Fast track. Fast cars. Fast Late Model racing action.
That sums up Sunday’s annual appearance by the World Dirt Racing League at Albion’s Boone County Raceway in conjunction with the Boone County Fair.
And no one was faster than Kansas driver Al Purkey, who dominated the evening and took home the $5,000 top prize for winning the 50-lap A Main Feature finale.
The stars and cars of the WDRL enjoyed an impeccably prepared race track, warm temperatures and sunny skies, setting up rapid, entertaining action on the 8th stop of the tour’s 2009 schedule.
The card began with Omaha’s John Anderson (2) setting the pace in qualifying laps with a leading time of 14.956 seconds. Marquette’s popular Kyle Berck (14) was second-fastest in qualifying laps at 15.203.
Intense heat race competition began with Tim Isenberg (9T) of Wisconsin winning the night’s initial race ahead of Iowan Dave Eckrich (58) and Mike Collins (3) of Council Bluffs.
Chad Simpson (25) of Mount Vernon, IA, WDRL 2009 points leader entering Sunday’s event, took the second heat, followed by Berck and Iowa’s Denny Eckrich (50).
Purkey (33) gave a glimpse of his speed in heat three, winning the race over Anderson and Mike Wiarta (1W).
That set up a frenetic 6-lap Iowa-Illinois Taylor Insulation Pole Dash, where Purkey again raced to the checkers. Simpson, after falling to fourth early, charged back past Anderson and Berck to earn a front row position in the A Main.
Following a reworking of the track surface during intermission, Purkey showed he had the set-up to handle any conditions in the night’s headliner.
“The Shark”, a 5-time O’Reilly MLRA champion and 2-time O’Reilly NCRA champ, blasted to the front of the field from his pole slot and quickly opened a sizeable advantage over Simpson, Anderson, Berck and Isenberg, left battling for positions 2-through-5.
Purkey’s only challenge of the race came following a lap-16 caution. With the field bunched for the restart, Simpson got to Purkey’s bumper, but could not make the pass.
A second caution was flagged on lap 23, but Purkey again pulled away from the field on the restart. As the lead cars hit lapped traffic, Simpson got tangled briefly with a slower car and brushed the wall on the backstretch, slightly damaging his right rear and allowing Anderson to take over second position.
While Anderson worked to hold off Simpson and Isenberg, no one had anything for Purkey as he wrapped up an impressive flag-to-flag victory.
Anderson finished a solid second, with Simpson holding off Isenberg for the third position. Dave Eckrich overtook Berck to round out the top five.
Several local drivers and BCR regulars competed in Sunday’s event, including Albion’s Mark Lueken (12) and Mike Kelley (17), Norfolk’s Robert Osborne (35), Tad Pospisil (04), Chad Jensen (73) and Jr. Coover (10), Bob Milander (77B) of Pierce and Plainview’s Jim Johnson (36). Osborne turned in the top area performance, placing 12th in the 50-lap feature race.
Complete Results in Print & Online Editions of Albion News.