Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

June 30, 2013 --  After three weeks of weather related cancellations, Quincy Raceways drivers, fans, and officials were more than ready for a night of ground pounding action on mid season championship night, and I don't think anyone went away disappointed.

 With a UMP Summer Nationals show just a couple hours away in Lincoln, Il., the 75 car turnout was more than acceptable. Steven Delonjay has been dominating the UMP modified division in 2013, and he picked right up where he left off with a fastest qualifying lap of 15.004 seconds. Rickey Frankel then blistered the .029 mile oval with the fastest UMP late model time trial lap of the season at 13.463 seconds. Steven then rolled a four for the invert for the mod fast dash, while Frankel rolled a five.

 The ten preliminary events were mostly uneventful, although a first lap melee in the late model fast dash resulted in outside row one starter Mark Burgtorf retiring to the pits.

  As the IMCA sport compact heats were being run, dark clouds began to form, and the IMCA stock car feature was quickly called to staging. Before they could take to the track a brief but steady rain shower put the remainder of the night in jeopardy. As quickly as it started, the rain stopped, and despite another brief sprinkle, the show continued without a hitch. Although fast, the track had begun to get a bit rough as the heats continued, but after the rain and subsequent running in by the stock cars, it became smooth, multi grooved, and super fast, with a nice cushion building in turns one and two.

  Michael Larsen jumped to the early lead in the stock car main, with second row starter Brandon Savage in tow. The two pulled away, dominating the event before Larsen got a bit out of shape in turn four. Savage checked up, but still made contact with the back of the # 48. The two held their advantage, but  a  lap or so later, the front bumper came off Savages ride, bringing out the caution. On the Delaware style restart, third running Abe Huls vaulted to the lead, and Savage soon followed in second. Point leader Jake Powers also found his way past Larsen, and Beau Taylor ran a steady fifth in the 20 lap event.

  Next up was the 25 lap UMP mod finale. 19 cars had signed in, but Robert Thompson could not make the feature call after having problems in his heat. 40 year veteran Steven Thievagt had dropped out of his heat on the first lap, and his misfortune continued as he spun the driveshaft out of his # 36 on the parade lap. Front row starter Michael long took the early lead, but Delonjay powered by on lap six. The second yellow of the race waved on lap 16, as fifth running Troy Grotz rolled to a stop out of turn four. One lap later it was Russ Coultas slowing in turn four, but the stoppages were no problem for Delonjay. He picked up another win over Long,  dash winner Dave Weitholder, Robbie Reed, and Craig Spegal.

 Jeff Delonjay jumped to the early lead in the IMCA sport mods, building a nice lead before a lap six caution. When racing resumed, Bobby Anders moved past Tanner Klingele for second. At the mid point of the 20 lapper, Anders bobbled, dropping to fourth as Delonjay continued to lead. But two laps later, Klingele brought out the yellow when he clipped the tractor tire in turn four. Lap 15 saw Delonjay, Anders, and Tony Dunker racing three wide for the top spot, , with Anders and Delonjay trading the top spot back and forth. Along the way, Delonjay suffered broken left front suspension, but he stayed in the mix, coming home third behind a jubilant Anders and Dunker. Brandon Dale was fourth.

 The UMP late model 15 car 30 lap feature was next up. Steve Thorsten from Milford, Il., in only his second visit to QR, started on the pole by virtue of his win in the fast dash. He took the early lead running the top side of the track before fifth starting Frankel slipped by on the bottom on lap five. As racing continued, sixth starting Burgtorf moved to second on lap 12, although by now Frankel had opened a sizable lead. The only caution of the race came on lap 17 when Justin Reed slowed on the backstretch. Jason Perry was on the move at this time, and had just moved to third. The pass was negated, and Thorsten was alongside Burgtorf for the restart. As action resumed, Perrys run ended, and fast starting Jerry Lierly and Thorsten began to lose ground, but Burgtorf pulled alongside Frankel. The action really picked up on lap 24 as Frankel took the top spot back from Burgtorf. Three laps later, it was again Mark out front, and on lap 28 Rickey was the leader. As  the front two came out of turn four to the checkers, Mark found some moisture and an opening down low, and with literally everyone on their feet, the # 7B took the win by .123 seconds. Throughout the battle, the two cars never touched in as good a race as you will ever see. Nearly missed in the action was a charge by ninth starting Michael long, who edged Denny Woodworth for third. Dewayne Kiefer came home fifth, amazingly his worst ever finish at the Bullring.

 The finale of the night was the 12 lap IMCA sport compact feature. Bryce Baker climbed in the # 55 borrowed from Michael Hornung, and rolled the car in turns one and two. After a brief delay, Bryce attempted to rejoin the race, but soon retired. Austen Becerra charged to the lead, besting early leader Josh Barnes, Laine VanZandt,  unofficial new points leader Kimberly Abbott, and Brandon Lambert.

  Several new drivers were on hand Sunday, including sport mod drivers Sean Wyett from Danville, Iowa, and Austin Howes from Memphis, Mo. Both may have been tuning up for the $1003 to win sport mod payday Tuesday July 2 during the UMP late model and modified Summer Nationals event. The late model headliner will pay $5,000 to win, while the mods compete for a $1,000 top prize. Agroup of local supporters lead by Tony and Pat Dunker worked to raise funds so that the sport mod purse would rival and eventually exceed the UMP mod purse. The race will pay $113 to start, and should draw a solid car count to compliment what I would guess would be 30 plus late models and 25-30 mods. Again, that is just my guess.

 Brandon Sheppard, with one QR feature win under his belt in 2013 should come to town Tuesday as the current Summer Nationals points leader, while teen age Bobby Pierce who has raced multiple times here will be looking to pick up second ever tour win after taking the checkers Sunday




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