Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans
July 30, 2013 --
was an eventful night at Quincy Raceways. As pretty much everyone now
knows, co owner Paul Holtschlag called a meeting of car owners before
the races began to announce that the track was officially for sale or
lease, confirming a rumor that has been making the rounds for a while.
He then went on to state that if no one individual or group steps up,
there will be no weekly racing in 2014, and he indicated that the
immensely popular Monster Jam would likely be the only " motorsports "
event next summer. The good news is that there are no plans to shorten
the season, which runs all the way through September. When asked, he
offered up $36,000 as the amount required to lease the facility, while
a sale price was not discussed. At this point, as expected, there has
been some interest shown, but there is nothing concrete to report.
Paul was hoping that by making the announcement early, he would give
local car owners a chance to adjust any plans they may have, while
also hoping a deal could be struck before seasons end, so those plans
could be firmed up. Continue to check the website for any updates.
As word spread through the stands, we got down to the business of
racing, with 67 cars checked in to do battle in five feature events.
As is common, the IMCA stock cars started things off, with 11 cars
doing battle for 15 laps. Veteran Jim Powell started up front and held
the top spot for the first half of the event. By lap six, Abe Huls was
bearing down on him, and the Carthage driver grabbed the lead on lap
nine with a hard charge on the high side. The yellow then waved, with
Huls leading the restart and Terry Houston nabbing second. Normally
Huls out front and you can write it down, but Abe bobbled on lap 11,
with Houston and Jake Powers getting around. One lap later, Powers and
Huls both spun in turn three, bringing out the caution. The restart
saw last weeks winner, Brandon Savage move to second and Powell back
to third. One more yellow on lap 13 set up a two lap dash to the
checkers. Houston held on for the win, with Savage claiming his fourth
consecutive top two. Jerry Jansen recovered from an early trip to the
hot pit to finish third, as the two Fords bookended Savage. Darin
Lambert took fourth.
There were 20 UMP modifieds on hand, including several newcomers, but
only 16 were able to take the feature green. Dave Weitholder had set
quick time with a lap of 14.837, but he rolled a " six " to completely
invert the fast dash lineup. Jake Griffin, the fastest 14 year old in
town captured the ten lapper, with Weitholder moving up to second, and
those two made up the front row for the 25 lap money race. Jaje led
through a lap three caution, but Steven Delonjay and Michael Long were
bearing down on him. On lap six, Steven took over the point, and
Michael followed two laps later. The caution waved on lap nine, and
again on lap 11. By now, Mike Vanderiet Jr. had taken over third, but
Griffin was running the high side, trying to come back to the front.
Another yellow flew on lap 13, and again on the restart. During this
yellow, Griffins # 08 died and would not refire, the result of a
broken wire. Back to green, the top two were battling hard, with Long
trying to sneak under Delonjay out of turn four. As the two battled on
lap 20, Michael ran out of real estate, clipping the tractor tire in
turn four, ending his run. Delonjay then cruised to another win, with
Vanderiet making the long tow from Mexico,Mo. pay off with a runner up
finish. Shawn Deering came home third, with Weitholder fourth.
Next up was the 12 car 20 lap IMCA sport mod main event, and again it
was a caution flag plagued marathon. Taylor Lear pulled off on the
parade lap, and a first lap scrum knocked out Joe Hooper. Jon Lear
headed to the hot pit, and when racing finally started, Greg
Uppinghouse took off in front. By lap three, Tony Dunker had taken the
point, and following a lap three caution, Jim Gillenwater moved to
second. Tanner Klingele spun while running third on lap 15, and Jeff
Delonjay moved to second on the restart. However he also spun on lap
18, and as the time limit expired, Dunker picked up another win.
Gillenwater rolled home second, with Klingele coming back to third
ahead of Uppinghouse.
The first car in the pits on Sunday was UMP late model national point
leader Brandon Sheppard. Brandon was a semi regular at the Bullring in
2012 before landing the Rocket chassis house card ride for the rest of
the year. With Josh Richards backing away from NASCAR and reclaiming
the ride, Brandon was back on his own this season. On his first trip
to QR in 2013, he picked up a feature win, then he went on to capture
the UMP Summernationals Hell Tour championship, including a fifth in
the tour stop here. By virtue of his strong Summernationals showing,
the 20 year old emerged atop the national standings. With QR the only
UMP points paying Sunday night late model track, and Brandon living
about 100 miles to the east in New Berlin, it was no surprise to see
him in the pits Sunday. Much as Brian Shirley did in 2012 on his way
to the national title, we might expect Sheppard to be a Bullring
regular through the remainder of the season. He made his presence
known quickly, with a season best 13.155 second qualifying lap. The "
five " he rolled put him inside row three in the dash, and try as he
might, he could not overtake Clint Kirkham in the ten lapper. Clint
was running with a cracked engine block, but his # 28 was plenty
strong, and he and Sheppard would set the front row for the 30 lap
finale. The two ran side by side on the first lap, with Kirkham
holding a slight advantage at the line, but Sheppard used the high
side to take over the lead on lap two. Point leader Mark Burgtorf also
slipped around Kirkham for second. Only visiting Kenny Vandorn with
heavy smoke pouring form his # 22K, and Ron Elbe with a flat tire
pulled out of the 13 car field, and the 30 laps ticked off in just
over seven minutes of caution free racing. Sheppard lapped up through
the fifth place finisher. Burgtorf came home a distant second, with
Michael Long and Rickey Frankel on the lead lap. Kirkham took fifth
followed by Denny Woodworth, Bill Genebacher, visitor Adam Mefford,
Jared Schlipman, visitor Mike Hammerle, and Cliff Powell.
The IMCA sport compacts took their feature green, but a first
lap mixup saw Jacob Tournear fly off turn two and slam hard into the
steel guardrail at the edge of pit road. Tournear was shaken, but
climbed from his ride after several minutes. Before a lap was run,
Laine Vanzandt also found himself in the backstretch guardrail as
well. By the time a lap was scored, only six of the 11 cars on hand
were running. Pat " Skip " Dunker then pulled away, cruising to the 12
lap victory, and closing to within one point of leader Kimberly
Abbott. She crossed the line fourth behind Austen Becerra and visitor
Wes Rensch from Rushville.
Congratualtions go out to former QR late model regular Justin
Jennings on his performance in the Mudsummer Classic NASCAR Camping
World truck race on the dirt at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
Justin made the show, coming home 23rd. His father Greg and uncle Neil
still maintain the # 56J late model wheeled weekly at QR by Michael
Long. They were in the pits in Eldora along with LG Seeds sponsor Brad
Althide, and another former QR hotshoe, Brandon Brown, who now serves
as crew chief for Tony Dunker. Justin continues to make strides in
both the trucks and Nationwide series, and everyone at QR should be
proud of this fine young man.
As someone who has been around QR since it opened in 1975, I can only
hope we have many more seasons of racing action, so lets all keep our
fingers crossed, and we will see you Sunday!