Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans
July 18, 2012) -
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
# 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
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
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,
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.