UMP director likes what he’s seen at Quincy, says changes likely for 2013 Hell Tour schedule, format
Sam Driggers, who is the director of United Midwest Promoters (UMP) DIRTCar racing, stopped in at Quincy Raceways on Sunday night. He was in town to see track officials and evaluate the Bullring’s first year under UMP affiliation for its late models.
Driggers has been pleased with what has transpired at Quincy this and predicts a bright future for the facility at 8000 Broadway, which also sanctions its modifieds with UMP.
Driggers also said the famous UMP Hell Tour — a.k.a Summernationals — will take on a different look in 2013. The event will be stretched out over six weeks instead of five and take Mondays and Tuesdays off instead of racing virtually non-stop for 30-plus straight days.
“It will be better for the drivers — and me,” he said, with an obvious smile.
Oh, and in case you are wondering … yes, Driggers expects Quincy to be on next summer’s Hell Tour schedule. The Bullring hosted a $7,500-to-win tour event July 6, won by Brian Shirley.
DRIGGERS EXPECTS MORE ST. LOUIS AREA RACERS IN FUTURE
But back to Quincy’s first year as a UMP late model track. Late model car count is up 50 percent over a year ago for the weekly shows. The weekly average this season has been 18. (Ironically, the lowest late model count since late 2012 — 11 cars — was on hand Sunday night. But that was of little concern to Driggers. He knew track points ended the week before and there is always an immediate fall-off in most classes after that point in any season.)
“What happened in Quincy was what I expected this year,” Driggers said. “The car counts usually go up when a track switches to UMP. I was a little surprised (the count was not higher). I thought more of the St. Louis guys would come up.”
“Quincy is the only Sunday night track in the region and I think (the drivers) just have to get used to that,” he said.
Despite the economy, Driggers said UMP late model car counts were higher this year than in 2011. It was the lower classes that have seemed to get hit harder by the after effects of the still-lingering recession. Driggers said it became more commonplace this year if a lower-class owner sustained major damage to his car, he was likely to miss several weeks rather than be back the ensuing week.
Driggers said 50 percent of all UMP cars and drivers are either in Illinois, or race in Illinois.
“Illinois is UMP,” he said. “Other than Pennsylvania, Illinois has more dirt tracks than any state in the nation.”
Including one at 8000 Broadway in Quincy.
AROUND THE HORN
There were plenty of familiar faces in victory lane Sunday night — and one newcomer:
Late models: Brian “The Squirrel” Shirley won for the second time this season in Quincy — his first came July 6 on Hell Tour night — when he ran down Jake Griffin and then pulled away. Griffin led for the first 10 laps, before Shirley used the high line to take over on lap 11 and eventually post a 1.45-second victory in the 30-lap main event.
Modifieds: Track champ Steven DeLonjay’s eighth feature victory was the first flag-to-flag effort in the series since July 8. Jake Griffin was also second in this feature.
Sport mods: With one lap to go, Tony Dunker sat third, but a backstretch crash involving then-leader Bobby Anders and a lapped car knocked Anders out of contention and set up a green-white-checkers finish. Dunker eventually got around Joe Bliven to post his 14th feature victory of the season. The win was also Dunker’s fifth straight and eighth in the last nine features. Dunker has now won more than $5,000 in this series, which would place him among the top 10 late model money winners.
Stock cars: Michael Larsen led from start to finish for his second feature victory of the year. Going into the season, The Walking Taco had not won a main event since 2005.
Hobby stocks: Justin Bevill was the night’s only first-time feature winner. The rookie inherited the lead following a an early-race crash that knocked Richie Wagy Jr. out of the top spot — and the race. Bevill withstood several challenges from Brian Hoener and Tanner Klingele to hold on for the win.
Sport compacts: Austen Becerra just keeps on winning. He won his ninth feature and series-best 14th race, taking over the lead from track champ Seth Woodruff on lap eight and then turning away repeated attempts by Woodruff to get around him in a classic door-to-door battle.
DUNKER ATOP FIRST CAREER SPORT MOD RANKINGS
Anyone surprised that Tony Dunker is the No. 1-ranked sport mod driver in the series’ brief history at the track has not been paying attention — or is related to blog contributor “flyby.” (If you need an explanation for that last comment, you really haven’t been paying attention!)
Dunker has completely dominated this year’s first full schedule of sport mods. A year ago, he was runner-up to Joe Bliven in the abbreviated schedule the series ran in its debut season.
Dunker won this year’s track title by 36 points over Bobby Anders, which under the IMCA scoring system could be considered a full-blown rout. Dunker’s 14 feature victories are more than double the amount of main events won (6) by the rest of the field.
SPORT MODS ALL-TIME TOP 10 RANKINGS (2011-12)
Drivers receive ranking points on a 15-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale for their position in the final top 10 points standing each season. Ties are broken by number of championships, second-place points finishes, top five points finishes, top 10 points finishes, etc.
1. Tony Dunker, 25 points (1 title)
2. Joe Bliven, 23 (1 title)
3. Bobby Anders, 10
4. Brandon Dale, 8
5. Tanner Klingele, 7
6. Rick Barlow Jr., 7
7. Brad Holtmeyer, 6
8. Bob Woodrow, 6
9. Jim Gillenwater, 5
10. Charles Van Zandt, 5
SUNDAY NIGHT FEATURE WINNERS
Late models: Brian Shirley (2nd).
