Late model report card: Where have all the cars gone?

May 26, 2009 11 Comments

Initially, I was going to break down the late model division today from a performance aspect, but before we get to that it’s time to address another issue.

The phone calls, e-mails and face-to-face questions have all been the same in recent weeks. “What’s happened to the late model car count?” at the Bullring?

Well, nothing, really.

First of all, racing is cyclical, like most anything in sports. And right now we’re in down cycle with the late models, as far as sheer numbers are concerned. There were only 13 on hand Sunday night, which I’ll be the first to admit was a shame, what with 3,200 fans on hand. It would have been a golden opportunity to showcase what is supposed to be the track’s marquee division.

Minus the 40 cars that turned out for the Deery Brothers tour event Aprl 23, the average late model car count has been 14.8. What makes that total look worse than it probably is in today’s economical climate are the averages from the four previous seasons. From 2005 through 2008, the weekly average was between 20 and 25, which was incredible for a track of Quincy’s size and location.

Generally speaking, the late model count was on the rise for about a decade, but  it couldn’t continue upward forever. I think that’s one of those laws of physics, but since I struggled mightily with that subject in high school I’m certainly no expert.

There had to be a leveling off at some point, due to retirements, driver’s deciding to sew their oats elsewhere, etc. Those things happen everywhere, at every track. This year might go down as some sort of transition season at the Bullring.

The overall car count at the track is higher than 2008. The other three weekly series are up, but when the late models are down that tends to draw more attention. Don’t lose any sleep over the situation. These things have a way of rectifying themselves, sooner or later.

In the meantime, here are the average late model car counts at 8000 Broadway since 1991:

2009: current average 18.4 (14.8 minus the April 23 Deery Brothers tour event)
2008: 20 (IMCA)
2007: 22 (IMCA)
2006: 25 (IMCA)
2005: 20 (IMCA)
2004: 17 (IMCA)
2003: 16 (IMCA)
2002: 16 (IMCA)
2001: 16 (IMCA)
2000: 16 (IMCA)
1999: 18 (IMCA)
1998: 15 (IMCA)
1997: 13
1996: 14
1995: 16
1994: 13
1993: 17
1992: 16
1991: 15


Track points: Justin Reed 188, Lonnie Bailey 181, Jerry Weisenberger 176, Keith Pratt 174, Ron Elbe 172,  Joey Gower 172, Jason Perry 171, Bill Genenbacher 170.

Feature points: Justin Reed 185, Lonnie Bailey 180, Jerry Weisenberger 172.

Heat points: Joey Gower 7, Mark Burgtorf 7, Jason Perry 6, Nick Ingalls 5, Clint Kirkham 5.

Improvement points: Justin Reed 32, Lonnie Bailey 27,  Jason Frankel 17, Bill Genenbacher 16, Keith Pratt 16, Robby Warner 11, Ron Elbe 10.

Herald-Whig Performance Points: Mark Burgtorf 60, Jason Frankel 36, Justin Reed 35, Matt Bailey 35, Lonnie Bailey 30, Keith Pratt 27, Jerry Weisenberger 26.

Money earned (points races): Justin Reed $2,200, Lonnie Bailey $1,860,  Mark Burgtorf $16,90, Keith Pratt $1,680, Matt Bailey $1,590.

Money earned (all races): Mark Burgtorf $4,430, Jason Frankel $2,820, Justin Reed $2,725, Lonnie Bailey $2,485, Jerry Weisenberger $2,240, Keith Pratt $2,005.

Total wins: Mark Burgtorf 6, Lonnie Bailey 3, Joey Gower 3. 

Feature wins: Mark Burgtorf 4, three with 1. 

Feature laps led: Mark Burgtorf 125, Jason Frankel 35, Keith Pratt 30, Matt Bailey 18.

Fast feature laps: Mark Burgtorf 3, four with 1.

Feature second places: Justin Reed 2, Lonnie Bailey 2, three with 1.

Feature laps run: Justin Reed 180, Jerry Weisenberger 180, Lonnie Bailey 180, Keith Pratt 169, Ron Elbe 161.

Heat wins: Mark Burgtorf 2, Jerry Weisenberger 2, 10 with 1.

Dash wins: Ron Elbe 2, Joey Gower 2, two with 1.

