By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
There remains no clear-cut favorite in the late model title at Quincy Raceways, and time is quickly running out for one to emerge.
Another crazy Sunday night of left turns left two weeks of points racing remaining in the track's marquee division -- and the championship contenders left the track bunched tighter than before they arrived.
Jason Perry won his second feature of the season -- and first since opening night April 3 -- but it was who finished in what positions behind him that made an already compelling late model points race even more interesting.
What shook out from Lonnie Bailey, Joey Gower, Keith Pratt, Matt Bailey, Denny Woodworth and Justin Reed claiming the next six spots after Perry has the making for what could wind up as the closest series points race in the 37-year history of the Bullring.
Here's what the leaderboard looks like with only next Sunday and Aug. 28 remaining on the points schedule:
Justin Reed, 272
Keith Pratt, 271
Lonnie Bailey, 270
Joey Gower, 268
Denny Woodworth 263
The surprise name in that group is arguably Pratt, who a week earlier was involved in a spectacular last-lap crash that virtually destroyed his car. But in the week that followed, Pratt, his family, friends and sponsors united to help him get back on the track.
"That's what friends do," said Kenny Pratt, Keith's dad.
What happened in the five days that followed Sunday's crash included Kenny Pratt and friend Mike Poling traveling to Batesville, Ark., to pick up a semi-new GRT chassis that had been used by Terry Phillips, the 2010 MARS DIRTCar series champion. They returned Wednesday evening and for the next two days it was all hands on board at the Pratts' home base in Mendon.
"For two solid days, we worked virtually around the clock and slept in shifts," Kenny Pratt said. "The wives of those who were helping us kept bringing pizzas and sandwiches."
Fellow Mendon racers Jared Schlipman, Terry Schlipman and Denny Woodworth -- all part of the self-proclaimed Mendon (racing) Mafia -- were part of the group that worked to get Keith Pratt's newest car up and running. Keith Pratt and friends had stripped the wrecked car while Kenny Pratt had gone south to purchase the new chassis.
"It was truly a Mendon Mafia event," Kenny Pratt said.
Pratt's new car was back on track Saturday night at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa, where he finished sixth in the feature. He's also in the points hunt for that championship.
"I cannot thank the guys who helped us enough," Keith Pratt said.
Only twice in the history of Quincy Raceways has a late model title race been decided by less than 10 points, and both times only two drivers were involved. This season's finish could truly be historic, and Pratt will now get to be a part of it -- thanks to a little help from his friends.
Other feature winners were Michael Long in the modifieds, Aaron Brocksieck in stock cars, Bobby Anders in hobby stocks and Craig Bangert in the wild things.
Long and Steven DeLonjay finished one-two for a second straight week. Long's victory was his fourth of the season, but DeLonjay's runner-up finish allowed him to further pad his points advantage in search of his first modified title. DeLonjay unofficially leads defending champ Jared Schlipman by 100 points (800-700). Schlipman was third in the feature.
The mods, stock cars, hobby stocks and wild things all race for points through Sept. 18.
Brocksieck's feature win was his second straight seventh overall, tying him with DeLonjay for the track lead. Abe Huls ran second and Terry Houston third. Brocksieck holds a 334-323 points lead over Houston.
Anders' sixth feature victory was his fourth flag-to-flag effort of the season and pushed his number of feature laps led to 122 out of a possible 240. Tanner Klingele and Jim Powell rounded out the top three. Steve Carlin leads Jake Powers in the points battle 480-456.
Bangert's feature win was his second and first since May 8. Points leader Seth Woodruff finished second, but upped his advantage over Casey Kendrick in the points race to 465-454.