Month: March 2012
The first full season of the sport mods will give track fans two doses of modifieds for the first time since 2005 when the old “A” and “B” mod classes populated the pits. Iowa driver Jim Gillenwater, who won back-to-back bomber (now hobby stock) titles in 1996-97, ranks as the favorite, followed by a trio of Quincy regulars.
No female driver has ever won a Quincy Raceways championship. This could be the year if wild thing driver Kimberly Abbott picks up where she left off in September 2011. We’ll have to hold off on any indepth discussion of this series until the final roster of cars is available. This class was solid in its first go-round and much more competitive than its forerunner, the hornets, back in 2006-07.
HOW WE SEE THE SPORT MODS FINISHING
1. Jim Gillenwater: Jim has shown in the past he knows his way around the Bullring in whatever series he is competing in, so keep an eye out for No. 10. It will probably be at the front of the pack more often than not.
2. Joe Bliven: He won the 2011 track title in the abbreviated four-race run to the title. If Gillenwater falters, Bliven On A Prayer will be ready to scoop up the big iron.
3. Tony Dunker: The Villain will be running in both mod series and has a chance to make some track history this season, but more about that as the season progresses.
Dark horse: Bobby Anders. He’s looked great in the preseason.
HOW WEE SEE THE WILD THINGS FINISHING
1. Kimberly Abbott: I’m sensing a historical run from Ms. Abbott. She’s the one to beat.
2. Seth Woodruff: I doubt, however, if the defending champion will relinquish the throne without a fight. This should be a great season in the wild things.
3. Craig Bangert: He has one of the best-looking cars, regardless of class.
This year’s late model championship points should truly be something special. The first UMP champ at the Bullring will always be remembered, and that’s why this summer will be so much fun to watch play out.
While we should see plenty of travelers over the next 5 1/2 months, it’s likely the title will come down to one of the familiar names among the post-IMCA era regulars. That’s why I’m going with an established veteran who has a track record — no pun intended – in the UMP late models. Denny Woodworth deserves the favorite’s nod, but the late model lawyer is hardly a lock. Last year’s points race had a half-dozen drivers in the title hunt with two weeks remaining. The biggest shock of this season will be if someone actually does run away and hide with the championship.
HOW WE SEE THE LATE MODELS FINISHING
1. Denny Woodworth: Make no mistake about it, this year’s points race will be a war. And there will be plenty of ups and downs, but I like D.W.’s overall experience with the UMP package.
Why we’ll win: Denny is enjoying the peak years of his career and would relish nothing more than winning the track’s first UMP late model title.
Why he won’t win: Getting stuck behind the eight ball early in the season. This is not the season to get buried in the points race in April or May.
2. Justin Reed: The last late model driver to win back-to-back titles not named Mark Burgtorf was Terry Gallaher in 1987-88. The law of percentages is definitely against Justincredible.
3. Keith Pratt: It’s been a few years, but Keith was a UMP regular for several seasons. Depending on how the breaks fall, he could easily win his first track championship. A fast start to the season would do wonders for his chances.
Dark horse No. 1: Jason Perry, who if he opts to race a full points schedule could be the wild card this season.
Dark horse No. 2: Michael Long, who will drive the No. 56 car operated the last two years by Justin Jennings. Need I even explain this selection?
Comeback of the Year: Ricky Frankel. I’m not sure if Ricky technically qualifies for this, but it will be great to see him run a full points season at 8000 Broadway.
2011 POINTS LEADERS
Justin Reed, 348 (won title on features won tiebreaker)
Lonnie Bailey, 348
Denny Woodworth, 340
Keith Pratt, 340
Joey Gower, 338
2010 POINTS LEADERS
Denny Woodworth, 471
Jason Perry, 463
Justin Reed, 449
Joey Gower, 436
Keith Pratt, 434
LATE MODEL TRACK CHAMPIONS
2011: Justin Reed
2010: Denny Woodworth
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
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
Thursday night’s practice session at Quincy Raceways has been canceled due to ongoing rain and wet grounds.
The weather looks great for Sunday’s opening night of racing. Temperatures are supposed to reach into the 80s as the Bullring opens its 38th season of competition.
All six weekly classes — late models, modifieds, sport mods, stock cars, hobby stocks and wild things — will be racing for points.
A glimpse at Tuesday night’s practice … just enough to get you ready for Sunday’s first green flag.