By Brett Rose
HAGERSTOWN, MD – 55 Super Late Models checked into the pit area on beautiful spring evening at Hagerstown Speedway, and it was York, Pennsylvania’s Rick Eckert that ran the table to grab the checkered flag of the 40 lap, $4,000-to win Appalachian Mountain Dirt Late Model Speedweek lid-lifter last Wednesday night.
Eckert used a night off from his World of Outlaws Late Model Series commitments in his Paul Crowl-owned No.7E to set a quick time at a lap of 17.961 seconds around the Hub City half/mile oval before winning his heat race.
Prior to the feature, the redraw was held on the frontstretch which put Virginia driver Walker Arthur on the pole to pace the field at the beginning of the race.
Arthur thwarted off the challenges of Eckert and Trever Feathers over the first eight laps in a nose to tail battle before the trio raced three-wide for the lead.
Feathers settled into the lead with Eckert in tow by the fourteenth circuit, and began to stretch his lead while lapping traffic until a caution flag unfurled on Lap 22 for the stopped car of Dylan Yoder.
On the restart, Eckert was all over the rear of Feathers and made the pass for the lead on Lap 25. By this point, Mason Zeigler worked his way up into the mix and got by Feathers for the runner-up spot on Lap 29.
That was as far as anyone else could get as Eckert pulled away to over half a straightaway lead over Zeigler, and he went the rest of the way to claim his spot in victory lane.
“Yeah, that’s fun. You know, everybody was doing a good job running their own line and this race track widened out beautiful to where it was multi-lanes and we could just cross over a lane and luckily it was that wide because I needed all of it to make any time with the way I had my car. I really need to work on a bit, but we’ll take it.” Eckert said.
Crossing the line in the top five behind Eckert and Zeigler at the finish were Jason Covert, Feathers, and Jeff Rine.
In the Pure Stock division, racing under an open competition/home track rules format, it was Craig Parrill defending the home turf against the outsiders, taking his third feature win of the season. Parrill pulled away from Sean Dawson over the second half of the 15 lap feature event.
Following the top pair and completing the top five at the checkers were Keith Koontz, Brandon Churchey, and Greg Hainsey.
Notes: Eckert flirted with the track record of Dan Stone’s 17.90 set a few years ago. It was impressive due to time trials limited to a single lap, and his late draw for his time trial attempt.
Kyle Hardy was back in the Shawn Martin No.3v after a driving stint in the Indiana-based Jim Beeman No.99. Hardy won the first of two B-Mains, and finished 16th in the feature.
Gary Stuhler, who has been dominant all season at Hagerstown, squeaked into the show and claimed the final qualifying spot in the second B-main. He went on to record a 14th place finish in the feature.
Tyler Hershey was the hard charger winner, moving up to finish 10th from his 22nd place start.
Super Late Models- 1. Rick Eckert, 2. Mason Zeigler, 3. Jason Covert, 4. Trever Feathers, 5. Jeff Rine, 6. Austin Hubbard, 7. Walker Arthur, 8. Kenny Pettyjohn, 9. Marvin Winters, 10. Tyler Hershey, 11. Roy Deese,Jr., 12. Bryan Bernheisel, 13. Matt Cosner, 14. Gary Stuhler, 15. Gene Knaub, 16. Kyle Hardy, 17. Kyle Lee, 18. Jared Miley, 19. Waylon Wagner, 20. Mike Lupfer, 21. Nick Dickson, 22. Chad Hollenbeck, 23. Dylan Yoder, 24. Dan Stone, 25. Andy Fries
Pure Stocks – 1. Craig Parrill, 2. Sean Dawson, 3. Keith Koontz, 4. Brandon Churchey, 5. Greg Hainsey, 6. Michael Warrenfeltz, 7. Tony Catlett, 8. Ed Pope, 9. Shane Wilt, 10. Wayne Dutterer, 11. Frank DiBella, 12. Nick DiBella, 13. Brian Swiger, 14. Dickie Tharp, 15. Jamie Zentmyer, 16. Davey Gross, Jr.