Old-school racing made it’s annual visit to Spoon River Speedway Saturday night, in the form of the Quick Draw Specials, a night featuring three segments of racing in each division with inverted starts sending the higher-finishing car in the previous segment to the back of the field for the next segment.
The format is a throwback to the days when the fields were inverted, passing was at a premium, and the fans cheered as drivers charged through the pack. No one did more charging and got more cheering Saturday than Allen “A-Dog” Weisser, the second-generation racer from Peoria, in his #25W UMP Modified.
Weisser put on a show rarely seen in dirt track racing these days, starting at or near the back of the field in all three 15-lap segments for the Perkins Seed House UMP Modified Division (a draw determined the lineup for the first segment, and Weisser drew a 14th starting spot out of 15). Deftly working all grooves of the race track and patiently picking his spots, Weisser came from the back not once, not twice, but all three times, passing over 40 cars in 45 total laps, to win all three segments and leave no doubt as to who was taking home the Quick Draw Trophy and $1,000 first place check in the Modified Division.
Weisser actually won an extra $225 on the night, as Promoter Brad Denney added a $75 bonus to the winner of each segment. As dominant as Weisser was, it was still not a walk in the park by any means, as he had to work hard in each segment to get around cars that were hooked up and flying on a super-smooth, tacky, multi-groove racing surface on the high-banked 3/8 mile oval.
In Segment 1, Fairview’s Dale Munson ran away with the first 10 laps of the segment, checking out to a big lead before Weisser cleared the rest of the field and moved into second, eventually was able to work his way around the veteran Munson on the high side. Munson finished a strong second, followed by Charlie Harmon, JD Beal and Michael Parsons.
Starting last in Segment 2, Weisser went to the bottom early and in four laps was already up to fourth place. Brian Lynn, starting third after breaking front suspension parts in Segment 1 and not finishing that 15-lapper, drove to an early lead in the second race, and like Munson in the first race, held on to second after Weisser got around around him. Brian’s son Austin, showing rapid improvement each and every week in his rookie season, drove from 10th starting spot to a 3rd place finish in the second segment, and was working on Dad for second when the checkered flag flew. Harmon ended the segment fourth, followed by Joe Wagner.
The only thing keeping Weisser from the Quick Draw Trophy was a DNF in the final segment, but his Kraft Kar ran just as well as it did in the first two segments, and he passed the entire field…again…for his third straight segment win. Brian Lynn got mired in traffic early but came through the field and was flying on the high side when the race ended.
When all the point totals from the segments were added up, JD Beal was the Quick Draw runner up, followed by Charlie Harmon, Zac Oedewaldt, Joe Wagner, Michael Parsons, and Josh Allen, moving up for the first time from Pro Modified to the Open Modified class.
Unlike the Weisser show in the Mods, both the Pro Late Model and Pro Modified classes came down to the final laps of the final segment to determine overall winners.
In the Monical’s Pizza Pro Late Model Division, Tommy Sheppard, Jr. bested fellow New Berlin driver Nick Bauman in Segment 1, followed by Jose Parga, Myles Moos, and Logan Moody. Those five then started at the rear of the field in Segment 2, and Moos drove from sixth starting spot to the win, followed by Parga, Brad Denney, Moddy and Bauman. Sheppard recorded a DNF, taking him out of the running for the overall Quick Draw win, but putting him up front to begin Segment 3.
Sheppard cruised to his second bonus check by winning that third Segment, but the overall Quick Draw winner was Nick Bauman, who went into the final segment tied with Jose Parga and finished that 15-lapper just in front of the young charger from Auburn to win the Trophy and first place check. Parga finished the Quick Draw in second overall, followed by Sheppard, Moos and Denney.
The Farmington Locker Pro Modified Division was equally competitive all night long. Todd Bates won segment 1 from the pole, followed by Kevin Morrow, Mark Anderson, Josh Smith (who started in the 12th and final spot) and Brock Bauman (behind the wheel of the 242 normally driven by Richie Biswell). Matt Parrott finished sixth in that first segment, and all six of those top finishers then drove through the field to make up the top 6 of Segment 2.
Morrow won that middle race, followed by Anderson, Parrott, Smith, Bauman and Bates in that order, setting up the showdown Segment 3. Morrow completed the night in first place overall, winning the Quick Draw, followed by Bates, Anderson, Bauman, Smith and Parrott, as the top 6 from the first segment stayed that way throughout the night.
The Fulton FS UMP Hornet Quick Draw was won by Derick Deford, but it was not clinched until the final turn of the final lap of the final segment, as he was side-by-side in both points and on the track with Normal’s Dave Lauritson heading into turn 3. Both drivers knew whomever got through 3 and 4 and back to the line first would be the Quick Draw champ, and Lauritson had the nose of his car out front as they charged towards that final turn. DeFord drew alongside at the entry of turn 3, and Lauritson left him just enough room as the big mine tire marking turn 3 drew closer and closer. DeFord sideswiped the tire, ripping off part of his driver’s side sheetmetal, but somehow made it through both 3 and 4, and beat Lauritson back to the line to claim the trophy.
Lauritson finished second overall, followed by Dion Smith, Dallas Strauch, and Robert Mendenhall. Lauritson won Segment 1 while DeFord triumped in the middle segment.