Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans
September 10, 2013 -- Sunday night was a tough one at the Bullring,
but an important one none the less. Aided by a morning shower and
aggravated by the fact that several key employees were not able to be
at the track this week, things got off to a bumpy start. The track
surface was less than ideal early, and when two of the first seven UMP
late models suffered flat tires in qualifying, the action was stopped
and the track surface was reworked. During the delay, ceremonies to
honor the Hall of Fame class of 2013 were held. Among the inductees
were former drivers Dick Crane, Lonnie Carter, Joe Gower, and Tom
Long, as well as several sonsors and support staff. Late model
qualifying was then restarted, and Mark Burgtorf, who was one who had
a flat the first time around, set quick time at 13.843 seconds. Mark
then rolled a " three," putting himself inside row two in the dash
lineup. His luck was better than that of NASCAR veteran and QR semi
regular Kenny Wallace, who posted the fastest UMP modified lap over 21
other competitors, but rolled a " six " and started the dash from row
three. Fairbury,Il driver McKay Wenger made his first ever stop at QR,
and was leading the late model dash when he went pitside on lap six.
Outside polesitter and UMP national point leader Brandon Sheppard took
the win, as only three cars took the checkers. So following the heats
and dashes, more work was done on the track.
With all the down time, there was plenty of time for " bench racing, "
and the poorly kept secret concerning the potential new promoters of
the speedway made the rounds. It was actually Monday morning before an
official announcement was made, that pending the final legal touches,
Last Chance Promotion, a group from the Jacksonville area is leasing
the facility for 2014 and hopefully beyond. The group also promotes
Friday night racing at the Jacksonville 1/4 mile fairgrounds track.
They include Tom Casson, Mike Wankel, and point man Kenny Dobson.
Dobson is also the director of the Midwest Open Wheel Association -
MOWA - sprint car series that made their only appearance of the season
at QR earlier this month. The three partners have extensive racin
backgrounds, and will hopefully be a breath of fresh air as the track
heads towards season number 40.
Two ambulance calls to the spectator area contributed to the marathon
evening, but the feature racing was still pretty good when the green
flag was out.
The IMCA stock car class was short, with only six cars on hand, but
Abe Huls made the long tow from the IMCA supernationals in Boone, Iowa
even though the IMCA classes were not racing for points. Sunday is
held as a raindate for the Supernationals, so tracks are not allowed
to give points. But Abe is a racer, and even a flat on the trailer did
not deter the # 30c team. They stopped at the home base in Carthage
just long enough to drop off suitcases, then headed to QR. When the
green waved, Jake Powers vaulted to the lead, but it was Jerry Jansen
out front as lap one was scored. Terry Houston charged to second on
lap two, but bobbled two laps later, letting Powers and Huls past.
Huls took the lead from Jansen on lap nine, as the three challengers
battled behind him. Houston took the runnerup slot back on lap ten,
and Powers nipped Jansen for third in the closing laps. The race went
caution free, as Huls picked up win number seven on the year.
Next came the UMP modifieds, with 21 starters. Point leader Steven
Delonjay had crashed out of the dash after suffering front suspension
damage and after quick repairs he started shotgun on the field. He
quickly moved through the field, aided by a handful of cautions, while
Justin Reed checked out up front. Justin was back after another hard
crash with Delonjay a couple of weeks prior. Delonjay was up to fifth
by lap eight, fourth two laps later, and third on lap 11. He then had
a side by side duel with Chris Spalding for the runnerup spot, taking
over second following a lap 23 restart. Wallace slipped around
Spalding one lap later, but it was Reed leading flag to flag in the
Mike Begley # B4. Justin is the only driver this season with a feature
win in both the mods and late models. Robbie Reed rounded out the top
five. Points runnerup Dave Weitholder had suffered engine troubles
Saturday night, and he was forced pitside on lap one of the dash. He
borrowed the sport mod # 18 of Trevor Hagerbaumer to make his 255th
consecutive points race start, but exited early with suspension
damage. The two crews then made hasty repairs so Trevpr could take the
sport mod green.
The draw, redraw format was kind to Tony Dunker, who pulled a " one"
to earn the pole position for the 20 lapper. Before one lap was
scored, second generation driver Brandon Dale clipped the tractor tire
in turn three and four and went into a series of hard flips. Although
he appeared to be okay, his # 12 machine had serious damage. When
racing resumed, Dunker took off, and only Jeff Delonjay had anything
for the veteran. Delonjay stayed close much of the way, but Tony was
in control, as he raced to his seventh straight feature win. The race
hit the time limit, ending with a lap 16 spin by newcomer Skyler Stark
from Donnellson, Iowa who otherwise did a nice job. Todd Reed and
Charles Vanzandt followed the top two at the checkers.
The 13 car UMP late model 30 lapper ran next. Sheppard led lap one as
Rickey Frankel went pitside, but outside row one starter and defending
track champion Jason Perry charged to the lead on lap two. The front
duo checked out as Wenger and Burgtorf battled for third, with Wenger
holding the spot. As the leaders caught slower traffic, Rocket Shepp
took back the lead on lap 13. Following a lap 17 caution, the first of
the race, Burgtorf took third from Wenger. Again the top two checked
out, with the second yellow for debris on lap 24. Wenger took third
back on the restart, and the final caution came on lap 26. Burgtorf
suffered another flat on lap 28, handing the fourth spot to point
leader Denny Woodworth. Jared Schlipman recovered from a lap 17 spin
to take fifth, and visiting Steve Thorsten from Milford,Il was the
only other finisher.
B Shepp made the long tow from the World 100 in Rossburg,Ohio, where
he finished 15th, pay off with the $1,000 check and the valuable
The night ended with the IMCA sport compact 12 lapper. Kimberly
Abbott drew the front row and led lap one. The yellow waved on lap
two, and Austen Becerra took the lead on the restart. He then held on
until the checkers, his fifth win in a row. Abbott held off Laine
Vanzandt and Brandon Lambert for a second place finish.
Only three more nights of racing remain, don't miss any of the action
- it will be along winter as we anticipate the new promotion group.
Hot laps are scheduled Sunday at 4:45. See you there!