Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

August 23, 2011 - Clear skies and a full grandstand contributed to a good night of racing Sunday at the Bullring. Fan appreciation night succeeded in bringing out the largest crowd in three seasons, and mostly caution free racing allowed folks to be on the road home early, with the final checkers waving at 9:08. Even with the addition of a sixth class, the IMCA Northern Sport Mods, things wrapped up in good time. The only negative was that car counts dipped a bit from the last couple of weeks, but it is getting to be that time of year.

  The IMCA stock cars drew the smallest field of cars yet, as only five were on hand for the heat race. As the heat races were winding down, Abe Huls rolled through the pit gate, but he would still be outside row three for the 15 lap finale. That race ran first, and Andrew Griffin jumped out the a quick first lap lead. Andrew set a fast pace in what was a caution free event, as Huls mixed it up in a tight battle with Terry Houston, Aaron Brocksieck, Gabe Harrison, and Jerry Jansen. On lap 13, Abe eased past Griffin for the lead, and the two came to the white flag side by side. Huls was first to the checkers, with Griffin, Houston, Brocksieck, Harrison, and Jansen following in that order. it does seem that when the stock cars are on the track, car count becomes less important, as the evenly matched cars really know how to put on a show.

  Quincy Raceways is trying hard to let the Sport Mods make a case for being added to the weekly card in 2012, but the early results have not been particularly encouraging. Between their first appearance in July, when seven cars checked in for $500.00 to win, track officials convinced IMCA officials to allow them to schedule three more shows, award track, state, and national points, and crown a track, and Illinois state champion. So on Sunday night, eight drivers signed in. But like the stock cars, the feature race was a dandy. Seven cars took the green, as Moberly,Mo. driver Danny Lorton, driving the James and Lou Ann Maxey " Homes for our Troops " # 4 was not able to make the call. Former bomber track champion Jim Gillenwater, from Keokuk, Iowa jumped to the early lead in his sharp looking # 10. Jim stretched out a big lead before a lap ten caution brought him back to the pack. On  the restart, local favorite Tony Dunker, wheeling Chad Cannadys

# 15c charged to the top spot. Just when it looked as though Tony might end his feature win drought, Gillenwater slipped by, and took the checkers by 1/2 a car length. Another Keokuk driver, Rick Barlow, Jr took third ahead of Bob Woodrow, first night winner Joe Bliven, Dean Kratzer and Brandon Dale.

  The 13 car IMCA late model 30 lapper was next, and the tension was noticeable, with the points championship literally up for grabs. Justin Reed entered the night with a one point lead over Keith Pratt, but it was two time champ Lonnie Bailey who emerged with the lead as the feature came to the track. Lonnie picked up three points with a heat race win, while Reed. Pratt and Denny Woodworth, who came in nine points down, were shut out, and Joey Gower, who was four behind, picked up one point by virtue of a third in heat two. When the green flag waved, Matt Bailey came from row two to grab the top spot, and he began to stretch his lead as the field sliced and diced behind him. Soon Jason Perry emerged from the scrum and began to run down the younger Bailey. Woodworth climbed to third, while tenth starting Mark Burgtorf followed in fourth. After a slow start, Reed overtook the elder Bailey for fifth, as Perry drove by Matt Bailey for the lead. As Matt, Denny, and Mark dueled for the second spot, Perry checked out for his second straight win and third of the season in the non stop event.

Bailey held second, followed by Woodworth, Burgtorf, Reed and L Bailey. The finish left Reed and Lonnie Bailey tied for the top spot, with this coming Sunday the final night for late model points. Pratt is still in the mix, four points behind the leaders after finishing eighth in the feature. Reed holds the tie braker, with three main event wins to one for Bailey.

  Eleven hobby stocks rolled out for a 20 lap feature, with Tanner Klingele already loaded and on the road home after blowing an engine in heat race action. Adam Scott was looking to celebrate his 27th birthday with a win, but instead brought out the first caution on lap five, as he coasted to a stop in turn four with a broken front end. Bobby Anders once again found himself out front in the Mayfield # 21, as Brandon Symmonds vaulted to second on the restart. Points leader Steve Carlin restarted in the back after a trip to the hot pit area. Carlin had a tire go down nine laps later, but a caution for debris offered him a chance to again visit the hot pit. On  the restart, Anders came to a stop in turn four with front end issues, handing the lead to Symmonds. Jake Powers applied heavy pressure to Symmonds, but he held on to the checkers, giving Keokuk drivers two wins on the night. Jim Powell crossed the stripe in third, while Carlin took fourth despite his two trips to the hot pit. Nathan Anders ran fifth.

   Nine of ten Wild Things took the feature green, with Brandon Lambert failing to make the call. Heat winner Mike Hornung, Jr., another Keokuk pilot started on the pole, but was sent to the tail for jumping on the gas too quickly. As he tried to come to the front, contact with another car left him with a flat tire, ending his night before one lap was scored. Craig Bangert assumed the point when the green waved again, leading all 12 laps, although Casey Kendrick and Seth Woodruff tried to run him down. Austin Uppinghouse and Kimberly Abbott completed the first five.

   The final race on the card was the 17 car UMP modified 25 lap feature. former hobby stock racer Brian Hoener was competing in Dave Weitholders back up # 05, while Mark Burgtorf was entered in a black # 7B machine. Mark has only recently beun driving for former B-mod racer Craig Brooks, from Thompson, Mo. (think Mexico. )  But it was Michael Long who jumped to the early lead, with points leader Steven Delonjay in tow. With no cautions to bunch the field, Michael literally ran away with the win, weaving in and out of lapped traffic in expert fashion. Steven stayed in the same zip code, but could not close the gap, although he built a similarly big lead over the third place car of Burgtorf. Jared Schlipman, the defending class champ came home fourth, with Shawn Deering and Jake Griffin following. By my count, the mod main event took only eight minutes to complete! The win was the third in a row for Long at QR, and his third victory of the weekend, following wins at Pontoon Beach,Il. on Friday, and Memphis,Mo. on Saturday.

   As mentioned earlier, the late model points end this week, although the big cars will still be in action throughout September. The Sport Mods will again be on the card this Sunday, while Sunday September 4 will see the 360 CI Sprint Invaders in action. There is still lots of good racing to be seen at the Bullring, five more big nights on the schedule. Don't miss a minute of the action, remember hot laps begin about 5:45, and that first green flag  follows at 6:30. See you at the track!

 


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