COULSON FENDS OFF BIRKHOFER IN WEST LIBERTY SPRING CHAMPIONSHIPS
April 7, 2001 Results
Sophomore driver Duane Coulson ushered in a new era of racing in Eastern Iowa on Saturday by capturing the West Liberty Spring Championships on Saturday April 7, Simmons Promotions INC first ever event. Fifty drivers Late Model drivers signed in for the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series event.
Coulson started the event behind polesitter Tom Cannon, narrowly escaping disaster when Cannon looped his car in the first corner of the race, causing a huge pileup that eliminated last years Spring Championship victor Kurt Stewart and front runner Steve Boley. Dave Eckrich inherited the pole for the restart and made the most it, jumping out to big lead ahead of Steve Johnson, Coulson and Terry Neal while Birkhofer picked his way through traffic from eleventh on the initial start. Coulson eventually slipped back in the fourth position before beginning his charge back to the front, passing Neal for the second spot around lap sixteen. Six laps later Eckrich saw his comfortable lead shrink when he began encountering lapped traffic, allowing Coulson to close and pull alongside by lap thirty. Pulling alongside several times during the next several laps, Coulson waited until he had a clear track in front of him to sneak underneath Eckrich for the lead coming off of the second corner of the 34th circuit. Birkhofer used the same lapped traffic to advance to the third position on lap 33 and second two laps later as Eckrich began a slide backwards that would eventually see him slow with a flat left rear tire on lap 41. Terry Neal retired his car while running third during the ensueing caution flag, advancing Kyle Berck into the postion for the restart. Coulson, Birkhofer and Berck ran away during the last nine laps, with Birkhofer applying very heavy pressure for the lead at the end, finding the faster way through the first and second corners but falling back on the other end of the speedway every time. The leaders touched several times with Birkhofer able to get his nose underneath but far enough to complete the pass. Coulson survived one last bonzai attempt for the lead on the white flag lap when Birkhofer drifted wide to get a run on the outside down the backstretch before slipping slightly coming off of turn two, ending his chance at victory. Berck held on to the third spot at the checkered ahead of fourth place Darren Miller, veteran Rick Wendling clawed his way from the 23rd starting position to finish fifth.
Scott Megonigle took home the Miller Time Modifieds trophy in a race that was also marred by a first corner spinout by the pole sitter. Rick Hixson looped it in front of everyone, turning the racetrack into a parking lot involving almost the entire field. When racing finally got underway Darrall Brick jumped to a huge early lead ahead of Jason Schueller, Megonigle Russ Olsen and Robbie Verbeck. Verbeck retired early in the race with motor troubles while Olsen eliminated Brick's lead by clipping an implement tire used to mark the inside of the racetrack, bringing out the caution on lap five. Megonigle was able to get underneath the leader several times after the restart but was unable to complete the pass until eight laps later when Brick slipped up the track slightly exiting the second corner. Unchallenged for the remainder of the event, Brick posted the easy win while Ryan Dolan made things exciting by advancing from sixteenth at the start to race Brick and Schueller for second during the closing laps. Dolan dove underneath Brick for the runner up spot on lap seventeen but ran out of time to challenge for the lead. Brick held on for third spot ahead of Schueller and Terry Walker
Matt Gilchrist advanced from sixth to the lead during the first two laps of the Pro Stock feature event, to post the easy win ahead of pole sitter John Maher, rookie Andy Eckrich, Rusty Daufeldt and Chad Simpson. Stan O'Brien used an outside pass on leader Jeremie Thompson on the fourth lap to take home the Bomber honors. Thompson held on to second ahead of Bub Erwin, James Rock and Matt Fulton.
Racing action continues at the West Liberty Raceway this Saturday night, April 15th. Hot Laps are scheduled for 6:30 pm with racing to follow. For more information, please contact Simmons Promotions at 563-744-3620 or on the internet at www.SimmonsPromotionsInc.com. For race day updates and instant results upon completion please call your local McLeod USA InTouch directory category #3740.
1. 44 Duane Coulson, East Dubuque IL
DNS 11 Steve Ihm Hazel Green WI
MILLER TIME MODIFIEDS
1. m2 Scott Megonigle, Cedar Rapids
DNQ 15 Allen May,
1. 1 Matt Gilchrist, Grandview
1. 0 Stan O'Brien, Muscatine
DNS 0b Matt Bodman, Muscatine