Racing Notebook: 'Hell Tour' returns to Quincy July 6, paying $7,500 to win
By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The United Midwestern Promoters Summernationals -- a.k.a "The Hell Tour" -- is returning to Quincy Raceways after a one-year absence.
Arguably the most popular late model series in the Midwest, the UMP Summernationals will be back at the Bullring on July 6, the final stop in Illinois for the tour that will wind through eight states and see 29 races in 32 days -- the most demanding grind in all of motorsports.
Quincy is inheriting an open date in the schedule that resulted from another Midwest track losing a Summernationals race.
Rumors had been swirling all week that Quincy might wind up with the date.
Quincy track officials and representatives from UMP talked at length several times until an agreement was reached early Thursday morning.
The Summernationals race in Quincy will pay $7,500 to win, the second-biggest first-place check in track history. Only the $10,000-to-win UMP Summernationals race in 2009 paid more.
Support series on July 6 will be the UMP modifieds and Quincy hobby stocks. The track's other weekly series -- stock cars, sport mods and sport compacts -- are ineligible to compete that night because of their IMCA affiliation.
This will be the Hell Tour's sixth scheduled stop in Quincy (the 2008 date was rained out), with Shannon "The Moweaqua Missile" Babb (twice), Jeep Van Wormer and Randy "King Kong" Korte claiming victories.
Babb is the defending series champ, winning his third Hell Tour title after back-to-back championships in 2005-06. Jason Feger (2010) and Dennis Erb Jr. (2007-08-09) are the other most recent champions.
The Summernationals kick off June 13 in Brownstown, Ind., just outside Indianapolis, and conclude July 14 in Wauseon, Ohio.
Tonight at the track
All six weekly racing series will be in action tonight at 8000 Broadway when the first green flag falls at 5:30 p.m. There is only one more Sunday night (May 27) of 5:30 starts. In June, July and August the track will begin at 6:30, before reverting back to the 5:30 beginnings in September.
Here's what to watch for in the six classes tonight:
Pick to click: Dustin Griffin will win his second straight feature. In his two appearances at the track this season (he missed the other two with engine issues), he was the most dominant car.
Best comeback bet: Ricky Frankel, beset with all sorts of bad luck -- most of it at out-of-town tracks -- the opening weeks of the season, is due to rip off a solid feature finish.
Noteworthy: Despite all of the UMP travelers who have stopped in already at the Bullring, track regulars have won three of the four features run to date. Dennis Erb Jr. on May 6 was the only "outsider" to collect the $1,000 first-place check.
Pick to click: Dave Wietholder , whose three most-recent feature finishes at the track have been: second, second, first. Yeah, I'd say he's hooked up right now.
Best comeback bet: No-brainer here. Defending track champ Steven DeLonjay, who bowed out early in last week's main event with left front-end suspension problems.
Noteworthy: Of this year's four feature winners, only one -- DeLonjay -- has started deeper than fourth in the field. DeLonjay started 11th April 1 when he won on opening night.
Pick to click: Jim Gillenwater, who has won the past two features and leads the series with six total victories. In fact, Gillenwater leads all drivers at the track with his win total. He also has a four-week win streak in the heat races.
Best comeback bet: Take your pick from Brandon Dale or Joe Bliven. Both drivers had to exit with assorted problems after two laps last Sunday. Both should be back near the front tonight.
Noteworthy: The sport mods have recorded the most cautions this season, averaging 7.3 per show.
Pick to click: Aaron Brocksieck is due for another checkered flag after finishing second each of the past two weeks.
Best comeback bet: The last few weeks have not been kind to Darin Weisinger. He's due for a strong run in that No. 11D.
Noteworthy: No stock car feature winner this season has started on the pole, or even the front row.
Pick to click: Jake Powers bounced back from last week's early exit to win his third feature of the season.
Best comeback bet: Jim Powell has yet to record a top-five finish. That is due to change.
Noteworthy: Going back to the end of last season, Powers has won five of the past eight main events.
Pick to click: Right now it's Seth Woodruff's world in this class and everyone is merely passing through.
Best comeback bet: Andrew Davis was never really a factor in last week's fifth-place finish. Look for him back near the front tonight.
Noteworthy: Three of this season's four feature winners have started eighth or deeper in the field.