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Sanders Shines In USMTS Winter Speedweeks Finale March 5, 2016

Sanders Shines In USMTS Winter Speedweeks Finale

ARDMORE, Okla.—Twenty-four hours after winning Friday’s feature race, Rodney Sanders was back in victory lane Saturday after winning the 50-lap main event at the Southern Oklahoma Speedway to put the wraps on USMTS Winter Speedweeks.

The 2013 and 2014 USMTS national champ from Happy, Texas, used every bit of the wide 3/8-mile clay oval in Ardmore, Okla., en route to snaring his third United States Modified Touring Series win of the 2016 campaign and 67th of his career.

Saturday’s nightcap turned out to be the best of the weekend, and it was a bona fide barnburner for the first 38 laps before Jason Hughes made a failed attempt to overtake the leader.

For the final 12 laps, Sanders put the race on snooze control.

Most USMTS fans and competitors agree that it’s merely a matter of time before newcomer Kyle Strickler notches his first USMTS win, and early on it appeared that might just happen Saturday night.

The Mooresville, N.C., racer shot to the lead ahead of polesitter Cade Dillard to start the race while Sanders quickly moved by three cars to claim third on the second go-around.

With the leaders churning away at the cushion on the high side, Sanders dug in on the low side of the racing surface and battled side by side with Dillard and Strickler for several laps, eventually edging ahead at the stripe to lead the tenth circuit.

But Strickler held his ground and regained the top spot one lap later. Soon thereafter, Sanders tucked in behind Strickler around the top side. But entering heavy lapped traffic on lap 18, Sanders went low and pulled ahead to lead the 19th lap.

Battling three-wide with Strickler and Johnny Scott, Stormy Scott suffered a flat right rear tire to bring out the race’s first yellow flag with 30 laps complete.

The restart saw Hughes, who was sixth one lap earlier, shoot around the outside and power into the second spot behind Sanders.

Sanders and Hughes raced nose to tail for the next six laps with Dillard, Johnny Scott and Ryan Gustin all lurking close behind.

As the lead duo exited turn four to complete lap 37, Sanders bobbled and slowed momentarily and Hughes got a run on the leader. Using his momentum, Hughes dove to the inside in the first turn and slid up the track in turn 2 to take away Sanders’s line.

But the slide went too far and Hughes pounded the outer concrete wall on the exit of the second turn, climbing both right side tires onto the slabs while sparks showered behind him from beneath his machine.

Although he was able to gather it up and continue forward, Sanders was gone. And nobody got anywhere close to the 26-year-old from Happy, Texas, as he crossed beneath the checkered flag with more than four seconds to spare over the field.

“That top side was just about riding off the track,” Sanders said in victory lane. “You really had to almost stop to get in there and hit the line.

With the win, Sanders pocketed $4,000 for his efforts while Hughes settled for the runner-up paycheck.

“(Hughes) slid me there once and I really thought I was going to get into the back of him,” Sanders admitted. “But it looked like he jumped the wall and let us get by.”

Dillard held off Johnny Scott for third while Gustin came home in the fifth spot. Dereck Ramirez, Jesse Sobbing, Casey Arneson, Lucas Schott and Thomas Tillison Jr. rounded out the top 10.

Sobbing was impressive racing from 26th on the starting grid to claim the seventh position. But provisional starters are not eligible for the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award so that wound up in the hands of Ramirez.

He passed one more car than his teammate for the weekend, multi-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champ Jimmy Owens. After starting 20th, Owens was up to seventh when a three-car tangle sent him to the back of the pack before rebounding to finish 11th.

For more news visit www.usmts.com

Photo courtesy of www.usmts.com/Buck Monson

Gustin Marches To Fourth USMTS Win of 2016 March 3, 2016

Gustin Marches To Fourth USMTS Win of 2016

ARDMORE, Okla.—Marshalltown, Iowa’s Ryan Gustin chalked up his fourth win of USMTS Winter Speedweeks Thursday night at the Southern Oklahoma Speedway in Ardmore, Okla.

Gustin has now won at each of the four race tracks visited by the United States Modified Touring Series to kick off the 2016 campaign, and ‘The Reaper’ looks to be back in the same form that carried him to the 2011 and 2012 USMTS national crowns.

