By Steve Eighinger
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
There appears to be the first bit of concrete news regarding the potential sale or lease of Quincy Raceways since the facility went on the market in late July.
Owners Paul Holtschlag and Bob Rhinberger confirmed there have been ongoing talks with two interested parties over the past month, one of which was reportedly on hand to inspect the 20-acre facility at 8000 Broadway during the weekly Sunday night show.
Holtschlag also said he has been in preliminary talks with a third party, but those negotiations are not as advanced.
"Two of the parties have shown a very strong interest," he said.
Holtschlag and Rhinberger have declined to name any of the interested parties, honoring the requests of all concerned to keep the negotiations behind closed doors.
"I will confirm one of the possible (buyers/lessees) was here to see the track, and that there have been more (detailed) negotiations with one of the parties over the past two weeks," Holtschlag said.
Holtschlag said he remains convinced a deal can be reached by the end of the calendar year.
"I'm very optimistic we'll have some kind of agreement closed by then," he said.
"On a scale of one to 10, I'd say we are at about a ‘five' right now," Holtschlag said.
Holtschlag and Rhinberger officially put the facility up for sale or lease July 28.
On the track, all five weekly series points leaders increased their leads, including Tony Dunker in the sport mods and Steven DeLonjay in the modifieds.
Dunker won his sixth straight feature, matching the modern-era, single season track record. Dunker, who has finished first or second 28 straight weeks dating to midway through last year, won his 10th main event of the season and 25th since the start of the 2012 schedule. Dunker has 19 wins this season and 46 over the past two years. No other driver in the series has more than 15 in the same period.
Jeff DeLonjay and Tanner Klingele rounded out the top three feature finishers. Dunker leads Klingele 515-478 in the points race.
Dunker will have to wait until Sept. 8 to go after seven in a row. The sport mods and stock cars are off next Sunday when the Midwest Open Wheel Association (MOWA) sprint cars visit the track.
DeLonjay had no difficulty returning to his winning ways after mechanical failure knocked him out of the previous week's main event. The two-time defending track champ led all 25 laps of the modified feature to win for the 11th time and pick up his fifth checkered flag in the past six weeks.
Dave Wietholder finished second for the seventh time. Adam Birck was third with his highest-ever modified finish at the Bullring. DeLonjay leads Wietholder 925-884 in the points pursuit.
DeLonjay, who also won the Fast 6 Dash, has 20 wins this season, a personal high and the first modified driver other than Michael Long to reach that figure since his dad, Quincy Raceways Hall of Famer Hank DeLonjay, posted 25 in 2006. That was Hank DeLonjay's final season as a driver.
Steven DeLonjay is also moving closer to a fifth track championship, which would put him in some elite company. Only four other drivers since the track opened in 1975 have accomplished that feat. DeLonjay won two hornet class titles before moving to the mods.
The other points leaders who improved their advantages were Denny Woodworth in the late models, Abe Huls in the stock cars and Austen Becerra in sport compacts.
Woodworth may have all but clinched a second track crown with his second-place feature run. He now has a 68-point margin (722-654) over new runner-up Michael Long. Long was credited with his series-best fourth feature victory after initial winner Clint Kirkham was disqualified in post-race tech for his car being nearly 50 pounds too light.
Mark Burgtorf was 18 points back of Woodworth after Aug. 18 racing, but the 14-time track champ's motor broke Saturday night during competition at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa. Burgtorf is now 88 points behind Woodworth.
Huls built his stock-car advantage to 22 points (497-475) over Terry Houston when he won his sixth feature of the year and third in the last four weeks. Houston was seventh in the main event.
Jake Powers, who won the final hobby stock track title a year ago, matched his best stock-car finish with a second-place finish. He also finished runner-up April 28. Wietholder, driving a stock car for only the second time this season, finished third.
Becerra may have taken control of the sport compacts with another impressive run, winning his third straight feature and fifth of the season. Becerra entered the night tied with Kim Abbott for the points lead, but now owns a 519-516 margin and appears to have momentum on his side.
Pat Dunker (511), runner-up in the main event, is the only other driver with a realistic shot at running down either Becerra or Abbott. Becerra has now won 15 features and 28 races since 2012, far and away the top totals in both categories among the sport compact drivers.