Denny Eckrich Captures Yankee Dirt Track Classic Title
Farley, Iowa: The 27th annual Yankee Dirt Track Classic concluded with the championship feature races being run on Saturday night September 18th with a near capacity crowd in attendance on a beautiful night for racing. The night began with a drivers salute to the fans as nearly 150 cars were on the front chute as the invocation and national anthem were presented.
When the night ended it was Denny Eckrich celebrating in victory lane with a $15,000 win. The win was Eckrich's second Yankee title. Saturday nights title win followed a 2001 win. The Yankee took the green with 28 drivers comprising the starting grid. Ray Guss Jr. led the field from the pole by virtue of his Hollywood Graphics fast dash win earlier in the night. Guss was involved in an early race incident that sent him to the pits giving the lead to Steve Francis. Francis led for a few laps before Dan Schlieper took over the top spot coming to the front all the way from his 22nd starting position. Schlieper led the race all the way to the 64th lap when Denny Eckrich was able to put the Flyin 50 into the race lead for good. Eckrich was able to hold off Schlieper's late race charge to regain the lead for the Yankee championship win. The 100 lap Yankee included a lot of story lines as the drivers who hit the setup and were able to take care of their tires were the most successful in the long race. Eckrich was smooth all night long in taking the impressive win over one of the best drivers in the business in Dan Schlieper. Curt Martin ran a very smart race in turning in an outstanding run in taking third ahead of Ron Barker. Barker drove the Ed White owned car number 12T and came from way back in the starting grid to score a very impressive fourth place finish ahead of Brian Harris, who ran up front all race long.
Ron Barker topped off a record setting 2004 season with a Yankee title in the 25 lap Modified feature. Barker earned the right to start on the pole by virtue of the fast dash win. Barker fought off a very persistent Larry Herring in the early going before opening up a comfortable lead. Herring crossed under the checkers in second ahead of Scott Nesteby and Jason Schueller. The Yankee title was added to two track championships (Farley & Dubuque) and two NASCAR region championships in 2004 for Barker.
The Auto Acres 25 lap feature saw 23 drivers take the green flag. The race featured Bud Shootout Late model drivers that did not qualify for the 100 lap Yankee. Craig Jacobs was able to get out front early and lead the race flag to flag. Jacobs took the win and the $1,000 paycheck and passed up a chance to advance to the Yankee. Second place finisher Layne Meyer passed up the $800 second place money and advanced to the Yankee. Todd Davis was credited with a second place finish in the Auto Acres 25 finishing ahead of Gary Crawford and Mark Curwen.
Jeff Reinert started his night off with a win in the Pro Stock fast dash and finished the night with a Yankee championship. Reinert was able to beat the best in the Pro Stock division by taking the win over Bobby Moyer and Bob Bollon. Reinert led all 20 laps en route to his first ever Yankee Championship topping the 26 car starting field.
Jason Rauen capped off a stellar Hobby Stock season with a Yankee title to his credit. The Farley, Iowa driver picked up 22 wins in 2004 before adding the Yankee to his resume. Rauen led the race flag to flag taking the win over his teammate Duane Ahmann. Dan Albright took third ahead of Jarvis Eastlick.
Yankee Dirt Track Classic Race Results
September 18, 2004
Bud Shootout Late Models
Auto Acres 25
Hollywood Graphics Fast Dash
100 Lap Yankee Dirt Track Classic
1. 50 Denny Eckrich-Tiffin-$15,000
2. 9 Dan Schlieper-Pewaukee, WI
3. 45 Curt Martin-Independence
4. 12T Ron Barker-Dubuque
5. 21H Brian Harris-Davenport
6. 28 Dennis Erb Jr.-Carpentersville, IL
7. 11X Steve Ihm-Kieler, WI
8. 21X Layne Meyer-West Union
9. 08 Mike Miller-Leaf River, IL
10. 26 Steve Boley-West Liberty
11. 1k John Anderson-Omaha, NE
12. 75 Guss JR
13. 51x Matt Furman-Iowa City
14. 18Z Rusty Zook-Riverside
15. 58 Dave Eckrich-Oxford
16. C12 Chris Carlson-Greenfield, WI
17. 27 Dan Shelliam-Hazel Green, WI
18. 77 Jeff Aikey-Cedar Falls
19. 17B Jeff Bair-Solon
20. 12 Jeff Tharp-Dubuque
21. 15 Steve Francis-Ashland, KY
22. 95 Keith Foss-Winona, MN
23. 25 Chad Simpson-Marion, IA
24. 33 Nick Marolf-Moscow
25. 25h Kerry Hansen-Spencer, WI
26. 45L Jeff Laue-Burlington, IA
27. 3X Skip Frey-Ely
28. 45x Tommy Elston-Keokuk