Gower starts with a bang in sport mods

April 21, 2014 34 Comments

2014QRLogoIs there a new sheriff in town?

Joey Gower wasted little time establishing himself as a bona fide threat to Tony Dunker’s two-year stranglehold on the sport mod division at Quincy Raceways.

Gower, making a return to the modifieds after an 18-year hiatus, won Sunday’s sport mod feature in his series debut. Gower held off Dunker, a two-time defending track champ in the sport mods and a winner of 29 of the previous 42 features in the series’ relatively brief history in Quincy.

Gower’s victory helped christen the track’s 40th anniversary season on a picture-perfect evening at 8000 Broadway.

Joey Gower, left, celebrates Sunday night's victory.

Joey Gower, left, celebrates Sunday night’s victory.

Other opening night winners were Ryan Unzicker in the Sunoco American Late Model Series (ALMS) special, Jacob Poel in the modfieds, Abe Huls in stock cars and Austen Becerra in sport compacts.

Gower was contacted in the offseason by local car owner Chuck Ancell, who also fields sport mods for series regular Tanner Klingele.

“Chuck asked me if wanted to drive for him,” Gower said.

Obviously, that answer was yes.

And now Gower has new lease on a racing career that includes a spot among the late model victory leaders in the track’s modern era (since 1999), a period that includes the facility’s affiliation first with IMCA, then UMP (since 2012).

That was then, this is now.

“I think this (sport mod relationship) will last for quite awhile,” said Gower, who raced full time in the late models — with an occasional modified run — from 1996 through mid-2012.

Even though Gower had not raced competitively for 1 1/2 years, he entered the season fourth in total modern-era late model victories at Quincy with 48.

Ryan Unzicker

Ryan Unzicker

Gower led 16 of 18 feature laps and beat Dunker to the checkered flag by a comfortable 4.521 seconds. Bobby Anders was third and Aaron Brocksieck fourth in his sport mod debut.

UNZICKER CAPITALIZES ON PIERCE’S MISFORTUNE

Unzicker, of El Paso, Ill.,  led the final nine laps of the 40-lap ALMS event, roaring past Bobby Pierce, who exited to the infield at the start of lap 32 with engine woes. Pierce, of Danville, Ill., was going for a sixth straight feature victory after building the streak to five with Saturday’s win in the Slocum 50 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa.

Ironically, Unzicker made the switch this season to a Pierce chassis, built by Bobby Pierce’s dad, the legendary Bob Pierce of UMP racing fame.

“Bobby’s been on a helluva roll,” Unzicker said. “I hated to take advantage of his bad luck, but that $2,000 (winner’s check) is not too bad.”

Kevin Weaver finished 2.283 seconds behind Unzicker, followed by Jason Riggs, 2013 Quincy track champ Denny Woodworth and Mark Burgtorf.

There were only 13 late models on hand, including just six Quincy regulars. Track officials blamed the Easter holiday, some drivers not having their cars ready yet and some drivers having torn up their equipment earlier in the weekend. Justin Reed, the 2011 Quincy track champ, was one of those who had major engine issues Saturday night at West Burlington.

A year ago in April, the ALMS race drew 33 late models.

BECERRA KEEPS ON KEEPIN’ ON

Austen Becerra, who is not quite 20 years old, won his 20th sport compact feature feature in less than two full seasons at Quincy. Even more impressive is his overall feature victory count in that time — 41 at various tracks in southeast Iowa and West-Central Illinois.

Becerra is to the sport compacts since mid-2012 what Dunker has been to the sport mods in that same time frame.

I’ll have more on Becerra later this week. I was able to spend some time with him after the races Sunday. I think you’ll appreciate his outlook and how he goes about stockpiling his growing victory total.

Kim Abbott was runner-up and Mike Hornung Jr. third in the four-cylinder finale.

HULS BUILDS HIS STOCK CAR LEGACY

Huls led the stock car main event flag to flag for his 28th career feature win. Huls has finished first or second in 50 of the 103 stock car features since the series debuted in Quincy in 2008.

Huls’ victory was only the second flag-to-flag win in the stock cars since 2012.

