To the best of my limited memory, there has only been one other announcement that compared to this in the 13-plus years I have been going to Quincy Raceways. When track officials told us a couple of weeks ago they would be sanctioning Bullring late models with the United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) starting in 2012 it set off a firestorm of celebration.
Ironically, the other announcement that brought the same kind of response was when track leadership let us know the UMP Summernationals were coming to town for the first time.
The support for this decision was seen in the Stevie Dirt poll that ran for about a week afterward. An overwhelming 77.2 percent of the voters lauded the switch. It’s a bold move, but no more risky than staying with the IMCA. Both are quality organizations, but for late models in this region the movement toward the future is all about UMP, and the track acted in proactive fashion.
Quincy was set to be cast adrift in the IMCA world. Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa, is no longer racing late models, and 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa, will likely run a limited schedule. And we’ve beaten to death the Iowa drivers choosing not to come to Quincy thing, so we won’t even get into that again.
If Quincy had stayed with the IMCA for late models, local drivers would have had to make some serious hauls into Iowa to reach other IMCA tracks running that class. Sanctioning with UMP opens up an entire world of new options for local drivers. There are roughly 25 UMP tracks in Illinois, many within 1-3 hours.
And there is the most important element — the UMP sanctioning will draw some big-time names to the Bullring. UMP drivers chase national points, and with Quincy being the only Sunday night track in the region get ready for visits by central Illinois stars such as Jason “The Highside Hustler” Feger, Ryan Unzicker and others at that level.
I have no problem predicting the marriage of UMP and Quincy as the beginning of a great experience. I wish the IMCA well, and will sincerely miss the Deery Brothers races at the Bullring, but a year from now in this space I have a feeling we’ll be asking ourselves, “Why didn’t we make this decision sooner?”
Hands down, the sanctioning of late models with UMP for 2012 was the most important story evolving from Quincy Raceways in 2011. And there wasn’t even a close second.