Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans
May 14, 2013 -- Sunday night had a little something for everybody at
Quincy Raceways. Close racing, controversy, a national celebrity, and
brothers in victory lane.
Close racing was the was the rule in the IMCA stock car feature. A
solid field of 15 cars signed in, with Michael Larsen and Jim Powell
putting their # 48s on the front row of the 20 lapper. With Michael
out front, Jimbo headed pitside while running second on lap four.
Defending champion Terry Houston also pulled off at this time. Two
laps later, it was top contender Abe Huls heading first to the hot pit
and then the trailer. On the restart, fourth running Brandon Savage
ducked to the infield, with what looked like suspension damage. With
Larsen having some engine issues, Beau Taylor put his # 2T out front
and began to stretch his advantage. As Beau appeared to check out on
the pack, Donnellson, Iowa driver Jim Lynch began to charge through
the pack. Taylor remained in charge, but a spin by third running Jake
Powers on lap18 bunched the field. Taylor held the lead on the
restart, but drifted about a car width off the bottom groove coming to
the checkers, and Lynch sneaked his # 566 ahead by a nose at the line.
It was his first feature checkers at QR. Taylor was followed by Jerry
Jansen and Brandon Lambert.
Only 12 entrants made up the IMCA Sport Mod field, but even so, the
growing pains of the fledgling class made it difficult to watch. After
numerous stoppages, the time limit was reached. At that point, the
remaining cars strung together enough laps to complete 16 circuits
before the final caution the checkers waved together. Defending champ
Tony Dunker took the top spot on lap three, then drove his usual
patient race until the checkers flew. Making his first appearance of
2013 at QR, Keokuk, Iowa racer Jim Gillenwater was working through the
field when he slowed on the backstretch and was tagged by Bobby
Anders. Jim went pitside, and Bobby to the hot pit with a flat.
Although he rejoined the pack, Anders fell out on lap eight. Dunker
easily outdistanced Jeff Delonjay, Joe Bliven, and Chandler Owens.
Surely something needs done with this class, perhaps moving them to
last on the card, but certainly cutting the number of feature laps.
Third on the main event card was the UMP late model 30 lap finale. As
the evening began, Brandon Sheppard set quick time with a mark of
13.89 seconds. Brandon was a semi regular in 2012 before landing the
Rocket chassis house car ride when Josh Richards went NASCAR racing.
With Richards back in the family ride, " Rocket Shep " is again
campaigning his # B5 machine. Unfortunately, he rolled a six for the
fast dash invert, putting Mark Burgtorf and rookie Jared Schlipman on
the front row. But it was week one winner Jerry Lierly coming from row
two to capture the dash followed by Dustin Griffin, making his first
visit of the season to his " home " track. Lierly jumped to a quick
lead, but the yellow waved as heat one winner Jim Moon, maker of a
controversial internet video regarding tire cheating, spun in turn
four collecting Clint Kirkham. On the restart, Lierly again jumped
ahead, with third starting Sheppard following in second. On lap five,
heat two winner Michael Long made contact with the barrier tires that
had been placed in turns three and four, a highly unpopular move with
a majority of drivers. Michael showed his displeaseure by pushing a
tire to the middle of the track, then headed to the pits. By this
time, Moon had advanced from 16th to seventh in the field. The race
stayed green until lap 22, when the big controversy struck. Exactly
how it happened was ans will be debated for some time, but the end
result was Lierly spinning in the infield and Sheppard in the top
spot. On the restart, only ten of the 18 car fiield remained, with
Lierly tagging the tail. After several laps at speed, he slowed,
appearing to wait on the leader. The caution flew as Griffin took
evasive action, and was given his runnerup spot back. Lierly retired
freom the race and was scored last on the grid. Sheppard scored the
win, leading Griffin to the flag. For the second week in a row, Moon
came from the back to record a third place finish. Denny Woodworth
took over the point lead with a fourth place finish, and Schlipman
turned in his first top five.
By now the temps were downright cold, but those that hung around saw
two more good features. After a first lap restart, the IMCA Sport
Compacts ran 12 laps non stop. Pat " Skip " Dunker grabbed an early
lead, and matched brother Tony with a feature win. Austen Becerra
pressured Dunker early, but dropped out on lap four. Craig Bangert
came home second, with Kimberly Abbott third and Laine VanZandt
It was good to see Kim register a good run after she towed three hours
last Sunday to East Moline,Il. following the rainout at QR only to
have her feature postponed due to a time limit.
The final event on the card was the UMP modified 25 lapper. All but
two of the 17 car field took the green. Dave Weitholder took the early
lead, surviving a couple yellows in the opening laps. On lap seven,
Michael Long was appling pressure from the second spot when he
appeared to go too hard into turn one, looping his ride. Steven
Delonjay then took up the charge, and he and Weitholder put on a great
side by side battle before Steven edged ahead on lap 14. Meanwhile, it
was Jake Griffin on the move through the pack. Jake slipped by fast
timer Kenny Wallace for third, the got around Weitholder with
two laps to go. Long completed the top five. It was the third checkers
for Steven in four nights of action at QR. Even after being passed by
the 14 year old Griffin, Wallace , who is becoming something of a semi
regular, had nothing but praise for the youngster post race. Jake was
coming off a successful run in his asphalt car at Lebanon, Mo. on
Saturday night, and he will be back there for an $8,000 to win late
model show this week. For his part, Wallace will be competing in the
NASCAR Nationwide race this weekend.
Racing resumes this coming Sunday with five regular classes, and in
two weeks, the late models will be parked in favor of a MOWA 410
sprint car show. To date, we have four different late models winners,
and the previous weeks winner, Rickey Frankel was sidelined with
srteering issues. Who will take home the big iron this Sunday?