Past the Pit Gate
by Danny Rosencrans

September 30, 2013 -- The 2013 season came to an end Sunday night at Quincy Raceways, apparently ending the Paul Holtschlag - Bob Rhinberger era at the Bullring. The final details are still being worked out, but the Last Chance Promotions team seems poised to hit the ground running, making plans for the 2014 season at QR as well as Jacksonville Speedway. The car count for the final Sunday was actually up a bit, with 73 teams signed in, led by 22 UMP modifieds. With racing in the area winding down, several drivers showed up looking for one more show. This included Tonica, Il. late model driver Scott Schmitt, who came to town leading the UMP Illinois state points race, and holding fourth in the national chase. Also Rusty Griffaw, from Festus, Mo. who was on top in the Southwest region for UMP mods. Both drivers enjoyed success, adding to their title charge.

 The IMCA classes - stock cars, sport mods, and sport compacts started  their season championship features straight up by track point standings. The stock cars ran their 20 lap finale first, with Abe Huls on the pole. With a bright sun and a stiff breeze at race time, the heat races were contested on a track that was dry, dusty, and mostly one lane around the bottom groove. But during intermission, the track crew reworked the surface somewhat. Still, taking off from the pole position Huls opted for the low line as he took the early lead. A lap three caution took out two contenders, including Beau Taylor, and former regular Jeff Mueller, from Mt Pleasant, Iowa. One lap later, second running Terry Houston looped his # 97, bringing out the final yellow. Fifth starting Brandon Savage had worked his way forward, and with Abe down low, Brandon made a rare trip to the cushion, where his # 47S hooked up. He powered around Huls on lap ten, then stretched out a big lead over the final ten circuits for his fourth win of the year. Huls captured the track title with his second place run, followed by Houston, Jake Powers, and Jerry Jansen.

  Next came the UMP mods. Fast timer and dash winner Steven Delonjay and Griffaw sat on row one, with Rusty jumping to the lead from the outside starting spot. Five caution periods slowed the pace in the first half of the event, but each time Griffaw shot ahead on the high side while Delonjay stayed close on the bottom. After a lap 13 restart, Griffaw switched lines, going all the way to the inside groove. With the front two now on the bottom, Justin Reed powered past Delonjay on the high side taking Dave Weitholder along. Weitholder was a late arrival at the track after finding engine problems in his ride. He missed qualifying, and started deep in the field. His run was more unlikely in that he was racing a 6 cylinder engine in his # 05. As Griffaw continued to set the pace, a yellow waved on lap 22, setting up a three lap dash. A grinding five car crash ensued on the backstretch, eliminating Reed and damaging several rides. Despite receiving a friendly push from Chris Spaulding, Weitholder could not refire, ending his run as well. Griffaw took the flag to flag victory, his second of the year at QR. Delonjay clinched the track title with a runnerup finish. Robbie Reed, Keith Pratt and young Dylan Hoover rounded out the top five.

  Although Schmitt was making his first regular season visit of 2013 to the Bullring, he set quick time at 15.238 seconds, rolled a "one " for the dash invert, and topped the ten lapper. He then jumped to the lead in the 30 lap main event, only to yield the spot to outside polesitter Mark Burtorf on lap four. Rickey Frankel charged from the sixth spot on the grid to third on lap eight, but with no cautions, passing was at a premium. Burgtorf notched his third QR win, with Schmitt, Frankel, Jason Perry, and Michael Long recording top fives. Denny Woodworth had already secured the points championship, and finished it off with a sixth place run ahead of visitors Ron McQuerry and Ryan Little, Jared Schlipma, Bill Genebacher, and Ron Elbe.

  The sport mod 20 lapper had point champion Tony Dunker on the pole, 'nuff said. Tony persevered through what seemed like unending cautions before the time limit expired on lap nine. It was then announced that the next flag, yellow or checkers, would end the race. Wouldn't you know that the next 11 laps clicked off caution free!?! Dunker made it nine features in a row, besting Brad Holtmeyer, Trevor Hagerbaumer, Jim Gillenwater in the Bobby Six # 6, and Pat Dunker, out for the second time in his # 3DC. Special thanks to the Dunkers for the free feed before the races for us pit rats. It was delicious!

 The season came to an end as each Sunday this season has, with the 12 lap sport compact finale. Alex Baker was a no show at race time after getting upside down in his heat race. Alex sat down beside me and took some good natured ribbing, as he was uninjured in the rollover. Point champion Austen Beccerra and runnerup Kimberly Abbott sat on row one, and staged a great side by side duel as the laps clicked off. In the closing laps, Kim drifted too high in turn two, letting Pat Dunker slip by to take the second spot. Abbott recovered for third ahead of Brandon Lambert and Seith Woodruff.

 Keep checking back to the website for information on the 2013 awards banquet, as well as news about the 2014 season. I will also be posting news and notes about Quincy Raceways, our local drivers and more midwest racing news at Positively, Racin' Down the Road. Have a great offseason, and hopefully we will meet again in 2014 at our home away from home, Quincy Raceways!



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