Frankel's late charge leads to $10,000 at 34
WEST BURLINGTON, Iowa (Sept. 19) – Jason Frankel of Quincy, Ill., ended his 2009 Deery Brothers Summer Series in the same place he started it: 34 Raceway’s victory lane.
In a dramatic late-race charge, Frankel won Saturday’s Pepsi USA Nationals Deery Brothers Summer Series main event, passing series champion Jeff Aikey and then fellow Quincy driver Mark Burgtorf in the final laps at the 3/8-mile oval to earn $10,000 in the top-paying event on the IMCA-sanctioned Late Model tour. He’d begun the series campaign by winning the opener at West Burlington back in April. | Slideshow
The 100-lap series finale saw three lead changes, constant shuffling in and out of the top five, and just two cautions as the race stayed green the last 47 laps. Burgtorf led most of the distance but settled for second ahead of consolation race winner Rob Toland, Aikey and Terry Neal. Defending race winner Matt Strassheim was sixth.
Burgtorf started outside the front row and was chased by Lonnie Bailey and Frankel into lapped traffic on the 13th circuit. Fred Remley brought out the first caution when he got too high on the track and caught the turn four wall on lap 16.
Burgtorf, Bailey and Aikey ran three-wide for the lead before Bailey and Aikey swapped the second spot on lap 23 and again on lap 24. Bailey found the low groove to his liking on lap 29, passing both Aikey and Burgtorf for the lead.
He’d stay there until lap 47, when Burgtorf motored by. Aikey made a pass of his own for the front, which was negated when the third running Neal and fourth running Bailey got together to bring out the second and final caution on lap 53.
After slipping back as far as sixth, Frankel started working his way back up, catching Fraise and then Neal to get back into contention for the big payday. Aikey fell on lap 97 and Burgtorf, who’d held Bailey at bay when the pair finished 1-2 at the 2007 Pepsi, gave way on lap 98.
The victory was the series career third for Frankel, who moved past Ray Guss Jr. into second in series point standings with the win. Aikey clinched his career sixth Deery title at the Sept. 7 show during the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals.
Notes: Frankel also won Friday’s 20-lap Ironman feature for the 10 drivers with perfect attendance through the first 19 events of the series. That win was good for $840, after each driver received an extra $90 from J&J Steel. .... Winners of drawings for sets of Brodix cylinder heads were Guss among the feature qualifiers and Robby Warner among the non-qualifiers. ... The event's 64 entries was the seventh-highest single event total on the 23-year-old series. The all-time record is 71 set at the same race. ... The total car count for this season’s 20 races was 759, second only to the 849 in 1998. An average of nearly 38 cars entered each event.
Pepsi USA Nationals: (1) Jason Frankel, (2) Mark Burgtorf, (3) Rob Toland, (4) Jeff Aikey, (5) Terry Neal, (6) Matt Strassheim, (7) Tony Fraise, (8) Jason Hahne, (9) Ray Guss Jr., (10) Boone McLaughlin, (11) Tommy Elston, (12) Tom Darbyshire, (13) Tom Goble, (14) Lonnie Bailey, (15) Jason Bahrs, (16) Matt Bailey, (17) T.J. Criss, (18) Keith Pratt, (19) Darrel DeFrance, (20) Stephan Kammerer, (21) Colby Springsteen, (22) Jay Johnson, (23) Charlie McKenna, (24) Dale Hackwell Jr., (25) Tyler Bruening, (26) Fred Remley. Fast qualifier (among 64 cars): Springsteen, 16.250 seconds. Heat race winners (among 64 cars): Bailey, Burgtorf, Fraise, Frankel, Aikey, Guss. Consolation winners: DeFrance, Toland, Bahrs.