Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

 

May 28, 2012 - A solid total of 84 race teams checked in for the holiday weekend race night at Quincy Raceways. With a high paying UMP late model special a couple hours down the road, we thought we might be a bit short in that class, but 16 teams came to do battle. In fact, we had one first timer for 2012. Steve Lance Jr., a veteran driver from Cuba, Il. brought his # 25 to QR for the evening. The second generation driver is no stranger to the Broadway Bullring, and had in fact indicated that he would be paying us the occasional visit this season. starting in row three of the first heat, he followed Mark Burgtorf in the #7B and Jason Perry to the checkers, and was qualified for the dash. However he found a broken valve spring in his engine, ending his night early. Jim Moon has been making the long tow from Mt Auburn, Il. to QR each Sunday, and this week took over the national UMP super late model points lead. Jim grabbed the second heat win over Justin Reed and Denny Woodworth. But this night belonged to Burgtorf, who was actually one of the competitors we thought might go south for the night. The 14 time track champion captured the trophy dash win, and led all 30 laps of the late model feature. It was his second victory of the weekend, and first this season at QR. Mark told me before the races began that Lynn Richard, his car owner in the 15R ride has purchased another car, so Mark now has three late models at his disposal. In the main event, he had built a big lead before the only caution waved on lap 23. The allowed Woodworth to restart to his outside, but the low groove was the quick way around the speedway by this time, and Burgtorf was not giving it up. The racing attorney tried to build momentum up high, but settled for a runner up finish, his best of 2012. Outside row one starter Jason Perry recovered from a bad start, rebounding to third, with Moon fourth and the winner the previous two weeks, Dustin Griffin, in fifth. Burgtorf lapped up through 11th place before the caution bunched the field. Only eight IMCA stock cars turned out, a bit disappointing on a holiday weekend, but again there racing was top notch. Heat race issues left Michael Larsen with a badly damaged ride, and Terry Houston in the pits with a flat tire. Darin Weisinger turned in a strong run in capturing the heat win. Come feature time, Houston got tangled up at the start, but to his credit, did not bring out a caution, instead choosing to run down the leaders. The only stoppage of the 15 lapper came when Larsen spun, collecting Gabe Harrison. Aaron Brocksieck then hustled to the hot pit with a flat, and Houston was suddenly in the mix. However Abe Huls was the man on a rail, and he stayed out front for a flag to flag win. Jerry Jansen and Weisinger had a spirited duel for second, finishing in that order, with Houston fourth and Harrison fifth after Brocksieck jumped the turn four cushion late.

  Ten hobby stocks started their 15 lap finale with Brian Hoener on the trailer early in the night. The hobbys ran a caution free race, with Brandon Symmonds working the slick track to perfection in the final race of the night. He grabbed the lead early after a battle with Nathan Anders, and never wavered. The Keokuk, Iowa pilot is one of the smoothest drivers at QR, and was at the top of his game on Sunday. Pointís leader Jake Powers was able to get close enough to give Symmonds a bumper shot mid race, but settled for second ahead of Jeff Klingele, Anders, and Jeremy Buss.

  A season high and possibly record 18 IMCA sport compacts came to race on Sunday. I wish I knew what has caused the sudden unanticipated rise in car counts in the 4 cylinder class after years of low numbers, but the result has been entertaining racing. Unfortunately, some of the competitors seem to get distracted by one on one rivalry, but that only adds to the excitement! the much improved tandem of Brandon and Casey Lambert captured the first two heat wins, with Robert Thompson taking an unprecedented third heat checkers. Brandon pulled off the track at the start of the 12 lap finale, and Thompson also had issues, but Casey Lambert ran near the front throughout. The race was slowed a few times by cautions, including a major pile up near the half way point. Meanwhile, Fort Madison, Iowa pilot Chuck Fullenkamp marched toward the front, taking the win ahead of Lambert. Andrew Davis, Thomas Angelo, and defending champion Seith Woodruff rounded out the top five. Woodruff again found himself at the back after getting caught up in an accident, but he ran out of laps in fifth. After the checkers waved, there was even some on track "discussion" involving an unhappy driver!

  As seems to be the case way too often, it was the open wheel classes that put a damper on the action. I have quit counting cautions in the modified classes - Stevie Dirt can have that job - but there are enough to make the racing somewhat anti-climatic. The IMCA sport mod class, made up of a handful of veteran racers and a bunch of inexperienced rookies, hit the time limit - in this case, 25 minutes, one minute per lap plus five - at the six lap mark. Somehow they then managed to click off the remaining 14 laps caution free. Patience needs to be the buzz word for the sport mods, but unfortunately patience is not necessarily a trade mark of present day race fans! Hobby stock veteran Bobby Anders led those first six laps, eventually drifting up the track, allowing Tony Dunker to power by. Tony picked up his fourth QR checkers of the year, with Anders holding off Vance Wilson for second. For Vance, it was his second week in the sport mod, which he re-skinned this week and is now carrying his # B1. Brandon Dale ran fourth, and Joe Bliven was back in his # 20JB to take home fifth.

  If the UMP modifieds did not hit the time limit, it had to have been close, as the nightís first feature was an endurance race as well. After one early caution resulted in a long delay to clear the track, former champion Jared Schlipman took off at the front. The 42s team has been having trouble getting the car to work, but Jared was hooked up on Sunday. A lap six collision between Steven Delonjay and Dave Weitholder ended Daveís night, saddling him with 12th place finish. With Steven holding on for second, the pointís race is now tied at the top between those two. As for Schlipman, it was his first win of 2012. Shawn Deering ran a steady third. Robbie Reed suffered body damage to his # 28, but crossed the line in fourth, while Jake Griffin completed the top five. Russ Coultas finished his heat race third in a cloud of smoke, but came back to finish seventh in the finale. Steve Theivagt, from Virginia, Il. was not so lucky, as he appeared to blow an engine in his heat.

  Starting this week, the races will be pushed back one hour, with hot laps at 5:45, with the summer heat and setting sun a factor. It will be even more important for the nightís events to be run off in a timely manner - school may be out, but Monday morning will still come early for some. Here's hoping everyone will learn to drive with their head as well as their foot, and we can all continue to enjoy Sunday nights at the Bullring. See you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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