- July 2 - I-80 Speedway by Sam Holbrooks


MLRA/MARS/NCRA: Phillips Overcomes Berck for 99th MLRA Win at I-80 Speedway

Dan Robinson

GREENWOOD, Neb. - July 2. Taking full advantage of some late-race cautions, Springfield, Missouri veteran Terry Phillips scored a thrilling Lucas Oil MLRA win over Marquette, Nebraska's Kyle Berck in the finale of the "Midwest-Trifecta Challenge". The race was a co-sanctioned affair with the Lucas Oil MLRA and the MARS DirtCar series.

Chad Simpson started on the pole for the 30-lap feature and quickly jumped out into the lead. Two time and defending O'Reilly/NCRA series champion Kyle Berck started third and by lap three had moved himself passed Simpson to take the lead.  Berck appeared to have the field solidly covered, but a series of late cautions allowed Phillips to utilize the double file restarts to systematically work his way to the front and overtake Berck with six laps to go, scoring his

Kyle Berck races outside of Denny Eckrich at I-80. Berck had things his way until Terry Phillips caught him with the help of some late cautions. (Ron Mitchell)









99th career MLRA Win with the Lucas Oil MLRA, and third in a row. Belton, Missouri's Alan Vaughn followed Berck to the stripe to take the third spot with six-time MLRA Champion Al Purkey finishing fourth over Jason Utter.

Bellevue, Nebraska's Corey Zeitner and Tiffin, Iowa's Denny Eckrich led the 30 car field to the green flag as Eckrich led lap number one with Chad Simpson side by side. Simpson made the move past Eckrich to lead lap two while the action was fast and furious on the very fast I-80 Speedway oval.

The first caution flag of the night flew on lap two as MARS Rookie contender Gary Christian slowed on the backstretch after changing the complete rearend housing following damage in his heat race.

On the restart, Simpson set the pace as the field roared past the packed grandstands, followed by Eckrich,Berck, Corey Zeitner, and Lucas Oil MLRA Rookie of the year contender Evan Hubert. Berck shot to the cushion and charged to the front to lead lap three in a thrilling side by side battle with


Terry Phillips after his I-80 Speedway win.

(Ron Mitchell)

Simpson. With 10 laps in the books, it was Berck by 10 lengths over Simpson and Denny Eckrich. Berck method- ically sliced and diced through lap traffic as the 30-car field settled in for a long green flag run.

Berck's Ford powered Dorothy Lynch Salad Dressing sponsored Lazer Chassis was finally slowed as the caution flag flew for the second time of the night on lap 16. Dylan Smith, driving Al Humphries orange #6H, spunout of turn four just in front of the leaders.

On the restart, it was Berck followed by Chad Simpson, Denny Eckrich, and a fast charging Chris Simpson. Berck set a torrid pace just inches from the outside wall as a three wide battle ensued behind between Chad Simpson, Denny Eckrich, and a hard charging Phillips who had also started deep in the field after transferring through a B-Main.

Justin Asplin slowed with just eight laps remaining to bring out the third caution flag of the night, stacking the field once again behind the leader Berck for the Delaware Double File restart.  As the field raced down the backstretch going into turn three on lap 23, contact between Lucas Oil MLRA point leaders, Brad Looney and Dave Eckrich resulted in Eckrich suffering an apparent flat left front tire, sending him to the pits for fresh rubber.

Chris Simpson - Denny Eckrich - Terry Phillips

While #32 Chris Simpson and #50 Denny Eckrich slug it out on the hub, a rim-riding Terry Phillips makes his way to a late charge past Kyle Berck for the alphabet soup win at I-80 Speedway. (Ron Mitchell)

As dominant as Berck was throughout the night, Phillips lined up on the outside of row two and powered by Berck on the restart with six laps to go as the savvy veteran saved his best for last. Corey Zeitner brought out the fifth caution flag of the night after spinning. With the restart, a terrific battle ensued for the lead, with Phillips running the high side and Berck on the bottom but it was Phillips by five lengths at the finish.

Phillip's Don Babb Motorsports GRT Racing Chassis is powered by a Hatfield Racing Engine with sponsorship support from Andy's Frozen Custard, New Vision Graphics, Integra Racing Shocks, and Port City Racing. The $3,000 to win Co-Sanctioned Main Event was slowed six cautions.

Notables not making the race included Delbert Smith, Bryant Goldsmith, Andrew McKay, Kurt Kile, and Zac Simmons. Missing from tonight's action were Chris Smyser and 2008 Lucas Oil MLRA Champion John Anderson.

MLRA/MARS/NCRA: I-80 Speedway
1. Terry Phillips, 2. Kyle Berck, 3. Alan Vaughn, 4. Al Purkey (prov.), 5. Jason Utter, 6. Kelly Boen, 7. Brad Looney, 8. Denny Eckrich, 9. Dave , 10. Evan Hubert, 11. Jeremy Payne, 12. Matt Johnson, 13. Mike Wiarda, 14. Joe Kosiski, 15. Jason O'Brien (prov.), 16. Justin Asplin, 17. J.D. Hubert (prov.), 18. Bill Koons (prov.), 19. Brian Kenkel (prov.), 20. Chris Simpson, 21. Corey , 22. Travis Dickes, 23. Chad Simpson, 24. Eric Turner, 25. Dylan Smith, 26. Leroy Johnson (prov.), 27. Wylan Petrie (prov.), 28. Andrew Kosiski, 29. Gary Christian (prov.), 30. Greg Larson.
Heat winners (44 entries): Hubert, Zeitner, Denny Eckrich, Chad Simpson, Vaughn, B-Feature Winners: Kosiski, Phillips

Lloyd Collins photo

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Updated 11/17/10

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