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 fourth.

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?



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