(The following is the fourth of our annual mid-winter looks at the coming Quincy Raceways season, plus a look back to see how we fared with the previous year’s picks. Today we examine the IMCA sport mods.)
A year ago, it was the sport compacts that broke through at Quincy Raceways. Great numbers, great drama, great excitement.
This year I think we’ll see the same thing with the sport mods, whose numbers last summer were a little disappointing. Joe Bliven might argue with me on that, but I think most everyone was looking for a weekly average around 15 and instead we had 11-12 each Sunday night. (In fairness, that 15 figure would likely have been hit if not for at least three cars that looked to be regulars who stopped coming at different points in the season.)
The 2013 weekly count will likely lose defending champ Tony Dunker, but gain some of the former hobby stock drivers (whose class was terminated). I think 15 is a realistic figure for this season, maybe even a bit higher. The sport mods spent 2012 establishing themselves at the track, and with that part f the evolution process out of the way I look for some additional out-of-towners to show up as word of mouth continues to spread. More and more sport mods will begin to show up, just like they will in the UMP Super Late Model class.
After several reconsiderations the past couple of weeks, here’s how I see the sport mods running this season:
1. Joe Bliven: Ask Joe how many days, hours and minutes it is until the season starts. He can tell you.
2. Bobby Anders: Bobby might be the best driver at the track to have not yet won a title. That could change this summer.
3. Brad Holtmeyer: With his ability and support staff, young Mr. Holtmeyer could be one of the track’s breakout talents this season.
Dark horse: Jim Gillenwater. If No. 10 opts to run a full points schedule, I would probably lean toward him to win the championship, but at this point it’s hard to say how much the former two-time bomber track champ will be on hand.
Comeback of the year: We’ll also give this one to Jim Gillenwater, if he decides to “come back” after an early 2012 dispute with track officials.
A LOOK BACK AT HOW WE SAW THE 2012 PRESEASON
This is what we said a year ago at this time, plus with updated comments:
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.
(Most have probably forgotten how well Jim was doing when he stopped coming last season. If he races, he will be difficult to stop this season.)
2. Joe Bliven: He won the 2011 track title in the abbreviated four-race run. If Gillenwater falters, Bliven On A Prayer will be ready to scoop up the big iron.
(Joe enjoyed a successful 2012, but like others in the class, he was lost in the shuffle behind the dominant Dunker.)
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.
(I don’t think anyone could have predicted the success Tony enjoyed last season. That was one amazing season.)
Dark horse: Bobby Anders. He’s looked great in the preseason.
(Is there anything this guy can’t drive?)