POCOLA, Okla. (June 6)–From pandemics to rain-outs and some mechanical misfortune too, Rodney Sanders was beginning to wonder if he’d ever hit the 100-win milestone in the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s.
The 30-year-old three-time USMTS national champ can put those worries to bed following a decisive wire-to-wire victory Saturday in the 7th Annual USMTS Juggernaut presented by Drive4JRT.com at the Tri-State Speedway in Pocola, Okla.
“It seemed like we were never going to get this one,” Sanders said as he and his crew celebrated win No. 100. “We’ve had good opportunities the last few nights with good draws and, man, I just totally screwed the car up.
“This is something that’s kind of hard to put into perspective. There’s only a few guys that’s done that so that’s pretty cool and now we’re just gonna keep going.”
Sanders is just the fourth racer in USMTS history to light up the third digit in career win totals. The Happy, Texas, resident is just three wins behind Ryan Gustin who garnered his 100th last August and added two more wins the last two nights.
Kelly Shryock is the all-time leader with 182 triumphs and Jason Hughes, who finished seventh Friday night, has 155 to his credit including three here at the Tri-State Speedway.
It was the first USMTS win here for Sanders who notched his first win June 26, 2009, about five hours north of here at the LA Raceway in La Monte, Mo.
Sanders drew the No. 2 pill and launched from the outside of the front row to kick off the 40-lap main event. Within a few laps, his advantage over the field was a half-straightaway.
Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year contender Brooks Strength of Raymond, Miss., climbed from fourth on the grid to second early on with Gustin searching the high side for a way around.
Gustin eventually found a faster line around Strength and secured the second position. With the leaders hampered by thick lapped traffic, he was closing on Sanders every lap when the first caution waved with 23 laps complete.
‘The Reaper’ got the break he wanted–so he thought–but later admitted that his tires “glazed over” during the slow-down period and he was never able to match the same momentum from that point on.
Jake O’Neil and Tanner Mullens both snuck past Gustin on the restart but three more yellow flags over the next seven laps slowed the action and kept the pack within striking distance of Sanders.
But on every restart, Sanders walked away from everybody, eventually crossing the finish line with more than three seconds to spare over hard-charging Terry Phillips, Mullens, O’Neil and 11th-starting Zack VanderBeek.
Gustin held off Hughes in a battle for sixth-place money, Chad Wheeler was eighth, Tyler Davis held on for ninth and ‘Big Daddy’ Joe Duvall completed the top ten.
“I was glad for the track position because I felt like in clean air I could kind of use the racetrack the way I needed to. We’ve been kind of struggling a little bit-we’ve been all over the place on stuff so I didn’t really know what to expect. I felt like I wasn’t driving straight off the corner at the end up but apparently it was good enough.”
In addition to getting the 100-win monkey off his back, the $3,000 winner’s share of the prize money was a welcome addition to his earnings.
“This has been probably one of the roughest years I’ve ever had but luckily I have good people that keep sticking behind me. It’s not an open checkbook by no means. Everybody pitches in where they can and I’m very appreciative of what everyone does.”
Sanders will be the new points leader when the series heads to the first crown jewel of the year next weekend. Dereck Ramirez is second, followed by Hughie, Hunter Marriott and Calvin Iverson.
Masters on deck: The undisputed best of the best in the world of dirt racing will converge on the Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis., for the 21st Annual Masters next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 11-13.
Featuring one of the largest event purses on the series schedule, this year’s crown jewel will once again feature CLS Late Models sharing the spotlight and competing for the same big paydays as the USMTS Modifieds all three days. USRA Late Models will also run a complete program each night.
The mega-event kicks off with a pair of $3,000-to-win shows on Thursday, followed by a $5,000 top prize in each class on Friday. It all leads up to Saturday’s ferocious finale which offers $10,000 to the winners of both the Super Late Model and USMTS Modified main events.
You don’t want to miss a single night, but if you aren’t able to be there in person, RacinDirt.TV will broadcast every lap of every race live to your screen.
Founded in 1957, the Cedar Lake Speedway is a state-of-the-art 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval and is one of the nation’s leading short track facilities. The track is located 1.0 mile east of SR 35 on SR 64, then 4.2 miles north on CR C to CR CC, then left 1.8 miles. For more information, call (612) 363-0479 or (715) 248-7119 or visit CedarLakeSpeedway.com.
Currently, the 2020 schedule for the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s is highlighted by 43 nights of racing at 28 unique dirt ovals for the 22nd season of competition for the world’s Best of the Best in dirt modified racing.
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United States Modified Touring Series
Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s
7th Annual USMTS Juggernaut presented by Drive4JRT. Com
Tri-State Speedway, Pocola, Okla.
Saturday, June 6, 2020
Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown, chassis/engine builder and laps completed. The top 12 in heat race passing points advance to the Casey’s “A” Main.
