Is this Reed’s breatkthrough year in the late models?

March 23, 2010 1 Comment
Justin Reed holds his trophy high after winning the Sept. 21 feature last season at Quincy Raceways

Justin Reed holds his trophy high after winning the Sept. 21 feature last season at Quincy Raceways

Several interesting late model topics come to mind as the April 4 start of the season draws closer.

Will we have an unprecedented fourth different champion in as many years? I’d say the chances are extremely good of that occurring, and I think the name to look for is Justin Reed. The 23-year-old Reed has gotten stronger each season — he’s been at this since he was a teenager — and his time could finally arrive in 2010. Reed finished second by six points to Lonnie Bailey a year ago.

Reed won the modified title in 2009 in his first full year in that series, and as nice of an accomplishment as that was he told me his heart remains tied to the late models. He wants a track championship in that division in the worst way. I think the stars might be aligned for a Reed title run this summer.

Bailey will, of course, be at or near the top of the points, too, but as difficult as it is to repeat in this series — Mark Burgtorf, Steve Fraise and Terry Gallaher are the lone drivers to do so — the law of percentages will undoubtedly be working against him. A tremendous irony this season would be for Bailey to win features at both Quincy and West Burlington, Iowa, and not win either track title. He captured both championships last season without the aid of even one feature checkered flag. That has to be some kind of record.

Vance Wilson

Vance Wilson

Are you ready for some new faces? Both Vance Wilson and Tony Dunker will be trying their hands in late models, plus working double time with their regular modified gigs. Vance had his late model at the recent Quincy Mall show, a car he purchased from Gallaher. The familiar No. 1 will be how you find him opening night. I’m not sure what number Dunker will be using for his late model, which he is in the pocess of finishing up as you read this.

Although not a new face, look for Nick Ingalls to play more of a challenging role this year. He’ll be unveiling a new No. 5 with considerably more horsepower. I have from a very good source he could be one of the season’s real sleepers.

Who will be the other title contenders? Along with Reed and (Lonnie) Bailey, my picks going into the season are Jason Perry, Keith Pratt, Matt Bailey and Bill Genenbacher, probably in that order, too. Perry has proven he is steady and knows how to points race, Pratt will near the top if he can keep all four wheels on the track, (Matt) Bailey has the equipment and savvy if he is able to make all the points races and Genenbacher gets stronger each season.

But what about Burgtorf, Jason Frankel and Denny Woodworth? They’ll be around a lot, but will not be attending all points races because of plans to test the waters in some big-money, out-of-town events. Burgtorf has led the late models in total wins the past five years and has won the most features every season but one (2004) since 1999 when such statistics started being tracked.

CLIMBING IN THE RANKINGS

Reed’s runner-up finish in this year’s late model points race allowed him to climb to No. 7 in the The Herald-Whig’s IMCA era (since 1998) track rankings. Reed still has a ways to go to crack the track’s all-time top 10 rankings, a place that is still largely reserved for the historical names who helped build 8000 Broadway.

Lonnie Bailey, the No. 4-ranked all-time driver, continued his assault on the big three of Burgtorf, Gallaher and Fraise. Bailey has moved within 40 points of No. 3 Fraise, who with No. 2 Gallaher and No. 1 Burgtorf show a combined 27 track championships.

A driver earns 15 points for finishing first in points and 10 for a second-place spot. The rest of the top 10 gets points in 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 fashion.

ALL-TIME LATE MODEL RANKINGS
(bold face indicates driver was active in class in 2009)
1. Mark Burgtorf, 275 points (14 titles)
2. Terry Gallaher, 232 (4)

3. Steve Fraise, 178 (9)
4. Lonnie Bailey, 138 (2)
5. Dick Crane, 104.5 (1)
6. Jim Swank, 73.5 (1)
7. Sonny Findling, 70.5
8. Brent Slocum, 64 (1)
9. Denny Woodworth, 61
10. Tom Long, 49

Other active notables
Jason Frankel, 43
Ron Elbe, 38
Jerry Weisenberger, 32
Joey Gower, 26
Jason Perry, 15
Bill Genenbacher, 13
Keith Pratt, 13
Dustin Neese, 11
Matt Bailey, 9
Robby Warner, 5
Nick Ingalls, 1
Clint Kirkham, 1

LATE MODEL RANKINGS SINCE 1998 (IMCA era)
(bold face indicates driver was active in class in 2009)
1. Mark Burgtorf, 147 points (8 titles)
2. Lonnie Bailey, 88 (2)

3. Brent Slocum, 64 (1)
4. Denny Woodworth, 52
5. Terry Gallaher, 40

6. Jamie Wilson, 36
x-7. Justin Reed, 32
8. Jerry Weisenberger, 32
9. Ron Elbe, 24
10. Joey Gower, 23

x-Reed is No. 7 on strength of more second-place points finishes

Other active notables
Jason Frankel, 15
Jason Perry, 13
Bill Genenbacher, 13
Keith Pratt, 13
Dustin Neese, 11
Boone McLaughlin, 10
Matt Bailey, 9
Robby Warner, 5
Nick Ingalls, 1
Clint Kirkham, 1

LATE MODEL TRACK CHAMPIONS
IMCA era 1998-2009
2009: Lonnie Bailey
2008: Jason Frankel
2007: Mark Burgtorf
2006: Mark Burgtorf
2005: Mark Burgtorf
2004: Lonnie Bailey
2003: Mark Burgtorf
2002: Brent Slocum
2001: Mark Burgtorf
2000: Mark Burgtorf
1999: Mark Burgtorf
1998: Mark Burgtorf
Previous
1997: Mark Burgtorf
1996: Mark Burgtorf
1995: Mark Burgtorf
1994: Mark Burgtorf
1993: Mark Burgtorf
1992: Mark Burgtorf
1991: Terry Gallaher
1990: Steve Fraise
1989: Steve Fraise
1988: Terry Gallaher
1987: Terry Gallaher
1986: Dick Crane
1985: Terry Gallaher
1984: Steve Fraise
1983: Steve Fraise
1982: Steve Fraise
1981: Steve Fraise
1980: Steve Fraise
1979: Steve Fraise
1978: Jim Swank
1977: No LM division
1976: Steve Fraise
1975: Larry Pipes

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  1. just a fan says:

    wow dunker and vance in the late models interesting, well if you can’t beat em switch classes. But this ones just as tough. Very excited about this season. Good for them for trying something new.

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