By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Traditionally, the late model points races have not been close by the end of the season at Quincy Raceways. The vast majority of the titles have been decided well before the final points run, which since the beginning of the IMCA era in 1998 has been the last Sunday in August.
There's a good chance that trend might not hold up this season. Going into tonight's action (racing starts at 6:30), there are five drivers within 11 points of the lead:
Justin Reed, 238
Keith Pratt, 234
Lonnie Bailey, 229
Denny Woodworth, 229
Joey Gower, 227
There's a nice mixture of youth and experience in those five. Reed, Pratt and Gower -- none older than 32 -- have never won a late model track title. Bailey, 46, has two to his credit and Woodworth, 43, secured his first last season.
Only two late model championships in track history have been decided by fewer than 10 points, and neither of those relatively close calls rank among the top 10 in track history:
2009: Lonnie Bailey defeated Justin Reed by six points, 14th-closest in track history.
2010: Denny Woodworth defeated Jason Perry by eight points, 18th-closest in track history.
Looking ahead: There continues to be discussion about the 2012 lineup of classes at the Bullring. We should be able to provide more insight in a few weeks, but fans of the sport mods and crate late models might want to stay tuned.
"Kool Kat" to return tonight?: Late model driver Keith "The Kool Kat" Pratt, who was involved in that spectacular crash at the finish line a week ago tonight, may be back sooner than expected -- like this evening.
Pratt is fine physically, but his car was destroyed. But he hoped to be able to field a ride -- we're not sure how or which one -- for this weekend. We'll know for certain later today.
Reed in fifth: Quincy Raceways late model points leader Justin Reed sits fifth in the Deery Brothers Summer Series points race. Reed and the rest of the tour will run Monday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds Speedway.
Nate Beuseling of Silvis, Ill., has won the last two Deery events.
1. Andy Eckrich, Iowa City, Iowa, 548 points.
x- 2. Ray Guss Jr., Milan, Ill., 544.
3. Terry Neal, Ely, Iowa, 534.
4. Tom Darbyshire, Morning Sun, Iowa, 507.
5. Justin Reed, Quincy, Ill., 499.
6. Tyler Bruening, Decorah, Iowa, 486.
7. Nate Beuseling, Silvis, Ill., 484.
8. Colby Springsteen, Morning Sun, Iowa, 457.
9. Darrel DeFrance, Marshalltown, Iowa, 429.
10. Matt Strassheim, Morning Sun, Iowa, 418.
x-defending series champion.
Steven's Streak: The win streak of modified driver Steven DeLonjay is now part of Bullring lore. Michael Long stopped DeLonjay's run at six checkered flags in a row last week. Here's a breakdown of how the DeLonjay's win streak came together:
Win No. 1 -- June 12: 1. Steven DeLonjay (started 4th), 2. Dave Wietholder, 3. Jared Schlipman.
June 19: Rained out.
June 26: Rained out.
Win No. 2 -- June 29 (Midseason championships): 1. Steven DeLonjay (started on pole), 2. Shawn Deering, 3. Dan Crane.
Win No. 3 -- July 3: 1. Steven DeLonjay (started on pole), 2. Shawn Deering, 3. Vance Wilson.
Win No. 4 -- July 10: 1. Steven DeLonjay (started 3rd), 2. Jared Schlipman, 3. Dave Wietholder.
Win No. 5 -- July 17: 1. Steven DeLonjay (started 4th), 2. Jared Schlipman, 3. Tony Dunker.
July 24: Rained out
Win No. 6 -- July 31: 1. Steven DeLonjay (started 5th), 2. Robbie Reed, 3. Jake Griffin.
The streak is stopped -- Aug. 7: 1. Michael Long, 2. Steven DeLonjay, 3. Chris Spalding.