Last-lap pass gives Utter first-ever touring victory
GREENWOOD, Neb. (July 1) — Jason Utter got three for the price of one in the first touring victory of his career.
The driver from Columbus Junction, Iowa, made a thrilling last-lap pass at I-80 Speedway on Friday to capture the Fourth of July weekend's Midwest Trifecta, earning $3,000 in a race co-sanctioned by Lucas Oil MLRA, NCRA DIRTcar and the Dart Corn Belt Clash. | Slideshow
Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, led 29 laps at the 4/10-mile oval, but when the leader faced slower cars in the final laps, Utter moved up to challenge and took the lead exiting turn four heading for the checkered flag, nosing Simpson out at the line.
Chad Simpson of Mount Vernon, Iowa, the runner-up's older brother, was third to give youngest of the three tours, the Iowa-based Corn Belt Clash, a sweep of the top three positions.
Home-state drivers Travis Dickes of Madison and Kyle Berck of Marquette rounded out the top five finishers.
The race marked Chris Simpson's second in a row where he led virtually the entire race but came up empty. At May 29's Alphabet Soup Classic, he led all but three laps when mechanical woes forced him out, handing the victory to his brother.
Notes: Utter, a former crew chief for Iowa standout Brian Birkhofer, is sponsored by Louisa Gold Farm along with Cox Design, Metal Fabrication Laser Processing. ... Utter previous won on the Indee Open, a pre-cursor to the Corn Belt Clash tour. ... Among drivers failing to make the main event: Dylan Smith, Craig Preble, Alonzo Grosse, Kevin Sather, Bo Egge, Rob Moss and John Hampel. ... The Midwest Trifecta continues Saturday at Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa, with another $3,000-to-win event sanctioned by the three tours.
Midwest Trifecta: (1) Jason Utter, (2) Chris Simpson, (3) Chad Simpson, (4) Travis Dickes, (5) Kyle Berck, (6) John Anderson, (7) Al Purkey, (8) Denny Eckrich, (9) Bryant Goldsmith, (10) Tim Isenberg, (11) Jason Rauen, (12) Andrew McKay, (13) Chris Spieker, (14) Dave Eckrich, (15) Al Humphrey, (16) Joe Kosiski, (17) Leon Zeitner, (18) Mike Wiarda, (19) Jake Meier, (20) Steve Kempt, (21) Kurt Kile, (22) Dean Moore, (23) Jill George, (24) Robbie Andersen, (25) Jason O'Brien, (26) Jase Kaser, (27) Billy Koons Jr., (28) Shawn Harker, (29) Bill Koons, (30) Scott Koskovich. Heat race winners (among 48 cars): Spieker, Purkey, Anderson, Dickes, Utter. Consolation winners: Humphrey, Kurt Kile.