By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Michael Long pulled away from the pack Sunday night, and nobody could catch him.
Long blew away the rest of the modified field at Quincy Raceways with a whopping 5.64-second victory over closest challenger and points leader Steven DeLonjay. Long led by more than a straightaway at times.
Long's victory was his fourth of the season and first since June 29. The two-time track champ tried to downplay his dominance.
"The draw helped me a lot, starting on the front row," he said. "That made things easier."
Long's performance was almost flawless.
"The car wasn't perfect, but things were pretty good," he said.
Craig Spegal's third-place finish was his finest of the season. Jared Schlipman and Keith Pratt filled out the top five. Both Schilpman and Pratt rebounded from some recent on-track woes with quality runs.
Long passed Dave Wietholder in the points pursuit, moving into second behind DeLonjay. Wietholder missed his first night of racing in well over a decade. His streak of (at least) 270 consecutive feature starts ended Sunday night due to a hip injury.
DeLonjay (785), Long (720) and Wietholder (681) are the only drivers with a realistic shot at the championship.
Tony Dunker shot past Jim Gillenwater with one of his familiar high-line runs late in the sport mod finale to grab the checkered flag. Dunker overtook Gillenwater on the next-to-last lap and then held on for a .33-second win.
Dunker has taken control of the sport mods in the second half of the season and looks well on his way to a third straight track championship. He has won four of the last five main events.
"We got the No. 3 (car) back where it belongs," Dunker said moments after the race in Victory Lane. "I was able to take a chance a late in the race (with some daring moves) because I knew the guys ahead of me were all good, clean drivers."
Tanner Klingele ended up third, Brad Holtmeyer fourth and Bobby Anders fifth. Dunker (505) is 28 points up on Anders (477).
Brandon Savage continued his late-season charge in the stock cars, winning his second straight feature and fourth of the year. He has pulled within seven points (479-472) of Abe Huls, who finished second. Terry Houston was third, followed by Beau Taylor and Nathan Hayes.
Austin Becerra won his 10th sport compact feature at Quincy and 32nd overall of the season. He leads all drivers at the track in feature and total victories with 15 and is 23 points ahead (511-488) of Kim Abbott in pursuit of his second straight track title.
Brandon Lambert finished second for the fifth time in the last six main events, followed by Seith Woodruff and Abbott.