Jim Lynch was second and Jerry Jansen third.

Only six stock cars were on hand, matching the lowest car count since late in the 2012 season.

ANOTHER TRAVELER TAKES THE CHECKERS

Jacob Poel of Spring Lake, Mich., was the second traveler to win a feature Sunday night. He led the final 15 laps of the modified feature, finishing 0.926 of second ahead of Michael Long. Steven DeLonjay was third, Robbie Reed fourth and Shane Lewis fifth.

medalsTHIS WEEK’S MEDAL WINNERS

Gold medal: GMF

“Ya know i hear all the ladies love a bad boy…. to all the villains out there keep up the great work, we’re cheering for you!!!”

Silver medal: LK

“I like the black hat fellows. They’re actually pretty nice guys & talented to boot”

Bronze medal: sameolesameole

“How about qualifying in your group, works a lot of other places?”

winner2SUNDAY NIGHT RECAP

Feature winners
Late models: Ryan Unzicker (1st).
Modifieds: Jacob Poel (1st).
Sport mods: Joey Gower (1st).
Stock cars: Abe Huls (1st).
Sport compacts: Austen Becerra (1st).

Heat winners
Late models: Jason Perry (1st), Ryan Unzicker (1st).
Modifieds: Shawn Deering (1st), Jared Schlipman (1st).
Sport mods: Tanner Klingele (1st), Bobby Anders (1st).
Stock cars: Jim Lynch (1st).
Sport compacts: Pat Dunker (1st).

Dash winners
Late models: No dash.
Heat winners: Michael Long (1st).

stopwatch-3FAST QUALIFIERS
Late models: Jason Perry, 76.143 mph.
— Overall track record: Will Vaught, Crane, Mo., 82.406 mph, 12.669 seconds, July 3, 2009. (UMP Hell Tour qualifying.)
— UMP weekly series record: Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin, Ill., 79.361 mph, July 28, 2013.
Modifieds:Jacob Poel, 69.987 mph.
— UMP weekly series record: Dave Wietholder, Liberty, Ill., 70.365 mph, July 28, 2013.

FAST FEATURE LAPS
Late models: Jason Perry, 73.294 mph.
— Overall track record: Jeep Van Wormer, Pinconning, Mich., 78.376 mph, July 11, 2010.)
— UMP weekly series record: Brian Shirley, Springfield, Ill., 77.754 mph, 2012.
Modifieds: Jacob Poel, 68.437 mph.
— UMP weekly series record: Michael Long, Quincy, Ill., 73.763 mph, 2010.
Sport mods: Joey Gower, 65.336 mph.
— Track record: Tony Dunker, 65.976 mph, Sept. 30, 2012.

top 10SUNDAY NIGHT STARS
10 stars: Joey Gower. Has a new rivalry been born at the Bullring? JGow vs. The Villain?
9 stars: Michael Long. Even though he could not overtake Jacob Poel, Long looked strong.
8 stars: Tony Dunker, who extended his streak of first-/second-place feature finishes to 32.
7 stars: Austen Becerra. Stop and think about his accomplishment at the Bullring. Twenty feature wins before he was 20-year-old.
6 stars: Ryan Unzicker. Too bad Bobby Pierce had to drop out in the latter stages. That might have been quite a late-model feature finish.
5 stars: Jacob Poel. It would be nice to see more of him, but that Spring Lake, Mich., residence might put a damper on any regular road trips to Quincy.
4 stars: Denny Woodworth, whose fourth-place late model showing was the best among the local drivers.
3 stars: Abe Huls. Unless some more stock cars show up, Honest Abe might be able to main in this year’s championship.
2 stars: Bobby Anders, who won a sport mod heat and then ralleid for a strong third-place showing in the feature.
1 star: Aaron Brocksieck. It was nice to see the former stock car track champ back at the Bullring.

CAR COUNTS
Late models: 14
Modifieds: 18
Sport mods: 16
Stock cars: 6
Sport compacts: 12

CAUTIONS
Late models: 1.
Modifieds: 7.
Sport mods: 6.
Stock cars: 1.
Sport compacts: 3.

