Denny Woodworth is the first driver to clinch a 2013 track championship at Quincy Raceways.
Woodworth wrapped up the late model title with one week of racing remaining when his third-place feature finish Sunday night mathematically eliminated the rest of the field.
Almost fittingly, Woodworth cemented the championship without the help of a checkered flag, but in the consistent fashion that kept him at or near the top of the points standings throughout the summer. The late model lawyer has not won a feature all year, but his week-in, week-out consistency has been unmatched.
Woodworth has finished in the top four in 13 of 16 points features with an average finish of 4.01. Woodworth has not finished lower than ninth in any points event.
“It’s been a consistent season,” he understated. “That’s what we try for — consistency. When we start a season, we just go racing. About midseason, we re-evaluate things as far as the points are concerned — and then go from there.”
The track title is Woodworth’s second in a late model and third overall. He won the 2010 late model championship and the 1993 “A” modified crown.
Woodworth will enter the final week of the season with a 90-point advantage over Mark Burgtorf, who finished second behind feature winner Jason Perry. The most points Woodworth could lose next week is 75 — and that’s if he would now show up at 8000 Broadway.
Woodworth led the first 14 laps of the main event before Perry roared past him on lap 15 and went on to post a 1.45-second victory over Burgtorf. Perry, who will likely wind up fourth in points, was the 2012 track champ. Perry missed several weeks around midseason with health issues, but since his return has a 3.86 average feature finish.
WOODWORTH LOOKING AHEAD TO 2014
Like others, Woodworth is already anxious for the 2014 season to get here. He likes what he has seen, heard and read concerning Last Chance Promotion, the group that will take over the operation and promotion of the track next season.
“I’m optimistic about the future of the track,” Woodworth said. “(LCP personnel) seem upbeat, with a positive attitude — and attitude is half of the battle.”
Woodworth said, at times, the car counts, condition of the track and number of fans in the stands have been disappointing. He thinks LCP will be able to reverse those negative trends.
“This is a people’s sport and a people’s business, and those guys seem to understand that,” he said.
Ken Dobson, who will be track manager next year for LCP, addressed the crowd during intermission Sunday night.
“We are really excited about this place,” Dobson told the crowd. “The way this town supports this race track is very impressive. You come out here and you have a good time, and you have fun — and that’s what we’re all about.”
DELONJAY, DUNKER, HULS, BECERRA ALL CLOSE TO CHAMPIONSHIPS
In all likelihood, next Sunday will simply be a formality when it comes to deciding the championships of the other four weekly series. Steven DeLonjay (modifieds), Tony Dunker (sport mods), Abe Huls (stock cars) and Austen Becerra (sport compacts) all moved closer to track titles of their own:
Modifieds: DeLonjay has a 69-point advantage over Dave Wietholder. DeLonjay won his 12th feature of the season and Wietholder finished second for the eighth time. All DeLonjay needs to do to win a third straight track championship is show up and be guaranteed of at least 10 points. The most ground Wietholder could gain, even with a feature win, would be 65 points.
“Winning never gets old, not at all,” DeLonjay said. “I always credit any success I may have to my dad. He’s always given me a great car and has been there since the beginning.”
DeLonjay’s dad, Hank, was a 13-time track champ, 10 of those in a modified. If Steven does win this year’s modified title next week that would give him five track championships, two coming in the four-cylinder class in 2006-07.
Sport mods: Dunker won his eighth consecutive main event and stretched his streak of first or second-place feature finishes to 30. He also built his points advantage to 38 over Tanner Klingele. Klingele has finished second to Dunker five times during the current eight-feature win streak.
All Dunker needs to do next Sunday to win his second straight series crown is take the track, but it’s likely he’ll be interested in doing more than that. Not only will he be out to increase his win streak, but he also has the chance to lead the track in most feature and total victories. Dunker and DeLonjay each have 12 feature wins, while Dunker holds a 23-21 edge in overall victories.
Dunker is gunning for his fourth track title, having also won the 2003-04 “B” mod championships. Dunker is seeking to become just the ninth driver in the track’s 39-year history to win four or more titles.
Stock cars: Brandon “Macho Man” Savage returned to the track for the first time since Aug. 28 and won his third feature over Huls and defending champ Terry Houston.
Huls’ second-place showing allowed him to remain in full control of the title chase with a 23-point margin over Houston. Like DeLonjay and Dunker, all Huls needs to do is start a heat race next Sunday to clinch his second track championship and first since 2009.
Sport compacts: Becerra’s sixth straight checkered flag improved his points lead to seven over Kim Abbott, who finished fourth in the features. A seventh-place or higher feature finish next week clinches his first track title. Since midseason 2012, Becerra has won 20 of 29 features.
