Burgtorf ended a season-long late model feature victory drought when he dominated the 30-lap finale on a sultry Sunday night at Quincy Raceways.
The victory thrust Burgtorf back into contention for the series championship and was the first for him in a new partnership with local engine builder and car owner Rick Frankel.
“Two weeks ago, I broke a (connecting) rod (in his car’s engine), and I was ready to sit out the rest of the year,” Burgtorf said. “I (later) got a call from Rick who said he had a car for me to drive if I wanted to.”
Burgtorf’s victory Sunday night followed a runner-up finish Friday evening at Tri-City Speedway neat Granite City, Ill. Burgtorf said members of his own crew and those of Frankel’s are working together.
“Everyone’s pitching in to make it go a little faster,” Burgtorf said.
August had been an extremely frustrating month for Burgtorf, who came into Sunday with three straight DNFs. That stretch cost him what had looked to be a comfortable points lead to falling 29 behind Denny Woodworth.
Burgtorf’s victory on Sunday, coupled with a third-place finish by Woodworth, allowed Burgtorf to creep within 19 points (623-604) of the series lead. Woodworth is chasing his third championship in five years.
Burgtorf, who is seeking a record 15th track championship, last won a feature Sept. 22, 2013. The 7.7-second gap between Burgtorf and runner-up Gordy Gundaker was the largest late model margin of victory this season.
Burgtorf was eighth different late model feature winner, the most of any of the five weekly series at 8000 Broadway.
Other feature winners were Brian Lynn in modifieds, Joey Gower in sport mods, Brandon Savage in Stock cars and Kim Abbott in sport compacts.
Lynn’s victory was his first at Quincy. A mailman from the Pekin area, Lynn turned back a star-studded modified field that included Kenny Wallace, Rusty Griffaw, Michael Long and Steven DeLonjay.
Long was runner-up and was able to chop a serious hole in DeLonjay’s series points lead. DeLonjay was credited with an 11th-place finish after rear-suspension problems forced him to withdraw 17 laps into the 25-lap main event.
DeLonjay saw a 65-point advantage trimmed to 35 (825-790).
Wallace finished third, Shawn Deering fourth and Griffaw fifth.
Joey Gower led the final 16 laps of the sport mod feature to claim his fourth checkered flag of the season. Adam Birck had a season-best runner-up performance, followed by series points leader Tony Dunker, Bobby Anders and Tanner Klingele.
Dunker continues to control the sport mods points lead, 543-514 over Anders. Dunker leads Klingele 195-192 in second-half points.
Brandon Savage collected his third straight stock-car feature victory and fifth of the season. Savage also drew closer to Abe Huls in the points race. Huls, who finished second in the feature, holds a 515-509 margin. Savage holds a 188-186 edge in second-half points.
Abbott kept her faint hopes alive in the sport compacts with her third feature victory of the year. She now trails Austen Becerra by 11 points (539-528). Becerra had to retire on the parade lap with mechanical issues and was credited with a 13th-place finish. Abbott leads Becerra in second-half points 193-187.
IMCA series — sport mods, stock cars, sport compacts — have just two weeks of points racing remaining (Aug. 31 and Sept. 14). The UMP classes — late models and modifieds — have three weeks (Aug. 31, Sept. 7, Sept. 14) remaining.
SUNDAY NIGHT RECAP
Late models: Jason Perry (4th), Justin Reed (3rd).
Modifieds: Kenny Wallacea (1st), Michael Long (6th).
Sport mods: Bobby Anders (5th), Tony Dunker (4th).
Stock cars: Jerry Jansen (2nd).
Sport compacts: Austen Becerra (6th), Brandon Lambert (5th).
Track points leaders (unofficial)
Late models: Denny Woodworth 623, Mark Burgtorf 604.
Modifieds: Steven DeLonjay 825, Michael Long 790.
Sport mods: Tony Dunker 543, Bobby Anders 514, Brad Holtmeyer 509, Tanner Klingele 509, Joey Gower 506.
Stock cars: Abe Huls 515, Brandon Savage 509.
Sport compacts: Austen Becerra 539, Kim Abbott 528.
Late models: Denny Woodworth 77.348 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: Kenny Wallace 71.861 mph (fastest time of the season and fastest time since modified qualifying began.)
– UMP weekly series record: Kenny Wallace 71.861 mph, Aug. 24, 2014.
Late models: Mark Burgtorf, 69.577 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, Sept. 16, 2012.
Modifieds: Brian Lynn, 67.630 mph.
– UMP weekly series record: Michael Long, Quincy, Ill., 73.763 mph, Aug. 22, 2010.
Sport mods: Joey Gower 62.695 mph.
– Track record: Tony Dunker, 65.976 mph, Sept. 30, 2012.
SUNDAY NIGHT STARS
10 stars: The Quincy University students, about 30 of them, who came out in support of late model driver (and classmate) Gordy Gundaker. They were festive, yet well-behaved, and stayed for the entire program. About a half dozen of them also took the ALS ice bucket challenge at intermission.
9 stars: Mark Burgtorf, who won his first late model feature of the summer and do so in convincing fashion.
8 stars: Brian Lynn, the modified driver who won his first feature at Quincy, leading flag to flag ahead of a star-studded field that included Kenny Wallace, Rusty Griffaw, Michael Long and Steven DeLonjay.
7 stars: Brandon Savage, who won a dandy head-to-head duel with Abe Huls to take the stock car main event.
6 stars: Joey Gower, whose feature win tied him with Tony Dunker for the most (4) in the sport mod series.
5 stars: Kim Abbott, who had a chance to move much closer to sport compact points leader Austen Becerra with a feature victory — and she did. The door was opened for Abbott when Becerra had to drop out of the race on the parade lap.
4 stars: Abe Huls, who wound up a c-l-o-s-e second to Savage in the exciting stock car finale.
3 stars: Gordy Gundaker, who had another strong run in the late model class. In three features, Gundaker has a first-, second- and third-place finish.
2 stars: Adam Birck, whose runner-up feature finish in the sport mods was a season best.
1 star: The hundreds of fans who braved the extreme heat to come to the Bullring Sunday night.
Late models: 11 Season average 12.9.
Modifieds: 13. Season average 14.4.
Sport mods: 14. Season average 14.4.
Stock cars: 7. Season average 9.1.
Sport compacts: 13. Season average 11.5.
Total: 57. Season average 65.5.
Late models: 1.
Sport mods: 2.
Stock cars: 2.
Sport compacts: 4.