SIMPSON PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #1 (8 laps):
1. (3) 444 Brooks Strength (R), Raymond, Miss.
2. (2) 6 Casey Skyberg (R), Rapid City, S.D.
3. (5) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla.
4. (8) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
5. (4) 27X Calvin Iverson (R), Eleva, Wis.
6. (7) 7 Daniel Franklin (R), Berryville, Ark.
7. (9) 8 Jeremy Vaughn, Pocola, Okla.
8. (1) 3G Scott Glover (R), Hackett, Ark.
9. (6) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla.
FAST SHAFTS HEAT RACE #2 (8 laps):
1. (1) 65 Tyler Davis (R), Haysville, Kan.
2. (4) 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz.
3. (2) 17H Brent Holman, Rogers, Ark.
4. (6) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla.
5. (8) 4W Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark.
6. (3) 00 Cody Jolly (R), Jasper, Mo.
7. (5) 75 Kyle Ledford, Greenwood, Ark.
8. (7) 15 George Martin, Fort Smith, Ark.
EDELBROCK HEAT RACE #3 (8 laps):
1. (2) 4X Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa.
2. (3) 02 Tanner Mullens (R), Wichita, Kan.
3. (1) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla.
4. (7) 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa.
5. (6) 10H Randy Henson, Alma, Ark.
6. (5) 503 Jason Miles (R), Glenwood, Ark.
7. (4) 12B Johnny Bone Jr., Pea Ridge, Ark.
8. (8) 11N Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark.
MSD PERFORMANCE HEAT RACE #4 (8 laps):
1. (2) 62 Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.
2. (5) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas.
3. (3) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan.
4. (7) 7D Jake Davis (R), Hackett, Ark.
5. (6) 33 Lonnie Robins, Alma, Ark.
6. (1) 29B James White (R), Mena, Ark.
7. (4) 36 Jay Quillin (R), Fort Smith, Ark.
DNS – 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla.
REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #1 (12 laps, top 5 advance):
1. (4) 33 Lonnie Robins, Alma, Ark.
2. (1) 17H Brent Holman, Rogers, Ark.
3. (3) 4W Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark.
4. (2) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan.
5. (5) 7 Daniel Franklin (R), Berryville, Ark.
6. (7) 8 Jeremy Vaughn, Pocola, Okla.
7. (8) 12B Johnny Bone Jr., Pea Ridge, Ark.
8. (11) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla.
9. (9) 3G Scott Glover (R), Hackett, Ark., Xtreme/C&C.
10. (10) 11N Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark.
11. (6) 503 Jason Miles (R), Glenwood, Ark., /.
REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #2 (12 laps, top 5 advance):
1. (1) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla.
2. (2) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla.
3. (4) 27X Calvin Iverson (R), Eleva, Wis.
4. (3) 10H Randy Henson, Alma, Ark.
5. (5) 00 Cody Jolly (R), Jasper, Mo.
6. (7) 75 Kyle Ledford, Greenwood, Ark.
7. (9) 15 George Martin, Fort Smith, Ark., MBCustoms/Bob’s.
8. (6) 29B James White (R), Mena, Ark., TRE/White.
9. (8) 36 Jay Quillin (R), Fort Smith, Ark., /.
DNS – 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett.
CASEY’S “A” MAIN (40 laps):
1. (2) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, 40.
2. (10) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Durham, 40.
3. (6) 02 Tanner Mullens (R), Wichita, Kan., Mullens/Mullens, 40.
4. (5) 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz., LG2/Cornett, 40.
5. (11) 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Stoen, 40.
6. (3) 4X Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, Hughes/Cornett, 40.
7. (14) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, 40.
8. (16) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla., VanderBuilt/Durham, 40.
9. (1) 65 Tyler Davis (R), Haysville, Kan., Hughes/Mullins, 40.
10. (9) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., MBCustoms/Stoen, 40.
11. (18) 27X Calvin Iverson (R), Eleva, Wis., MBCustoms/Tim’s, 40.
12. (24) 75 Kyle Ledford, Greenwood, Ark., Xtreme/C&C, 40.
13. (12) 7D Jake Davis (R), Hackett, Ark., Shaw/Thomas, 40.
14. (22) 00 Cody Jolly (R), Jasper, Mo., MBCustoms/Yeoman, 40.
15. (21) 7 Daniel Franklin (R), Berryville, Ark., Shaw/Yeoman, 40.
16. (15) 17H Brent Holman, Rogers, Ark., MBCustoms/Hatfield, 40.
17. (20) 10H Randy Henson, Alma, Ark., Xtreme/Mullins, 40.
18. (27) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla., GRT/ChevPerf, 40.
19. (26) 8 Jeremy Vaughn, Pocola, Okla., Hughes/BMS, 40.
20. (23) 11N Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark., Hughes/Kelly, 40.