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  1. Charlie Bryson says:

    Quality show last night, never seen a promoter get out in the stands and apologize for the number of cars on hand. Kenny, my thoughts, one hell of a job, great racing and someone that cares about the fans and the drivers. The interviews were great, kept down the boring part of racing, no cars going around. Keep it up, the fans will return if every night is like last night. Thumbs up from me.

    Charlie Bryson

  2. GMF says:

    I fell bad for the sport compacts, why did they all have to run in one heat when they could of easily ran 2 heats??

  3. GMF says:

    Also Props to them for working the track during intermission and trying to keep the dust and dirt down. There are some great changes to come to this track but I truly feel like we are on the right track. I am curious to see what they have in store for the Mods.

    Also that sport mod race was one hell of a race between Dunker and Gower it is going to be a great year watching those 2 battle it out!!!

    Bring on next Sunday!

  4. Sidebite says:

    @GMF how was that a hell of a race between dunker and gower haha, gower waxed his ass by 4.5 seconds? dont think there will be no battling every week if thats how it is every week… I think there is a new track champion by alot this year in the sportmods, keep digging gower

  5. Kenny D says:

    This might be a good place to chime in with an explanation of a concern I heard a couple of fans voice as the left the race track last night. It went something along the lines of this:

    KD: Thanks for coming, sir

    Guest: You need to quit cheating for Tony Dunker

    KD: We didn’t cheat for Tony Dunker. I barely know Tony Dunker, why would I favor him?

    Guest: Because he spends a lot of money at the race track.

    KD: Sir, I’ve never been paid a cent by Tony Dunker. He is not a sponsor of this race track.

    Guest: Well, that Gower was in front of him when the yellow came out and you guys put Dunker back in front.

    KD: Actually, I was standing behind the scoring computer at that time and per our rule, 75% of the cars had not completed the lap so we had to revert to the previous lap, and according to the transponder timing, Dunker crossed the line the previous lap 38 hundredths of a second ahead of Gower.

    Guest: I don’t care about that. Gower was leading.

    KD: That might depend on where you were sitting because 38 hundredths of a second could look different from different angles.

    Guest: Doesn’t matter. Gower was in front and you cheated for Tony Dunker.

    KD: I assure you I could care less if Tony Dunker finishes first or last, but thank you for coming tonight and I hope to see you next week.

    Guest: We’ll see.

    Bottom line, as I mention above, when the yellow in question came out we had to revert to the previous lap because 75% of the cars had not passed and that’s our rule – which is stated in the drivers meeting. I personally was staring at a transponder timing computer screen showing Dunker with a .038 second lead the previous lap. That’s why Dunker was placed in front during the yellow. The confusion might have resulted from the fact that Doug might have called Gower in front the previous lap (not sure if he did, but somewhere I recall being told that). Remember, Doug is telling you what he sees. He isn’t the transponder loop – or a scorer. Those things will happen. He can’t be calling a race and glued to a computer screen at the same time.

    If the above doesn’t answer any lingering questions anyone has, feel free to give me a call 217-371-3653.

  6. lmfan says:

    GMF–In my mind, they should never have multiple heats unless there is at least 8 cars in each heat.

    Congratulations to Joey Gower. Nice to see that there is someone who can challenge Tony Dunker consistently. While Bobby Anders could run with him sometimes in the past (when he stayed out of trouble), Joey will be a threat each and every week.

    There are some other cars that are capable of winning as well (Anders, Brockseik-spelling?, DeLonjay). SORRY if I forgot anyone else.

  7. DRONE says:

    GMF:

    DIRT TRACK RACING, STEVIE DIRT, DIRT WIZARD, DIRT NATION. DO YOU SEE THE CONECTION HERE. THIS IS A DIRT TRACK AND FOR 40 YEARS WE HAVE HAD TO DO HOME AND SHOWER SUNDAY NIGHTS PRIOR TO HITTING THE SACK. SO LET THE DUST FLY AND TRACK SLICK OFF.

