FARLEY, Iowa (Sept. 13) — Joel Callahan finished the Yankee Dirt Track Classic Deery Series main event at Farley Speedway a year older and $7,500 richer.
The 100-lap IMCA Late Model tour event started late Saturday evening and finished in the wee hours Sunday.
Callahan, the Dubuque, Iowa, driver who figured he turned 50 somewhere around lap 27, inherited the front spot when race-long leader Colby Springsteen cut his right rear tire on lap 74 and then led to the checkers in repeating as the big money Yankee winner.
“I think we step up our game for this race. There’s a lot of adrenaline pumping,” he said. “To me, this is the biggest race on the Deery schedule and not because of the pay but because it’s at my home track.
“The track was fast from top to bottom,” he added. “It didn’t matter where you were running.”
Richie Gustin of Gilman, Iowa, was second in the best showing of his brief Deery career. Denny Eckrich of Oxford, Iowa, was third and series points leader Justin Kay of Wheatland, Iowa, roared all the way back to fourth after exiting to fix a flat tire on lap 58 and restarting at the rear.
Hometown driver Jason Rauen drew the pole, but he quickly headed for the infield and it was Springsteen, of Wapello, Iowa, shooting into the lead from outside the front row.
After a flat tire for Ray Guss Jr. on lap 24 and an ensuing caution involving Guss and Nick Marolf, the race was stopped following a lap-30 mishap that collected Tyler Droste, Terry Neal and Jason Hahne, then stayed green for the next 28 circuits.
Springsteen looked to have the race in hand before the flat tire relegated him to 16th and Callahan took over.
The final caution came with 12 laps left. Callahan was quickly celebrating in victory lane with crew chief Stan Thomas, crewman Al Dix, sons Zach and Joey, wife Cindy and daughter Stephanie.
“I focused on hitting my marks and keeping the car straight,” said Callahan, also winner of the $250 Sunoco Race Fuels feature qualifier drawing. “I knew if I did that we’d still have tires at the 75-lap mark. That was key.”
Notes: The 59 entries for the Yankee were the most for a Deery Series event this season and the most in 78 races dating back to opening night in 2010. … Ray Guss Jr. won the last-chance qualifying race. … Scott Fitzpatrick earned the hard charger starting spot and Jeff Aikey and Brian Harris both took provisionals; all three advanced 14 positions to eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively. … Samples were taken from tires from each of the top five finishing cars and race results remain unofficial. … Among drivers failing to make the feature lineup: Jon Poll, Chad Holladay, Kyle Neels, Jason Udelhofen, Marty Scheckel, Darren Ackerman, Spencer Diercks, Ross Pierce, Todd Frank, Curtis Glover, Steve Hunter, Rick Wendling, Todd Cooney, Jerry King, Rob Moss, Charlie McKenna, Jay Chenoweth, Doug Yates, Jeff Tharp, Travis Denning, Larry Harris, Don Pataska, Jay Johnson, Joe Zrostlik, Dean Wagner, LeRoy Brenner, Greg Kastli, Jeremy Grady, Becky Roth, Dan Shelliam, Mel Abels, Scott Welsh and series ironman Darrel DeFrance.
Correction: Fixes Springsteen's lap-74 issue to flat tire.