Simpson outduels Rauen for Fayette County win


by Ryan Clark

WEST UNION, Iowa (July 26, 2011) - While it first appeared that lapped traffic was going to doom Chad Simpson, it eventually redeemed him as he beat Jason Rauen to the checkers in Dart Corn Belt Clash Late Model Series action at Fayette County Speedway. Simpson, who led throughout much of the event, was slowed by backmarkers late in the 35-lapper, which allowed Rauen to sneak by for the lead. Rauen's own trouble with the lapped cars provided Simpson the opportunity to make his way back to the front in the waning moments to score the thrilling win.

Pole-sitter Chris Simpson took the early lead in the event, which was slowed by a pair of early cautions. During a lap two stoppage, Simpson unexpectedly went to the pits to change a flat tire, leaving him at the back of the 22-car starting field for the ensuing restart. Jason Utter inherited the pole for the two-wide restart, with Justin Mitchell to his outside.

When the green flag waved, the leaders tussled as Chad Simpson, who restarted fourth, quickly went to work on the low groove. He pulled into second a short time later, chasing Utter for the lead. Simpson swept beneath the leader a couple of laps later and quickly pulled away from the field. As Simpson extended his advantage to a straightaway margin, Rauen made his way into conetntion running the high groove of the speedway. After restarting the event in seventh, Rauen quickly made his way into the top five, then spent a few laps working the outside of Curt Martin and Justin Mitchell as he advanced through the field.

Just past the midway point, Rauen made his way past Utter for second as Simpson encountered heavy lapped traffic. Like Simpson, the lapped cars were running the low groove, which allowed Rauen to close quickly on the leader. With a handful of laps remaining, Rauen pulled even with Simpson and flew past the leader when Simpson was mired in traffic. Simpson kept Rauen within his sights as he made his way beneath the slower cars. Simpson's attempt to reel in Rauen was assisted when Rauen also encountered backmarkers. Simpson slipped beneath Rauen and held on for the exciting win. Utter held on for third ahead of Martin and Mitchell.

Chad Simpson also won the nine-car fast dash, however he pulled the #6 pill on the invert draw. That awarded Chris Simpson the pole for the feature. Heat winners included Kay, Chad Simpson and Kevin Sather.

FEATURE (35 laps, with starting positions)

1. (6) 25 Chad Simpson (Mt. Vernon)

2. (11) 98 Jason Rauen (Farley)

3. (2) 31 Jason Utter (Columbus Junction)

4. (7) 45 Curt Martin (Independence)

5. (5) 28X Justin Mitchell (Cedar Rapids)

6. (12) 77 Kurt Kile (Nichols)

7. (20) 15H Jeremiah Hurst (Dubuque)

8. (14) 50 Denny Eckrich (Tiffin)

9. (1) 32 Chris Simpson (Oxford)

10. (10) 1M Rob Moss (Iowa City)

11. (19) 20 Jake Meier (Tipton)

12. (15) 78 Rick Wendling (Hazleton)

13. (17) 5M Mike Freyer (Freeport, IL)

14. (3) 3 Kevin Sather (Ankeny)

15. (22) 9T Tim Isenberg (Marshfield, WI)

16. (21) 58 Dave Eckrich (Cosgrove)

17. (18) 15C Curt Schroeder (Ames)

18. (16) 45H Todd Hansen (Muscatine)

19. (9) 22 Jill George (Cedar Falls)

20. (13) 33L Joe Ludemann (Grand Meadow, MN)

21. (8) 88 Kevin Kile (West Liberty)

22. (4) 15K Justin Kay (Wheatland)

First heat (10 laps, top three to Fast Dash): 1. Kay; 2. Martin; 3. George; 4. Moss; 5. Ludemann; 6. Hansen; 7. Meier; 8. Isenberg.

Second heat: 1. Chad Simpson; 2. Mitchell; 3. Kevin Kile; 4. Rauen; 5. Denny Eckrich; 6. Fryer; 7. Hurst.

Third heat: 1. Sather; 2. Utter; 3. Chris Simpson; 4. Kurt Kile; 5. Wendling; 6. Schroeder; 7. Dave Eckrich.

Fast Dash (9 laps): 1. Chad Simpson; 2. Mitchell; 3. Kay; 4. Sather; 5. Utter; 6. Chris Simpson; 7. Martin; 8. Kevin Kile; 9. George.