Modifieds: Steven DeLonjay (8th).
Sport mods: Tony Dunker (14th)
Stock cars: Michael “Taco” Larsen (2nd).
Hobby stocks: Justin Bevill (1st).
Sport compacts: Austen Becerra (9th).
Fast feature laps
Late models: (Fastest of season: Brian Shirley, 77.754 mph, Sept. 16)
Modifieds: (Fastest of the season: Michael Long, 70.808 mph, June 17)
Sport mods: (Fastest of season: Tony Dunker, 65.340 mph, Sept. 16)
Late models (top 6): 1. Brian Shirley 74.876 mph, 2. Michael Long 74.285, 3. Mark Burgtorf 73.500, 4. Jim Moon 73.002, 5. Dustin Griffin 72.344, 6. Jake Griffin 72.164.
Sept. 16: Brian Shirley, 76.054 mph.
Sept. 9: Michael Long 74.216 mph.
Modifieds (top 6): 1. Craig Spegal 65.332 mph, 2. Dave Wietholder 64.748, 3.Steven DeLonjay 64.708, 4. Mark Burgtorf 64.636, 5. Adam Birck 64.250, 6. Jared Schlipman 64.163.
Sept. 16: Jared Schlipman, 64.764 mph.
Sept. 9: Matt Dotson, 67.303 mph.
SUNDAY NIGHT HEAT WINNERS
Late models: Denny Woodworth (1st).
Modifieds: Troy Grotz (1st), Danny Lake (1st).
Sport mods: Tony Dunker (12th), Bobby Anders (7th).
Stock cars: Terry Houston (4th).
Hobby stocks: Richie Wagy Jr. (1st), Brian Hoener (7th).
Sport compacts: Austen Becerra (5th), Kim Abbott (5th).
Late model dash winner for pole position: Jake Griffin (1st).
Past dash winners
April 1: Brandon Sheppard
April 8: Dustin Griffin
May 6: Dennis Erb Jr.
May 13: Dustin Griffin
May 20: Mark Burgtorf
May 27: Mark Burgtorf
June 3: Jerry Lierly
June 10: Dustin Griffin
June 17: Dewayne Kiefer
June 24: Jason Perry
July 1: Late models did not run
July 8: Justin Reed
July 15: Matt Bailey
July 29: Mark Burgtorf
Aug. 5: Kevin Weaver
Aug. 12: Dustin Griffin
Aug. 19: Michael Long
Sept. 9: Steve Thorsten
Sept. 16: Brian Shirley
Modified dash winner for pole position: Steven DeLonjay (2nd).
Past dash winners
Sept. 9: Robbie Reed
Sept. 16: Steven DeLonjay
SUNDAY NIGHT STARS
10 stars: Dustin Griffin, who along with Griffin Sign Co., helped raised more than $7,000 for the family of the late Charles “PhotoBilly” Haffer, the Quincy Raceways track photographer who was killed last month in a two-vehicle crash in southeast Iowa. Griffin presented a check to members of the Haffer family Sunday night during intermission.
9 stars: Justin Bevill, for winning his first hobby stock feature.
8 stars: Jake Griffin, for finishing second in both the late model and modified feature. The 13-year-old also won the late model Fast 6 Dash.
7 stars: Tony Dunker, who I’m sure does not want to see this season end. He won his 14th feature and 26th race Sunday night.
6 stars: Austen Becerra, who rallied past track champ Seth Woodruff to win his ninth sport compact main event.
5 stars: Brian Shirley, the late model faeture winner who with Sunday night’s paycheck has earned more than $9,000 this season at the Bullring.
4 stars: Steven DeLonjay, who continued his second half of the season decimation of the modifieds. DeLonjay won his eighth feature, seven coming in the second half of the year.
3 stars: Michael Larsen, who won his second stock car feature of the year after going winless since 2005.
2 stars: Brian Hoener, who won his seventh hobby stock heat race and became the third series driver to win 13 or more races this season. Hoener had more second-half points this season than any other driver in that division.
1 star: Darin Weisinger, who raced the final event of his carer Sunday night. Enjoy your “retirement” as a car owner, Darin.
10-star recipients this season: Dustin Griffin 3, Steven DeLonjay 2, Jake Griffin 2, Dave Wietholder 2, Justin Reed 2. These drivers have all have one: Tanner Klingele, Pat Dunker, Matt Bailey, Jason Perry, Abe Huls, Robbie Reed, Jim Hurley (sprint cars). Special award: Hall of Fame inductees, Charles “Photobilly” Haffer.
Late models: 11 (season average 17.8).
Modifieds: 22 (18.9)
Sport mods: 11 (11.3)
Stock cars: 6 (8.3)
Hobby stocks: 14 (12.3)
Sport compacts: 12 (15.1)
Season high car counts
Late models: 23, May 6. (regular weekly show only)
Modifieds: 25, Sept. 9.
Sport mods: 18, May 13.
Stock cars: 12, April 1.
Hobby stocks: 16, May 13 and June 10
Sport compacts: 18, May 30
Late models: 0 (72 for season).
Modifieds: 11 (183)
Sport mods: 2 (119)
Stock cars: 0 (45)
Hobby stocks: 5 (60)
Sport compacts: 3 (62)
Recent season caution totals
2012: 555 (through Sept. 16)