Andy Eckrich cruises to victory at Marshalltown
MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (May 17) — Andy Eckrich didn’t have much choice when he drew last for his starting position in Tuesday’s Deery Brothers Summer Series Miller Lite 50 feature at Marshalltown Speedway. Unfortunately for his IMCA Late Model tour foes, the pill they’d left the Iowa City driver was good for the pole and he took advantage of the spot, leading all 50 circuits en route to a $2,000 payday. | Slideshow
Last season’s series and overall IMCA rookie of the year pulled away from the field after a pair of early restarts and again following a lap-22 caution. Tom Darbyshire of Morning Sun, Iowa, got the better of Tyler Bruening of Decorah, Iowa, in the battle for second but still crossed the finish line half-straightaway off the pace.
Defending series champion Ray Guss Jr. of Milan, Ill., rallied from his 12th starting spot for fourth and Matt Strassheim of Burlington, Iowa, rounded out the top five. Hard charger Todd Cooney of Des Moines, Iowa, advanced 12 spots to finish sixth.
Eckrich was catching up with the back of the pack by lap 19 and again after the long green-flag session that followed the lap-22 yellow. Darbyshire got by Bruening before midway and also raced through lapped traffic, but didn’t have time to track down the leader.
Darbyshire and Bruening are tied for the points lead with Terry Neal of Ely, Iowa, who entered the race leading the points, one point behind.
Notes: Eckrich's Barry Wright Race Car is sponsored by Precision Performance and Midwest Frame & Axle. ... The victory was Eckrich’s second of his series career; his first came Aug. 3, 2010, at Farley (Iowa) Speedway. ... The Marshalltown event was just the fourth of the season and the first since April 10, after April 15-17 rainouts at Davenport Speedway, Jackson County Speedway and Quad City Speedway. ... Charlie McKenna won the $250 Sunoco Race Fuels feature qualifier drawing. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature: Eric Gustaf, Travis Smock, T.J. Criss, Jay Johnson, Bobby Hansen, Joe Zrostlik, Luke Pestka, Jill George, Chad Simpson and Craig Jacobs. ... Next up for the series is a Memorial Day show at Boone (Iowa) Speedway on May 30.
Miller Lite 50: (1) Andy Eckrich, (2) Tom Darbyshire, (3) Tyler Bruening, (4) Ray Guss Jr., (5) Matt Strassheim, (6) Todd Cooney, (7) Darrel DeFrance, (8) Mike Murphy Jr., (9) Terry Neal, (10) Kevin Sather, (11) Justin Reed, (12) Boone McLaughlin, (13) Nate Beuseling, (14) Rob Toland, (15) Billy Tuckwell, (16) Jeff Aikey, (17) Al Johnson, (18) Tommy Elston, (19) Charlie McKenna, (20) Sam Halstead, (21) Mike Garland, (22) Todd Malmstrom, (23) Colby Springsteen, (24) Joel Callahan. Heat race winners (among 40 cars): Strassheim, Reed, Guss, Neal. Consolation winners. Elston, Murphy. Provisional starters: Joel Callahan, Halstead, Malmstrom, Tuckwell.