Modified top five was a tough task

October 28, 2012 6 Comments

Michael Long

Whew! Putting together a top five list of modified drivers since 1999 was more daunting than I initially thought it would be. Some of you have noticed there had been no new post here for a couple of days. That was because I simply could not decide on a top five in this category.

Well, after much head-banging and combing through those books of numbers that you know I have, here’s what I came up with — and I’ll be the first to say it’s open for discussion.

1. Michael Long: Actually, this was the easiest of the five choices. Michael picked up the challenge when Hank DeLonjay retired and firmly established himself as the modified driver in Quincy. As you can see by some of the numbers that follow the prose, Michael was on the cusp of some pretty cool accomplishments when his engine blew late in the season. We never saw him again in a modified after mid-August. I’m sure I’m like you — we’re all looking forward to seeing No. 18 back on the track in 2013.

2. Hank DeLonjay: Raise your hand if you think “Hank the Crank” could still be winning modified features if he had not retired to concentrate on being the head wrench in son Steven’s operation. Yeah, me too. (Wouldn’t you like to have seen Hank in his prime vs. Michael on a weekly basis?)

3. Steven DeLonjay: What he has done before age 21 is borderline unbelievable. And he’s the scariest thing (if you are an opposing driver) — Steven is only going to get better. What would the over/under be on the number of track championships in his future?

4. Tony Dunker: The kind of dominance he showed this year in the sport mods was the stuff fans will still be talking about a decade from now, much like what Michael accomplished in 2007-08. Tony took a lot of grief for that 105-feature winless streak, but don’t forget there were still plenty of high finishes in that stretch, not to mention other victories. An argument could be made for Mr. Black Hat being the the most consistent modified driver since 1999. Hank retired in the mid 2000s, Michael did not come along until a decade ago and Steven is only 20 years old (for another month or so). Tony has been putting up the numbers, for the most part, during this whole period.

5. Dave Wietholder: There is no more competitive driver than Dave, and since 2003 he has been knocking on the championship door in the premier modified series. Once that championship comes — and I believe it will — he’ll climb higher in a lot of these rankings. That’s all that’s missing from the rest of his body of work.

MODIFIED CAREER LEADERS
All modified series

TOTAL VICTORIES (since 1999)
1. Michael Long, 197
2. Hank DeLonjay, 130
3. Tony Dunker, 129
4. Wyatt Lantz, 77
5. Vance Wilson, 75
6. Dave Wietholder, 62
7. Steven DeLonjay, 61
8. Robbie Reed, 50
9. Joe Hooper, 47
10. Joe Bliven, 46

Other drivers active in 2012
Jared Schlipman, 45
Shawn Deering, 20
Mark Burgtorf, 20

TOTAL VICTORIES (since 2009, UMP era)
UMP modifieds only

1. Michael Long, 59
2. Steven DeLonjay, 52
3. Jared Schlipman, 32
4. Dave Wietholder, 22
5. Shawn Deering, 18
6. Robbie Reed, 17
7-tie. Tony Dunker, 14
7-tie. Justin Reed, 14
9. Vance Wilson, 11
10. Ryan Meyer, 9

Other drivers active in 2012
Jake Griffin, 8
Mark Burgtorf, 5

FEATURE VICTORIES (since 1999)
All modified series

1. Michael Long, 77
2. Hank DeLonjay, 42
3. Vance Wilson, 30
4. Tony Dunker, 27
5. Wyatt Lantz, 24
6. Steven DeLonjay, 23
7. Joe Hooper, 18
8. Dave Wietholder, 12
9. Joe Bliven, 10
10. Robbie Reed, 9

Other drivers active in 2012
Mark Burgtorf, 7
Jared Schlipman, 5

FEATURE VICTORIES (since 1999, UMP era)
UMP modifieds only

1. Michael Long, 30
2. Steven DeLonjay, 21
3. Jared Schlipman, 5
4-tie. Robbie Reed, 4
4-tie. Justin Reed, 4
6-tie. Dave Wietholder, 3
6-tie. Wyatt Lantz, 3
8. Vance Wilson, 2
9-tie. Jake Griffin, 1
9-tie. Craig Spehal, 1
9-tie. James Leffew, 1

