North Central Speedway
Miller overtakes Simpson for first WDRL victory
BRAINERD, Minn. (July 28) — Fifth-starting Matt Miller of Waterville, Ohio, overtook polesitter and race-long leader Chad Simpson of Mount Vernon, Iowa, with a backstretch pass to lead the final 13 laps at North Central Speedway. Miller, who earned $5,000 in the 40-lapper, notched his first career victory on the World Dirt Racing League.
Miller built a cushion of lapped cars over Simpson, the WDRL points leader, in the race's late stages and held on for the victory at the third-mile oval amid the towering pines of northern Minnesota.
Simpson, who led the first 27 laps of a race slowed only by a lap-23 caution, finished second with Bill Frye of Greenbrier, Ark., in third. Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., ran second through the first half of the race and ended up fourth with Terry Casey of New London, Wis., rounding out the top five.
Notes: Miller's Moring Motorsports No. 7 is sponsored by MDI Environmental Systems and Freeport Recycling Center. ... Miller had a near-miss in WDRL action on June 16, 2005, at Superior (Wis.) Speedway, leading virtually the entire 50-lapper until Justin Fegers of Mound, Minn., slipped by before the white flag for his first series win. ... Miller and other long-traveling drivers, including Bill Frye and Clint Smith, are following WDRL's three-race midweek swing preceding the unsanctioned $50,000-to-win USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis. ... Three California travelers are among the long travelers. Former Western Allstars champion Mike Johnson of Lompoc, Calif., was 19th in the feature while teammates Zack Forster and Johnny Malcolm failed to make the main event lineup. ... Chad Simpson won WDRL's previous visit to Brainerd on June 17. ... Other drivers failing to make the lineup: Greg Hill, Mike Balcaen and Joel Cryderman. ... Last year's WDRL runner-up John Kaanta of Elk Mound, Wis., made his first series start since breaking several ribs in a fall at his race shop; he finished 15th. ... Qualifying was tight at Brainerd with just a half-second separating the top 22 drivers. ... Next up for WDRL competitors is a $5,000-to-win event Wednesday at Superior.
WDRL @ North Central: (1) Matt Miller, (2) Chad Simpson, (3) Bill Frye, (4) Clint Smith, (5) Terry Casey, (6) Chad Mahder, (7) Darrell Nelson, (8) Pat Doar, (9) Al Purkey, (10) Jake Redetzke, (11) Rob Moss, (12) Denny Eckrich, (13) Steve Laursen, (14) Jon Kirby, (15) John Kaanta, (16) Tim Isenberg, (17) Eric Pember, (18) Bill Koons, (19) Mike Johnson, (20) Alan Mondus, (21) Dave Eckrich, (22) Adam Hensel, (23) Pete Parker, (24) Dewaine Hottinger. Fast qualifier (among 29 cars): Dave Eckrich, 16.521 seconds. Heat race winners: Smith, Isenberg, Purkey, Simpson. Consolation winner: Dave Eckrich. Dash winner: Simpson.