    TOMMY: PLEASE WORK THE TRACK IN, WATER IT, PACK IT IN AND LEAVE IT ALONE. WATER IN BETWEEN EVENTS, IN BETWEEN CARS QUALIFING AND DURING INTERMISSION ONLY MAKES A CLAY TRACK ICY SLICK AND ACTUALLY CAUSES SEVERE RUTS. IF YA DON’T BELIEVE ME ASK THE QUESTION DURING NEXT WEEKS DRIVERS MEETING AND YOU’LL GET AN EAR FULL.

    DRONE’S: JURY IS IS STILL IN “DELIBERATIONS: ON TRACK CONDITIONS

  8. bullringfan says:

    So,drone liked the dry slick one groove,not very much passing track of the past few years? That explains a lot. I don’t mind dry slick,but dry slick with two lanes for passing is great!! As far as Gower/Dunker goes,I wouldn’t sign the championship check over to Joey yet,but at least if Dunker wins it,he will have to earn it!! :)

  9. Drone says:

    Dry slick brings out the real wheel men/women (that was for miss kimmie).
    Anyone can be a heavy track hero…

    dunker started 10th every night and moved up to 1st or 2nd so dont wana hear ya cant pass on dry slick.

    Its called WHEEL PERSON

    DRONE IS WATCHING

  10. Kenny D says:

    This is the track that had IMCA Late Models and Modifieds with prescribed inverted starting positions, cheaper and lower horsepower motors and decided to go to a car and format that rewards the fast guys who bring more ponies to the coral…. right? And now I’m being asked on Facebook and elsewhere to make sure we have a track where a crate motor can compete with an high dollar open motor because we don’t want a motor to play much of a factor in deciding the outcome of the race. Got it.

    The point many of you have made and are making is well taken. Let us get to where the dust is not a factor so that the new fans we need to bring to the race track to make it viable can stand to be there. (They typically don’t plan to shower before bed like the rest of us) Then we will look at lowering the hoop to 8 feet so everyone can dunk.

    Personally I didn’t see to much wrong with the track we had for the features except for a little more roughness than I would have wanted. I was much more concerned with our dusty infield – which is this week’s problem to solve. I think the feature finishes pretty much were indicative of who the fastest cars were – which is a big part of making a car race a legitimate contest. Which car deserved to win that didn’t?

    And Drone… ignore that new red water truck. It only puts out 15 gallons a minute. Barely enough to get your hair wet. Certainly not enough to create ruts.

    Hope to see you all Sunday and that this Sunday is a little better than last Sunday and that the next Sunday is a little better than this Sunday. We do appreciate your thoughts and comments though. Gives us plenty to think about.

  11. Charlie Bryson says:

    Kenny, you should take Drone comments like the dust (if any) just let them blow away.

  12. Kenny D says:

    Naaa Charlie. He has some good points that are shared by some others. It deserves a response on why we aren’t following the Drone formula for success to a ‘T’.

  13. TEAMFOURBOSS says:

    PARK A TOW TRUCK IN THE TOP OF EACH CORNER FOR LATE MODEL QUALIFYING AND ON THE BOTTOM FOR UMP MODS.
    FREIGHT TRAIN ONE LANE QUALIFYING EQUALS FREIGHT TRAIN FEATURES.

    P.S..BUILD ME A BETTER CUSHION SO I CAN CATCH THAT DAM 31G CAR

    THE SUN SETS IN WEST EVERY DAY HERE IN QUINCY..EASY ON THE H2O IN 1&2

    #2 ON THE TRACK

    #3 ON THE CAR

  14. SKIPP says:

    THAT WAS SOME OF YOUR BEST LIL BRO …
    I GOT NUTN …
    .
    NOT 22 …. SKIPPER

  15. Drone says:

    Thanks for the reply Mr D.
    For the record I’m a die hard QRW fan who bleeds brown dirt 365 a year.
    I know you’re gonna get it right sooner than later.

    DRONE IS WATCHING

  16. Jill says:

    It would take more then a cushion for you Donker

  17. chuck ancell says:

    thats why we have transducers so mistakes are not made. i kind of liked the track not a bad track for first night. joey`s ear buds were full of static so he was looking at scoreboard to see where he was and it kept changing. this week new ear buds so we dont make kenny d mad again.

