlipman crossed the line in second, with Tony Dunker having a successful run in third in his second night back at his home track. Vance Wilson wheeled his battered # B1 home in fourth, and veteran Jim Roach climbed behind the wheel of the Mike Begley # B4 and rolled home in fifth. One of the interesting battles of the night was mod heat three, as father and son Steve and Troy Grotz dueled for the win. “Mack Daddy" Steve held on in the eight lapper. Dave Wietholder was strong early in the feature, but faded as the race went on. Before the races, Dave’s wife Tonya told me not to get to close to the # 05 unless I had a tetanus shot! She said Dave told her they would replace the body on the # 05 after 50 races. When I asked when that would be, he said Sunday was night 46, and they hoped to get to 50 this week. Dave is a true racer!

   Second up on Sunday was the 15 lap IMCA stock car finale. Eight cars took the green flag, and only one caution period slowed the action. As always, the stock cars put on a close, entertaining main event. Abe Hulls was able to get out front from his third row starting spot, and picked up his second win of 2011. Aaron Brocksieck, with the new body decaled on his pink # 40 grabbed the runner-up slot, with Kevin Tomlinson, Andrew Griffin, and Terry Houston completing the first five. When I talked to Terry about the intense heat, he said he did not notice it during the race, but sitting in staging with the sun beating down was tough. I recalled this as the stock cars waited out the modified marathon.

   The eleven car IMCA late model feature was next out for their 30 lapper. The late models had no trouble with the slick track, going caution free, but the lead changed hands several times. Throughout the middle part of the race, Denny Woodworth looked to be in command after charging to the front on the top of the track. Soon, however, Justin Reed began to close in using the bottom groove, as the top side "went away”. Denny dropped down to try and use the same groove as Justin, but could not make the # 45DW stick in the lowest groove. Once Reed made the pass, he pulled away to a nice advantage, grabbing his second QR feature of the season. Woodworth held on for second ahead of a closing Joey Gower, while Keith Pratt and the son and father Baileys ran fifth and sixth. The last late model to check in on Sunday was the # 56J of Justin Jennings. Justin was all smiles after his adventure on Saturday, as he competed in the ARCA series event at Iowa Speedway. The 18 year old entered the 200 lap race with two goals - finish the race, and do so in the top 20. Both goals were realized as he took the checkers in the 19th position. The 18 year old hopes to be able to enter some more ARCA races, even as he continues on the dirt at QR. He is enrolled in NASCAR school in Carolina this fall.

   The hobby stocks ran their 11 car 20 lap finale next, with everyone taking the green. Last weeks winner, Tanner Klingele became trapped on one of the tractor tires early on, necessitating a visit to the hot pit area. Nathan Anders led early in the # 20 car he has purchased from cousin Bobby. The driver on the move though, was Jake Powers. Jake has had more bad luck than he deserves, but things finally broke his way on Sunday, as he captured his first feature win. Anders held on for second, with point leader Steve Carlin third. Klingele rebounded to grab fourth ahead of Adam Scott and Jeremy Buss.

   The final feature of the night belonged to the 4 cylinder Wild Things. Eight of the nine competitors took the green flag. The total number of entrants in this class continues to grow, with Jen Reedy # 17 and Thomas Angelo # 23 making their QR debut. Now if we could just get everyone to come on the same night. Seth Woodruff took a scary ride off turn two in the middle of the 12 lapper, but managed to stay on his wheels, coming back on the track. It turned out to be something of an historic night, as one of our (young) lady racers picked up the win. Kimberly Abbott took the lead  on lap three, holding off challenges from Austin Uppinghouse, Woodruff, and finally Todd Nelson. Todd took second, Seth third, Angelo fourth, and  Austin fifth. According to my research, Kimberly is the first female to win a feature at QR since Mary Kay Allen captured an A modified main event in 1993. For those who don't know, Mary Kay raced several successful seasons in the # 8 before starting a family and turning the ride over to husband Ted. She is the sister of former QR champion Michael Long. So congrats to Kimberly, who has come close before, and finally found victory lane.

   For those of you hankering to try your luck on the Bullring, this Sunday night will feature spectator drags. Bring a helmet, your street vehicle and your courage and take a chance at a trophy.

   See you there!

 


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