Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

 

  March 22, 2012 - The 2012 racing season kicked off this weekend with the annual car show at the Quincy Mall. A large group of 38 race teams were on hand to diplay their shiny new rides as we continue to count down to opening night, Sunday April1.

  Ten late models were on display as the track prepares for its first season of racing under the UMP sanction. Unlike the spec engine and single tire IMCA rules package, United Midwest Promoters features " open " rules. QR will be the only Sunday night late model UMP track around, and the general consensus is that car counts should be noticeably larger than in 2011. 2011 point champion Justin Reed was on hand to showcase his new ride, and the young man conceded that the new rules package will create a bit of a learning curve. " JR " has already mapped out a tentative 50 race schedule for this season, so he should be more than comfortable before long. Point runner up Denny Woodworth had his new # 45DW on hand, as well. Denny has competed regularly with the " open " cars for several seasons, and should be strong right out of the gate. Matt Bailey will be competing with his spec engine, and will race with the IMCA on Saturdays, then make changes to race QR on Sundays. Vance Wilson will be back in a late model for 2012, featuring a sharp looking black and blue # B1. Just past his 13th birthday, Jake Griffin will be able to race in both the late model and A modified classes this season at the Bullring. Jake will also begin his asphalt late model career, racing on Friday nights in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Fresh off a UMP Pro Crate late model championship, Dustin Griffin will make his return to QR for 2012. Terry Gallaher, Jason Perry, Clint Kirkham, and Keith Pratt also showed up to display their race machines.

  There were 15 modifieds on hand, as this season marks the first full season for the IMCA sanctioned sport mods, joing the UMP A -mods on the card. Veteran ace Tony Dunker will be camapigning in both classes, his familiar # 4 in the " A"s, and # 3 with the sport mods. Point champion Steven Delonjay will again have tough competition from Jared Schlipman, Shawn Deering, Troy Grotz, and the racing machine, Dave Weitholder, who has already hung a new body on his # 05 after a couple weeks of hard racin' in Florida in February.

  As has been the case on race nights, the stock car turnout was a bit light, but one note of interest was the appearance of the # 3H car of Ty Hill. Ty is a Unity High School grad who now lives in central Iowa and calls Boone Speedway his home track. However his parents still live near Ursa, and Ty, who has raced a handful of times at QR, plans to come visiting this season, and hopes to make at least half the nights at QR.

  Kim Abbott, Craig Bangert and Brandon Gallaher represented the Wild Things, and it is good to see these young folks putting a lot of effort in presenting good looking rides.

  Unlike fellow scribe Stevie Dirt, I usually shy away from touting a particular car as a best appearing, but this season I will have the break that tradition. As a child of the fifties, I was truly taken aback when i rounded the corner and first laid eyes on Richie Wagys # 1 1957 Chevy hobby stock.I never seem to make it to any shows where the vintage cars are on the program, and it has been years since I saw one of these very special machines circle the track. So I must confess that I will be secretely rooting for the # 1 to not get torn up, and run well enough to be in the pits every Sunday. If you did not catch a peek of this fine machine over the weekend, look for it on opening night. One driver who will be missing from the hobby class in 2012 is Bobby Anders. 2011 second half partners Anders and Wes Mayfield have teamed up to build a sport mod for this year. They will campaign # 20BA, not to be confused with Joe Blivens # 20JB.

 Weather permitting, open practices are scheduled for March 25, 27, and 29 ahead of opening night on April 1. Check the Quincy Raceways website for times, and we will see you there!

 

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