Thanks to Joe Bliven and Quincy Raceways for these pictures. Work has been under way for about two weeks, taking off banking at both ends and along both the front and back stretches.
Month: October 2010
“Trouble in turn four!!”
That will be one of the familiar catch phrases heard again at the Bullring during the 2011 season. The friendly baritone of Doug Mealy – a.k.a “Pretty Doug” — will be returning as track announcer after spending the 2010 season as chief steward.
Management officials confirmed the move this weekend.
Mealy had been a popular figure at the track in recent seasons for his down-home approach and ability to involve fans with the races. He would regularly “pick on” certain patrons in the stands, and being a former racer himself, brought a unique approach to the position of “voice of the track.” I’m just guessing, but I think there are two particular “blonde girls” who will be popular targets of Mealy next summer.
This is another solid move in mending fences with the fans. “Pretty Doug” was arguably the most popular figure at the rack outside of the racers and his announcing and commentary were missed in 2010.
More good news for local dirt-track fans pertaining to the 2011 season at Quincy Raceways.
Management has announced no increase in ticket prices at the gate for regular weekly shows in 2011. Proces will remain:
Students (11-15): $5.
Kids (10 and under): Free.
Family pass: $25 for two adults and two students.
The only increase will be for pit passes, which will increase to $25 from $22.
SO FAR, SO GOOD … MORE NEWS TO COME
There will be plenty of more news about 2011 that will be surfacing in the coming days and weeks. Keep checking back, I promise you’ll find it interesting. I’m just waiting for a number of things to become “official” before releasing the details.
One by one, 2011 is beginning to shape — and it’s only November. Track officials promised they would address the issues and complaints that made 2010 a frustrating season, and so far they have kept their word. They are moving on these items — and moving quickly.
The changes continue at the Bullring.
Quincy Raceways officials have announced the starting time for 2011 races will be 6:30 p.m., and a more concerted effort effort will made to start on time.
Last season the starting time was moved up to 5:30 p.m., but no program began on time at any point of the season. That was one of the major complaints from fans last season and one of the issues management vowed to address in the offseason in preparation for 2011.
The new itinerary for 2011 will see the drivers’ meeting at 5:30 p.m., followed by hot laps at 5:45 and racing at 6:30. Pit gates will open at 3:30.
The wait is over.
• IMCA late models
• UMP modifieds
• IMCA stock cars
• Hobby stocks
• Wild Things (four cylinders)
There were two specific surprises with that revelation, most notably the addition of a fifth class — the four-cylinder wild things. The other was bringing the stock cars back.
Much of the offseason speculation centered around the crate late models or sportmods as a possible addition to the lineup or as a replacement for the stock cars, a 3-year-old series that struggled with car counts. But the rumors about a return of the four-cylinder cars began to surface in recent weeks and seemed to be growing stronger the last few days. Those rumors obviously proved true.
The reason for opting against crate late models and/or sportmods was the fear of not being to draw enough out-of-the-immediate area cars, a problem that has dogged the stock car series at Quincy. Track officials felt the resurgence in four-cylinder classes in recent seasons at other area tracks would provide a stronger potential base for building that series. Quincy ran the four-cylinder hornets in 2006-2007, but then discontinued the class because of low car counts. The wild things/hornets, however, have been flourishing the past few years at nearby Iowa tracks in Donnellson and West Burlington.
Quincy will incorporate the same four-cylinder rules used at Donnellson.
Track officials said they still believe in the future of the stock cars and indicated the weekly average should improve in 2011, judging by the offseason input received from local drivers. I was also told several Iowa drivers, including Jeff Mueller, would return on a regular basis if the promised improvements to the track materialized.
Speaking of the track itself, the capital improvements continue. Considerable banking has been removed at both ends, and the track has also been lowered along the top in both the front and back stretches.
“Things are beginning to fall into place,” one official told me. “I’m already starting to get excited about 2011.”
ONLY THE BEGINNING
Keep checking back here. We’ll have much more to report on changes for the 2011 season as they become finalized. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
I have to applaud those connected with the track. Drivers and fans alike needed assurance there would be improvements and changes in numerous areas for next season. Moments after the final Sunday night race earlier this month, Paul Holtschlag, part of the track’s management team, promised to all concerned that Quincy Raceways would correct the problems that had developed — and he has kept his word.
I’ve seen the list of concerns, questions and grievances that are being worked through, with the help of individuals outside the immediate circle of management. They are being addressed one by one. It’s a long list, but it’s also a long offseason and I feel much better about 2011 than I did a month ago.
As a reporter, I am supposed to check my personal preferences at the gate. And for most of the season, I was able to do just that, but down the stretch I couldn’t help it. I was hoping Denny Woodworth would win the late model track championship.
Not that I was rooting against eventual runner-up Jason Perry — who had a tremendous season in his own right — but I knew how important that first track title was to ol’ D.W. He had won just about everything at his home track, including a 1993 “A” modified crown, but had made a career of coming close but never winning the late model big iron.
The “coming close” part is now over. Denny Woodworth is the reigning track champ at 8000 Broadway after a spirited, season-long battle with Perry. Woodworth’s championship was no fluke. He dominated all the important numbers — like a champion should. Those items all added up to why Woodworth is the Stevie Dirt All-Dirt Team Late Model Driver of the Year.
What made Woodworth’s title even sweeter was that 2010 was the first season he had raced full-time at Quincy since 2006, having opted to branch out across the Midwest the three previous summers. But every Sunday night this season he was in the pits at the Bullring, much to the satisfaction of his fans. Woodworth has always been one of the most popular drivers at the track, and those loyal fans of his finally saw No. 45 finish atop the point standings.
Perry deserves plenty of praise, too. He might even enter 2011 as the series favorite. After all, the Payson product has improved his points standing each year he has raced and there is only one spot to go up from second.
2010 STEVIE DIRT LATE MODEL ALL-DIRT TEAM AWARDS
DRIVERS OF THE YEAR
2010: Denny Woodworth
2009: Mark Burgtorf
2008: Jason Frankel
2010: Jason Perry. Justin Reed
2009: Lonnie Bailey, Justin Reed
2008: Mark Burgtorf, Justin Reed
2010: Joey Gower, Keith Pratt
2009: Jason Frankel, Keith Pratt
2008: Lonnie Bailey, Jason Perry
ALL-DIRT TEAMS BREAKDOWN
(5 points for Driver of the Year, 3 points for first row, 1 point for second row)
Justin Reed, 9 points
Mark Burgtorf, 8 points
Jason Frankel, 6 points
Denny Woodworth, 5 points
Jason Perry, 4 points
Lonnie Bailey, 4 points
Keith Pratt, 2 points
Joey Gower, 1 point