Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

June 25, 2012) -   The action was nearly as hot as the temperature Sunday night at Quincy Raceways. The car count was down a bit, with 74 teams checked in, but with the thermometer reading 95 as hot lap time neared, who could blame anyone for taking a night off? The preliminary races were mostly uneventful, with the 11 heat races and late model dash completed in just under one hour, after the first green actually waved a few minutes early.

  Things took a turn to the more dramatic as the UMP modified feature came to the track. All 15 cars took the green, with Steven Delonjay taking the early lead from the front row. Cautions again put a damper on what was an entertaining 25 laps, with the yellow waving seven times. Delonjay led until a lap 18 stoppage, and then made a curious decision. He had been running the high line in turns one and two, but elected the inside position on the restart, giving Michael Long the high line. Irregardless of who is doing what, I am not a fan of the side by side upfront NASCAR style restart, as I prefer the leader out front, with the Delaware style side by side behind. In any event, Long powered to the top spot, and was in command until the next yellow on lap 22. Michael took the high side on the restart, but Delonjay moved up a bit, and there appeared to be contact. Steven took the lead into turn one, and Michael stood on the gas, jumping the cushion and falling off the pace. He stayed on the track, and then went to the infield to"visit" with Delonjay after the checkers waved. Never the less, Steven collected the win, followed by point leader Dave Weitholder, Jared Schlipman, Robbie Reed, and Shawn Deering. Craig Brooks brought his # 7B, raced last season by Mark Burgtorf, to the track for the first time, with Chris Spalding behind the wheel. Chris, who normally runs his own # 29, finished six in the main event.

  Next up was the IMCA sport mods, and although only 11 cars were on hand, they still generated six caution periods in the 15 lapper. The scariest moment of the night came when front row starter Aaron Penick spun in turn one on the start, collecting point leader Tony Dunker. On the restart, Joe Bliven took the point, before Vance Wilson moved to the front. After a lap eight restart, Dunker moved to the front, and he and Wilson then waged the best battle of the night. The two veterans dueled side by side for several laps before Dunker sewed up the win. Bobby Anders took third ahead of Bliven and fast improving Brad Holtmeyer.
 Order was restored as the 13 car UMP late model field came to the speedway. Jason Perry had captured the second heat and the dash, and jumped to the feature lead from the pole position. His lead was brief, however, as heat one winner Justin Reed took over on lap three. Since his feature win on opening night, Justin had said he had been “slower than the water truck.” Beginning last week, with a runner-up finish, he seemed to have found the secret, and he led the final 28 laps to pick up the win. The only caution came for Rickey Frankel on lap seven, but Reed was unfazed, lapping up through eighth position. Perry held second, while Michael Long rebounded to take third. Dustin Griffin was back with a fresh engine, and came from eighth to fourth, with Mark Burgtorf, fresh off four nights on the Summernationals Tour, taking fifth in the # 15R. National point’s leader Jim Moon ran sixth. Adam Mefford, from Jacksonville, made his first visit of 2012 in his # 7M that Nick Bauman raced a couple weeks ago. Adam indicated he would be an every other week visitor.

 The IMCA stock cars were up next. Ty Hill left the action early with a blown tire on lap two, and heat winner Michael Larsen and Jerry Jansen headed for the work area. This put Abe Huls out front from his row three start, and that was all the # 30C needed to pick up win number seven. After two more stoppages, Jansen found a good groove, and began working through the pack. He moved his Ford into second, and looked like he might have something for Abe, but could not mount a serious challenge, settling for second. Gabe Harrison and Terry Houston made contact in turn four heading to the checkers, with Harrison surviving for third, and Houston credited with sixth.

  The IMCA sport compacts have had their share of fuedin' of late, but Sunday stayed mostly calm. Early leader Brandon Lambert exited on lap two, with Robert Thompson taking over the top spot. On lap six, Austen Becerra took command. Austen came close to his first feature win recently, only to be denied, but was not to be denied on Sunday. Thompson held second, while Kimberly Abbott advanced to third. With points leader Seth Woodruff coming home fourth, Kim moved to within one point of the lead. Laine VanZandt rolled home in fifth.

  Once again the hobby stocks completed the card, with 13 cars on hand, 12 taking the green. James Lain made his first start of 2012 in Steve Carlin's # 9 machine. Brandon Symmonds and Jake Powers ran door to door early before Brian Hoener slipped by for the lead on lap five. On  a restart at the half way mark, Hoener moved up the track in front of Symmonds, and Powers blew by to take the lead. A caution one lap later gave Hoener an opportunity to retake the point. On lap 14, Jeff Delonjay caught the berm in turn two and rolled his # 32 onto its side. During the red flag, someone came from the pit area to check Powers car, and with this being against the rules, the point leader was sent to the trailer. Hoener, who has been bad fast but unlucky of late, picked up the win, with Tanner Klingele moving past Symmonds late for second. Another hard luck driver, Jeremy Buss, took fourth, with Jamie Bevill crossing the line in fifth. However Jamie was disqualified in post race tech for a carburator issue, moving Justin Bevill up one spot.

  The final checkers waved about 9:30, a definite improvement over the past two nights.

   The biggest week of 2012 at QR is on tap, with the Midwest Open Wheel Association 410 winged sprint cars blowing in to town this Sunday. On a personal note, I have seen these guys in action twice, and they put on a quality show. The UMP late models and IMCA stock cars will have the night off. On Friday, July 6, the aforementioned UMP Summernationals late model tour comes to town featuring a $ 7500.00 to win 40 lap main event. The touring UMP modifieds will also be on the card for $650.00 to win, and the hobby stocks will fill out the night. It has been a couple seasons since the Summernat's were at QR, and with our weekly cars running under the UMP banner, it is fair to expect a field of 30-35 late models, with names like Brian Shirley, Shannon Babb, and Jason Feger coming to battle our local  hot shoes.

  See you at the track!







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