Admittedly, one of the great joys I have during the local dirt-track racing season is putting together the weekly “Dirty Thirty” rankings of local drivers. Every so often, we update what we call the “All-Time Dirty Thirty.” Today is one of those times.
This should foster some mid-winter conversations. Feel free to send me your thoughts.
QUINCY RACEWAYS ALL-TIME DIRTY THIRTY
1. Mark Burgtorf: We all know his late model accomplishments by heart. Those 14 track championships are a mark that will probably never be broken in any of our lifetimes. He set the bar so high no one will ever challenge his position on the late-model throne.
2. Hank DeLonjay: When modified drivers at 8000 Broadway are discussed, all conversations must start with The Crank. Of his 13 overall track championships (second only to Burgtorf), 10 came in a modified. His three titles in the old sportsman class make him the only driver in track history to win two or more titles in two separate classes. DeLonjay won championships in three different decades. His titles spanned 24 years.
3. Steve Fraise: He was the first “face” of the Bullring, winning nine late model titles in the pre-Burgtorf era that not only established his own legacy, but put Quincy on the racing map.
4. Terry Gallaher: Along with his four track titles, at one time the popular Gallaher also had 21 consecutive top-five finishes to his credit. That remains a track record.
5. Lonnie Bailey: He won championships in the both late model and sportsman divisions in a career that spanned parts of four different decades. Rarely was he in the late model title hunt, as his all-time No. 4 ranking in that class illustrates. He was especially impressive during the IMCA era (1998-2011) at the track, winning two late model crowns and finishing second five other seasons.
6. Steven DeLonjay: Yeah, he just turned 22, but he already has five track championships and has won three straight UMP modified titles. He is the only active driver who could someday unseat Burgtorf from the No. 1 ranking.
7. Sam Burgtorf: One of the Bullring’s all-time underrated drivers, Sam won his three titles in three-peat fashion (1998-2000). Only Hank DeLonjay, who secured four in a row (2002-05), won more consecutive titles in the mods. Sam and Steven DeLonjay are the only other mod drivers to win a three in a row. Sam retired at the height of his career to spend more time with his family. He should be a Hall of Famer some day — soon.
8. Denny Woodworth: The late model lawyer is one of only a handful of drivers to win championships in two divisions — and Denny’s “A” mod and first late model titles came 17 years apart. That’s one of the track’s all-time great accomplishments.
9. Michael Long: There will always be a conversation about how many modified track titles Michael could have won if he had pledged himself solely to Quincy on Sunday nights. He has two to his credit right now, but could have arguably won at least four more. He has also shown the past two years he’s hardly a one-trick pony. Michael is in the process of mastering the late models, too.
10. Tony Dunker: If The Villain can make it three straight sport mod championships in 2014 that will give him five track titles. Only five other drivers in track history can claim that many. What is arguably the most interesting item about Dunker’s career is he’s gotten better as he’s gotten older.
11. Steve Carlin
12. Eddie Dieker
13. Dick Crane
14. Dave Wietholder
15. Sonny Findling
16. Jason Frankel
17. Brent Slocum
18. Justin Reed
19. Lonnie Carter
20. Jason Perry
21. Vance Wilson
22. Gary Dreyer
23. Terry Houston
24. Abe Huls
26. Mike Karhoff
27. Jim Swank
28. Greg Uppinghouse
29. Bill Genenbacher
30. Bob Dale