Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

July 18, 2012) -  Sunday night was another warm one at QR. Even with the one hour late starting time, it is difficult to keep the oval from drying out in 90 plus degree temps. After hot laps, a watering session was added, and unfortunately the track got a bit greasy in the shady area in turn one. Then when the tractor came out to do some work, it broke down and was towed to the infield. After some discussion, the late model heat one cars came out and ran the surface in and we were ready for racing. With the extreme heat, the car count was down a bit in a couple of classes, but still 71 cars checked in to race.

  The IMCA stock cars numbered seven, but as usual, the racing was good. Abe Huls was back from vacation, and he took little time to stretch out a comfortable lead in the 15 lap feature. Abe picked up win number eight of the year, but the missed week will likely kill his championship chances. New points leader Terry Houston took second, while Kevin Tomlinson returned to the class to grab third. Kevin, who has parked his late model for now drove the Michael Larsen # 48. Michael is in England on business for his employer, General Mills, and because Kevin has been a big help to Larsen, he was given the keys to the # 48 for the night. Gabe Harrison nabbed fourth, and Darin Weisinger was fifth. Darin has his # 11D for sale if anyone is looking for a good ride. Darin has been talking about quitting for a few seasons now, but is currently enjoying one of his best seasons at QR.

  The UMP late models were moved to second in the running order, and the 15 cars on hand ran a quick 30 laps. Heat winners Matt Bailey and Mark Burgtorf also ran one, two in the dash and shared the front row for the feature. Mark won the race to turn one, and led all 30 laps for his second victory of 2012. It was his first in the Richard Realty # 15R, as putting the “open " engine back in the car helped Burgtorf turn the fastest feature lap of 2012. The race was slowed twice by cautions, the first for a slowing Justin Reed in lap 13. On the restart, Jason Perry blasted by Dustin Griffin for second, and he was closing on the leader when the yellow waved again for Rickey Frankel on lap 21. After that Burgtorf pulled away as Perry had his hands full with Griffin for the runner up spot. Jason held on to take the spot, while Bailey outlasted Jim Moon for fifth. Only nine of the 14 starters took the checkers. Michael Long was qualified for the dash in the # 56J, but when he fired the engine he detected a noisy lifter and shut it down to avoid further damage. Dirt track Hall of Famer Ed Dixon made his first visit in a few seasons, and was running strong in the dash when he made contact with the backstretch fence, ripping the spoiler off his # 50. His crew made hasty partial repairs, but Dixon retired early from the main event. The late model buzz has Keith Pratt headed back to action in a week or two, and Ron Elbe is finishing up a new ride as well.

  The IMCA sport mod count was a season low six, and Tony Dunker took just a couple laps to get to the front and collect his eighth feature checkers of the season. Tanner Klingele had issues with his # 73, and exited on lap two. Bobby Anders ran a strong second, followed by fast improving Brad Holtmeyer, Joe Bliven, and Charles Van Zandt. After starting the season in a late model, Vance Wilson sold it and purchased a sport mod. Now the veteran racer has sold the sport mod to someone from Auxvasse, Mo., and purchased a Harley! Vance is scheduled to be behind the wheel of Dad Gary’s # 155 late model this coming Sunday.

   UMP modifieds had the highest car count at 18, but engine woes knocked the feature field to 16. Ryan Porter hurt his power plant in hot laps, and Jake Griffin burnt a piston is his heat race. Jake was set to do a start and park in the 25 lapper in Tanner Klingele's sport mod for money and points, but the # 73 was in sick bay as well. a couple familiar drivers made first time appearances in the UMP mods, with Vance Wilson behind the wheel of Ronnie Woods # 53. Vance picked up the first heat win, but managed only an eighth in the feature. Adam Birck took a ride in Mike Begley’s # B4 - Jim Roach had been away at son Tyler’s wedding. Adam was running in the top five when he looped the car on lap eight. Going to the tail, he came back to fourth before pulling out with six to go. Jared Schlipman took the early lead before Steven Delonjay took over after a lap twelve restart. Michael Long followed Steven, taking the second spot. Michael tried valiantly to overtake the

# 35 in the closing laps, but frequent cautions slowed his momentum. A last lap attempt allowed Schlipman to move back to second, with Shawn Deering and Dave Weitholder completing the top five. It was the second straight win for Delonjay. What was otherwise a good race was marred by a total of ten cautions! If only...

   The hobby stock action was a bit intense, with aggressive driving making things interesting. Jeff Delonjay led early before Tanner Klingele turned his rough night around by taking the top spot. Both the top two points leaders, Brandon Symmonds, and Jake Powers were involved in cautions, and neither recorded a top five finish. Jake managed to grab sixth, while Brandon pulled to the infield on lap 13. Delonjay made a nice charge back to challenge Klingele, but settled for second, with Jamie Bevill, Steve Carlin, and Brian Hoener trailing. Jeremy Buss lost his steering with two laps remaining in the 20 lapper.

  Brandon Lambert looked as though he would break Austen Becerra’s' three win streak, as he led throughout the twelve lap IMCA sport compact main event. But on the white flag lap, the # 14L lost power, and Austen was there to pick up his fourth straight checkers. Kimberly Abbott took runner-up honors ahead of Seith Woodruff, Casey Lambert and Alex Baker. Laine Van Zandt was unable to take the green after his car would not fire in staging. Mike Hornung Jr had a different kind of fire issue, as his power plant caught fire on lap four, bringing out the red flag. During the down time, the # 1B of Kelsy Paisley overheated, ending the lady racers run for the night. Bryce Baker saw his top five run end when he lost a wheel on lap six. The final checkers waved around 10:30.

  Congratulations to Justin Jennings, driver of the # 56J for two seasons at QR. After high school graduation, Justin last fall entered NASCAR tech school in the Carolinas. Last Saturday night, he was behind the wheel of the LG Seeds # 65 NASCAR Camping World truck at the Iowa Speedway in Newton. After qualifying 31st, Jennings raced to a 23rd place finish, and was on still on the track at the checkers. It was fun to watch one of "our own" on the Speed Channel live telecast. According to his father and uncle, the team was pleased, and with sponsorship, we may get to see Justin on the big stage again. Meanwhile, hope to see you Sunday at the Bullring.




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