SUNDAY NIGHT RECAP
Late models: Jason Perry (1st)
Sept. 8: Brandon Sheppard
Sept. 1: Brandon Sheppard
Aug. 25: Michael Long
Aug. 18: Bobby Pierce
Aug. 11: Bobby Pierce
Aug. 4: Michael Long
July 21: Brandon Sheppard
July 14: Mark Burgtorf
July 7: Michael Long
July 2: Shannon Babb
June 30: Mark Burgtorf
June 2: Michael Long
May 19: Justin Reed
May 12: Brandon Sheppard
April 28: Ricky Frankel
April 21: Chad Simpson
April 14: Jerry Lierly
Modifieds: Steven DeLonjay (12th)
Sept. 8: Justin Reed
Sept. 1: Dave Wietholder
Aug. 25: Steven DeLonjay
Aug. 18: Shawn Deering
Aug. 11: Steven DeLonjay
Aug. 4: Steven DeLonjay
July 21: Steven DeLonjay
July 14: Steven DeLonjay
July 7: Dave Wietholder
July 2: Steven DeLonjay
June 30: Steven DeLonjay
June 2: Rusty Griffaw
May 19: Steven DeLonjay
May 12: Steven DeLonjay
April 28: Steven DeLonjay
April 21: Michael Long
April 14: Steven DeLonjay
Sport mods: Tony Dunker (12th)
Sept. 8: Tony Dunker
Aug. 25: Tony Dunker
Aug. 18: Tony Dunker
Aug. 11: Tony Dunker
Aug. 4: Tony Dunker
July 21: Tony Dunker
July 14: Tony Dunker
July 7: Jeff DeLonjay
July 2: Tony Dunker
June 30: Bobby Anders
June 2: Jeff DeLonjay
May 19: Tony Dunker
May 12: Tony Dunker
April 28: Bobby Anders
April 14: Tony Dunker
Stock cars: Brandon Savage (3rd)
Sept. 8: Abe Huls
Aug. 25: Abe Huls
Aug. 18: Abe Huls
Aug. 11: Brandon Savage
Aug. 4: Abe Huls
July 21: Terry Houston
July 14: Brandon Savage
July 7: Kevin Tomlinson
June 30: Abe Huls
June 2: Abe Huls
May 19: Terry Houston
May 12: Jim Lynch
April 28: Abe Huls
April 14: Terry Houston
Sport compacts: Austen Becerra (8th)
Sept. 8: Austen Becerra
Sept. 1: Austen Becerra
Aug. 25: Austen Becerra
Aug. 18: Austen Becerra
Aug. 11: Austen Becerra
Aug. 4: Laine Van Zant
July 21: Pat Dunker
July 14: Pat Dunker
July 7: Laine Van Zant
June 30: Austem Becerra
June 2: Michael Grossman
May 19: Laine Van Zant
May 12: Pat Dunker
April 28: Austen Becerra
April 21: Pat Dunker
April 14: Craig Bangert
Late models: Ricky Frankel (1st).
Modifieds: Dave Baldwin (1st), Keith Pratt (5th).
Sport mods: Tony Dunker (11th), Charles Van Zandt (2nd).
Stock cars: Brandon Savage (9th), Jerry Jansen (1st).
Sport compacts: Austen Becerra (8th), Brandon Lambert (5th).
Late models: Mark Burgtorf (2nd).
Modifieds: Dave Wietholder (5th).
Fast feature laps
Late models: Brandon Sheppard, 75.477 mph. (UMP era 2012-13 track record: Brian Shirley 77.754 mph, Sept. 16, 2012; Overall track record: Jeep Van Wormer 78.376 mph, July 11, 2009; 2013 best: Brandon Sheppard, 75.477 mph, Sept. 22.)
Modifieds: Dave Wietholder, 69.870 mph. (Track record: Michael Long, 73.763 mph, Aug. 22, 2010; 2013 best: Steven DeLonjay, 70.900 mph, June 20.)
Sport mods: Tony Dunker, 64.652 mph. (Track record and 2013 best: Tony Dunker, 65.385 mph, July 2.)
Fast qualifying times
Late models: Brandon Sheppard, 77.408 mph. (Top 2013 speed and best in UMP era at track: Brandon Sheppard, 79.361 mph, July 28, 2012; Overall track record: Will Vaught, Crane, Mo., 82.046 mph, July 3, 2009).
Modifieds: Steven DeLonjay, 65.648 mph. (Top 2013 speed and best since qualifying began in late 2012: Dave Wietholder, 70.365 mph, July 28, 2013).
Sunday night stars
10 stars: Denny Woodworth, who is not only the first driver to claim a 2013 title, but did so without winning a feature. Not once did D.W. have an “off week.” Hail to the champ!
9 stars: Jason Perry, who turned in another impressive — not to mention strong — late model feature run. Perry, who won his first feature of the season Sunday night, should be right in the heart of what should be a great late model points race in 2014.
8 stars: Tony Dunker, whose accomplishments may go underrated simply because of his complete dominance of the sport mods. Eight straight feature wins and 30 consecutive first- or second-place feature finishes are nothing to sneeze at. (I guess that’s why he is No. 1 in The Dirty Thirty, eh?)
7 stars: Steven DeLonjay, the modified feature winner who is likely one Sunday night away from a fifth track title before he turns 22 years old.
6 stars: Austen Becerra, who is simply unstoppable right now in the sport compacts. The last time he did not win a feature was Aug. 4.
5 stars: Brandon Savage. The Macho Man, who won the stock car feature, kept points leader Abe Huls winless for the first time since July 14. Huls had won either a heat race or feature each show for more than two months — until Sunday.
4 stars: Danny Lake, who enjoyed one of his top performances of the season with a fourth-place modified feature finish.
3 stars: Todd Reed, who finished third in the sport mod feature for the third time in four weeks.
2 stars: Abe Huls, who did not win the stock car feature, but posted his sixth consecutive top-three finish.
1 star: Brandon Lambert, who outside of Becerra, has arguably had the strongest sport compact in recent weeks. He finished second in Sunday night’s main event. He has not finished lower than sixth in a feature since July 28.
Late models: 11. (Season average 15.8).
Modifieds: 20. (season average 18.5).
Sport mods: 14. (Season average 12.8).
Stock cars: 10. (Season average 11.7).
Sport compacts: 10. (Season average 11.6).
Late models: 3 (49).
Modifieds: 4 (97).
Sport mods: 11 (123).
Stock cars: 3 (59).
Sport compacts: 1 (52).