Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

July 30, 2013 --  Sunday was an eventful night at Quincy Raceways. As pretty much everyone now knows, co owner Paul Holtschlag called a meeting of car owners before the races began to announce that the track was officially for sale or lease, confirming a rumor that has been making the rounds for a while. He then went on to state that if no one individual or group steps up, there will be no weekly racing in 2014, and he indicated that the immensely popular Monster Jam would likely be the only " motorsports " event next summer. The good news is that there are no plans to shorten the season, which runs all the way through September.  When asked, he offered up $36,000 as the amount required to lease the facility, while a sale price was not discussed. At this point, as expected, there has been some interest shown, but there is nothing concrete to report. Paul was hoping that by making the announcement early, he would give local car owners a chance to adjust any plans they may have, while also hoping a deal could be struck before seasons end, so those plans could be firmed up. Continue to check the website for any updates.

 As word spread through the stands, we got down to the business of racing, with 67 cars checked in to do battle in five feature events. As is common, the IMCA stock cars started things off, with 11 cars doing battle for 15 laps. Veteran Jim Powell started up front and held the top spot for the first half of the event. By lap six, Abe Huls was bearing down on him, and the Carthage driver grabbed the lead on lap nine with a hard charge on the high side. The yellow then waved, with Huls leading the restart and Terry Houston nabbing second. Normally Huls out front and you can write it down, but Abe bobbled on lap 11, with Houston and Jake Powers getting around. One lap later, Powers and Huls both spun in turn three, bringing out the caution. The restart saw last weeks winner, Brandon Savage move to second and Powell back to third. One more yellow on lap 13 set up a two lap dash to the checkers. Houston held on for the win, with Savage claiming his fourth consecutive top two. Jerry Jansen recovered from an early trip to the hot pit to finish third, as the two Fords bookended Savage. Darin Lambert took fourth.

  There were 20 UMP modifieds on hand, including several newcomers, but only 16 were able to take the feature green. Dave Weitholder had set quick time with a lap of 14.837, but he rolled a " six " to completely invert the fast dash lineup. Jake Griffin, the fastest 14 year old in town captured the ten lapper, with Weitholder moving up to second, and those two made up the front row for the 25 lap money race. Jaje led through a lap three caution, but Steven Delonjay and Michael Long were bearing down on him. On lap six, Steven took over the point, and Michael followed two laps later. The caution waved on lap nine, and again on lap 11. By now, Mike Vanderiet Jr. had taken over third, but Griffin was running the high side, trying to come back to the front. Another yellow flew on lap 13, and again on the restart. During this yellow, Griffins # 08 died and would not refire, the result of a broken wire. Back to green, the top two were battling hard, with Long trying to sneak under Delonjay out of turn four. As the two battled on lap 20, Michael ran out of real estate, clipping the tractor tire in turn four, ending his run. Delonjay then cruised to another win, with Vanderiet making the long tow from Mexico,Mo. pay off with a runner up finish. Shawn Deering came home third, with Weitholder fourth.

 Next up was the 12 car 20 lap IMCA sport mod main event, and again it was a caution flag plagued marathon. Taylor Lear pulled off on the parade lap, and a first lap scrum knocked out Joe Hooper. Jon Lear headed to the hot pit, and when racing finally started, Greg Uppinghouse took off in front. By lap three, Tony Dunker had taken the point, and following a lap three caution, Jim Gillenwater moved to second. Tanner Klingele spun while running third on lap 15, and Jeff Delonjay moved to second on the restart. However he also spun on lap 18, and as the time limit expired, Dunker picked up another win. Gillenwater rolled home second, with Klingele coming back to third ahead of Uppinghouse.

  The first car in the pits on Sunday was UMP late model national point leader Brandon Sheppard. Brandon was a semi regular at the Bullring in 2012 before landing the Rocket chassis house card ride for the rest of the year. With Josh Richards backing away from NASCAR and reclaiming the ride, Brandon was back on his own this season. On his first trip to QR in 2013, he picked up a feature win, then he went on to capture the UMP Summernationals Hell Tour championship, including a fifth in the tour stop here. By virtue of his strong Summernationals showing, the 20 year old emerged atop the national standings. With QR the only UMP points paying Sunday night late model track, and Brandon living about 100 miles to the east in New Berlin, it was no surprise to see him in the pits Sunday. Much as Brian Shirley did in 2012 on his way to the national title, we might expect Sheppard to be a Bullring regular through the remainder of the season. He made his presence known quickly, with a season best 13.155 second qualifying lap. The " five " he rolled put him inside row three in the dash, and try as he might, he could not overtake Clint Kirkham in the ten lapper. Clint was running with a cracked engine block, but his # 28 was plenty strong, and he and Sheppard would set the front row for the 30 lap finale. The two ran side by side on the first lap, with Kirkham holding a slight advantage at the line, but Sheppard used the high side to take over the lead on lap two. Point leader Mark Burgtorf also slipped around Kirkham for second. Only visiting Kenny Vandorn with heavy smoke pouring form his # 22K, and Ron Elbe with a flat tire pulled out of the 13 car field, and the 30 laps ticked off in just over seven minutes of caution free racing. Sheppard lapped up through the fifth place finisher. Burgtorf came home a distant second, with Michael Long and Rickey Frankel on the lead lap. Kirkham took fifth followed by Denny Woodworth, Bill Genebacher, visitor Adam Mefford, Jared Schlipman, visitor Mike Hammerle, and Cliff Powell.

  The IMCA sport compacts took their feature green, but  a first lap mixup saw Jacob Tournear fly off turn two and slam hard into the steel guardrail at the edge of pit road. Tournear was shaken, but climbed from his ride after several minutes. Before a lap was run, Laine Vanzandt also found himself in the backstretch guardrail as well. By the time a lap was scored, only six of the 11 cars on hand were running. Pat " Skip " Dunker then pulled away, cruising to the 12 lap victory, and closing to within one point of leader Kimberly Abbott. She crossed the line fourth behind Austen Becerra and visitor Wes Rensch from Rushville.

  Congratualtions go out to former QR  late model regular Justin Jennings on his performance in the Mudsummer Classic NASCAR Camping World truck race on the dirt at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Justin made the show, coming home 23rd. His father Greg and uncle Neil still maintain the # 56J late model wheeled weekly at QR by Michael Long. They were in the pits in Eldora along with LG Seeds sponsor Brad Althide, and another former QR hotshoe, Brandon Brown, who now serves as crew chief for Tony Dunker. Justin continues to make strides in both the trucks and Nationwide series, and everyone at QR should be proud of this fine young man.

  As someone who has been around QR since it opened in 1975, I can only hope we have many more seasons of racing action, so lets all keep our fingers crossed, and we will see you Sunday!


 


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