Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

August 21, 2012) -  There was bonus racing Sunday night at the Bullring, with eight feature events showcasing eight different winners. The week previous, I had to be out of town, so ol' Mother Nature saved some racing for me, washing out the final nine laps of the hobby stock feature, and the IMCA sport compact main event. So after hot laps, the remaining nine hobby stocks came to the track with Tanner Klingele out front. The youngster set the pace until the pack came out of turn four to the checkers, when Brian Hoener hooked up his # 5 on the high side and won the drag race to the stripe. The top two in points, Jake Powers and Brandon Symmonds completed the top four.

  Next came the sport compact make up 12 lapper, with eleven returnees taking the green. Track conditions were not what the 4 cylinders are used to running on at the end of the night, and though the track was not yet real slick, it did make for some excitement. In the worst mishap, points runner up Kimberly abbott got sideways in turn one and took a hard hit from our other lady racer, Kelsy Paisley. Both cars were done for the night. Brandon Lambert showed both speed and patience, taking the feature win over Pat Dunker, second half sensation austin Becerra, and point leader Seth Woodruff. As the evening wore on, the Abbott crew tried to make repairs to the # 71, but when it became obvious there was too much damage, Dunker offered up his ride to Kim, so she could stay in the points chase. More on this later, but " Skippy " definitely deserves an " atta boy " for the gesture.

  The IMCA stock cars started off the regular portion of the racing, and things started poorly for Abe Huls, who suffered a flat tire in the heat race, where Beau Taylor nabbed his first win of the season. The DNF put Huls at the back of the feature lineup, and following a lap one caution, Michael Larsen took over the point in pursuit of his first feature win to go along with his nine heat victories. After a couple false starts, the race stayed green, and Larsen stayed smooth, taking a convincing win, his first in five seasons. Following his first lap spin, Gabe Harrison advanced to second, only to lose the spot to Huls coming out of turn four to the checkers. Jerry Jansen came home in fourth.

  The IMCA sport mod class was short on entries, with ten, but boasted a couple of newcomers. Nathan Anders rolled out a # 22, while James Maxey came to town from Holliday, Mo. The 15 lap finale was business as usual, however. Charles VanZandt paced the field on lap one, Bobby anders then took over until lap five, when Tony Dunker took control. After a false start at the drop of the green, the open wheel boys stayed green almost to the end. As Dunker was rounding turn three headed to the checkers, Chandler Owens spun in turn four. Curiously, at least to me, the yellow waved instead of the checkers, and the race was sent to a green, white, checkers finish, with the field noe caught up to Dunker. No problem for # 3, however, as he cruised to win number eleven of 2012. Anders held on to second, while Tanner Klingele edged past Joe Bliven for third. Several tracks I have visited this season are waving the green and while together, rather than adding the extra lap. Interesting to see the different styles. As a side note to this, QR is about the only track still using the " one lap to go " before the green on restarts. With raceivers in the cars where their is verbal communication to the drivers, it seems like this is an unnecessary adding of time and laps to the program. Just a thought...

   Their were 17 UMP late models signed in, including national points runnerup Kevin Weaver, who picked up a win in his only other visit this season, and first timer Brandon Thirlby, who spent the travelled to Illinois for a weekend of racing from his home in Traverse City, Michigan. The first late model heat may have been the best race of the night. While polesitter Mark Burgtorf and third starting Kevin Tomlinson led the way, seventh starting Weaver and ninth starting Michael long charged forward, mostly in side by side fashion. Michael, driving the # 33F usually piloted by brother in law Rickey Frankel while the Jennings # 56J awaits repairs, slipped by Weaver for third, accumulating enough passing points to earn the pole for the dash, a rarity for a third place finisher. Thirlby captured heat two, leaving Long and Burgtorf the front row for the 30 lapper, and with the dry slick track conditions by feature time, I thought the race might actully be won on the first lap by whoever come out on top of the drag race to turn one. Long took that position, but on lap two, Mark used the middle groove to drive by in the Richard Realty # 15R. From that point, Burgtorf built a big lead. By lap twelve, he was in traffic, but he is a master in traffic at QR, and moved smoothly past the back of the pack. On lap 14 Weaver slipped by michael for second and closed the gap some, but the caution flag he needed to make a run never came, with the race going 30 laps caution free. Burgtorf lapped up to the ninth running car, taking his fourth win of the season. Following Weaver and Long was Justin Reed, who slipped by Clint Kirkham late for the position.

  The UMP modifieds had the biggest turnout with 18 cars, and all but Olin Husband started the 25 lap feature. As well as the first three classes negotiated the track conditions, the mods may as well have been on ice. I sometimes must sound like a broken record, but my unofficial count of seven cautions turned what may have been a good race into a " please make it stop " affair. Jared Schlipman jumped out front early, but point leader Steven Delonjay made a nifty third to first move following a lap 13 restart. From there, the battle was for second. Another restart six laps later saw Dave Weitholder get by Jared, and another restart two laps later saw Jake Griffin move into the third spot.

After being involved in a mixup on lap nine and having to restart at the tail, Shawn Deering worked his way back to fifth at the checkers. There were several newcomers to the track from the St louis area, including Rob and Joe Pendergrass, and Mark Enk made his second visit of 2012.

  Ten hobby stocks took the green for 15 laps, with Klingele again jumping out front. Nathan Hayes found the track to his liking, coming through to overtake Symmonds for third on lap twelve.. Symmonds then stumble, falling back to sixth, which could have been disastrous in the tight points battle. However a last lap altercation found Powers dead in the water in turn one - the checkers waved this time. Jeff Delonjay was penalized and scored one spot behind Powers. Hoener tried to double up, but settled for second, as he and Klingele traded spots from the make up feature. Hayes held third, and Symmonds rallied to fourth, with powers credited with ninth. Powers now holds a slim three point lead over Symmonds.

  Eleven surviving sport compacts closed out the night with their second feature. Jacob Tournear spun on lap one, and Becerra was sent to the back along with him. Bucky Gallaher led the opening laps, with Josh Barnes taking over on lap three, although Gsllaher stayed close. A spin on lap eleven set up another green, white, checkers finish, and on the restart, Becerra moved to third, as Woodruff fell off the pace.

Yet another outcome was decided out of turn four, as Becerra nipped Barnes for a his sixth feature win in 16 starts, one shy of the two drivers ahead of him in the points chase. Following Barnes, was Tony Becerra inhis first visit to the track, and Abbott, who took advantage of the late restart to put the Dunker car in the top four. She trails Woodruff by three points in the title chase.

  Starting this Sunday, start times will be moved up  - hot laps at 4:45, and racing at 5:30 in consideration of the start of school. Also, Amanda Landrum will be on hand with the pictures taken at QR by the late PhotoBilly. This will likely be your only chance to purchase the photos at the track, so do not miss out. The points season is winding down, and it would not be surprising to see more big names drop in in both the UMP late model and UMP modified divisions looking for another top three finish, so make plans to be at the Bullring for the next few weeks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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