Birck battles way back to victory lane, gives track championship defense needed boost
QUINCY — It’s never too late, right?
For Adam Birck to defend his sport mod track championship at Adams County Speedway, the longtime driver from LaGrange, Mo., will need a dominating second half of the season.
Birck took the first step toward that goal Sunday night, rolling to a definitive feature victory for his first main-event win since May 7.
“We had a pretty crappy first half of the season, but now we’re back in the victory lane — it’s been a while,” Birck said after leading the final 16 laps to outdistance his closest challengers in Josh Holtman, A.J. Tournear and Logan Cumby.
Birck climbed to sixth in points, but will realistically need some help to catch the frontrunners in the division.
Tanner Klingele (266), Reed Wolfmeyer (252), Cumby (251), Tournear (246) and Dakota Girard (237) are all ahead of Birck (217) in the points race.
“I’m hoping to run better in the second half of the season,” said Birck, who is the lone veteran among a young cast of combatants in the sport mods. “But the older guy (came out on top) tonight.”
Sport mod heat wins went to Tournear and Cumby.
Other feature winners were Tommy Elston in crate late models, Jacob Rexing in modifieds, Robert Cottom in stock cars and Jeffrey DeLonjay in the 4-Cylinder cars.
Elston looked strong in turning back defending series champ Denny Woodworth en route to a 1.19-second victory. Jeremy Pundt was third and Jason Oenning fourth.
Elston led flag-to-flag in the 20-lap feature, garnering his first checkered flag of the season.
“It’s been a struggle this year, but we’ve just kept digging,” Elston said. “And we’ll just keep plugging away to get some more wins.”
Crate late heats were won by Pundt and Elston. Woodworth (441), Elston (416) and Jason Perry (410) are the points leaders.
Rexing won the tightest feature of the night with a 0.592-second victory over Rick Conoyer. Rexing led the closing 16 laps.
Chris Spalding, Mark Burgtorf, Austen Becerra and Dave Wietholder rounded out the top six feature finishers.
“We figured some things out with the car a couple of weeks ago,” said Rexing, who commutes to Quincy from Brighton, Ill. “I love coming to Quincy, what an awesome race track.”
Rexing and Conoyer won heat races. Rexing ‘s victory also helped him increase his series points lead over Becerra to seven (455-448).
DeLonjay won his fourth straight 4-Cylinder feature and fifth in the last six shows. DeLonjay enjoyed a relatively comfortable 1.36-second win over Landon Neisen, Spencer Coats and Jimmy Dutlinger.
“The car is feeling pretty good right now,’ DeLonjay said. “I think we have things figured out.”
Rick DeFord and Kim Abbott collected heat wins. DeLonjay saw his points lead grow to 277-267 over Dutlinger.
Cottom’s stock car feature win was his second of the season and 10th of his two-year career at the speedway.
Though Cottom’s victory came with relative ease, he said it was a challenge.
“It was a slick track,” he said. “It was kind of hard to get rolling.”
Jake Powers, Rudy Zaragoza and Sage Martin completed the top four. Zaragoza and Cottom won heats. Powers continues to control the series with a 26-point (274-268) margin over Kale Foster.
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