Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

June 4, 2013 -- Those fans who once agin braved cloudy skies and chilly temps were rewarded with an outstanding night of feature racing at the Bullring. Even though there were several cars on hand from the ST Louis area, the car count was still a bit light, with a total of 65. But the action more than made up for the numbers. Surprisingly, track workers had to actually water the surface before racing began, and as we worked our way through time trials and heat races, the track began to get a bit rough. So during intermission, the grader was brought out along with several pack vehicles, and it turned out to be the most productive 45 minutes of the season. When racing resumed, the surface was smooth and lightning fast.

 The first feature was the IMCA stock cars, with ten starters. Beau Taylor was a scratch, as he developed a vibration in the drive line of his # 2T in his heat. With his rebuilt engine, Michael Larsen shot out from the front row and led about 14.9 laps of the main event. But it was that last few feet that cost him the win. Abe Huls and Terry Houston staged a great side by side battle for the second spot. Normally that would be good news for the leader, but Michael may have been on cruise control, as the two chase cars seemed to gain ground on him each lap. As the field took the white flag, Huls took command of second and found the inside line open out of turn four coming to the checkers to take the win. Houston, Jake Powers and Brandon Savage completed the top five in the non stop event.

  With the crowd still buzzing, the  14 UMP mods rolled out for their 25 lap finale. Terry Gallaher had a drive shaft issue at the start of his heat race, but was able to take the green flag in the feature before going pitside. Shawn Deering was done by lap two, as visiting Rusty Griffaw from Festus, Mo. took the early lead from the outside pole position. Dave Weiholder was giving chase, with surprise visitor Ken Schrader hot on his heels. Schrader had raced in the ARCA series Saturday in Minnesota and was headed home when he decided a stop at QR might be fun. So he called ahead, and had his crew load up his # 9 and meet him at the track. They even rolled in on a open trailer! On lap 19, fast qualifier Steven Delonjay was able to split those two, taking the runnerup spot briefly before Weitholder reclaimed the spot. But three laps later, Weitholder got sideways in turn four, charging through the infield to keep going, but losing four spots. Schrader and fifth running Jake Griffin took advantage to get around Delonjay as well. For the first time in maybe ever, the mods ran 25 caution free laps, the race taking six minutes and 21 seconds!  Griffaw scored a big win ahead of Schrader, Griffin, Delonjay and Boone Terre,Mo racer Jim Black aka the " Junk Yard Dog."

 The yellow free racing luck ran out as top contender Bobby Anders drop a drive shaft on lap two of the  ten car IMCA Sport Mod feature. Taylor Lear was a scratch as his # 626 went up in smoke early in the night. With Jeff Delonjay taking the early lead, point leader Tony Dunker restarted in ninth, moving to fifth by lap two. By the time Jon Lear brough out the caution on lap six, Dunker had moved to third. Two laps later, Tanner Klingele went for a spin, and on the Delaware restart, Dunker moved to second. One lap later, he stopped on the track with flat tire, going to the hot pit and returning to restart ninth once again. But he picked up four positions on the next green flag lap, moved to second by lap 12. On lap 13, fourth running Joe Bliven looped his ride, and set up a green, white checkers finish. But there was no denying Delonjay on this night, as he held on for his first Sport Mod victory. Dunker settled for second, followed by three second generation hot shoes, Brandon Dale, Tanner Klingele, and Brad Holtmeyer.

  All 16 UMP late models made the feature call for 30 fast laps. Mark Burgtorf had set fast time with the fastest time trial lap of 2013 at 13.773 seconds. He then rolled a six to set the dash lineup, putting Ron Elbe and Rickey Frankel on the front row. Rickey checked out to earn the pole for the main event, with Dewayne Kiefer alongside. Kiefer made a weekend of it, towing six hours on Saturday to race at 34 Raceway, then stopping at QR on the way back to Ste Genevieve, Mo, about 200 miles from Quincy. Frankel jumped out to the lead, with the caution waving on lap three for Jerry Lierly, who retired to the pits. Michael long, who was racing only in the # 56J late model as he prepares his new modified, had started eighth, was up to fifth when the caution waved, then moved to fourth, moving past Burgtorf one lap later to take third. By lap 11, Frankel and Kiefer were locked in a battle for the lead, and by lap 14 Long joined the fray. Kiefer took the top spot on lap 16, with Long moving to second. Two laps later, Michael used the high side to claim the lead, and began to stretch out to a big advantage. Tragedy nearly struck when he cut the turn one corner too close and made contact with one of the tires. Somehow he saved the car and also the top spot. It was the first feature laps led for the # 56J in 2013, and a big win for Michael. Kiefer must wish he lived closer to Quincy. Unofficially, I have hime with a win and four seconds in his last five trips to QR. Burgtorf but his new Billy Moyer Victory Circle chassis in third, followed by Clint Kirkham and rookie Jared Schlipman. Jason Perry and Frankel were running fourth and fifth on the final lap when they both spun in turns three and four, scrambling the field. Justin Reed, point leader Denny Woodworth, Vance Wilson, Frankel and Perry completed the top ten.  Mike Hammerle also made the tow from St Charles, Mo. to run 11th. A surprise entrant was Jeff Riddell # 09 from Steward, Il., near the Dekalb area. This was the second time I had seen him this season, and he tells me when he raced at 34 Raceway in April it was his first time in a racecar in 11 years!

 The IMCA Sport Compacts finished out the card with 11 of 13 cars in staging. Laine VanZandt was looking to make it two features in a row, but his ride lost power on the parade lap ending his night. Casey Lambert set the early pace, with the yellow waving for Bryce Baker on lap three. At the same time, Pat Dunker appeared to break a tie rod ,sending him to the trailer. Two tries at a restart saw Austen Becerra being sent from fourth to last for jumping the start. Keokuk, Iowa visitor Michael Grossman the dueled with Lambert, taking the lead on lap five, as Becerra exited with smoke coming from his machine. Grossman kept his # 2 out front for the win, followed by new point leader Craig Bangert, Lambert, and Baker. A flat tire relegated Kim Abbott to a seventh place run, dropping her to second in the points chase.

 Racing continues this Sunday night at the summer starting times of 5:45 hot laps and 6:30 qualifying. Hope to see you there!




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