Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chad Simpson Completes Weekend Sweep at Quincy

On Thursday afternoon most of the Quincy Raceways track and pit area was underwater. Three days later that same pit area was full of haulers and the quarter-mile oval was hard and smooth as the Corn Belt Clash, MARS and ALMS Late Models did battle for a $3,000 top prize.

Group qualifying, four heats and two B-Mains trimmed the thirty-three car field down to twenty-four  for the forty-lap main event with Chad Simpson and Brandon Sheppard starting from the front row. Simpson grabbed the lead at the drop of the green with Sheppard and Shannon Babb keeping pace. The top three gradually separated themselves from the rest of the field and while Simpson maintained about a five car-length advantage, Babb was able to put a nose under Sheppard on a couple of occasions.

As the leaders worked traffic with ten laps remaining, Babb tried the topside around turns one and two going a bit too wide and dropping the right rear off the top of the racing surface. To make the save Babb turned completely sideways and somehow avoided contact with a lapped car as he drove down the track, but since the lead trio was now so far in front of the rest of the pack Babb's near spin did not even cost him a position.
Shannon Babb (18) made several attempts on Brandon Sheppard (B5) for second before nearly spinning out. Babb held on to finish in third - Barry Johnson photo

With the laps winding down Sheppard's attempts to keep Simpson within striking distance were not successful as the leader worked traffic like a master going flag-to-flag for a dominating victory. The win backed up his victory the night before when Chad came from the twelfth starting spot at 34 Raceway in Burlington. Sheppard finished second, Babb took third, Brian Shirley moved from ninth to fourth while Jason Perry finished where he started in fifth. Tony Jackson Jr. was sixth for the second night in a row, Chris Simpson finished seventh, Tyler Reddick faded from fourth to eighth, Terry Phillips took ninth and Kevin Weaver rounded out the top ten.
Chad Simpson was on cruise control for the $3,000 victory - Barry Johnson photo

Q Notes......Group qualifying meant that the fast cars started up front in the heats with three of the four (Chad Simpson, Sheppard and Babb) being won from the pole position. Tyler Reddick started third and passed Jake Meier to win the fourth heat....The third heat took a little extra time to complete when Justin Reed and Kevin Weaver made contact on the back stretch during the opening lap sending Weaver for a spin. Dustin Walker spun his car to avoid Weaver and slid right through the only standing water that I saw on the grounds in the infield in turn three sending a big splash of moisture out onto the race track. It took several laps of wheel packing before the race could be restarted. Then, once it did, the cars of Reed and Dave Eckrich got hooked together on the front stretch creating another long delay while they were carefully pulled apart.....The two B-Mains saw good battles for the third and final transfer spot with Ryan Unzicker edging out Brandon Thirlby in the first one and Justin Reed coming from mid-pack to take third in the second one.....Six provisionals, two each from the three tours were added to the field: Thirlby, Doug Herrick, Dustin Walker, Dave Eckrich, Justin Asplin and Brunson Behning......Veteran St. Louis area drivers Ed Dixon and Mike Hammerle were among the nine drivers who did not make the A-main.

Skipp Dunker started the Sport Compact main event from the pole position and was challenged early by Josh Barnes. As Barnes pulled even with the leader following a lap two restart the right front tire came off the rim of Barnes' car ending his evening and from there Dunker went unchallenged for the win. Kimberly Abbott finished second for the second week in a row here, last Sunday's winner Craig Bangert ran third, Matt Moore made the long pull from Ottumwa, Iowa, to finish fourth and Bryce Baker was the last car running in fifth.
Skipp Dunker (3) started from the pole and went flag-to-flag for the Sport Compact win - Barry Johnson photo

Michael Long and Steven DeLonjay had a good battle going in the 25-lap UMP Modified finale until the challenger, DeLonjay slowed and pulled to the infield on lap eight. Robbie Reed who had started sixth was now reeling in Long and was ready to challenge before the caution waved on lap sixteen for a Jake Griffin spin in turn four. On the restart David Wietholder pinched Reed down to the bottom in turn two to take over the second spot and then he went to work on Long over the final laps. Wietholder was able to pull even with Long exiting turn two twice in the final laps, but Long maintained his composure to fight him off in turn three in order to hold on for the victory. Wietholder was a solid second ahead of Reed who had another nice run tonight. Jimmy Cummins made the trip up from the St. Louis area to finish fourth while Shawn Deering completed the top five.
Michael Long was all alone mid-race, but he had to hold off a late challenge from David Wietholder to win the UMP Modified main event - Barry Johnson photo

Ours thanks to the QR crew for their usual fine hospitality and for putting on an efficient show that saw the final checkers wave at 8:45 p.m. For as much work that the Quincy Raceways staff put in over the past three days just to have this show, they deserved a better crowd than what they had this evening. Hopefully they get a more normal week of weather requiring much less work and the stands will fill in nicely for weekly racing here next Sunday night.

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