Until season starts, take some laps with these thoughts

March 24, 2009 12 Comments

Ten things to consider as the first green flag on April 5 draws closer at Quincy Raceways:

1. We always hear about how much more powerful those late model UMP power plants are when compared to the IMCA spec engines, yet I find it interesting the fastest lap turned in 2008 belonged to Jason Frankel driving an IMCA car, a 72.717 mph circuit on Aug. 31. That was a heartbeat faster than Ed Dixon’s 72.430 mph lap on June 10.

Chris Wibbell

Chris Wibbell

2. One of the most impressive feats from a year ago remains Chris Wibbell’s steadiness and reliability in the stock car division. He was the only driver in any series to complete all feature laps. Think it doesn’t sound that difficult? Then why was Wibbell the only driver to accomplish the feat?

3. The number of modified caution flags has been on the rise for three consecutive years, ever since the mods were consolidated into one division. I’m not sure if there is a connection there or not, but last year’s 10.9 cautions per show was a track record.

4. The number of yellow flags for the late models have been on a remarkable downward spiral. Late models averaged just 3.9 cautions per night last summer, and that includes all shows, even the big Deery Brothers turnouts. The late models were responsible for 6.4 stops a night in 2006. I have no idea what the common denominator might be in this equation, other than theorizing all the young guns in the late model series were two years older in 2008.

Twice last year there were caution-free Sunday nights for the late models. Nada. Zilch. Nyet. One of those evenings, July 20, saw the feature run in a remarkable 7 minutes, 52.873 seconds.

5. Of the 41 cars at the recent Quincy Mall show, I would say the early leaders for two of this year’s ZZ Top Sharp Dressed Man Awards are Dustin Griffin the late models and Tony Dunker in the mods. If Dunker is deemed the most righteous dude in terms of good-lookin’ sheet metal, it will be his fourth such award since 2002.

6. Here’s hoping track officials opt to go back to using the transponders on the hobby stocks. They were removed in early June last season.

7. I’m interested to see the early season late model car counts. Even though the track averaged 20 late models per show for a fourth straight year in 2008, only once after June 29 was that number reached. By all offseason accounts, the economy and/or retirements should not have any sort of lasting effect on 2009 car counts, but optimism always reigns in March. Two encouraging sites in this regard were the new rides on display at the mall show for veterans Terry Gallaher and Jerry Weisenberger. Gallaher is celebrating his 40th year in racing.

8. If Frankel can repeat as late model champ, he will be the first driver not named Mark Burgtorf to go back-to-back in that series since Steve Fraise in 1989-90. It’s amazing how many fans Fraise still has. I regularly get e-mails and comments about him. My all-time favorite was someone who wrote, “Steve Fraise was Mark Burgtorf before Mark Burgtorf.”

9. I started tracking money won at Quincy in 2006. In three seasons, Burgtorf has won $43,060. The next-highest late model total belongs to Denny Woodworth ($21,445).

10. Michael Long’s domination of the modifieds for a second straight season included 15 feature victories. Ironically, Long did not win the first (Dave Wietholder) or last (Donovan Lodge) feature of 2008.

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  1. qmod fan says:

    Dunker’s car does look great, but it won’t stay that way long.

  2. rounder says:

    Interesing note about the fast LM lap. If memory serves correct, didn’t Burgtorf win an UMP race with a spec engine a couple of years ago at Quincy?

  3. LML says:

    my top three late model picks for this season–1. burgtorf, 2. frankel, 3. bailey.

  4. Top Row says:

    Steve Fraise was a great driver, but I think Mark deserves the “best ever” tag for Quincy.

  5. Hawkeye says:

    Glad to see Gallaher and Weisenberger will be running again. Good luck to both guys.

  6. Turn 4 says:

    I recently discovered this blog while looking at Heartland Motorsports. Keep up the great work. I doubt if any other dirt track in the country gets this kind of coverage. Awesome!! I’m planning a road trip down from northern Iowa to check out the “Broadway Bullring.”

  7. Dirt LM fan says:

    I agree with Top Row, Burgtorf has been and still is the best at Quincy. I also agree with LML on the #1 pick of Burgtorf , after that it is a big close tossup. Quincy and surrounding area have a great racing season ahead, starting in a very few days. The cars sure looked great at the mall.

  8. can we please get serious! The best looking car deal going to black and green and black and white cars? both of these guys have their own graphics businesses and that’s the best they can do. If this is a black car contest then my vote is the 20 stock car! If we’re judging all the cars here is 6 that seem to me have a heck of lot more creativity, color combinations, track appeal and thought in them, lm- perry reed frankel mods- wietholder waterman long Just my opinion on a snowy spring night with nothing on tv! Good luck to all of them this year. I know I’m ready to watch them all under the massive new lighting QRW has put in! We might even be able to see the 2 front runners!!

  9. Birkyfan says:

    im a fan of mark and have watched him race since i was a little kid but i dont think he is better the steve. steve was mr.quincy i think one year he even won like every race. you put steve in a lm today give him a week or 2 and i bet he wins again.

  10. dirtsquirt says:

    not only does the 20 car look great!! but he will win more races this year than anybody in the stockcar class!! go #20

  11. Wraith says:

    Those are pretty lofty expectations for a newcomer to the stock car class, but I wish him luck. The veterans that won all but one race (Tobias only rookie winner) in 08 are all coming back. Mueller, A. Huls, Oliver, and Wibbell have all gotten new or newer cars and the other veterans such as Steinkuler and D. Huls have improved. The rookies last year have a full season of laps under their belts so they should be better too. Griffin, Tobias, Woodhurst all should improve. There are also a few guys going to try there luck moving from Mods and LM, so this should be a stacked weekly class. Probably going to be 20 Stocks on a given night. Could be the most competitive class at QR other than the Late Models. Best advice for 20 is to get used to the car this year, and hold his lane. If he does that he’ll earn the respect of the vets and improve as the year goes by. I just wouldn’t expect him to come in winning right away.

  12. rizzle says:

    As to the many caution flags being on the rise at the bullring with the mods, i think the problem with this situation is alot to do with tires i was very excited to hear about them going to ump but then QR changes the tire rule to only run the hard tire, thats really the only thing good about ump rules is the softer tire, now its the same rules as last year except for shocks and miner body rules the mods will be the same as they always do. I think QR should of gotten with all the drivers to discuss to run the soft tires instead of making there own decsion. Ya the soft tires dont last as long but if it keeps guys from wrecking in front of the field, and tearing there stuff up, i think i rather buy a tire then replace the front or rear end, or maybe even the chassis, just a thought.

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