By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Who is the most successful driver in the 39-year history of Quincy Raceways?
I didn't say "greatest" driver, although depending on the definition you prefer, a case could be made that "successful" is synonymous with "greatest." I'll leave that one to you.
I wanted to create an ultimate sort of ranking that was not subjective. I wanted a formula that would eliminate opinion and replace it with facts, based on results.
And, hey, it wasn't really that hard.
I simply used the formula we've had in place for 15 years to do our all-time Herald-Whig rankings for each of the classes. I simply added together all of each driver's points from all classes he may have earned ranking points in to come up with his career number/ranking.
I know that sounds like a lot of gobbledygook, but it's really very simple. Trust me.
Here's the skinny. Hank DeLonjay's "number" is simply his modified and sportsman career ranking points added together -- his overall success total. Denny Woodworth has his late model and modified numbers combined, Sam Burgtorf his modified and bomber figures " and so on.
See, that's not so hard.
Our rankings system always award points on a 15-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis to the drivers who finish in the final top 10 points positions each season for each class, starting in 1975, the first season of competition at the Bullring.
The totals by each driver's name below are points he has earned from being in the final top 10 in points in any class he may have raced.
Here's the final product:
1. Hank DeLonjay, 305 points: "The Crank" is the only driver in track history to win more than one title in two different classes, 10 in a modified and three in a sportsman. He also won titles in three different decades.
2. Mark Burgtorf, 290: If the 14-time late model track champ wins this season's championship he will tie Hank for the No. 1 position.
3. Terry Gallaher, 232: Terry won his four late-model titles over a seven-year period (1985-91).
4. Lonnie Bailey, 188: Between 2002-08, Lonnie won two late model championships and finished second four times. That, friends, was consistency.
5. Steve Fraise, 178: Steve's final title in Quincy came 23 years ago, yet his name still commands the utmost of respect.
6. Tony Dunker, 125: Tony was the No. 1-ranked driver in the old "B" modified class, and has dominated the sport mods since their introduction in 2011.
7. Denny Woodworth, 110: Denny and Justin Reed are the only drivers in track history to win both a late model and modified track championship.
8. Steve Carlin, 108: We haven't seen much of Steve since that last track title in 2011. Hopefully, he'll be back full time in 2014 to protect his place in the top 10.
9. Sam Burgtorf, 106: Since I have been in Quincy I have always felt there were two drivers who retired way too early: Sam Burgtorf and Eddie Dieker. But both climbed out of their respective cars to spend more time with their families, so it's hard to knock that. Just wish we'd have been able to see them turn left for a few more years.
10. Dick Crane, 104.5: One of the track's most popular drivers in its long history, Dick always understood that rubbin' was part of racin'.
11. Michael Long, 102: Michael will move into the top 10 after this season, but the real question is how high will he be, say, 15 years from now?
12. Eddie Dieker, 101: I don't think anyone has used the "00" number at the Bullring since Eddie walked away from racing almost a decade ago.
13. Dave Wietholder, 99: Dave is trying to chase down Steven DeLonjay this season for his first modified track title. That big iron would be a perfect bookend on his mantle with the 2001 bomber track crown.
14. Bill Genenbacher, 96: Before moving to late models, he was part of one of the great track rivalries in the early 2000s with Eddie Dieker in the old bomber class.
15. Steven DeLonjay, 86: He was not even born until a year after "Dallas" went off the air, yet already owns four track titles.
By the way, five of those 15 drivers -- Hank DeLonjay, Mark Burgtorf, Gallaher, Fraise and Dieker -- are members of the Quincy Raceways Hall of Fame.
Speaking of Hank DeLonjay's dominance during his career at 8000 Broadway, it should not be surprising that he owns one of the most lopsided championships in track history.
The most lopsided championship win, however, belongs to Hank's son, Steven.
When Steven DeLonjay won the 2011 UMP modified title by 161 points over Jared Schlipman, that removed his dad's 124-point win over Ron Gough in 1992 from the top of the list.
Another interesting item involving this top 10 list of dominant title runs finds late model driver Mark Burgtorf owning three of the top nine spots. Here's the breakdown:
1. 2011, UMP modifieds, Steven DeLonjay def. Jared Schlipman by 161 points
2. 1992, modifieds, Hank DeLonjay def. Ron Gough by 124 points
3. 1987, bombers, Kenny Williams def. Jim Turner by 118 points
4. 2006, late models, Mark Burgtorf def. Denny Woodworth by 117 points
5. 1994, "B" modifieds, Lowell Short def. Mike Bowen by 112 points
6. 1994, "A" modifieds, Hank DeLonjay def. Mike Karthoff by 104 points
7. 1995, late models, Mark Burgtorf def. Terry Gallaher by 98 points
8. 1983, late models, Steve Fraise def. Mike Wallace by 98 points
9. 2007, late models, Mark Burgtorf def. Lonnie Bailey by 97 points
10. 1997, "B" modifieds, Greg Uppinghouse def. Bob Dale by 88 points
Since today's racing notebook is all-DeLonjay, all the time, it should be pointed out Steven DeLonjay is trying to become the third modified driver with three or more consecutive championships. Here's the short list he's trying to join:
º Hank DeLonjay, 4 (2002-05, all "A" modified)
º Sam Burgtorf, 3 (1998-2000, all "A" modified)
There have been five drivers with two straight modified championships to their credit:
º Steven DeLonjay (2011-12, UMP modified)
º Michael Long (2007-08, one-class modified)
º Tony Dunker (2003-04, "B" modified)
º Lonnie Carter (1995-96, "B" modfied)
º Hank DeLonjay (1994-95, "A" modified)
Sheppard to Quincy?
UMP Summer Nationals Hell Tour late model champion Brandon Sheppard, the 20-year-old wunderkind from New Berlin, Ill., is expected to race most -- if not all -- the remainder of Sunday nights at Quincy Raceways.
Sheppard is currently leading the UMP national points race and can use Quincy as a stepping stone to a potential national championship. Quincy is the lone UMP track in the region that runs on Sunday nights, and Sheppard lives only about 90 minutes away.
Sheppard raced at Quincy early last year before taking the Rocket chassis house ride for the remainder of the 2012 season. He returned to racing with his family's operation this year.
Weather permitting, action resumes Sunday night at the track following last week's rainout. All five weekly classes -- late models, modifieds, sport mods, stock cars and sport compacts -- are on the schedule. Racing begins at 6:30.