Sports

Austin Beccera continues strong showings at Quincy Raceways

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 12, 2019 12:20 am

QUINCY -- Admittedly, Austen Becerra's approach to dirt-track racing has changed over the years.

"I used to drive by the seat of my pants," the 25-year-old Bowen resident said.

While Becerra remains partial to that old-school pedal to the metal mindset, he is now equally concerned with the impact of modern technology and the inner workings of his sport mod.

That melding of skill and advanced technique have allowed Becerra to become one of the more successful drivers at Quincy Raceways in what is still an emerging career.

Becerra, who won his fifth feature of the season Sunday night -- one less than series points leader Adam Birck -- may not win the sport mod track title this year, but will likely be a contender for the crown for the foreseeable future.

"I think I can probably run top five at about any track (in the region)," Becerra said.

And he has.

Becerra has 11 total feature victories this season, those wins primarily spread across West-Central Illinois and Southeast Iowa. He sits third in points at Quincy -- Birck (417), Kelly Bartz (367) and Becerra (358) make up the top three.

"I probably can't catch Adam in points," Becerra said. "I missed a couple of weeks earlier in the season (and received no points)."

While Becerra has yet to claim a sport mod track title, he won back-to-back sport compact championships in 2013-14. He still holds single-season sport compact records for most feature victories (22), overall wins (22) heat victories (10) and the most feature laps led (165).

Becerra moved up from the sport compacts to the sport mods a few years ago, but said it is unlikely he'll climb to another class like modifieds of crate late models because of the cost.

Becerra, who has won four the last eight sport mod main events, held off Mike Goodwin, Tanner Klingele, Birck and Tyler Burton for his Sunday night victory.

Other feature winners were Beau Taylor in stock cars, Craig Bangert in Sport compacts, Rick Stevenson in mods and Denny Woodworth in crate lates.

Taylor continued to set the pace in the stock car division in search of his first track championship. His seventh feature victory gave him a four-point (406-402) advantage over Taco Larsen, who finished third behind defending series champ Jake Powers.

Bangert secured his first sport compact checkered flag, warding off points leader Kim Abbott and Dave Prim. Abbott, who leads Prim 290-283 in quest of her third track title, is seeking to become the 16th driver with three or more championships in the 46-year history of the track. She won her titles in 2015-16.

Stevenson claimed his second win -- and first since June 2 -- when he thwarted three-time defending mod champ Dave Wietholder's bid for a fifth straight feature victory. Wietholder was driving a car borrowed from Ben Huff after his own ride was sidelined with major engine problems earlier in the evening. Wietholder remains in command of the points race 695-514 over Josh Newman.

Woodworth's crate late victory was his seventh of the season and fifth in the last six features. Chuck Mitchell ran second to Woodworth, who holds a 725-579 points advantage over Darin Weisinger Jr.

The track's third major race of the season comes next Sunday, Aug. 18, when the IMCA Deery Brothers traveling crate late model series come to town. It marks the first Deery Brothers series visit to Quincy since 2011. The track switched late model sanctioning bodies in 2012, moving to UMP.

The IMCA late model race will be the 27th Deery Brothers event hosted by the Broadway Bullring. Quincy driver Mark Burgtorf is the all-time IMCA Deery Brothers series victory leader at the track with seven. Iowa driver Rob Toland of Davenport has four wins.

Quincy was an IMCA track from 1998 through 2011.