Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

September, 13 - With just a hint of autumn in the air, Sunday was a beautiful night at Quincy Raceways. The late models took center stage, as the Summy Tire Top Ten Late Model Shootout for the top ten point drivers in attendance ran what amounted to an extra feature event. It was a 20 lap special paying $700 to win and $150 to start. The race was run after all the heat races had been contested, and the ten drivers were brought to the grandstand side to draw for their starting positions. With two of the top ten drivers absent, points leader Justin Reed, who was in action with the Deery Brothers Summer Series, and Clint Kirkham, who reportedly had his engine in Reeds car, the next two in line were added to the race. This would have put Justin Jennings in the race, but while Justins car was at the track, he was not. Instead, Michael Long did double duty by wheeling the # 56J for the night. Also, Darin Weisinger had to " borrow " a ride for the event. This turn of events ocurred when Darin traded his late model to Kevin Tomlinson in exchange for Kevins two IMCA stock cars. So Tomlinson was back in a late model for the first time in a couple of seasons, with his familiar # 49T taped on the machine, while Darin added and 11DW to the stock car. The end result was that Jason Perry and Ron Elbe were added to the Shootout, and Perry drew the pole position frisbee while teammate Bill Genenbacher secured the outside pole. Jason took off as the green waved and never relinquished the top spot, leading all 20 laps for the win. In a reprise of last weeks feature, Denny Woodworth came from row three to put the heat on Perry, but came up short. Matt Bailey and Joey Gower filled the next spots.

  In  the regular feature, Keith Pratt took the early lead, holding the spot until Dustin Neese spun on lap eight while running third. Woodworth was caught in the accident, and both cars went to the back of the 14 car field. On the side by side restart, second running Joey Gower beat Pratt to turn one, and grabbed a lead he would not give up. Keith held on to second, and Matt Bailey once again ran third. Perry was fourth, while Woodworth recovered to sixth place by lap 16, and fifth at the checkers. Long came home sixth in his first night in the Jennings ride. Michael has had limited time running various late models, but looked comfortable in the " fender " car.

 There were three different instances during the night where the lead changed hands on the side by side restarts, and reinforced my negative opinion of the second place car allowed to start alongside the leader.

  The featured attraction for the UMP modifieds was the appearance by NASCAR Nationwide star Kenny Wallace racing his Federated Auto Parts # 36. Kenny has been an occasional visitor at QR over the last few seasons, and is always a popular figure here. The night started out to be along one for Jim roach, who pulled off the track during hot laps. Jim then had a front row start in heat two, but lost fire at the green, mixing up the field. Jim then got an extra hot lap before the Shootout, but the car was still sounding sick. By feature time, the problem was finally corrected. All 17 cars started the 25 lapper, but after one false start, Jake Griffin was called for getting on the gas to soon, and was sent from outside row one to the back row. This moved Michael Long up to the front row, and he quickly put the # 18L out front. Again, things looked like a carbon copy of the week previous, as Mark Burgtorf grabbed the top spot on lap six. A lap 11 caution saw the lead change hands - see above comment - and for the next ten laps it was Michael up high and Mark down low. Then on lap 21, the engine let go on the # 7B, blanketing turns one and two in a cloud of smoke. The race continued on without incident, and Long cruised the final laps to his sixth consecutive QR feature win. Unfortunately, Michael can only gain points in his pursuit of the UMP national title from here on out by competing in 25 or more car fields. He is second at this point to Mike Harrison, a St Louis area racer. Steven Delonjay all but clinched the track title with yet another runner up finish. Jared Schlipman ran third, and Wallace, who started fourth and fell to seventh, came back to finish fourth ahead of Dave Weitholder. Folks wandering the pits may have noticed Henry Delonjay on crutches. The retired hot shoe broke his heel after a fall, and will be hobbled for quite a while.

  Weisinger did not have a great start to his stock car career, as his # 11 stalled in staging and would not fire. Andrew Griffin took the early lead, until a lap three restart put Terry Houston beside him. As the green waved, Houston charged ahead - see above comment - and blasted to the win. There was one scary moment for Terry, when he nearly lost the spot while lapping a slower car. Griffin held off Aaron Brocksieck for second, with Abe Huls and Jerry Jansen rounding out the first five.

  The hard luck award in the hobby stocks went to Jim Brown. Like Roach, Brown had trouble all night, but he was not able to find a solution, and ran only one slow lap in the 20 lap finale. Jeremy Buss jumped out to an early lead, and was in command until a lap six restart. Jake Powers then took over, and despite an apparently overheating engine, Jake survived several late cautions for the win. As the white flag was poised to come out, Brandon Symmonds went for a spin. On the restart, Jim Powell looped his # 48J going for second. And on the final restart, Buss got turned around while second, capping a frustrating night for him. The Anders cousins, Bobby and Nathan took second and third, with point leader Steve Carlin and Nathan Hays next in line.

   The Wild Things were short on cars, and only six were around at feature time after Mike Hornung Jr. appeared to lose the engine in in brand new # 7H in the heat race. Brandon Lambert took the early lead as he looked for his first feature win, but Kimberly Abbott had other ideas. Kimberly took over the top spot, and picked up her second main event win in a row.Lambert had a nice run for second, and Casey Kendrick crossed the line third. Craig Bangert and Seth Woodruff filled out the top five.

   This Sunday night will be season championship night for the UMP modifieds, IMCA stock cars, hobby stocks, Wild Things, and IMCA Sport Mods. The Sport Mods will be competing for the fourth time in 2011, and IMCA will allow QR to crown a recognized track champion. The late models will also be in action, with both IMCA spec and crate engine cars allowed to run. Sunday, September 25 will then be the final scheduled night of racing for the season, with the second annual King of the Hill races on the card. See you there!



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