“It was another good night for us, and I can’t say enough about this crew and our sponsors that keep us going,” Gustin said.

“The track was really good up top so it made you get up on the wheel. That kind of fits my style really well.”

Lucas Schott made his first start of the season from the outside of the front row and wrestled control from polesitter Rodney Sanders when the green flag waved to start the 35-lap feature race.

Schott paced the first seven laps before Jason Hughes got by on lap 8 following a caution. Hughes suffered the same fate later on when Gustin blasted into the top spot on lap 19.

From there, Gustin set sail and took the checkered flags ahead of Hughes to pocket the $2,000 winner’s check.

Sanders, who faded as far back as sixth at one point, regrouped and held off 13th-starting Cade Dillard for the third spot while Stormy Scott roared from 19th on the starting grid to grab fifth.

Dereck Ramirez, Zack VanderBeek, Johnny Scott, Austin Arneson and Triston Dycus rounded out the top 10 in the “A” Main on the first of three days at John and Nikki Webb’s 3/8-mile clay oval.

For more news visit www.usmts.com

Photo courtesy of www.usmts.com/Buck Monson

Gustin Wins USMTS Battle at Ark-La-Tex February 26, 2016

Gustin Wins USMTS Battle at Ark-La-Tex

VIVIAN, La.—Ryan Gustin bested his car builder, Jason Hughes, in a hard-fought battle at the Ark-La-Tex Speedway Friday night to capture the win on the second night of the 5th Annual USMTS Cajun Clash presented by Horseshoe Bossier City.

Gustin started on the pole for the 40-lap affair, but it was Hughes taking charge when the green flag waved. He led the first 24 laps before Gustin was able to slip by in traffic and lead the 25th circuit.

Hughes, the defending USMTS national champ, remained close behind ‘The Reaper’ as they danced through heavy lapped traffic for the remainder of the race, and briefly inched ahead to lead lap 36.

But Gustin powered back around the outside of the Hughes Racing Chassis purveyor one lap later and held him off to claim his third win in the first eight events of the 2016 campaign.

“It’s always nice to know the guy you’re running with will race you clean and give you room if you need,” Gustin said of Hughes after the race. “Jason’s one of the best there is, so you know you’ve done something when you can beat him.”

All of Gustin’s wins so far have come on Friday night of the USMTS Winter Speedweeks tripleheaders. This one, like the others, was worth $3,000 and brought his USMTS career wins total to 74.

With his runner-up effort, Hughes extended his points lead in the Production Jars Southern Region presented by Day Motor Sports while Rodney Sanders finished third to give the top three spots to the three drivers holding the last six USMTS national championship trophies.

Chris Brown fended off Sanders for most of the race and settled for fourth at the finish with Kyle Strickler continuing his strong weekend with a fifth-place finish. Todd Shute, 19th-starting Zack VanderBeek and Jason Ingalls finished sixth through eighth, respectively.

Rounding out the top ten were Steve Whiteaker Jr. and Cade Dillard, both of whom were late arrivals to the track for the parade lap and were forced to start the main event from the tail of the field.

For additional news visit www.usmts.com

Photo courtesy of www.usmts.com

Clanton Wins DIRTcar Nationals Finale February 20, 2016

Clanton Wins DIRTcar Nationals Finale

BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 20, 2016 – One night after being involved in a multi-car accident, Shane Clanton had to battle Josh Richards and a near photo finish with Scott Bloomquist to take the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series win on Friday night during the finale of the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.

Richards led 45 of 50 laps but came up just short of the weekend sweep en route to capturing the Big Gator awarded to the week’s overall points champion.

Richards dominated from the beginning of the night in his Valvoline/Rocket Chasses No. 1, as he posted the second fastest time in qualifying and then led flag-to-flag in his heat to place himself in the redraw for the feature.

Just as he did Thursday night, Richards matched his speed with luck as he drew the top starting position for the $10,000 to-win feature.

Richards easily rocketed to an early lead over second place starter Brian Shirley in the Arnie Ranta/Longhorn Chassis No. 3s. Shirley settled into second before he lost the position to Jonathan Davenport who drove his Baird Transport/Elite Concrete No. 6 from his sixth starting position into the top two by lap six.