21. (8) 6 Casey Skyberg (R), Rapid City, S.D., Lethal/Mullins, 35.
22. (7) 62 Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo., Rage/KSE, 33.
23. (19) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan., Jet/Speedway, 29.
24. (17) 4W Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark., MBCustoms/Hill, 26.
25. (25) 12B Johnny Bone Jr., Pea Ridge, Ark., Shaw/Yeoman, 23.
26. (4) 444 Brooks Strength (R), Raymond, Miss., MBCustoms/Stoen, 22.
27. (13) 33 Lonnie Robins, Alma, Ark., Xtreme/Yeoman, 14.
(R) = Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year contender
Lap Leader: Sanders 1-40.
Total Laps Led: Sanders 40.
Margin of Victory: 3.170 seconds.
Time of Race: 24 minutes, 2.093 seconds (4 cautions).
Provisional Starters: Nicholas, Ledford, Vaughn (track), Bone (track), Hagar (emergency).
Eibach Spring Forward Award: Phillips (advanced 12 positions).
FK Rod Ends Hard Charger: Phillips (started 10th, finished 2nd).
Next Race: June 11-13, Cedar Lake Speedway, New Richmond, Wis.
Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s Points: Sanders 870, Ramirez 862, Hughes 785, Marriott 732, Iverson 727, T. Davis 717, VanderBeek 708, Phillips 617, Skyberg 613, Duvall 568.
Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year Points: Iverson 727, T. Davis 717, Skyberg 613, Hagar 540, Bailey 395.
Jobbers Warehouse Supply USMTS Manufacturers Championship Points: Cornett 74, Hatfield 69, Mullins 60, Stoen 53, KSE 52.
Compstar/JE Pistons USMTS Engine Builder of the Year Points: MBCustoms 87, Hughes 86, VanderBuilt 58, Rage 57, GRT 52.
American Racer – Skyberg.
Beyea Custom Headers – O’Neil.
BigDeal Car Care – Phillips, Sanders.
Bryke Racing – Franklin.
BSB Manufacturing – Skyberg.
Champ Pans – VanderBeek.
Deatherage Opticians – Iverson.
Edelbrock – Gustin.
Eibach – Phillips.
Fast Shafts – T. Davis.
FK Rod Ends – Phillips.
Forty9 Designs – Jolly, Vaughn.
Hooker Harness – Ledford.
Integra Racing Shocks & Springs – Hagar.
Jerovetz Motorsports Racing Parts – Henson.
K1 RaceGear by Ryan Bowers Motorsports – Glover.
Keyser Manufacturing – Duvall.
KSE Racing Products – T. Davis.
Maxima Racing Oils – Sanders.
Penske Racing Shocks – J. Davis.
PEM Racing Gears & Drivetrain – Kates.
QA1 – Wolff.
RacerWebsite.com – Vaughn.
Simpson Performance Products – Strength.
Spyder High Performance Filters – Gustin.
Summit Racing Equipment – Franklin, Mullens, Nicholas.
Super Clean – Sanders.
Swift Springs – Sanders, Ledford.
Sybesma Graphics – T. Davis.
Tire Demon – Quillin.
VP Racing Fuels – Sanders.
Wehrs Machine & Racing Products – Miles.
Wilwood Disc Brakes – Hughes.
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USMTS OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Racer Racing Tires, Casey’s, Chevrolet Performance, Compstar Performance Engine Components by Callies, CP-Carrillo, Dirt Draft, Eibach, Fast Shafts, FK Rod Ends, Intercomp, Jerovetz Motorsports Racing Parts, K1 RaceGear by Ryan Bowers Motorsports, KS Engineering, KSE Racing Products, Malvern Bank, Mesilla Valley Transportation, MSD Performance, MTN DEW Zero Sugar, MyRacePass, Nitroquest Media, PEM Racing Gears & Drivetrain, RacinDirt.com, Snickers, Summit Racing Equipment, Super Clean, VP Racing Fuels, Wrisco Industries.
USMTS PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: Boubin Tire & Automotive, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Duvall Electric, Eagle Moon Farm, JE Pistons, Miller Welders, PBM Performance Products, Rancho Milagro Racing, Rivers Edge Scrap Management, Tony Moro Powder Coat, Top of the World Ranch, YouDirt.com.
USMTS CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: AFCO Racing Products, Allstar Performance, Beyea Headers, BigDeal Car Care, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Bryke Racing, BSB Manufacturing, Champ Pans, Deatherage Opticians, Edelbrock, Forty9 Designs, Genesis Racing Shocks, Hooker Harness, Integra Racing Shocks and Springs, Keyser Manufacturing, Maxima Racing Oils, Penske Racing Shocks, QA1, RacerWebsite.com, Real Racing Wheels, Simpson Performance Products, Swift Springs, Sybesma Graphics, Tire Demon, Wehrs Machine & Race Products, Wilwood Racing.