Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

April 16, 2013 -- The 2013 racing season at Quincy Raceways kicked off in grand fashion Sunday night. Despite a few renegade raindrops, it was a pleasant evening and there was a nice opening night crowd on hand. The five class program turned out 69 cars, lead by 17 each in the UMP late model and UMP modified classes. We even had a visit by NASCAR veteran Kenny Wallace, who raced his # 36 mod to a fourth place feature finish. Defending point champions Steven Delonjay in the mods, Terry Houston in IMCA stock cars, and Tony Dunker in IMCA sport mods all picked up feature wins to start the season. Defending late model champ Jason Perry turned in a third place run, but IMCA sport compact 2012 champion Seith Woodruff had a night to forget. In his heat race, he lost a right rear wheel, then had the same thing happen in the main event, nearly sending his # 36w upside down. As it turned out, the pits might have been the best place to be in the sport compact feature. As the laps wound down, the top three cars powered through turn four coming to the white flag, when contact between all three sent them heading into the front stretch wall. Third running Craig Bangert was able to keep his mount running, while leader Robert Thompson Jr, and runner up Austen Becerra came to a halt. Thompson then took out his frustration on Becerra before motoring to the pits. Only six cars remained on the restart, and Becerra tagged the tail. Bangert led the final two trips around the .29 mile oval chased by Kimberly Abbott, while Becerra motored back to third.

 The sport mods had only ten cars start the main event, but as is too often the case, the 15 laps turned into a marathon, with six caution periods. In the end, it was a familiar podium finish, with Dunker followed by Bobby anders and early leader Joe Bliven. Dunker was fresh off afourth place run at the West Plains,Mo. B-modified Nationals, where over 100 cars turned out for the two day show.

 The IMCA stock cars also showed only ten cars on opening night, but the count should increase, as there are two cars still being built in my hometown of Canton,Mo. alone. As mentioned in an earlier column, Jake Powers made the move up from the now defunct hobby stock class and immediately made his presence felt. Jake put his # 0 out front early, only to be overtaken by Abe Huls. On most nights, you could write down the winner once Abe gets out front, but Houston had other ideas. With just a couple laps to go, Terry found a way around Huls to grab the top prize. Huls and Powers followed, fourth went to Jerry Jansen, and enjoying a solid run in fifth was rookie Darin Lambert, son in law and driver of the # 11 of retired racer Darin Weisinger. five time hobby stock champ Steve Carlin competed in the # 49T of Kevin Tomlinson, who has parked his late model for the time being. Terry also had help in the pits from Troy Breierton, who should also have a car out in a couple of weeks.

 Michael Long was coming off a fourth place run in the $2,000 to win show Saturday night in Pevely,Mo., and paced the first four laps of the UMP mod 25 lapper. Suddenly Michael dove to the pits as his # 18L developed an engine miss and he quickly shut it down to avoid damaging his power plant. Dave Weitholder, who had a tough night at the same Saturday event then took over, holding the top spot until Delonjay found a way past. From there Steven cruised to the win, with Dave holding second. Robbie Reed in a new sharp looking # 5 held off Wallace for third. Shawn Deering turned in a fifth place run. Jake Griffin continues to compete despite injuring his shoulder a few weeks back in a wrestling meet and turned in a seventh place run behind Chris Spalding. Jake has sold his dirt late model, and will be competing only in the mods at QR, as well as doing some late model pavement racing. Another late model driver has moved to the mods, as Terry Gallaher debuted his # 0 ride, turning in an eighth place run. Springfield,Il driver Ethan Schnapp , another former late model pilot made his first visit to QR in with his # 7S modifield , sporting a " For Sale " sign.

 The late model main event was a barn burner. After two false starts, the 30 lapper went flag to flag. After fast timer Clint Kirkham who turned a lap of 13.967 seconds, he rolled a " three " for the invert for the fast heat. That put Davenport, Iowa ace Brian Harris and touring local Jerry Lierly from Camp Point on the front row. Lierly took the win in his Scott Bloomquist chassis #7, with Harris second. Brian has taken over the driving duties of the Richard Realty # 15R out of Mt Pleasant, Iowa, the car driven last season by Mark Burgtorf. When the feature finally got going, Harris shot to the lead, and held that spot for about 28 laps. Meanwhile Lierly pushed him hard , sticking the nose of his mount underneath saeveral times in turn four. As the laps wound down, Harris a former NASCAR central region champion, encountered several back of the pack cars racing for position, and he found himself trapped in the low groove. Jerry went to the middle groove and flew around for the lead and his first ever super late model win. Perry used a latre race pass to take third over Denny Woodworth, and Kirkham turned in a strong fifth. Keith Pratt started a rebound season in sixth, and Michael Long took seventh. Justin Reed and Rickey Frankel led veteran Rick Standridge making his first appearance in many years to complete the top ten. A first time visitoe, was young Derek Fetter, # 32 from Troy, Mo. Jared Schlipman debuted his # 42 as he bgins his first full season in the late models after a solid modified career, and Shawn Powell made his first start in dad Cliffs # 6. Mark Burgtorf was back in his familiar # 7B, but retired early in the finale. Mark has changed chassis for 2013 and is still working out the bugs in his new ride.

  One of the biggest nights of the 2013 season comes this Sunday night, with a late model extravaganza. There will be a triple sanctiom, $3,000 to win event. The ALMS late model series, which mostly races in the Ohio, Indiana, Illinois area will compete against the MARS series, which concentrates in Missouri and Arkansas, and the Cornbelt series, which runs mostly in Iowa, Minnesota , and Wisconsin. To make the night even more special, it will be part of a three night swing, beginning Friday at Tri City Speedway in Pontoon Beach,Il., and Saturday night at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa. Driver such as Jason Feger, Kevin Weaver, Jesse Stovall, and others hace indicated they will be on hand for the weekend shows, making this a " can't miss " night at the speedway. UMP modifieds and IMCA sport compacts will join the show, while the stock cars and sport mods will have the night off. Hope to see you then!



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