Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

September 5, 2011 - With the second night of the USA late model nationals at 34 Raceway rained out and rescheduled for Sunday, Quincy Raceways promoters deferred to the annual event and reset the holiday weekend race featuring the Sprint Invaders to Monday night. even with the short notice, both the car and fan count was not too bad. The second visit by the 360 sprint series turned out 19 cars, and the UMP modifieds was not far behind at 18.

 With the IMCA stock cars eliminated from the card this week in deference to the Boone, Iowa Supernationals week long extravaganza, the first feature race of the night was for the hobby stocks. Tanner Klingele, who has been perhaps the hottest driver of the second half after a rash of bad luck earlier in the season, picked up his third main event win of 2011. Point leader Steve Carlin worked hard, but settled for the runner up slot as he closes in on his fifth track title. Bobby Anders moved quickly to third, but could go no further, while Jim Powell came on late to take fourth. Another hard luck driver, Jeremy Buss collected fifth.

  The Sprint Invaders were next on the card for 25 laps of edge of your seat racing. Popular veteran "Flyin" Ryan Jamison led lap one before breaking a gear on a lap two restart. This turned the lead over to Jimmy Davies, who led about a dozen circuits before Joey Moughan took the point. As the white flag waved, Moughan looked to be in control, but Ben Waggoner had other ideas. Working the top side of the lightning fast speedway, Waggoner overcame a nearly one full second deficit to blast his # 84 into the lead at the checkers to the delight of the crowd. The close finish would prove to be a tease of what was to come. Moughan took second, with Corey Weyant, Jim Moughan, and the " Little Dude " Bobby Mincer rounding out the first five.

  The late models ran next, and unfortunately for the first week, at least, the experiment of adding crate late models to the mix and allowing tire modifications did not produced the desired results. Only seven cars signed in, with the lack of locals due in part to the just concluded nationals, with several cars needing repairs, and point champion Justin Reed on the road with the Deery Brothers Summer Series. The more troubling part was only one crate car - veteran Terry Gallaher - in the field. He was joined by Jake Griffin, who races an IMCA spec engine, but cannot compete weekly due to IMCA age requirements. Also making his first appearance at a weekly show in 2011 was New London, Iowa driver " Superman " Sam Halstead. What the class lacked in numbers was overcome by tight racing. After a lap one restart, which brought Gallaher’s night to an early end, Denny Woodworth jumped to the lead, with Jason Perry in tow. Perry made several early runs at Woodworth, and as the two raced laps 11 and 12, they did so side by side, with Denny on the top side and Jason down low. Woodworth then opened a slight advantage, but ten laps later, Jason was again along side. With the race shortened to 25 laps due to car count, Perry made his move, leading as the two took the white flag. Again they came to the stripe side by side, and the transponders let us know that Woodworth had the advantage by less than a quarter second! The third place finisher brought back a lot of good memories, as

 " retired " racer Terry Schlipman took a turn behind the wheel of Keith Pratt’s # 33. Terry showed no signs of rust, as he lead Griffin, Halstead, and Lonnie Bailey to the flag.

  With the crowd still buzzing, the Wild Things came to the track. Casey Kendrick jumped out to the early lead, but when Casey bobbled just a bit, Kimberly Abbott was in position to pounce. Our lone regular lady racer powered her sharp looking # 71 into the top spot, and looked like she would cruise to the win. As the leaders took the white flag, contact sent Robert Thompson off turn four. Although he seemed to be far enough off the track as the pack entered turn three, the yellow flag came out, and we went back to a green, white, checkered finish. Undeterred, Kimberly continued to hold off Kendrick, picking up her second QR feature of 2011. Point’s leader Seth Woodruff nabbed third ahead of Austin Uppinghouse and Craig Bangert.

  Under the heading of saving the best for last, the UMP modifieds came to the track for their 25 lap finale, with 17 starters. Only Lee Pruitt was unable to make the call.  Folks were still digesting the first mod heat, when Mark Burgtorf ran down and passed Michael Long for the win. In fact, Steven DeLonjay had also eased by Long at the stripe, knocking the # 18 out of the redraw and into row four of the main event. So with Bergdorf’s' car owner drawing the number two for an outside row one starting slot, it looked like Michaels four race win streak might come to an end. True to form, Burgtorf, the 14 time late model track champion, took off on a mission. As is often the case, caution periods slowed the race a few times, and rare mechanical failures took out point leader DeLonjay and point runner up Jared Schlipman. Long quickly worked his way to the front, and the heat was turned up, as similar to the late model chase, the two ran side by side for lap after lap, Burgtorf down low, and Long up top. Michael seemed to be better out of turn two, while Mark had the turn four exit figured out. If there were any lingering doubts about QR being a two - or three - groove track, Monday night should have erased all such thoughts. A couple of late cautions seemed to have an effect on the # 7B, as Burgtorf seemed to lose a bit of momentum. Long crossed the line first at the end of lap 23, but Burgtorf retook the top spot at the white flag. Anyone who may have left early missed the finish of the year, as the two former champions came to the checkers, and again, were it not for transponders, we would still all be arguing about who won. I certainly had no idea until announcer Doug Mealy passed along that Long had won by .026 of a second! Lost in the battle were solid performances by several drivers. Shawn Deering blasted through to a third place finish at the end, while Donavon Lodge, who has had a ton of bad luck in 2011, ran a strong fourth. Jim Roach dropped out of his heat race, but came back to fifth at the end. Also taking a turn in a mod for the first time in several seasons was Joey Gower. Joey needed repairs to his late model after the nationals show, but jumped in the # 2S of Ryan Morrison for the night. Gower came home seventh behind Dave Wietholder.

  Racing resumes this Sunday night with our five regular classes with some special attractions. For the late model crowd, the annual Summy Tire Shootout will be on tap. With no trophy dashes in 2011, the race will include the top ten in track points. For modified faithful, NASCAR star Kenny Wallace will be on hand to compete with his UMP modified. " Herman, " as he is known, will be available for autographs in the pits following the races. For those who do not remember, Kenny made his first ever appearance on dirt at QR in a Jody Wood owned late model. Does anyone remember the year? See you at the track!


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