Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans


May 15, 2012 - The racing at Quincy Raceways Sunday night was nearly record setting with over 100 cars signed in for only the second time in recorded history. But just as we were all basking in such good news, word came Monday night that the Northern All Stars Late Model Series, set to invade the bullring this Sunday, had suspended operations for the remainder of the 2012 season. The scheduled initial visit of the series in April was twice rained out, and that race had been reset for July. Now both events have been scrubbed. Still, racing will carry on this week with a regular show, and the classes that had been scheduled to take the week off will be back in action this Sunday. So the news is hardly all bad.

  Even with a higher paying show a couple hours away last Sunday, 20 UMP late models checked in to race, including two first time visitors from Springfield,Il., Brian Diveley in the # 11D and Roger Brickler in the # 82. Still this night belonged to local driver Dustin Griffin. Dustin cut his racing teeth at QR, the ventured out last season, coming home with the UMP Crate late model national championship. With the track switching to the UMP super late model sanction, it only made sense for " D Griff " to move up, and it has been a successful transition. Dustin started last in the first heat, but moved to the front to take the checkers. Based on the passing points formula to set the dash lineup, he started on the pole, with heat three winner Mark Burgtorf to his outside. In a near repeat of the week before, Burgtorf broke, this time as the green flag waved, when something in the rear end of the # 7B failed. Unlike the previous week, Mark and his crew were able to make repairs for the feature. Griffin took off on the restart, and claimed the dash win to earn the pole for the 30 lap finale, with Jason Perry to his outside. The middle heat win went to Clint Kirkham, who looks strong after blowing his engine in week one. All 20 cars took the feature green, but a lap one caution ended the night for traveler Jim Moon, who sustained suspension damage in his # 1. The same fate befell Gary Wilson in the # 155. Back under green, Griffin took off, and stretched out a big lead. Third starting Denny Woodworth moved to second and tried to catch the # 20 car, to no avail. In the closing laps, Burgtorf was able to slip by Denny, but finished over four seconds behind the winner. Week one winner Justin Reed ran fourth, with Diveley recording a top five in his first appearance at the track. It was also good to see Rickey Frankel back on the track after two hard early season crashes at other tracks. Rickey powered home in ninth. It was odd not seeing the # 33 of Keith Pratt pitted in his normal spot. I mentioned last week that Keith broke something in his engine as the feature ended, and the damage turned out to be serious. Hopefully the " Kool Kat " will not be sidelined too long.

  The UMP Modified count was 23 strong, with 22 taking the green. Early cautions slowed the action, but when things got rolling, Michael Long charged to the lead. Michael has been fighting overheating problems as he tries to switch from alcohol to gas, and with plenty of clean air, Michael picked up his first QR win of 2012. Dave Weitholder had a shot at the top after a lap 23 caution, but settled for another runner up finish as he continues his finest ever start to a season in the mods. Jared Schlipman ran third, while 13 year old Jake Griffin ran a strong fourth to go with a tenth place run in the late models. For his part, Long added a seventh in the # 56J late model. Jim roach made his first start of the year in the Mike Begley # B4, but had issues all night, while Tony Dunker debuted his open mod # 4 to go with his # 3 sport mod.

  The IMCA sport mods set a high with 19 cars checked in. Unfortunately, the track was slick when their feature came around, and with a class dominated by inexperienced drivers in ill handling cars, eight caution periods made it more a marathon than a race. Veteran Jim Gillenwater remained patient throughout, leading the distance to hold off Dunker, Bobby Anders, and Tanner Klingele for his second straight win.

  The IMCA stock cars also set a season high with ten cars signed in. Donnellson, Iowa driver Jim Lynch and Canton, Mo. pilot Beau Taylor made season debuts, and Dallas Center, Iowa ace Ty Hill, who told us at the car show he would be around for about half our shows, made his second visit in four nights. When the checkers flew, however, the front of the pack looked familiar. Abe Huls scored a flag to flag win, holding off Aaron Brocksieck, Terry Houston, and Jerry Jansen. Michael Larsen returned from his rollover the week prior to record a top five finish.

  Sixteen IMCA sport compacts rolled through the pit gate, but the # 2 of Michael Grossman did not make it past tech with his station wagon, leaving us with 15 competitors. Fourteen cars lined up for the 12 lap finale, which started off in fine fashion before the bumping and banging started. In fact, defending track champion Seith Woodruff drew a rough driving penalty, and was sent to the back mid race. From there, he looked to be on a mission, and with the help of a couple caution periods, Woodruff edged out Casey Lambert at the checkers for the win. Kimberly Abbott graduated from high school in the afternoon, then came to the race track and picked up a third place finish.

  The hobby stocks ran the final feature of the night, with 14 cars taking the green. Defending track champ Steve Carlin made his season debut, but was on the trailer by feature time. Jake Powers entered the night as the point leader, but clipped one of the tractor tires early in the race, apparently breaking a radiator, or at least a hose. Richie Wagy also lost a radiator, as he made his first start of the year in that sharp # 1 1957 Chevy. Tanner Klingele added to his sport mod laurels by picking up the win in the 20 lapper. Jeremy Buss used a strong runner up finish to take over the point lead in what appears to be a wide open division in 2012. Keokuk, Iowa driver Brandon Symmonds took third ahead of Nathan Hayes.

  Although a couple of classes had some issues, the final checkers still waved about 9:15.

  Remember, this Sunday will now be a regular points night, with all six classes of cars in competition






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