  18. Kenny D says:

    Yes… Kenny D was mad there for a bit Chuck. You’ll find out that I don’t get mad too often, but when I feel like somebody is messing with our show, I can be known to flip out. When you see me on the race track that’s a sign that a flip out is on the horizon. I’ll accept the ear bud explanation Joey offered in Victory Lane… this time. Congrats to the 31 team. Nice run.

    Now get your butt back in line so we can go green!

  19. Jason says:

    Tony it’s gonna really take a hell of a lot more than a better cushion to help you get around 31g! It really comes down to driver and Joey is a driver! He actually drives his car and don’t let the car drive him! Your going to see that 31g in victory lane a lot this year! The only thing I can suggest to you is possibly a driving school!

  20. SKIPP says:

    JUST WANNA GO ON RECORD NOW … 1ST WEEK OF THE SEASON …. #3 W.I.L.L WIN THE SPORTMOD CHAMPIONSHIP AT QUINCY … ITS THE FIRST WEEK … DONT GET ALL WORKED UP THINKIN THERES “A NEW SHERIFF” …. THE REAL SHERIFF IS TEAM3, JUST SO HAPPENS , A DEPUTY STEPS UP EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE … WATCH TEAM3 STEP UP THE GAME AND CONTINUE THE SPORTMOD DOMINANCE …
    P.E.R.I.O.D.

    PS … AS FOR BECERRA ONLY HAVIN “ONE CONCERN” …. BETTER MAKE IT TWO … WELL , 3
    .
    FIXIN TO BE THE BETTER VILLAIN … SKIPP

  21. Todd Nelson says:

    For those interested, Charlie Bryson posted videos of Michael Long’s modified heat and feature fro 4/20 on YouTube
    Link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKFOMgJa8NSl1BuASDrIlrQ

    Thanks to Charlie for posting – if you ever get bored and can tape the 7B late model that would appreciated.

    Bobby Pierce also has posted a GoPro video from the feature; unfortunately a dirt clog blocks the camera 2mins into the video and they cut out the motor expiring.
    Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZZnCAwVtsY)

    For what it is worth, the track looked to be fairly racey on the videos; especially given the first night and the rough winter. Kudos to Ken and Last Chance Promotions.

    Todd Nelson

  22. LK says:

    I’VE ALWAYS BELIEVED DRIVERS SHOULD BE ABLE TO DRIVE ANY DAMN CLASS THEY WANT AS LONG AS THEY WANT, BUT LET ME SEE IF I’M READING THIS RIGHT: BUNCH OF BLOGGERS MOAN AND GROAN WHAT A CHERRY PICKER DUNKER IS BUT HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH A FORMER LM DRIVER DOMINATING THE SPORTMODS. NO, NO, NO, YOU SHOULD NOT GET TO KISS THE 31G WHEEL ALL OF THE SUDDEN. TALK ABOUT SUPER SIZE HYPOCRITICAL. CONGRATS 31G AND GOOD MOVE 31G CAR OWNER (MR ANCELL MAYBE) SHOULD MAKE FOR A FUN SM SEASON. GO GET ‘EM MR DUNKER.
    THAT’S ALL

    JAF

  23. chuck ancell says:

    reasons i picked joey for my driver
    1- he has a car trailer i do not like a dummy i sold mine to skip
    2- he has a shop 1/2 block from my house – wife can still park her car in garage
    3- he can drive a race car very well
    4- he dates my niece – wife happy about this
    5- i am old and fat and have a problem with belly clearance at steering wheel

  24. LMG says:

    Jason-Driver and Joey Gower..that’s some funny (stuff)! If Joey was a “driver” then please explain to the viewing public why did it take him from ’98 (when he got his Masterbuilt) won the 1rst night out in the car but didn’t win a feature till ’11 that’s 13 years without a feature win so if he is such a “driver” why didn’t he win?!?! So if anyone needs “driving school” as you claim maybe Joey should do that or stop racing like he did last year…..just my thoughts!!

