The announcement came at a joint meeting of hobby stock and car drivers and owners at Kutter’s restaurant on the Quincy Riverfront.
About 40 drivers and owners from the two series attended he meeting.
Both series have been plagued by lower-than-expected car counts in recent seasons. Track officials felt the best move was to have the hobby stocks convert to stock cars to form one strong(er) class.
Drivers from both side of the equation were surprised, largely due to the fact the hobby stocks’ weekly car count (12) was higher than the stock cars (8). Those two classes had the lowest weekly averages of any of the six series at Quincy, which averaged 81 cars over the course of a 22-show season that ran on Sunday nights from April through September.
HOBBY STOCKS A “DYING” BREED
“The hobby stocks are a dying class, not only around here but everywhere,” chief steward Jake Croxton said. “We are simply trying to be proactive and look to the future for what is best for everyone — the track, the drivers and the fans.”
Croxton said the new track ownership group in Moberly, Mo., does not have hobby stocks on its 2013 lineup and that last year both Lee County Speedway in Donnelson, Iowa, and 34 Raceway in Burlington, Iowa, averaged less than 10 hobby stocks for their weekly shows.
Here’s a look at the average car counts of the two series in question since the inception of the stock cars in 2008 and since 2000 for the hobby stocks. The 31-car averages for 2000 and 2001 for the hobby stocks are track records.
HOBBY STOCKS (since 2000)
While the stock cars have struggled in Quincy the last three years following a strong start in 2008-09, track tech man Doug Miller said the decision to keep that series and try and strengthen it with the infusion of hobby stocks was a no-brainer. Much of the decision was centered around the IMCA affiliation of the stock cars, which offers state and national points, a better insurance package and more regional/national recognition.
“Quincy is the only IMCA track in Illinois,” he said.
Quincy is a UMP track for its late model and modified classes. It will be IMCA for the stock cars, sport mods and sport compacts.
CONVERSION COST FROM HOBBY STOCK TO STOCK CAR WAS KEY POINT
Miller said it will cost an average of $1,500 to $2,000 to convert a hobby stock to a stock car. Most of the cost would be tied to carburetor, wheel and tire changes. He said a switch from stock car to hobby stock would have been “much more expensive” because of the makeup of vehicle, but he could not pinpoint an exact figure.
“No matter what (the decision), there will be some expense,” co-track owner Paul Holtschlag said.
Hobby stock car owner Jerry Powers was one of the most outspoken against the decision to eliminate his class, saying it would take more than $6,000 to convert a “competitive” car.
Jerry Powers fields cars for his son, Jake Powers, who won this year’s hobby stock track championship. Jake Powers said he was uncertain what he would do for 2013.
“This kind of surprised me,” Jake Powers said.
Nathan Hayes, also a hobby stock driver, said he was also surprised. He questioned the reasoning behind cutting the class with the larger car count, plus the conversion cost.
“For me to convert it would cost about $6,000,” Hayes said. “I might be better off building an outlaw motor and running Donnellson and Burlington.”
STOCK CAR DRIVERS WERE SURPRISED, TOO
Reigning stock car track champ Terry Houston said he expected his class to be the one axed and was prepared to have to make a decision for 2013 about where and what he would race.
“But it looks like I’m coming back to Quincy (in a stock car),” he said, with a smile.
Houston said he could understand why the decision was made to have the hobby stocks switch, pointing to the money issue. He agreed it would be cheaper to go from hobby stock to stock car, rather than vice versa.
Former track champ Abe Huls, who established a series record for features won this season, was elated with the news.
“It sounds great to me,” he said. “It wasn’t my class that got cut.”
BON VOYAGE, HOBBY STOCKS
Since the inception of the hobby stocks/bombers in 1987, there were 17 different drivers who won track titles. Steve Carlin (5) and Eddie Dieker (4) won the most. Bill Genenbacher and Jim Gillenwater each won two.
Here’s a look back at the past champions
2012: Jake Powers
2011: Steve Carlin
2010: Steve Carlin
2009: Steve Carlin
2008: Aaron Brocksieck
2007: Todd Reichert
2006: Steve Carlin
2005: Eddie Dieker
2004: Eddie Dieker
2003: Steve Carlin
2002: Eddie Dieker
2001: Dave Wietholder
2000: Bill Genenbacher
1999: Eddie Dieker
1998: Bill Genenbacher
1997: Jim Gillenwater
1996: Jim Gillenwater
1995: Virgil Hatfield
1994: Sam Burgtorf
1993: Bob Uppinghouse
1992: Harold Ketchum
1991: Junior Tuggle
1990: Danny Bevill
1989: Jerry Poor
1988: Mike Parsons
1987: Kenny Williams