Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

June 6, 2012) - Unlike many racing destinations around the midwest, car counts at Quincy Raceways continue to stay strong in 2012. By my count, 92 teams checked in on Sunday night for six classes of racing. The later start time for the summer months has not necessarily been popular, but it may have contributed to the best racing surface we have seen in some time. There was two and three groove racing throughout the feature events. It took just over an hour from the 6:37 first green flag to tick off 14 heat races and the UMP late model dash. After a short intermission, the UMP modifieds heat the track about 8:00 for the first feature. Ryan Morrison was a non starter out of the 22 car field, as Steven Delonjay made the call after missing his heat race with engine woes. Unfortunately, Steven was never a factor, and retired at the half way point, taking a big hit in the points race with his 18th place finish. As is too often the case, the early portion of the race was dominated by caution flags. Through it all, Michael Long, who grabbed the top spot early, stayed comfortably out front. Michael has been on a tear everywhere except his home track, but he changed that on Sunday. Michael celebrated his youngest sons first birthday with a night away from the tracks on Saturday, but more than made up for it with wins on Friday and Sunday. Dave Weitholder stretched his points lead with yet another runnerup finish, outdueling Jared Schlipman for the spot. Jake Griffin picked up a mod win on the asphalt Friday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, then powered his way to a fourth on Sunday. Earlier in the evening, the 13 year old charged from seventh to second in two plus laps in his heat race.

  After a lengthy mod main event, we are usually expecting a quick and competitive IMCA stock car feature. On Sunday, the racing was indeed competitive, but the yellow flag bug was an unwelcome addition to the race. Darin Weisinger, who has been fast the last couple of weeks, led early, but Terry Houston eventually picked his way to the front. Abe Huls had captured three straight flag to flag wins, but was a non factor much of the race. Still the Carthage driver stayed out of trouble, and when the checkers waved, he was in the second spot. Weisinger held on for third ahead of Jerry Jansen and Iowa visitor Ty Hill.

  The UMP late models were up third, with 20 of the 21 cars on hand rolling onto the speedway. Clint Kirkham, who has really stepped up his game in 2012, started fifth in his heat, and charged to second to make the dash. But on the dash parade lap, he suddenly lost power. Despite a lot of hard work, Clint was unable to solve the problem before the feature call. History was made in that dash, as Jerry Lierly and Dustin Griffin took the checkers side by side. While the crowd buzzed, officials checked the electronic scoring, and determined that for the first time, it really was a tie, to .000 of a second! Jerry and Dustin started the 30 lapper side by side, but third starting Jason Perry powered past both to the early lead. Jason had picked up feature win number one the night before at Montgomery, Mo Motorsports Park, and he stayed hot by leading the rest of the way to become the sixth different feaure winner in seven race nights at QR. Griffin trailed throughout the non stop event to nab second. Adam Mefford made his first visit to the track this season with his # 7M. It was only the third night out for the team, and he recruited veteran Nick Bauman to shake the car out for him. Nick really did some shaking, finishing second to Perry in his heat, and powering to third in the main event. Rickey Frankel started fourth and held the spot, and UMP national point leader Jim Moon took fifth. Denny Woodworth came from row seven to sixth early, but could advance no further. Lierly took seventh. The Richard Racing Team rolled in late with a brand new Pierce chassis, and car owner Lynn Richard said they did a real " thrash job " to get the car ready. Driver Mark Burgtorf was even later, after competing in a golf tournament with his son. Mark raced outside the top ten for much of the race, but found something the last five or so laps, moving up to eighth. With the flag to flag 30 laps, the first three features took one hour. Next up was the IMCA sport mods, and the mixture of vets and rookies made for a long 20 laps. The frustration was felt on the track, as well, with some flared tempers on display. In the end, Tony Dunkers win streak stopped at four with his # 3 in the pits, and Bobby Anders in victory lane for his first sport mod win. Vance Wilson ran a strong second, with Tanner Klingele, and first time visitor Tom Elson following.

 The IMCA sport compacts are fast becoming a crowd favorite, but the too struggled on Sunday. The 17 car field suffered through several stoppages, but offered up lots of bumpin' and bangin'. Farmington,Iowa ace Bill Michel led the distance from the front row, while Kimberly Abbott patiently worked her way up from row seven to take second over Robert Thompson and Mike Hornung Jr.

  Quincy hobby stocks again wrapped up the nights card, and, you guessed it, plenty of cautions. Seven of the 13 starters finished in a 20 lapper that had great side by side racing. Eventual winner Jake Powers and Brian Hoener went lap after lap side by side, swapping the top spot. Hoener soon began sparking off the front wheel, and was forced pitside with suspension issues after a spin that also ended the night for Tanner Klingele. Brandon Symmonds then took up the chase, actually overtaking Jake at one point, but he drifted high in the closing laps, as Powers held his line. Symmonds took second, with Jeff Delonjay scoring a season best third, and Nathan Anders was fourth. Defending champion Steve Carlin made his second visit to the track in 2012, and his first feature start, but was not a factor on the night.

  The final checkers waved just before 10:00, as the rain which plagued several midwestern Sunday races stayed to the north.

   Racing resumes next Sunday with hot laps at 5:45 and racing at 6:30. See you there!









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