Davenport, who has finished third and second twice so far this week, looked to have the car to contend with Richards for the win but faded near the halfway point of the race, when Clanton charged his way past him for second.

Clanton had piloted his Weldbank Energy/Capital Chassis No. 25 from the inside of the third row to get around Davenport, but was four seconds behind Richards for the lead with fewer than 25 laps remaining.

Richards looked to be cruising to his third win in-a-row and fourth out of five nights at the DIRTcar Nationals, but within 10 laps Clanton had reeled in the leader and was all over Richards’ back bumper.

Clanton and Richards battled side-by-side for the top spot as the they diced through lapped traffic. With the two leaders stuck in a heated fight for the lead, Scott Bloomquist snuck his way into the third position and into the battle for the victory.

With only seven laps remaining, Richards, Clanton and Bloomquist were separated by a matter of car lengths, setting up a shootout for the feature victory.

Clanton used a lapped car to pick Richards, as he made his move to the leaders outside and captured the lead with five laps left. Richards then fell victim to Bloomquist who muscled his way into the runner-up position.

The Zebulon, Ga. native looked to have the race wrapped up, with only a handful of laps left, as he cruised to a second and a half lead. Bloomquist never quit, and on the white flag lap, the second place driver had caught the leader.

Clanton, not realizing Bloomquist was as close as he was, eased off the accelerator just enough to give Bloomquist a window to his inside coming to the checkered flag.

Bloomquist powered his way off the final corner, pulling even with Clanton as the leader began celebrating his victory with one hand out the window. Bloomquist came up just short of capturing the win as Clanton nosed him at the line by a fender.

“We just bided our time early in the race,” said Clanton, the defending series champion. “We started catching lapped cars and I could finally see Josh [Richards] again, then when I finally got past [Jonathan] Davenport, I had a clean racetrack where I could do what I wanted to do. We then caught [and passed] Josh, who was having trouble getting through lapped traffic and putting his car where he wanted to.

“I’ve had such a terrible week this week. To win a race it was just relief that came across my body and I started celebrating not knowing Scott [Bloomquist] was that close. If I would have known that I wouldn’t have [started celebrating] when I did. But it’s a testament of all the hard work we have done the past two days, from blowing a motor one night to having the car in a million pieces and almost upside down last night, then coming back and winning tonight.”

For more news visit www.woolms.com

Richards Claims Third Win of DIRTcar Nationals February 19, 2016

Richards Claims Third Win of DIRTcar Nationals

BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 19, 2016 – Josh Richards rallied from a 14th place starting position to outduel Jonathan Davenport in thrilling fashion, capturing the lead with less than five laps to go, then holding off a bonsaiing Davenport on the final lap to capture the victory on the second night of World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series action at the 45th Annual DIRTcar Nationals.

Richards, who dominated Thursday night’s 50-lap feature and won Tuesday night during DIRTcar Late Model action, did not show the speed early like he did the previous night. Richards placed eighth in the first qualifying group which was led by Gregg Satterlee, who scored the overall fast time for the night driving the Rocket Chassis number 22s Satterlee Petroleum/Keyser Manufacturing Co. machine.

Satterlee continued to showcase his speed, easily capturing his heat race, making his way into the redraw before the feature event. Unfortunately for Satterlee, he drew the sixth starting position which is the worst possible outcome in the redraw.

Drawing pole position was Chalk Hill, Pa.-native Mason Zeigler piloting the Ohiopyle Vacation Rentals/Insurance Services number 25z, with Jonathan Davenport starting to his outside.

No stranger to the front of the field, Davenport has placed his Baird Transport/Elite Concrete No. 6 on the podium each night he’s competed in the 45th Annual DIRTcar Nationals, as he captured two third place finishes and a second thus far.

When the green flag fell on the field of 31 cars, Davenport made quick work of the pole sitter, shooting around Zeigler exiting turn two on the opening lap. Zeigler found trouble early as he shot up the race track in turn one on lap 11, allowing most of the field to make their way around him.

