The following is the eighth in a 10-part countdown of highlights and lowlights at Quincy Raceways during the decade of the 2000s.
Quincy regulars have won the last five and six of the previous seven Deery Brothers Summer Series late model features at the Bullring.
If not for a controversial disqualification that impressive run would read seven-for-seven.
Fourteen-time track champ Mark Burgtorf was thought to have won the first of two 2007 Deery events scheduled for the track, only to have an apparent April victory overturned two days following the checkered flag.
The International Motorsports Contest Association (IMCA), the governing body that oversees the Deery Brothers tour and sanctions the weekly late model program at Quincy Raceways, cited “unapproved alterations made to a spec cylinder head” that reportedly could have increased horsepower of the engine.
The top six cars underwent IMCA post-race inspection. Runner-up Boone McLaughlin of Mediapolis, Iowa, replaced Burgtorf in the Deery Brothers record book as the winner of the race.
The heads from Burgtorf’s car were taken to IMCA headquarters in Vinton, Iowa. When the announcement about Burgtorf’s penalty was released the fallout started almost immediately.
In a Herald-Whig account, Burgtorf thought his engine was legal and emphasized he had never had any such problem in a late model career that dated to 1985. He felt the IMCA was nitpicking over the alleged infraction(s).
“I don’t cheat, I don’t believe in it … this is embarrassing,” Burgtorf said. “I wish it had never happened.”
Burgtorf said if the IMCA had taken heads from all 48 late model cars at Quincy the night of the race probably “three out of every four” would have been found in violation.
“That’s his opinion,” IMCA spokesman KevinYoder said at the time of the penalty. “The reason we did this is not because of a witch hunt, it is to reinforce the cars that are legal and try and keep the playing field equal. We’ll continue to do this.”
“My opinion is Mark did not knowingly do anything wrong,” co-track owner Tony Rhinberger said following the announcement about Burgtorf. “Mark’s heart and soul are here in Quincy and he has always been a big supporter of the IMCA and spec racing. The decision was not made by us, but by the IMCA, which had its own tech officials taking care of the series. We stand behind the decision, because it was a rules infraction. It was unfortunate for Mark, because he is such a good competitor. I’m sure he’ll regroup and remain a top competitor.”
Burgtorf’s engine builder, Jim Kuntz of Arkadelphia, Ark., stood by his work, noting he had prepared IMCA spec engines for years, plus motors for other sanctioning bodies such as the Southern All-Stars, United Professional Racing Association, United States Modified Touring Series and the National Hot Rod Association.
“We’re talking about a very minute deal,” Kuntz said of the IMCA findings. “I’ve looked at IMCA heads for years. Our engines have always passed these kinds of tear-downs.”
Kuntz emphasized the IMCA had not provided any diagrams, instructions or dimensions concerning its requirements for the situation in question.
Burgtorf’s disqualification angered Rich Lane, Burgtorf’s longtime chassis man who had decided to semi-retire following the 2006 season, but Lane announced he was officially out of retirement following news of the disquaification and returned full-time to the Burgtorf camp the rest of the season.
“I called Mark … and said I was coming back and we will show them we have never cheated,” Lane said. “I didn’t think we had anything left to prove here in Quincy, but apparently we do.”
Lane’s words proved prophetic. Burgtorf went on to storm to the track title that season, beating runner-up Lonnie Bailey by 97 points, which the second-largest such margin in the IMCA era at the track.
Oh, and the second Deery race at Quincy in September 2007? Burgtorf won it — easily.