HEAT VICTORIES (since 1999)
All modified series

1. Michael Long, 86
2. Tony Dunker, 80
3. Hank DeLonjay, 73
4. Wyatt Lantz, 39
5. Jared Schlipman, 37
6. Dave Wietholder, 35
7. Vance Wilson, 31
8. Ryan Meyer, 29
9-tie. Joe Bliven, 27
9-tie. Brandon Lennox, 27
9-tie. Joe Hooper, 27

Other drivers active in 2012
Steven DeLonjay, 24
Robbie Reed, 23
Shawn Deering, 20

HEAT VICTORIES (since 2009, UMP era)
UMP modifieds only

1. Jared Schlipman, 24
2. Michael Long, 21
3. Steven DeLonjay, 20
4. Shawn Deering, 18
5. Dave Wietholder, 15
6. Tony Dunker, 11
7-tie. Vance Wilson, 9
7-tie. Ryan Meyer, 9
9. Robbie Reed, 8
10-tie. Jake Griffin, 7
10-tie. Justin Reed, 7

Other drivers active in 2012
Mark Burgtorf, 5

DASH VICTORIES (since 1999)
All modified series

1. Michael Long, 29
2. Tony Dunker, 19
3. Vance Wilson, 17
4. Hank DeLonjay, 15
5-tie. Dave Wietholder, 13
5-tie. Steven DeLonjay, 13

DASH VICTORIES (since 2009, UMP era)
UMP modifieds only

1. Steven DeLonjay, 11
2. Michael Long, 6
3. Dave Wietholder, 4
4-tie. Tony Dunker, 3
4-tie. Justin Reed, 3
4-tie. Donovan Lodge, 3
4-tie. Jared Schlipman, 3

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  1. just me says:

    Steve, there couldn’t have been a better choice, when Michael is there it’s just a matter of who is going to finish 2nd., that is, if someone doesn’t take him out like it happened more than once in 2012. There is a reason they call him Michael Money Long at Granite City.

  2. FLYBY says:

    LOOK A BMOD IN THE TOP FIVE GREAT JOB.

    PITSIDE REPORTER FROM MISSOURI…TAE IT FOR WHAT ITS WORTH I SAID MISSOURI….. SAYS HONER AND WEENIG TRADED PAINT WEENIG WANTED TO BE TOUGH IN THE PITS THEY SAY HE PARKED IN HONERS PIT REALISED DUMB IDEA SO HE JUMPED BACK IN HIS CAR DUKES OF HAZZARD STYLE BUT NOT BEFORE HE GOT POPPED IN THE HEAD. ANOTHER WEENIG DRESSED UP AS A COWBOY FOR HALLOWEEN TRIED GETTING IN ON THE ACTION BUT GOT POPPED IN THE GUT. THERE WENT THE CHILI.

    MESS WITH THE BULL…..YOU GET THE HONERS….

  3. GMF says:

    Seriously!! Okay I wasnt always Mr Longs #1 fan but that guy has won me over with his amazing skills. Put him in a cardboard box with one shakey wheel and he would find a way to put that sucker in victory lane. Got to give credit where credit is due, and I know he is willing to help give tips or advise… So in my book rock on!

    Anyway, GMF is my name mods are my thing…
    *figure since we all seem to have those one liners I should join the club! Look ma Im jumping cuz they do!*

    I miss y’alls crazy bootys *self censor woot woot* on Sundays!

  4. just me says:

    flyby, who reallyr gives a sh%@ what happened in missouri

  5. FLYBY says:

    JUST BECAUSE YOUR BOYFRIEND MICHAEL LONG WASNT RACING DOESNT MEAN YOU HAVE TO BE A CRYBABY. THIS PLACE IS TO TALK ABOUT RACING AND REJOICE YOU ASPHALT DUMMY.

  6. GMF says:

    Hey I saw Mr Mooostache man Lonnie Bailey at county market last night! He should make a come back next year…

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