Quincy Raceways owner Tony Rhinberger announced Sunday night the Oct. 5 season finale will include a pair of $2,500-to-win feature events. Late models and modifieds will each be running for the big paydays.
Those two purses should draw some serious lineups in both divisions. Look for about 25 late models and as many as 40 modifieds. What a great way to end the season.
My first thought was concerning the modifieds. Two-time track champ Michael Long is sitting with 35 victories this season at 8000 Broadway. The track record he established a year ago was 36. This means he will have one last chance to tie and possibly break that mark. I know, I know … if it hadn’t been such a wet spring and late summer Long probably would have already eclipsed the 40-victory barrier, but there’s nothing you can do about Mother Nature.
It will also be great to see one final star-studded lineup of late models before having to endure seven months of dirt-track exile. No offense to any of the out-of-towners who might show up that night, but wouldn’t it be great to see reigning track champ Jason Frankel, 14-time king Mark Burgtorf and fan favorite Denny Woodworth duke it out for the big bucks?
HATS OFF TO RHINBERGER
I appreciate the effort Rhinberger and staff have done this year to bring a diverse and deep lineup of events to the cathedral of commotion. This has been an especially trying season for track owners and fans alike, with the economy going straight into the toilet and gas prices hitting $4 a gallon.
Three tracks in our region closed during the season and a fourth shut down for two weeks, all because of financial problems. There was never the hint of any gloom and doom at Quincy Raceways. Sound management and strong fan support were the reasons. Rhinberger and his assistants deserve much credit for maintaining an attractive schedule, and the fans deserve an equal amount of credit for showing up week after week.
Quincy is a tremendous racing community. When I moved here a little more than 10 years ago one of the first things I was told was that almost every garage in Quincy had a race car in it. I found that to be only a slight exaggeration.
LINE OF THE YEAR
Track announcer Doug Mealy have come up with the best one-liner in history Sunday night when describing a duel between "Superman" Sam Halstead of New London, Iowa, and Burgtorf. Halstead had enjoyed a large lead for most of a late model heat race, only to see Burgtorf storm from the back of the pack and zero in on his back bumper.
"Superman better watch out, because here comes Kryptonite!" Mealy told the crowd.
Classic. Simply classic.
Sunday night was the final shows for the stock cars and hobby stocks until 2009. We’ll be dissecting those classes (plus modifieds and late models) with a lot of final facts, figures and thoughts during the fall and winter, but first a few a couple of comments about both series:
The stock cars were an even better addition to the weekly schedule than I first anticipated, and the field will become even stronger in the coming seasons. Track officials are expecting to average about 20 stock cars a week next season. Three full-time competitors in Kale Foster, Jerry Jansen and Rusty Tobias joined the ranks around midseason or shortly afterward, and there will be more coming next spring.
The stock cars always put on a competitive show, and that is a great part of their appeal. I got hooked on them in 1999 at Lee County Speedway and always thought they would be an excellent class for Quincy Raceways. They proved me right this summer.
The hobby stocks are in the midst of establishing a new identity, or re-establishing an old identity. Have you noticed the series has slowly been returning to its roots? Ideally, the hobby stocks (or bombers, as they used to be called) should serve as stepping stone to other classes, and that is what is now happening. In recent years, drivers have been staying for one or two seasons and then moving to another series. At least two are expected to leave in 2009 for the stock cars.
That doesn’t mean the hobby stocks can’t be a permanent home for some drivers. If that is what the budget allows or that is the level they enjoy the most, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But watch for fewer and fewer drivers to remain there more than two or three years.
There has been more turnover in this division in recent years than at any time since it came into existence in 1987. Only three of the weekly "regulars" this year could be classified as veterans — Steve Carlin, Jim Powell and Wes Mayfield. The rest of the "full-timers" in the series were predominantly new or up-and-coming drivers. That trend should continue.
"HANK THE CRANK" COMES OUT OF RETIREMENT
Thirteen-time Quincy track champ Hank DeLonjay came out of retirement to run Saturday night at 24 Raceway in Moberly, Mo. "The Crank," who retired after the 2007 season, finished second to reigning track champ David Holder.