WEST BURLINGTON, Iowa — The first crown jewel in the 2013 Deery Brothers Summer Series belongs to Denny Eckrich.
Eckrich battled with brother Andy much of the way before winning Saturday’s Brenton Slocum Memorial 50 at 34 Raceway. The IMCA Late Model tour victory paid $5,555 and came ahead of defending champion Jeff Aikey and hard charger Brian Harris.
Andy Eckrich and Jason Utter completed the top five. Forty-six cars were on hand for the 27th annual series opener.
Andy Eckrich started on the pole with Denny lined up right behind him for the initial green. With Andy running on top and Denny on the bottom, both caught up with the back of the field by lap 11 and continued their side-by-side, bumper-to-bumper tussle.
Denny was briefly in front on lap 19 and took over that position for good four lead changes later. Aikey, also in pursuit of his eighth career series title, moved into second on lap 39 and began to reel in the leader.
The 50-lapper came to an end before he could complete that quest, however, and Aikey finished two car lengths off the pace. Both the top two finishers had their cylinder heads removed during post-race tech inspection and passed with flying colors.
Tom Darbyshire had raced from 20th to third before getting into the backstretch wall on lap 33.
The win was the series career third for Eckrich, last year’s Deery rookie of the year. He also took home the $538 Honus Bonus for leading lap 38.