Elston tops Aikey, Frankel for Knoxville victory
KNOXVILLE, Iowa (July 8) — Fifth-row starter Tommy Elston of Keokuk, Iowa, went from third to first in the final laps of the 18th annual Harris Clash feature for Deery Brothers Summer Series Late Models to grab a victory at Knoxville Raceway. Elston earned $2,000 for the 35-lap victory in the first trip to the half-mile oval for the IMCA-sanctioned tour in 12 years.
Series points leader Jeff Aikey of Cedar Falls, Iowa, finished second after leading 27 laps followed by polesitter Jason Frankel of Quincy, Ill., who led the first six laps before giving way to Aikey. Davenport, Iowa, racers Fred Remley and Rob Toland rounded out the top five in a race that featured 30 starters, a first on the series since 1998.
The victory was the second on the series this season for Elston, who worked his way into contention from the 10th starting spot.
The only cautions of the fast-paced feature preceded lead changes. Frankel gave way to Aikey following a lap-five caution, then kept up his pursuit through two and sometimes three-wide lapped traffic before closing in and regaining the point on the 32nd circuit.
Another yellow came out before the lap could be scored, however, putting Aikey back in front. That also opened the door for the opportunistic Elston, who quickly caught Frankel for second, briefly ran door-to-door with Aikey, then zipped by to take the win by four lengths.
Frankel improved to second in the point standings, but Ray Guss Jr. kept his title hopes alive by advancing 14 spots to finish ninth. After engine problems in his heat race, Guss borrowed Rick Dralle’s car and qualified for the feature by running fourth.
Harris Clash: (1) Tommy Elston, (2) Jeff Aikey, (3) Jason Frankel, (4) Fred Remley, (5) Rob Toland, (6) Nate Beuseling, (7) Boone McLaughlin, (8) Terry Neal, (9) Ray Guss Jr., (10) Todd Cooney, (11) Josh Most, (12) Matt Strassheim, (13) Jason Hahne, (14) Robby Warner, (15) Charlie McKenna, (16) T.J. Criss, (17) Jay Johnson, (18) Darrel DeFrance, (19) Colby Springsteen, (20) Al Johnson, (21) Greg Kastli, (22) Adam Helmick, (23) Frank Jorgenson, (24) Brian Klein, (25) Matt Ryan, (26) Jon Merfeld, (27) Stephan Kammerer, (28) Justin Kay, (29) Barry Sorenson, (30) Tyler Bruening. Heat race winners (among 47 cars): Aikey, Frankel, McKenna, Neal, Elston. Consolation winners: Strassheim, Cooney.