Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

SEPTEMBER 17, 2012 - Sunday night was a special night in several ways at Quincy Raceways. For one, it was season championship night, with track point champions crowned in six divisions. For another, the second class of Hall of Fame inductees were honored during intermission. And of course, there was some excellent racing, as well. A future trivia question will be “Who won the first UMP late model track title?” The answer will be “Jason Perry.” The driver of the # 27 stayed out of trouble, drove a smart race to finish eighth in the main event, and collected his first track title, becoming the sixth late model track champ in the last six seasons. Justin Reed, who had a mathematical shot at his second championship, had a disastrous night, suffering engine woes in his heat race and failing to make the feature call. As a result, both Dustin Griffin, who ran second in the 30 lapper, and Mark Burgtorf, who claimed third, moved to those spots respectively in the final standings. Reed fell to fourth, and our first long distance regular, Jim Moon, took fifth in the title run. National UMP points were in the spotlight, as well, with the top two in national points showing up to do battle. Leader Brian Shirley scorched the oval in qualifying with a lap of 13.727, then rolled a "one” to set the fast heat/dash lineup straight up. "Squirrel" then led all ten laps to earn the pole in the feature. After a false start, which resulted in a brake check pile up that left Jason Frankel with an injured wrist, Shirley shot to the lead and was pulling away. But on lap eleven, he slowed on the backstretch as he spun the driveshaft out of his # 3S, ending his night. Michael Long started on the outside pole in the # 33F, and had given the second spot up briefly to Dustin Griffin before regaining the spot. Following Shirley’s departure, Michael took the top spot, and never looked back, becoming the second driver in two weeks to pick up his first super late model feature win. Kevin Weaver, the number two man in national points, started ninth, and was working his way forward as the laps wound down. The .29 mile oval was tacky and fast, but a bit treacherous in turn one, with a fairly significant bump. With D Griffin solidly in second, Weaver went up high to try and overtake Burgtorf, but slowed in turn four in the closing laps with an expired engine. 15 year old Bobby Pierce, another UMP regional standout from the Danville area then took over fourth, while Moon started and finished fifth. Denny Woodworth parked his ride for the night, driving a borrowed ride from D Griffin, coming home sixth. Missing from the field on Sunday was Keith Pratt. His hard luck season took another wrong turn when he rolled his # 33 Saturday night, likely ending his abbreviated season.

  Jared Schlipman set fast time in UMP modified time trials, but rolled a “four" for the invert. That put Steven Delonjay up front, and he picked up the fast heat/dash win, earning the pole for the feature. Steven jumped to the lead, but was forced to pit on lap ten, with Dave Weitholder taking over. Dave seemed to be in control, but in the late going, Jake Griffin got hooked up on the high side of the track, powering by Weitholder on lap 21. After capturing his first QR late model win last Sunday, the 13 year old nabbed his first mod win this week. Weitholder held second, with Schlipman third and Craig Spegal turning in a sold fourth place run. Delonjay recovered to finish sixth behind Tony Patterson, but the second generation driver had already locked up his second straight track title. Schlipman, Weitholder, Shawn Deering and Griffin all posted top five point finishes.

  Terry Houston started up front in the IMCA stock car finale, and led throughout to pick up the non stop win and seal his point title. Darrin Weisinger pressured Terry for the distance, coming home second ahead of Michael Larsen and Abe Huls. Jerry Jansen capped a solid season with a second place point’s finish with Huls, Weisinger in possibly his final season, and Larsen next in line. Alex Buffington and Shane Richardson made their first visit of the year to the bullring, as both are southern Iowa drivers.

  Tony Dunker also turned a front row start into a flag to flag win, his twelfth, in the IMCA sport mods. Bobby Anders pushed Dunker all the way, as the race wound up going 17 laps, with two green, white checkers finishes. Tanner Klingele rolled home third ahead of Brandon Dale.

Dunker was a runaway champion in the first full year for the sport mods, followed by Anders, Joe Bliven, Klingele and Brad Holtmeyer.

  Young Jake Powers also picked up his first points crown and capped it off with a feature win. Keokuk, Iowa driver Brandon Symmonds stayed glued to Jake both in the feature and the points chase, but settled for second in both. Oddly, Tanner Klingele, Brian Hoener, and Jeff Delonjay finished the feature and the point’s race in that order behind the top two.

   The IMCA sport compact title came down to the final night, but the drama pretty much ended early when Kimberly Abbott could not get her car to fire as the final feature came to the track. She went to the hot pit area and returned to action one lap down to the field. But point leader Seith Woodruff drove a steady race, finishing in the runner-up spot to Austen Becerra, and claiming his title. Kim narrowly missed being the first female champ in QR history, while Becerra missed one point’s night, but ended this year in third, with seven feature wins. Laine VanZandt and Brandon Lambert rounded out the top five in points, while Craig Bangert and Jason Stucker trailed the top two in the 12 lap finale.

   Hall of Fame inductees included late model legend Terry Gallaher, who also finished 20th in points this season in part time duty, four time bomber champ Eddie Dieker, who hung up his helmet way to soon, and Francis " Wild Man " Kelly, one of the outstanding drivers from the early days at QR. Kelly’s grandson, Matt Pepmeyer who wheels the black # 19 UMP modified, accepted for " Wild Man. " Bomber and B mod champ Gary " Grady " Dreyer , who drove with hand controls, also received induction. Gary remains a popular figure at QR.  Also honored was the late Charlie Bryson, whose wife accepted for him and  long time track workers Paul and Glenda Altgilbers, Roger and Dorothy Yeager. Paul spent many nights in the wrecker; Roger was an announcer in the early years, while their wives worked concessions. Rinella Distributors/Budweiser was honored in the sponsor category.

  There remains two race nights at QR. While IMCA points cannot be awarded after season championship night, UMP state and national points will be up for grabs for the late models and mods. The King of the Hill challenge has been scrapped to allow the UMP hot shoes to continue to slug it out at the bullring. All six classes will be in action for two more nights, September 23 and 30. See you there!






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