  25. Travis says:

    Drama drama that’s all this blog has become way to much drama how about go race or watch and have fun what ever happen to that !

  26. Travis says:

    I shouldn’t say blog but Quincy raceways in general!

  27. Ryan m says:

    For starters Joey is on hell of a driver, in the past years his crew chief was a total idiot and was setting the car up and putting the wrong set up on the car, when he got away from the (blank) and got a new car he started winning and running top 5 every night, second of all Joey is ment to be in a modified! I have seen him do some crazy shit in modified I have seen him drive piece of crap cars and run front with them! I have also seen him barrow pos LMs that have never even finished a feature and ran top 5 with it! Joey is a natural driver! 31g will have at least one track championship this year! You can mark my word on that!!!

  28. SKIPP says:

    HAHAHA …. THAT IS FANTASTIC CHUCKIE ….
    KEEP ON HAMMERIN DUDE ….YA’LL ARE FLYIN
    I JUST HAVE A BIASED OPINION AND GOTTA ROLL WITH BLOOD …. GOOD LUCK TO YOU & 31G
    .
    STILL THE BIGGEST TEAM3 FAN OUT HERE …..
    .
    NOTE TO THE YOUNGSTERS OUT THERE …. WHEN YOUR RUNNIN 2ND WITH 4 TO GO … DONT HIT THE SWITCH WITH YOUR KNEE , AND SHUT THE CAR OFF … JUS SAYIN

  29. Jack says:

    Lmg your stats r way off bench warmer also i see u got fired from McDonald’s but guess what its your lucky day dunker is looking for a water boy

  30. GMF says:

    Heck yeah I enjoyed the race between Gower and Dunker, but to each their own, some like sugar cookies, other like chocolate chip just depends on what your flavor is. Before I forget Propr to lil Tanner Klingle for Rocking his heat race, sad he broke during the feature. This year the sport mods are going to get the racing world a talking!!! Always a work in progress and not everyone will be happy but Kenny keep doing what you guys are doing, and dont worry about what other people will say about cheating. I hear the best always get accused of cheating lol :) Fingers crossed the rain holds off I need my Sunday night fix!!

  31. LMG says:

    Ryan M-your grammer and spelling WOW! Well played also Ryan…so if the “old crew chief” set up the late models all wrong for that amount of years why didn’t Joey tell him to get lost? Also Joey is the “driver” why didn’t each night after hot laps, heat and feature did he not tell his crew chief that he did not like the set up on the car and why didn’t he set the car up to his liking? He is the “driver” he knows better then the “crew chief” what the car is doing. Excuses!! Oh and when he started winning after that long of a streak of losses is when he cheated on his tires…sad when a family member blurted out what he was doing to his tires! The only true statement Ryan you made was Joey does belong in a modified….

    Jack-you should be a comedian due to the fact i’ve never worked at McDonald’s but nice try pal!! My stats are off ok then what years did he win features? ’98 and ’11 nothing in between…..Stevie Dirt would you like to look up Joey’s stats in the late model from those years and tell us how many features did he win since i’m incorrect….

  32. Jack says:

    Lmg either shut up or stand up like a real man and show your face bench warmer

  33. Richard says:

    Wow LMK. Is gettin so fired up that he is at a loss for words and has to pick on people’s grammar! Lol what a idiot! Only thing that I have to say is that Donnilson IA. And Quincy raceways might as well go ahead and put Joey Gowers name on the championship check because he’s going to win it!!! By the way LMK why are you cryin about Joey so bad, who’s wheels you kissing on to be so bent out of shape!!??

  34. Ryan m says:

    Hahaha!!!! Jack he is to scared to let every one know who he really is! I bet he works at Hardee’s or maybe dollar tree! Mcdonalds is to good for him!!! Hey by the way LMK like jack said why don’t you give us your real name or show your face instead of some dumb name like LMK!! But I agree jack he just needs to shut up or get lost! Who said he was cheating on tires?? Hey jack apparently who ever this is knows joeys family so there’s a starting place to figure out who he is!! Lol

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