Shortly after Zeigler’s issues, a six car pile-up that involved 2015 World of Outlaws champion Shane Clanton and 2015 Rookie of the Year Brandon Overton, slowed on track action.

The wreck, which took 10 minutes to attend to, settled the field down as the race was only slowed by one more caution, which took place five laps later on lap 16.

By this point in the feature, Richards, battling from his 14th starting position had managed to crack the top three, passing Tim McCreadie in the No. 39 Sweetner’s Plus machine for the position.

Davenport had a firm lead on the field but was slowed as he fought through lapped traffic near the halfway point in the race. With Davenport bottled up, second place Satterlee and third place Richards made their way to the leader’s rear bumper, setting up an epic duel for the Gator trophy.

Richards made his way around Satterlee for second, bringing Ivedent Lloyd Jr. with him, as the two put the leader in their crosshairs. Davenport maintained the lead, fending off challenges from Richards and Lloyd, as each took a shot at muscling their way to the front.

With less than 15 laps remaining, things heated up as the three began swapping the lead back and forth, with Davenport utilizing the bottom and lapped traffic to hold onto to the top spot.

Richards kept steady pressure on Davenport, finally making his move around the leaders outside as lapped traffic plagued the leader’s favorable inside line. Richards completed the pass but the race was not over.

Davenport tried everything he could to work his way back around Richards for the lead, as he drove deeper into turns trying to throw the leader off his line. With less than three laps remaining the two were battling side-by-side for the victory, with third place Lloyd not far behind.

In the end it was Richards who prevailed after fighting off every challenge from the second place driver and winning his 60th career World of Outlaws race in an epic showdown with only one night remaining in the DIRTcar Nationals.

“This was unbelievable,” the three-time series champion said. “We got behind early, then I ran out of tear-offs and I ran the last four laps with my [helmet] shield up.”

“I knew we had a good car. I didn’t know how traffic was going to pan out, I just tried to keep my speed up and get up through there. This track has just been awesome and I have to thank the fans for coming out, this has been an amazing speed weeks.”

For more news visit www.woolms.com

Gustin Wires USMTS Field in Waco February 19, 2016

Gustin Wires USMTS Field in Waco

ELM MOTT, Texas—Ryan Gustin rolled to his second win during USMTS Winter Speedweeks with an impressive wire-to-wire triumph Friday night during the second night of the 7th Annual Day Motor Sports Texas Spring Nationals at the Heart O’ Texas Speedway.

Twenty-four hours earlier, Gustin charged from 22nd on the starting grid to finish fourth in the main event, but Friday night his job was made a little easier with an outside front row slot for the 45-lap “A” Main, but Jason Hughes saw to it that his job wasn’t a walk in the park.

After claiming the Sybesma Graphics Pole Award and then redrawing the pole position, Philip Houston set the pace to start the feature race but Gustin was able to beat him into the first corner and lead the race’s first lap.

Dereck Ramirez jumped up to second quickly and challenged Gustin for the top spot throughout the first ten laps while Houston raced with Zack VanderBeek and Hughes in the top five.

Cautions on laps 16 and 20 slowed the pace twice, but Gustin was able to withstand the challenges from Ramirez, and then Hughes, for the race lead.

After taking second place away from Ramirez for good on lap 22, Hughes mounted several strong runs at Gustin but the defending USMTS national champ was never able to pass ‘The Reaper’ with or without the aid of lapped traffic.

With the win, Gustin became the first repeat winner during the first five events of USMTS Winter Speedweeks and the first repeat winner in six events at the 1/3-mile clay oval outside of Waco, Texas. It also netted a third win on the season for Hughes Racing Chassis and Mullins Race Engines.

Gustin’s 73 career USMTS win netted the 25-year-old from Marshalltown, Iowa, a cool $3,000.

VanderBeek, who captured the previous night’s winner’s trophy, got around Ramirez with six to go and held on to finish third while Cade Dillard came out of a Real Racing Wheels “B” Main to finish behind Ramirez in fifth.

Rounding out the top ten were Austin Arneson, Stormy Scott, Houston, Johnny Scott and Ben Kates, who earned the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award after starting 21st.

For more news visit www.usmts.com

Photo courtesy of www.usmts.com