Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

 July 31, 2011 -  After the disappointment of the late rain shower the week before, Quincy Raceways was back up and running this Sunday night. The PCRA crate late model cars were added to the card as they completed a four track four night mini tour. The turnout was a bit less than expected for the crates, with only ten cars present, but in that group were some of the premier super late model names in the Midwest, as many of those drivers are doing double duty.

  After a quick runoff of the heat races, the UMP modifieds, with 16 of the 70 cars on hand, started off the feature events. Unfortunately, a quick, smooth feature is a rarity for the mods, and Sunday proved the rule, not the exception. A total of nine caution periods marred the 25 lap marathon, which saw several top contenders make an early exit. Shawn Deering has his # 16 being repaired from damage sustained at our last event, and he has hitched a ride in Ben Huffs'

# 00. When he drew the front row of the finale, I thought it would somehow be fitting if he finally got that first win in a strange ride. However it was not to be, as he was the second car to drop out after Jim Roach, who battled a sick engine in the # B4 all night. Meanwhile, fellow front row starter Brandon Savage, visiting with his IMCA # 47s, jumped to the lead. Brandon, who calls Keokuk, Iowa home, is the grandson of racing legend Ramo Stott, and he flashed the family talent in the early laps. The second caution came on lap seven, and Dave Wietholder went pit side with problems in the rearend of his # 05. After several unsuccessful attempts at a restart, Savage powered into turn one and lost the left rear wheel off his ride, stacking up the field. Jared Schlipman was in the fray, and spun out a drive shaft, ending his night. Steven DeLonjay, looking for his sixth consecutive win, also went to the hot pit with a flat tire. This turned the top spot over to newlywed Vance Wilson - congrats Vance and Chris! - but the # B1 also had a tire going down. Wilson held on until Robbie Reed took over on about lap 13. Meanwhile, DeLonjay worked his way forward, and took over the point on lap 18.From there, he collected that sixth win, tying Michael Longs track record. Reed held on for second, Jake Griffin charged to third, Wilson somehow held on for fourth, and Ryan Meyer completed the top five. DeLonjay, the college sophomore will try to make it seven straight this Sunday.

   After a long wait in staging, the nine car IMCA stock car feature came to the track and proceeded to run a quick tight 15 laps. With the red # 49 for sale, Kevin Tomlinson and Kelly Bartz have switched rides, and Kelly took the early lead in the white and blue # 49. Andrew Griffin then took a turn up front before contact between him and Abe Huls saw Huls take the top spot. Abe picked up the win, with Terry Houston charging to the runnerup slot. Griffin, Beau Taylor and Jerry Jansen all turned in top five runs.

    Next up came the crate late models, with Bobby Dauderman from Alhambra, Il jumping to the lead. Nick Lyons, driving the black 8 ball machine closed on Dauderman before contact gave Bobby the edge. From there, Lyons and Mark Oller had a raging battle for second, with Lyons claiming the spot. I-55 regular Tim Rataczyk took fourth, with " local " entrant Dustin Griffin fifth. Camp Point driver Jerry Lierly and double duty Jake Griffin took the next two spots, but legendary late model ace Dick Taylor did not have a good night, finishing tenth.

   The 13 car IMCA late model finale was up next, as we welcomed back Jason Krigbaum and Jason Perry to the fold. Only 12 cars took the green, with Justin Jennings done for the night after dropping a drive shaft in his heat. Krigbaum had power plant issues in the heat, and was the first car out of the 30 lapper. Lonnie Bailey also had issues early on, as he was unable to start his heat after losing oil pressure as he took the track. Lonnie had broken a valve spring his last time out, and had some undiscovered damage. He did start the main event, but retired early. In search of his first win, Darin Weisinger jumped out to the lead, before Denny Woodworth eased by to take the top spot. Meanwhile, Justin Reed was the man on the move, overtaking Denny and racing out to a commanding win. Woodworth took second, with Matt Bailey, Joey Gower, and Weisinger recording top fives.

   Twelve hobby stocks rolled out next, with Bobby Anders back on the speedway, now driving the Wes Mayfield # 21 as the " Taz Man " takes some time off. Bobby worked his way quickly to the top spot, but suddenly exited the speedway on lap eight. This turned the lead over to Keokuk, Iowa driver Brandon Symmonds and his sharp looking # 8. Brandon struggled with engine woes early in the year, but has been getting faster with the help of veteran engine builder and former racer Jack Evans. Once he gained the point, Symmonds road the low groove to his first QR win. Tanner Klingele scored the runner up finish, ahead of point leader Steve Carlin and Nathan Anders - in the former Booby Anders ride. Interestingly, Symmonds drives to the track in a street car decaled the same as his race car - complete with a race car nose. Check out this neat ride on the spectator portion of pit road sometime.

   As has been the case lately, the Wild Things wrapped up the night with a quick ten car twelve lap feature. Previous winners Casey Kendrick, the series point leader, and Robert Thompson held the front row. Kendrick jumped to the early lead and looked to be in control, as Thompson surprisingly fell back. But with three laps to go, Seth Woodruff drove his # 36 past Kendrick to grab the lead and the win, closing to within three points in the standings. It was the first QR feature win for the Carthage driver. Craig Bangert and Kimberly Abbott chased the top two to the checkers.

   This Sunday night will be headlined by a draw, redraw show for the late models and " rumor has it " that we may see a long lost track favorite back in action!

   Before closing, I owe an apology to another popular former QR racer. A few weeks back, I mentioned that Kimberly Abbotts' feature win was the first by a " lady " racer since Mary Kay Allen in 1993. My research somehow got sidetracked, and I inexplicably forgot about Sarah Woodhurst. Sarah was a main event winner five times in the now defunct Hornet division, and also picked up one checkers in the hobby stocks. Sarah has since put her racing on hold to attend the University of Missouri. Sorry, Sarah!

   The season is down to the final two months already, don't miss one night of action. See you at the track!


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