The MARS cars are coming! The MARS cars are coming! Super late models to be on display Sunday night at Adams County Speedway
QUINCY — The MARS cars are on the way.
Adams County Speedway hosts its first major event of the season Sunday when the MARS (Mid-America Racing Series) super late models arrive for their second visit in as many years to the Broadway Bullring.
The 2022 MARS show drew an enthusiastic crowd of about 3,000, and a similar turnout — and in all likelihood, even larger — is expected this time around.
“I’m excited, both as a promoter and a fan,” said Jim Lieurance, who along with his wife, Tammy, are in their second year of promoting the .29-mile dirt track at 8000 Broadway. “The MARS officials said a lot of great things about Quincy after last year’s race, and we’re anxious to have the series back.”
MARS officials referred to the local speedway as one of the top tracks in the Midwest following last year’s exciting show that saw Tommy Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., make a late run to the front and outlast regional standouts Ryan “The El Paso Express” Unzicker and Jason “The High Side Hustler” Feger. Sheppard, the cousin of super late model superstar Brandon Sheppard, earned $7,350 for the victory.
“As most remember, last season’s visit to the Adams County Speedway was an instant classic,” MARS representative Jonathan Clayton said. “Tommy Sheppard Jr. made his charge from 10th place to bring home the victory.”
A year ago, late model drivers from five states and one foreign country (Australia) were in the MARS pits at Quincy. The top local finisher in 2022 was Camp Point’s Justin Reed, who was ninth. Reed won the 2011 track title, the last year Quincy was an IMCA facility. In recent years, he has been concentrating on special events across the Midwest.
Other local MARS entries included Ricky Frankel (18th) of Quincy, Darin Weisinger Jr. (20th) of Mendon, Spencer Coats (21st) of LaGrange, Mo., Denny Woodworth (22nd) of Mendon and Jason Oenning (23rd) of Ursa.
Also a part of Sunday’s show will be the MARS modified tour and the HART sport mod series.
The MARS cars will be racing in Kankakee on Friday and at Charleston on Saturday before making the haul to 8000 Broadway.
Pit gates are scheduled to open at 2:30 p.m., with general admission gates opening at 3:30 p.m.
The driver’s meeting is set for 5 p.m., with hot laps beginning at 5:30 p.m.
General admission prices are $30 for adults, $25 for senior citizens and military, $5 for children ages 6-13, with children ages 5 and under admitted for free.
Pit passes are $40 for adults, $20 for children ages 4-12, with children ages 3 and under free.
• Major late model points shake-up: Heading into the weekend, Brandon Sheppard and Drake Troutman are currently 1-2 in MARS points. With the World of Outlaws series racing in Pennsylvania and New York this weekend, neither of those drivers are expected in MARS competition, making Feger, Unzicker and Mike Harrison the favorites. Those three drivers are currently sitting in Nos. 3-5 of the MARS points standings.
• Aussie invasion: Australian driver Kye Blight will be in town Sunday. Blight opened his U.S. tour last weekend with Ohio stops at Attica Raceway Park and Wayne County Speedway in Wooster, where he picked up finishes of fourth and sixth, respectively.
• Modified points battle tightens: After three events, the MARS points race is close at the top. Tyler Nicely, Kyle Steffens and Josh Harris are separated by a mere nine points, with Allen Weisser, Charlie Mefford, and Trevor Neville all less than 30 points back from the lead.
“With the tour carrying the stiffest competition in DIRTcar UMP Modified racing from track to track, we expect the points battle to be heated throughout this inaugural season,” Clayton said.
Nicely, of Owensboro, Ky., and Steffens, of St. Charles, Mo., both earned victories at Quincy a year ago. Steffens outlasted Quincy regulars Austen Becerra and Dave Wietholder to win the 2022 MARS main event, while Nicely won a pair of late-season mod specials at the Bullring.
• Quincy modified challengers: Quincy regulars Austen Becerra, Dave Wietholder and Jacob Rexing figure to be serious challengers Sunday night in the MARS modified feature.
“We also anticipate Michael Long being part of the field,” Lieurance said.
A three-time track champ and all-time mod victory leader at the speedway, Long has not raced yet this year at Quincy.
• HART cars will feature local flavor: The majority of the top 10 Quincy sport mods are expected to compete with the touring HART cars, led by Tanner Klingele, Logan Cumby and Adam Birck. Cumby won last year’s sport mod feature, turning back late charges from both Birck and Shane Paris.
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