Monday, April 27, 2009

Different Day, Different Luck for Keith Pratt at Quincy

The final race of this weekend's "Tapfan's Tours" found me back where it started on Thursday. Mother Nature forced tracks in Iowa to cancel their shows, but Quincy Raceways was not affected and were able to get their show in. After spending the night in Missouri, I met some friends in Des Moines and made the big loop back to Quincy.

While the car count was nothing too spectacular, the racing action was pretty good. The rut in turn one that I mentioned Thursday night remained an issue as several drivers found out the hard way as it seemed to catapult them off turn one. A few times it was the leader who miscalculated their entrance into the corner after a restart.

The first feature of the night were the IMCA stock cars. Fourteen drivers set to do battle for twenty laps. Dustin Griffin set the pace early on until Doug Huls passed him on lap four. Huls would lead nine more laps until he misjudged turn one and found himself going over the banking in turn one, giving the lead back to Griffin. Terry Houston would take over the top spot three laps later and looked to be on his way to victory until he slipped off the banking in turn four coming to the white flag. The caution flag waved, once again giving the lead back to Griffin. However, Griffin's luck soon ran out as he too went over the cushion in turn one on the restart, handing the lead over to Kevin Tomlinson. Tomlinson's luck would not be as unfortunate as he took the checkers. Levi Long finished second, Doug Huls battled back up to third, Abe Huls was fourth, and Chris Wibbell rounded out the top five.

IMCA late models were next up as seventeen drivers were scheduled to start the race. It was announced earlier in the evening that Mark Burgtorf would be a scratch the rest of the night as he suffered motor problems during hot laps. How does that saying go? "One man's misfortune is another man's opportunity." This was definitely the case on this night. Keith Pratt, who found himself upside down on Thursday night during the IMCA Deery Brothers race, found himself on the outside front row at the start of the thirty-lap main event. Not sure if Pratt had a new car or just new skin, but the car was yellow instead of white Sunday night. A scary moment happened early in the race as veteran racer Terry Gallaher caught the rut and it sent him air born off turn one. His car would hit the concrete barrier outside the corner, landing upside down. Fortunately, Terry got out of the car quickly and walked away from the accident. Gallaher is a four-time track champion at Quincy.

After the restart, Pratt pulled away from the rest of the field and began to encounter lapped traffic. While this slowed his momentum, Jason Frankel and Matt Bailey were mixing it up for the second spot while inching closer to Pratt's car. Bailey took command of the second spot and closed in on Pratt toward the end, but the checkered flag waved for Pratt as he picked up the win. Frankel held off a hard-charging Justin Reed, who had started tenth, for third while Jerry Weisenberger rounded out the top five.

Thirteen hobby stocks started their feature as a few competitors were not able to make the call. This class also saw a rollover as the .08% car (which had sherriff's office on the door panel) driven by Eddie Kamm clipped the front stretch wall. He too walked away uninjured. Steve Carlin took the lead early on until James Leffew passed him on lap ten. A caution flag soon followed, and Leffew's car suffered a front left flat tire. He was unable to get the tire changed by the time the green flag waved, although he did return to the track at a later time. As a result of Leffew's bad luck, Carlin regained the lead until lap fifteen when Thursday night's winner Jim Powell made the pass for the top spot. Powell went on for the victory followed by Travis Booher, Wesley Mayfield, Steve Carlin, and Jake Powers.

The final event of the night were the UMP modifieds. Shawn Deering set the pace from his pole position until an early caution on lap three. Deering jumped the cushion in turn one on the restart, handing the reigns over to Tony Dunker. However, Dunker received some contact by Justin Reed's 4st car in turn three and both cars spun as a result. Only Dunker was penalized however. Second-year modified driver Steven Delonjay took over the race lead following that caution, but he would get heavy pressure from local standout Michael Long. Long tried everything he could to get by Delonjay, but Delonjay was just a little stronger getting off the corners every lap. That is until a lapped car slid up and made contact with Delonjay. Long took advantage of that mishap by sneaking by on the low side coming out of turn four on lap twenty-one and would lead the final four laps in capturing the feature win. Delonjay had to settle for second, Justin Reed third, Robbie Reed fourth, and Donovan Lodge rounded out the top five.

The racing action concluded at 9:35. Other then a gusty breeze out of the south at times, the night couldn't have been more picture perfect. I remained in a tshirt the entire night and didn't even think of putting on a sweatshirt. Driving through Quincy, a bank clock showed the temperature was still 78 when we left. Other then perhaps a smoother racing surface, one could not have asked for a better night of racing!

Sunday concluded a long weekend of "Tapfan's Tours". All together, the four races accumulated 1576 miles on my car. I arrived home late Sunday night (or early Monday morning, however you call it). Time to rest up before another exciting weekend of racing action!

- Racing may be addictive, but it's DEFINITELY addictive!

1 comment:

  1. Great reports from all four weekend races Kevin!! We really appreciate you being involved with!