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Borrowed motor helps Guss get back on track at West Liberty Deery

IMCAWEST LIBERTY, Iowa (April 21) – Ray Guss Jr. got back on track Saturday night and he had the point leader in the Deery Brothers Summer Series to thank for it.

Powered by a motor borrowed from Mike Murphy Jr., Guss drove to a convincing $3,000 win in the IMCA Late Model tour main event at West Liberty Raceway.

The two-time defending series champion had broken his own engine during qualifying at Friday’s event at Davenport. Murphy, the winner of the last two Deery races, offered Guss his backup for the West Liberty show.

That generosity helped Guss get his career 24th tour win. Denny Eckrich caught brother Andy for second late in the 40-lapper while Justin Kay and Kurt Kile completed the top five.

Matt Ryan started outside the front row and led the first six circuits while Joel Callahan, Andy Eckrich, Guss and Kay jockeyed behind him.

Andy Eckrich needed just five laps to race from 15th into the top five; Callahan caught Ryan for the lead on lap seven and was beginning to put some distance on his closest challengers before the only caution of the night waved on lap 11.

Restarting third, Guss went to the low side to slide past Callahan and was scored first the next time around. He was running with lapped traffic by midway and built a sizable advantage as the race stayed green.

Denny Eckrich passed nine cars in all and took over the runner-up spot in the late going, but had nowhere near enough laps to catch Guss. Andy Eckrich passed 12 cars.

Callahan ended the night in in sixth, Murphy in ninth after winning his “B” feature.

The program was completed despite inclement weather and a brief rain delay during the Modified feature; 43 Late Models vied at West Liberty, the most through the series’ first four events this season.

Winner of the $250 Sunoco Race Fuels feature qualifier drawing was Gary Webb.

The third and final series event of the weekend is Sunday, April 22 at Dubuque Fairgrounds Speed­way. Pit gates open at 3:30 p.m. and the grandstand opens at 4:30 p.m. Hot laps are at 6:30 p.m. with racing to follow.

Feature results – 1. Ray Guss Jr., Milan, Ill.; 2. Denny Eckrich, Tiffin; 3. Andy Eckrich, Oxford; 4. Jus­tin Kay, Wheatland; 5. Kurt Kile, Nichols; 6. Joel Callahan, Dubuque; 7. Tyler Bruening, Deco­rah; 8. Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls; 9. Mike Murphy Jr., Colona, Ill.; 10. Nick Marolf, Moscow; 11. Jay Johnson, West Burlington; 12. Dan Shelliam, Hazel Green, Wis.; 13. Brett Diercks, Bettendorf; 14. Darrel DeFrance, Marshalltown; 15. Colby Springsteen, Wapello; 16. Doug Yates, Monticello; 17. Tom Goble, Burlington; 18. Dave Stichter, Morrison, Ill.; 19. Jonathan Brauns, Muscatine; 20. Gary Webb, Blue Grass; 21. Matt Ryan, Davenport; 22. Mark Burgtorf, Quincy, Ill.; 23. Jeff Mi­trisin, Oskaloosa; 24. Jay Chenoweth, Wapello.

1st heat (top three qualify) – 1. Guss; 2. Callahan; 3. Denny Eckrich; 4. Travis Denning, Sterling, Ill.; 5. DeFrance; 6. Tommy Elston, Keokuk; 7. Spencer Diercks, Davenport; 8. Todd Alexander, Milledgeville, Ill.; 9. Drake Ostrom, Moline, Ill.

2nd heat – 1. Marolf; 2. Ryan; 3. Kurt Kile; 4. Johnson; 5. Murphy; 6. Shelliam; 7. Springsteen; 8. Kevin Kile, West Liberty; 9. Bryan Klein, Cedar Rapids.

3rd heat – 1. Brauns; 2. Chenoweth; 3. Goble; 4. Stichter; 5. Nate Beuseling, Silvis, Ill.; 6. Chuck Hanna, Sterling, Ill.; 7. Justin Diercks, Davenport; 8. Mike Klinkkammer, West Branch; 9. Tim Simp­son, Iowa City.

4th heat – 1. Burgtorf; 2. Kay; 3. Mitrisin; 4. Mike Garland, Morrison, Ill.; 5. Joe Ross, Thomson, Ill.; 6. Webb; 7. Dean Wagner, Evansdale; 8. Yates.

5th heat – 1. Bruening; 2. Aikey; 3. Andy Eckrich; 4. Brett Diercks; 5. Charlie McKenna, Clear Lake; 6. Kyle Hinrichs, Swisher; 7. Ron Boyse, Kalona; 8. Travis Smock, Independence.

1st “B” feature (top three qualify) – 1. Murphy; 2. Stichter; 3. Brett Diercks; 4. Springsteen; 5. Ross; 6. Elston; 7. Wagner; 8. Alexander; 9. Hinrichs; 10. Klinkkammer; 11. Klein; 12. Hanna; 13. Smock; 14. Denning.

2nd “B” feature – 1. Johnson; 2. Webb; 3. Shelliam; 4. DeFrance; 5. Yates; 6. Beuseling; 7. Kevin Kile; 8. Ostrom; 9. Spencer Diercks; 10. Boyse; 11. Simpson; 12. Garland; 13. McKenna; 14. Justin Diercks.

Hard charger provisional – Yates. Point provisionals – DeFrance and Springsteen.

Top 20 Deery Series point standings after April 21 – 1. Murphy and Andy Eckrich, both 190; 3. Bruening, 179; 4. Callahan, 177; 5. Aikey, 175; 6. Johnson, 167; 7. Kay, 166; 8. DeFrance, 160; 9. Springsteen, 155; 10. Guss, 149; 11. Denny Eckrich, 141; 12. Garland, 121; 13. Beuseling, 120; 14. Burgtorf, 118; 15. Webb, 116; 16. McKenna, 115; 17. Wagner, 111; 18. Shelliam, 106; 19. Tom Darbyshire, Morning Sun, 103; 20. Luke Goedert, Guttenburg, 102. 

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