FARLEY, Iowa (Sept. 4) — Luke Goedert’s first career victory with the Malvern Bank and Hoker Trucking sister tours was a big one. Goedert, of Guttenburg, Iowa, took the lead from Spencer Diercks of Davenport, Iowa, on lap 42 of 50 and led the rest of the way to win Saturday’s 44th annual Yankee Dirt Track Classic at Farley’s 300 Raceway for a career-high $10,000 payday and his first-ever win with either of the two Nebraska-based series.
Goedert, who started third and ran second for much of the race — first behind polesitter and early leader Bill Leighton Jr. and then behind Diercks — began tracking down Diercks with 15 laps remaining. He caught the leader with 10 to go and the made the pass to the inside in turns three and four as they completed lap 42. Diercks, who led laps 15-41 after passing Leighton, held on to finish second, 2.456 seconds behind.
“I’m kind of speechless. This (MB Customs Race Car) is awesome,” Goedert said. “It just kept getting better and better. I don't know what happened to Spencer (Diercks). I think he started picking up a push or something. I know I was running (Diercks) down. I was just trying to remember to breathe and my mouth was so dry I couldn't hardly swallow.”
Leighton, of La Vista, Neb., finished third after leading the first 14 laps, while Todd Cooney of Des Moines, Iowa, rallied from 14th to finish fourth. Kyle Berck of Marquette, Neb. — the six-time Malvern Bank Series champion with 93 career series victories still seeking his first-ever Yankee Dirt Track Classic win — completed the top five after starting fourth.
Entering the weekend, Goedert’s best result on the Hoker Trucking Series this season was seventh place at Marshalltown (Iowa) Speedway in the tour’s April 16 season-opener and at Eldon (Iowa) Raceway on June 17. The part-time Hoker Trucking Series regular was 13th in points after competing in only nine of 11 events. After struggling through the middle of the season, winning the tour’s richest event of the year seemed unlikely.
“Man, it feels good. I don't know … it all feels surreal right now,” Goedert said. “We had some bad luck in the middle of the season and had to miss the last night of the three night swing (on June 19 at Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City, Iowa). That made it a little easier to miss a couple other nights, but we try to race the series as much as we can. I gotta thank J.B. Sherrman, O'Meara Custom Products, Goedert Custom Cabinets, Cherry Valley Auto, Turpin Body Shop (and) TNT Properties.”
Goedert, the 2007 IMCA Deery Brothers Summer Series rookie of the year and 2008 Farley points champion, moved into second behind Leighton on the opening circuit and held the runner-up spot for the first seven laps. But on a lap-seven restart following the second of seven cautions that slowed the action, Diercks, who started second, restarted on the outside and used the high-side momentum to take the runner-up spot away from Goedert.
Goedert never slipped outside the top three however, and when the final caution waved on lap 28, he remained in perfect position to complete his upset bid. With Diercks still pacing the field, Goedert immediately shuffled Leighton back to third on the restart and then set his sights on the leader.
With 12 laps remaining Diercks led by four car lengths but appeared to slow significantly and Goedert was there to take advantage. Quickly reeling in the leader, Goedert dived to the bottom of turns one and two to pull even. He nosed ahead entering turn three and grabbed the lead for good exiting turn four.
While the final 22 laps went caution-free, the first 28 were slowed by seven yellows, including a turn-one fracas on the opening lap that involved five cars, including fifth-starting Tad Pospisil of Norfolk, Neb., who pitted and returned to finish 10th. Darin Duffy of Urbana, Iowa, left on the hook before completing a lap.
The worst incident came on a lap-28 restart when 2020 Yankee Dirt Track Classic winner Jason Rauen of Farley and Chad Holladay of Muscatine, Iowa, got together resulting in a chain reaction melee that collected Holladay in fifth place, along with 11th-running Richie Gustin of Gilman, Iowa; 13th-running Josh Leonard of Gibbon, Neb.; 15th-running Charlie McKenna of Ames, Iowa; 17th-running Brian Kosiski of Papillion, Neb.; and 19th-running Joel Callahan of Dubuque, Iowa.
Leonard’s car came to rest on top of the machines of Brian Kosiski and McKenna, requiring two tow trucks to remove it safely, while Gustin’s mangled car came to rest on the inside of the frontstretch. The race was red-flagged during the extensive cleanup, after which only 13 cars were left running. Rauen pitted and returned to finish sixth.
Other cautions waved for Ben Schaller who slowed with apparent engine trouble on lap seven; C.J. Horne who got into the turn-one wall on lap 11; Chris Simpson who slowed on lap 21; and Dave Eckrich who slowed on lap 25 and again on lap 28.
Notes: It was Goedert’s second victory of the season. He won an IMCA Late Model feature at Benton County Speedway in Vinton, Iowa, on July 18. … It wasn’t lost on Goedert, whose car number is 44, that this was the 44th annual Yankee Dirt Track Classic. “I knew it was the 44th Yankee and I was just trying not to think about that. I guess it was meant to be,” he said.” … The Yankee Dirt Track Classic was sanctioned by the IMCA Deery Brothers Summer Series from 2012-17. … Goedert’s best finish in the event in three previous starts was 12th in 2014. … Steve Kosiski of Papillion, Neb., leads all drivers with five Yankee Dirt Track Classic wins; Chad Simpson of Mount Vernon, Iowa, who finished 13th, and Denny Eckrich of Tiffin, Iowa, have four wins each.