Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

July 9, 2012) -  The temps cooled off a bit and the breeze took a turn to the south for a change on Sunday. Unfortunately, the temps were still plenty warm and the wind dried out the track to the point that track crews took considerable time out after the late model heats to rework the speedway. The racing surface was much improved after that, but the lack of a cushion on the top of the track, much like Friday night, minimozed the passing in the premier divisions.  Still the nice sized crowd was treated to some good racing from the 81 car field( plus two KIDZ MODZ entrants. )

  With the preliminaries in the books, the UMP modifieds ran the first main event. All 17 cars took the green flag, and Steven Delonjay won the drag race from Michael Long to turn one. Although Michael shadowed Steven throughout the 25 laps punctuated by five caution periods, the one two finish from friday was reversed. Dave Weitholder was able to swap the runner up spot once with Long, but settled for third. Shawn Deering charged form a fifth row start to take fourth. Jared Schlipmans night took a bad turn, when he had to be push started from staging in his heat, forcing him to the back of the pack. He then moved up to second before a spin sent him to the back again. He then had to battle from deep in the feature field, finally overtaking first time visitor Kevin Blackburn for fifth.

  The IMCA sport mod feature ran next, with nine cars taking the green for the 15 lap finale. Chandler Owens led early, but clipped the front stretch wall and dropped a drive shaft. Brad Holtmeyer, Tanner Kilingele, and Bobby Anders all took turns at the front before series point leader Tony " Bone " Dunker ended the merry go round. A lap 13 restart for newcomer Cullen Thompson set up a green, white checkers finish, with Dunker cruising to the win, an early birthday present for girlfriend Marisa. klingele,Holtmeyer and Anders followed him to the checkers.

   The UMP late models were up next for 30 fast laps. Justin Reed was looking for a sweep after capturing the first heat and the dash. He also won the drag to turn one from Dewayne Kiefer. Kiefer was making trip number three from St Genevieve, Mo. Although Kiefer kept JR in his sights throughout, the outcome was never really in doubt. Reed tied Dustin Griffin with his third feature win of 2012 in the nonstop event. For his part, Kiefer now has one first and two seconds in his three visits to the Bullring. Griffin powered his way to third, with Michael Long and Springfield ace Brian Dively in the first five. Jason Perry entered the night leading track points, and borrowed teammate Bill Genenbachers # 72 for the night. Jason suffered engine damage during Friday nights special. Jason finished sixth ahead of Jim Moon, Mark Burgtorf, first time visitor John Beck, also from Springfield, and Clint Kirkham. Popular driver Jason Frankel made his first appearance of 2012 in brother Rickeys # 33F, but could not advance into the top ten.

  Eleven IMCA stock cars signed in, with some new faces. Joe Gerdes made a visit to the track, and Jim Powell made the move from hobby stocks. The word was out that Abe Huls would miss this week while on vacation, but the # 30C was rolling down the road beside me enroute to the track. Indeed, Abe was not on hand, but Tony Dunker was the driver on Sunday. While Tony was on the move early, the night belonged to Aaron Brocksieck. After two weeks away from the action, Aaron started last and worked his way methoically to the front on lap twelve. Dunker had been out front for five laps at that point, but after losing the lead, Tony looped his new ride. Brocksieck held on through the two lap shootout, with Gabe Harrison, Michael Larsen, and Terry Hoston following. It was Aarons second win of the season, his first since the second week of the season.

  A solid 15 car field of IMCA sport compacts signed in, but again it was the red hot Austen Becerra showing the way in his # 22. Brandon Lambert led early, but Becerra took over the twelve lap finale on lap three. Defending champion Seth Woodruff worked into the runnerup spot on lap nine, but could not catch the leader. Kimberly Abbott trailed Lambert in fourth.

  The hobby stocks ended a long night by running 20 laps even though only eleven cars signed in. Brian Hoener took the early lead, and held on through several restarts. Brandon Symmonds, who entered the night as the point leader, charged to second, but his pursuit of Hoener ended there. Tanner Klingele wrapped up a stellar night with a third place run ahead of Jeff Delonjay and Jake Powers.

  The big news in the pits on Sunday came from the # 56J Jennings Racing Team.Former driver Justin Jennings, who gave up his family owned ride late last season to enter NASCAR technical school in North Carolina has scored a ride in this weekends NASCAR Campiing World truck race at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. While racing on the dirt at QR, Justin also raced an asphalt late model at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with ocasional visits to I-44 in Lebanon, Mo. Justin will be competing in either the # 63 or # 65 truck, and I believe the race will be Saturday night on The Speed Channel. So if you are not at a race sdsomewhere, tune in and cheer on the youngster from LaGrange, Mo.




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