Terry Houston? He’s on his way.
Jake Griffin? He’s coming, too.
Sooner or later, all the regulars will be back in the pits at the Bullring. But in their absence it’s nice to be able to recognize some of the other drivers, many of whom get some props this week in the first Dirty Thirty rankings of the season.
Next week’s rankings could be even more interesting with the late models off until May 4, but there is a big-money modified show coming to Quincy this weekend that we’ll have more details about in the next day or so.
PAST DIRTY THIRTY CHAMPIONS
2013: Tony Dunker
2012: Steven DeLonjay
2011: Steven DeLonjay
1. Michael Long: Michael was hooked up Sunday night, winning the Fast 6 modified dash and finishing second to Michigan traveler Jacob Poel in the feature. He got his feet wet in that No. 56 late model, too.
2. Joey Gower: I think JGoww opened a lot of eyes Sunday night.
3. Tony Dunker: Tony’s second-place finish sport mod ended an eight-feature win streak at the Bullring. He had not been beaten at 8000 Broadway since July 7.
4. Abe Huls: Don’t worry, Abe will soon have more competition. Looks like four more stock cars are on the way, including his chief rival, Terry Houston.
5. Denny Woodworth: Denny officially begins defense of his late model track title a week from Sunday on May 4. The late models are idle this week. The other four weekly series began running for points on opening night.
6. Mark Burgtorf: How many years has Mark parked in that same spot in the pits?
7. Austen Becerra: Austen was No. 8 in the final 2013 rankings, the highest ever for a sport compact driver. He has the chance to climb even higher this season.
8. Steven DeLonjay: Steven won six of the first eight features in 2013. By “only” finishing third Sunday night, does that mean he’s in a slump?
9. Bobby Anders: The third sport mod driver ranked among the top nine. Not bad for a class that less than three years ago did not even exist in Quincy.
10. Clint Kirkham: Clint may have the best new look among the local models.
11. Robbie Reed: Surprisingly, Robbie has never finished a season in the Dirty Thirty top 10.
12. Jason Perry: I’d say there’s a good chance this ranking will improve rather quickly once the late models begin their points quest in earnest.
13. Jamie Wilson: Glad to see Jamie Wilson back behind the wheel. For my money, he drove the best-looking late model since I have been in Quincy, that green, black and silver No. 6 from around 2001 or so. Anyone else remember that car?
14. Kim Abbott: Speaking of good-looking cars, another nice effort from the Abbott team on this year’s ride.
15. Shane Lewis: First time in the rankings for Sugar Shane.
16. Derrick Carlson: Highest spot ever for the No. 37.
17. Aaron Brocksieck: Aaron’s trying for a championship in what would be an unprecedented third different class at the track. He won a hobby stock title in 2008 and a stock car championship in 2011.
18. Troy Grotz: Good to see this Grotz back on the track.
19. Jared Schlipman: No one can devour a lunch at the South Side in Mendon like this guy.
20. Dave Wietholder: Until he had to bow out a couple of laps early in Sunday’s mod feature, Dave was turning some of the top times in the 18-car field.
21. Charles Van Zandt: Is this his breakthrough season?
22. Trent Grotz: Good to see this Grotz back, too.
23. Jerry Jansen: Once Terry Houston returns it will be like old time’s sake. Jerry, Terry and Honest Abe are the three amigos of the stock cars.
24. Jake Powers: Actually, The Snake could be a fourth amigo. What do you say, Jake?
25. Pat Dunker: I think Skipp hit the brake instead of the gas at that one point in the feature.
26. Tanner Klingele: Another great-looking car from Team Ancell. Tanner and Joey Gower’s cars are both sharp.
27. Brandon Savage: He won three of the final stock car features last season, so don’t worry. He’ll be moving back up the rankings.
28. Nathan Anders: Nice recovery to finish seventh in the sport mod main event. It has been a trying month for young Mr. Anders.
29. Keith Pratt: The Kool Kat is a diehard Ohio State fan. Those Michigan colors may be bad luck. Jus’ sayin’ …
30. Shawn Deering: There was great (unwanted) irony in Shawn’s early departure from the mod feature. Year in, year out, he has always been among the laps completed leaders and the first night out with his new car he exits the main event after one lap. Ouch.
2013 FINAL DIRTY THIRTY TOP 10
1. Tony Dunker
2. Steven DeLonjay
3. Jason Perry
4. Denny Woodworth
5. Mark Burgtorf
6. Dave Wietholder
7. Abe Huls
8. Austen Becerra
9. Brandon Savage
10. Tanner Klingele
2012 FINAL DIRTY THIRTY TOP 10
1. Steven DeLonjay
2. Tony Dunker
3. Michael Long
4. Abe Huls
5. Mark Burgtorf
6. Dustin Griffin
7. Jason Perry
8. Jared Schlipman
9. Jake Griffin
10. Justin Reed
2011 FINAL DIRTY THIRTY TOP 10
1. Steven DeLonjay
2. Justin Reed
3. Denny Woodworth
4. Lonnie Bailey
5. Joey Gower
6. Michael Long
7. Keith Pratt
8. Aaron Brocksieck
9. Dave Wietholder
10. Terry Houston