Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

July 15, 2013 --   It was a hot and muggy night Sunday at the Bullring, and although folks came a bit late, attendance was pretty good. The car count did not match the crowd on this night, with several factors no doubt contributing to the drop off. There has been a lot of racing at a lot of area tracks over the last few weeks, the weather was a bit uncomfortable, vacation season is in full swing, there are some torn up race cars and some depleted check books. And to top it off, defending late model point champ Jason Perry spent the weekend in the hospital!

 Time trial qualifying started things off, with Steven Delonjay at 15.538 seconds in the UMP modifieds and Rickey Frankel at 13.904 in the UMP late models. Both drivers then rolled a " six, " setting up a full invert in the mod dash, and the lone late model ten lapper. Jared Schlipman failed to make the time trial call, Ron Elbe pulled off after one lap, and mod driver Adam Birck suffered suspension damage in qualifying. fortunately all three were able to make repairs.

 Feature racing began with the IMCA stock cars. The usually tame and efficient full bodied machines have had yellow fever the last couple of weeks, and for the first time Sunday, they actually had a time limit shortened main event. In his second time out, Jeremy Buss took the early lead, holding on through a lap four caution. Terry Houston eased ahead on lap six, but another caution put Buss back out front. On the restart, Brandon Savage used the Delaware lineup to charge to the lead, taking fifth running Abe Huls along. Two more cautions took out Jake Powers and Jimmy Lynch. Savage had built a sizable lead when the next yellow waved, and the bunched field saw Huls move around Houston to reclaim second. Another caution for a tire kicked out on the track saw the time limit hit with four laps to go. This meant that the next flag, checkers or yellow, would end the race. Two green flag laps later, Kevin Tomlinson, driving the Michael Larsen # 48 again as Michael rehabs his shoulder, made contact with a tractor tire, ending the race. It was the first win for Savage after back to back runnerup finishes. Huls, Houston, and Jerry Jansen filled out the top four. Brandons brother in law, Beau Taylor was among the missing after his # 2T suffered extensive damage the week before.

  Next up was the 13 car modified main, with Delonjay and Michael Long sharing the front row. Steven shot to the lead with Michael in pursuit, but things turned bad for Long on lap nine as he pulled to the infield with engine troubles. Early diagnosis was a broken crankshaft on the # 18L. The 25 lapper went caution free, with Delonjay lapping up through the seventh place car. Robbie Reed ran a steady second followed by last weeks winner Dave Weitholder and Jake Griffin.

  The IMCA sport mod feature then came to the track for their 15 lap finale. Last weeks winner Jeff Delonjay was unable to make the call. Joe Bliven paced the first two circuits, with Tony Dunker taking over on lap three, moving from third to first. The only stoppage of the race came on lap six for Trevor Hagerbaumer, who suffered a broken front end on the Greg Uppinghouse # 18 that Trevor was wheeling for the night. In fact, he quickly exited the track, and the race could have probably stayed green. Following the restart, Tanner Klingele began to pressure Dunker all the way to the checkers, although he could not set up a winning pass. Third place went to Bliven, with Joe Hooper in the # 20BA in fourth.

  A season low nine late models checked in, but the 30 lap main event was a good one, none the less. Again, the race was non stop, giving us three straight features with a total of one caution flag! Michael Long and Denny Woodworth sat on row one, and Denny won the drag race to turn one. He then began to build a significant lead while Long focused on holding off point leader Mark Burgtorf for second. Mark took over the second spot on lap 16 and began to run down the late model lawyer, pulling to his rear bumper on lap 22. Burgtorf spent the next several laps trying to sneak under the # 45DW, but on lap 28 he charged to the top side out of turn four and shot by to lead the final lap and a half. It was the second feature win at QR for Burgtorf in 2013. Woodworth crossed the line second ahead of Long, Frankel, Clint Kirkham, and Bill Genenbacher, the only cars on the lead lap.

  Eleven IMCA sport compacts took the green for the 12 lap finale of the night. Austen Becerra led the first two trips past the flag stand, and looked to be in charge before a lap three caution. After a false restart, Pat " Skip " Dunker used the high side to take the lead. Following a caution for a lost wheel off the Alex Baker machine, Laine VanZandt slipped around Becerra for second. He was unable to get around Dunker, settling for a runnerup finish. Brandon Lambert took third ahead of Becerra. Point leader Kimberly Abbott ran fifth as she tries to become the first lady point champion at QR.

  The final checkers flew at exactly 9:00, ending what was a very good night of racing even with the lighter than normal car count. Racing resumes next Sunday with a promise of cooler temps. See you then!


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