Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

 August 9, 2011 -  It was not a full moon Sunday night at Quincy Raceways, but it sure felt like one. There were several new cars in the pits and maybe that should have been an early sign. When I arrived at the speedway, the number two driver in national UMP points, Ray Bollinger, from Kewanee,Il. was already there. Bollinger and his # 77 has been the car to beat at Peoria Speedway this season. Also making their first 2011 visit in the mod class were Missouri veterans Roger Moser from Fulton and Bill Baker from Hannibal. Steve Stotler, from Ofallon, Mo. also made his first QR visit. In addition, Shawn Deering was back in his familiar # 16, although it was his 2006 " back up " car, which he will be wheeling for the rest of the season, while his "A" car goes back to the manufacturer for repairs. These newcomers helped to swell the mod field to 22, although only 20 were still running after hot laps. Steve Grotz lost the power steering in his ride, ending his night, and Vance Wilson blew the transmission in the # B1. Vance, who was already slated to pilot the # 11 late model of Jason Krigbaum, also hitched a ride in the modified of Ryan Morrison. Veteran Jim Brown made his season debut in his # 83 hobby stock, while Wesley Rensch of Rushville visited the track for the first time in his # 4W Wild Thing.

   The first feature to hit the track was the IMCA stock car 15 lapper. As has been the trend all season, we were short on cars but the action was intense. andrew Griffin took the early lead with Kelly Bartz in tow before yielding to Aaron Brocksieck. Soon, Terry Houston was in the mix as well. Brocksieck regained the lead following a restart, and stretched out his lead as the field scrambled behind him. Kevin Tomlinson vaulted to second on lap eleven, dragging his rear bumper, and held off Griffin for the runner up spot. Last weeks winner Abe Huls and Houston completed the top five. The IMCA late models took to the track next, 14 strong. The featured class ran 30 laps of caution free racing - sort of. Lonnie Bailey took the early lead after drawing the outside pole in the special draw, redraw format. On lap eleven, Joey Gower pulled alongside, and two laps later took the lead. Six laps later a hard charging Keith Pratt moved to the second spot. Meanwhile seventh starting Mark Burgtorf, making his first visit to the track in more than a month, found a fast line around the top of the speedway. On lap 24 lapped traffic became a factor, and Pratt moved alongside Gower. On  lap 26, it was Pratt out front, but by then it was obvious something had broken in the left front of his # 33, as the wheel had a pronounced wobble. Burgtorf moved to third one lap later, and as the white flag flew, the # 7B took the runner up spot. As a tightly bunched top five cars entered the final turns, there were two soon to be lapped cars also in the mix, and that is when things got crazy. Pratt, who said later that he had no brakes,may have got a nudge from the high riding Burgtorf, and all of a sudden the # 33 was flipping high in the air, slamming upside down under the flag stand. In  the resulting scramble, Burgtorf crossed the line first for the win, Gower was second, followed by Bailey. Pratt took fourth, crossing the stripe upside down, with points leader Justin Reed fifth. From my vantage point I could not see exactly what happened, and even those folks sitting directly in front of the melee had different stories. The end result left Pratt with a sore back and neck and a race car that is apparently " junk, " a tough break for the number two driver in the points chase.

    After all the excitement, we needed a bit of calm and order restored, and the hobby stocks prvided that with a 20 lap event that saw Tanner Klingele build up a big lead early. A lap 17 caution put Bobby Anders, still in Wes Mayfields # 21 alongside, but Tanner had the hot set up, and cruised to the win. Jim Powell had come all the way back to fourth after pitting on lap one with a flat, but he again ducked off the track on the yellow. Anders held second followed by Adam Scott, who had one of his best runs of late, p[oint leader Steve Carlin, and last weeks winner Brandon Symmonds.

   All eleven Wild things took the green flag, with Casey Kendrick taking the top spot. The caution flew on lap six, and on the second restart attempt, Kendrick slowed, turning the lead over to Todd Nelson. The springfield pilot survived one more caution to nab the win, with points leader Seth Woodruff second. Craig Bangert, Robert Thompson, and Kimberly Abbott rounded out the first five.

   Much of the chatter concerning Sunday nights races had centered around the modified feature, with Steven Delonjays quest for a history making seventh consecutive main event win the hot topic. The large field of cars, and the presence of not only Bollinger, but a returning Michael Long only added to the suspense. Twenty cars made the lineup before James Leffew went to the trailer before the green waved.

With the large field, the caution waved several times early, with Jared Schlipman holding the early lead. A lap four caution saw Deering head pitside with a broken front end, and Wilson pulled off, ending a frustrating night for him. On the restart, the third starting Long took over the point. On lap 13, Delonjay took advantage of a lapped car to overtake Schlipman for second. The leaders remained the same through two more stoppages, and with five to go, Jim Roach, running fourth after finally solving engine woes from last week, lost the rearend in his # B4 machine. As the top three geared up for a final shootout, Chris Spalding moved to the high groove, and began an eye popping charge to the front. He rolled past Schlipman, and came within inches of overtaking Delonjat before coming up just short at the checkers. Long picked up the hard fought win, Delonjay came up one spot short of win # 7, and Bollinger followed Spalding and Schlipman in fifth.

   There is no doubt that the large crowd on hand witnessed one of the most exciting nights of racing of the season. This week, the newly formed Quincy Raceways Hall of Fame committe will be selling 50/50 tickets to get initial funding for the organization, so if you have the urge, spend a couple bucks to get this long discussed project started. See you at the races!

 


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