Bullring fans should be proud today.
Track regulars Jason Frankel and Mark Burgtorf took the top two spots Saturday night in the IMCA-season ending $10,000-to-win Pepsi USA Nationals late model showcase.
In addition, Lonnie Bailey, Matt Bailey and Keith Pratt all had strong runs, giving Quincy regulars five of the top 18 finishes.
Frankel collected the big payday, passing series champ Jeff Aikey and then Burgtorf during the final two laps.
The 100-lapsaw three lead changes, constant shuffling in and out of the top five, and just two cautions as the race stayed green the last 47 laps. Burgtorf led most of the distance, but settled for second ahead of “B” qualifier Rob Toland, Aikey and Terry Neal. Defending race winner Matt Strassheim was sixth.
Burgtorf started outside the front row and was chased by Lonnie Bailey and Frankel into lapped traffic on the 13th circuit. Fred Remley brought out the first caution when he got too high on the track and caught the turn four wall on lap 16.
Burgtorf, Bailey and Aikey ran three-wide for the lead before Bailey and Aikey swapped the second spot on lap 23 and again on lap 24. Bailey found the low groove to his liking on lap 29, passing both Aikey and Burgtorf for the lead.
He’d stay there until lap 47, when Burgtorf motored by. Aikey made a pass of his own for the front, which was negated when the third running Neal and fourth running Bailey got together to bring out the second and final caution on lap 53.
After slipping back as far as sixth, Frankel started working his way back up, catching Fraise and then Neal to get back into contention for the big payday. Aikey fell on lap 97 and Burgtorf, who’d held Bailey at bay when the pair finished 1-2 at the 2007 Pepsi, gave way on lap 98.
The victory was the series career third for Frankel, who moved past Ray Guss Jr. into second in series point standings with the win. Aikey clinched his career sixth Deery title at the Sept. 7 show during the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals.
FRANKEL WON IRONMAN COMPETITION, TOO
Frankel also won Friday’s 20-lap Ironman feature for the 10 drivers with perfect attendance through the first 19 events of the series. That win was good for $840, after each driver received an extra $90 from J & J Steel.
HUGE CAR COUNT
Sixty-four late models were in the pits for the Friday-Saturday show, the seventh highest single event total in the series’ 23-year, 352-race history. The all-time record is 71, set at the 2006 Pepsi.
Total car count for this season’s 20 races was 759, second only to the 849 in 1998. An average of nearly 38 cars was on hand for each series date.
PEPSI USA NATIONALS RESULTS
1. Jason Frankel, Quincy, Ill.
2. Mark Burgtorf, Quincy, Ill.
3. Rob Toland, Davenport, Iowa
4. Jeff Aikey, Waterloo, Iowa
5. Terry Neal, Ely, Iowa
6. Matt Strassheim, West Burlington, Iowa
7. Tony Fraise, Montrose, Iowa
8. Jason Hahne, Webster City, Iowa
9. Ray Guss Jr., Milan, Ill.
10. Boone McLaughlin, Mediapolis, Iowa
11. Tommy Elston, Keokuk, Iowa
12. Tom Darbyshire, Morning Sun, Iowa
13. Tom Goble, Burlington, Iowa
14. Lonnie Bailey, Quincy, Ill.
15. Jason Bahrs, Colona, Ill.
16. Matt Bailey, Quincy, Ill.
17. T.J. Criss, Oskaloosa, Iowa
18. Keith Pratt, Mendon, Ill.
19. Darrel DeFrance, Marshalltown, Iowa
20. Stephan Kammerer, Blue Grass, Iowa
21. Colby Springsteen, Morning Sun, Iowa
22. Jay Johnson, West Burlington, Iowa
23. Charlie McKenna, Clear Lake, Iowa
24. Dale Hackwell Jr., Washburn, Iowa
25. Tyler Bruening, Decorah, Iowa
26. Fred Remley, Blue Grass, Iowa
1. Frankel; 2. Aikey; 3. Neal; 4. Toland; 5. Guss; 6. McKenna; 7. Justin Kay, Wheatland, Iowa; 8. DeFrance; 9. Bobby Hansen, Center Point, Iowa; 10. Greg Kastli, Waterloo, Iowa.