- Sept. 4 - 34 Raceway by Sam Holbrooks


Andy Eckrich at 34 Raceway

Andy Eckrich.(John Vass photo)

IMCA Deery Bros:. Eckrich picks up $10,000 "Pepsi USA Nationals" Paycheck at 34 Raceway

WEST BURLINGTON, Iowa - Sept. 4. Andy Eckrich picked the perfect night to turn momentum around and remain in contention for the Deery Brothers Summer Series championship.  Eckrich reeled in, then held off Ray Guss Jr. in a green, white, checkered finish for the $10,000 victory at Sunday’s "Pepsi USA Nationals" Deery Series main event at 34 Raceway.

The defending IMCA Late Model tour champion and current series point leader, Guss ran in front most of the 99-lapper before getting stuck in lapped traffic. Eckrich, the 2010 Deery rookie of the year, went around on the higher line and wound up beating Guss to the checkers by a car length.

Rounding out the unofficial top five were Justin Reed, Jay Johnson and Tom Goble. 

Guss had the pole but it was outside row one starter Tyler Bruening who was scored first across the stripe through lap 22.

Jay Johnson and Dennis Woodworth at 34 Raceway

Jay Johnson races with #45 Denny Woodworth on his way to a fourth place finish at the "Pepsi USA Nationals" at West Burlington.(John Vass)

That impressive run came to an end while the frontrunners negotiated lapped cars and Bruening spun after trading paint with Guss.

Three cautions for debris came around midway, as Guss set the fast pace ahead of Eckrich and Johnson. Eckrich finally got the best of that battle, tried inside and outside grooves, and was briefly in front before Guss got the lead back.

Staying close, Eckrich made what proved to be the winning pass when Guss got caught up with slower traffic with eight laps left.

Denny Woodworth and Reed were deciding third place when Woodworth spun to bring about the final caution. Eckrich held on the last two times around the oval for his third series win of the sea­son, and the fourth of his brief Deery career.

Jason Perry got the final provisional, started last in the field of 26 and advanced 17 positions for end in ninth and earn hard charger honors.

Drawing winners for sets of Brodix-made cylinder heads were feature qualifier Sam Halstead and non-qualifier Boone McLaughlin.

Andy Eckrich and Ray Guss, Jr. at 34 Raceway

Andy Eckrich takes the high route around Ray Guss, Jr. for the lead and ultimately the $10,000 win in the "Pepsi USA Nationals" at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa. (John Vass)

The Sunday show at West Burlington had been rescheduled from Saturday because of inclement weather. Time trials and five heat races were on the Friday card; T.J. Criss was the $750 winner of the J & J Steel Ironman Challenge on opening night.

Part of the Deery Series for 13 years, the 2011 Pepsi was held in memory of former track owner and promoter Johnny Johnson.

Deery drivers are in action again tomorrow, when the silver anniversary series headlines opening night action at the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals at Boone Speedway.

Andy Eckrich Pepsi USA Nationals at 34 Raceway
1) Andy Eckrich, 2) Ray Guss Jr., 3) Justin Reed, 4) Jay Johnson, 5) Tom Goble, 6) Colby Springsteen, 7) Jeff Aikey, 8) Tyler Bruening, 9) Jason Perry (prov.), 10) Matt Bailey, 11) Keith Pratt (prov.), 12) Charlie McKenna (prov.), 13) Darrel DeFrance, 14) Sam Halstead, 15) T.J. Criss, 16) Denny Woodworth, 17) Mark Burgtorf (prov.), 18) Jeff Guengerich, 19) Terry Neal, 20) Jay Chenoweth, 21) Joey Gower, 22) Matt Strassheim, 23) Justin Kay, 24) Mike Garland (prov.), 25) Lonnie Bailey, 26) Nate Beuseling

John Vass photo


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