Feature winners:
April 12: Mark Burgtorf (started 2nd)
April 23: Mark Burgtorf (started 3rd)
April 26: Keith Pratt (started 2nd)
May 3: Jason Frankel (started 2nd)
May 10: Mark Burgtorf (started 1st)
May 17: Mark Burgtorf (started 1st)
May 24: Matt Bailey (started 2nd)

Fastest feature laps:
April 12: Mark Burgtorf, 68.915 mph
April 23: Ray Guss Jr., 70.048
April 26: Keith Pratt, 68.396
May 3: Jason Frankel, 69.438
May 17: Mark Burgtorf, 71.649
May 24: Justin Reed, 66.932

Margins of victory:
April 12: Mark Burgtorf, 0.868
April 23: Mark Burgtorf, 3.784
April 26: Keith Pratt, 1.872
May 3: Jason Frankel, 1.100
May 10: Mark Burgtorf, 0.687
May 17: Mark Burgtorf, 0.348
May 24: Matt Bailey, 0.756

April 12: Jerry Weisenberger (finished 4th)
April 23: Terry Schlipman (finished 6th)
April 26: Matt Bailey (finished 2nd)
May 3: Ron Elbe (finished 5th)
May 10: Mark Burgtorf (WON)
May 17: Mark Burgtorf (WON)
May 24: Dustin Neese (finished 9th)

Length of features:
April 12: 7:55.851
April 23: 19:43.673 (50 laps)
April 26: 17:56.420
May 3: 9:52.355
May 10: 11:33.392
May 17: 17:09.221
May 24: 10:31.531

Car counts:
April 12: 15
April 23: 40 (Deery Brothers tour event)
April 26: 17
May 3: 14
May 10: 15
May 17: 15
May 24: 13
Season average: 18.4; minus Deery Brothers tour event average is 14.8.


April 12: 1
April 23: 6
April 26: 1
May 3: 3
May 10: 2
May 17: 4
May 24: 2
Season average: 2.7.

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Comments (11)

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  1. LML says:

    Good for late model guys who ARE there. As a fan I’m happy to support them. If some of the guys wanna race somewhere else that’s fine. I support the drivers and their sponsors who support their home track.

  2. Top Row says:

    Stevie Dirt, I agree with you. it’s not a big deal. Car counts have been down before. As tight as money is these days, I’m happy we at least have 13 or so drivers there every week. And don’t think the fans don’t appreciate them being there. I’d say Sunday’s crowd shows that.

  3. just sayin' says:

    it’s just my two cents, but i can’t for the life of me see why a local driver with local fans who would like to see him race would want to make the haul for a couple of hours somewhere else. i’d say pretty soon his fans will find someone else to cheer for.

  4. Qtown fan says:

    I appreciate what some of the others are saying here, but I have also heard from soem drivers how rough the track has been and how much equipment they are tearing up. Maybe when the track is smoother they’ll be back.

  5. Turn3 says:

    I wonder how many of the drivers who weren’t QR Sunday night wished they would have been when they saw how many people turned out.

  6. Oldtimer says:

    I don’t really care if there are just five late models there. I’ll be there every sunday night. Stop complaining and just race!

  7. Mod Fann says:

    All this talk about late models is fine, but why have the modifieds been passed over twice this season? I would say they are the second-biggest draw at the track but all they seem to get is a lot of crap from a lot of people.

    Personally, I’m much more excited there are 20 or more modifieds at the track every week than if there are 15, 20 or 120 late models.

  8. steve bryant says:

    Let me see $1000 to win at Lee Co or $700 in Quincy where your car is most likely going to get tore up, NO brainer to me the grand to win and a car that’s in one piece sounds a lot better to me. The top local guys are good enough to run the bigger shows and why not. After a while a win is just a win the excitement is what these guys are after.

  9. a fan says:

    I give props to all the late models that do come every week and put on the best possible show that they can! We truly have some dedicated drivers that come every week and give their best even if its not a win. Hopefully the track will get better, last Sunday was wonderful not having a late model flip or someone get in a hold your breath accident. Hopefully the track crew can give us a track like last Sunday. I truly enjoy the late models, they do wonderful but I have to agree the Modifieds are doing very well at becoming the attention getter. I love it when the mods show up, even if they are caution crazy. There all them boys have a drive to win and you see it in the racing. Got to thank Quincy Raceways and the drivers for doing their best in putting on a great show for all of us to enjoy!

  10. Rob says:

    You destroy three cars in the first three weeks of racing because of a terrible track and it is going to affect the car count anywhere. It’s too bad that Quincy can’t get their act together and run a good show. The Scott’s may have not been easy to get along with but how many late models flipped during those years because of a crappy track?

  11. Kenny Pratt says:

    I think “change” is a good thing but often hard to accept. yes the track is faster, higher banked and a little more touchy if you hang the right rear off the cushion of which will result in hairy ride or flip. When we wrecked the Rayburn it was setup/driver error that caused that crash not the track. At least we now have a solid two and on occasion three groove track that allows passing. Prior to these changes it was follow the leader on the bottom, bump and run to pass.

    kudos to the Neisen’s for a job well done in my old but humble opinion.
    PS: GFTL stands for “Go Fast Turn Left” 34 is a old Flordia asphalt # of mine.

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