SPRING VALLEY, Minnesota — Over the last couple of years, many people have called Ryan Gustin the best Modified driver on the planet today. After his victory Saturday night at the 2nd Annual World Modified Dirt Track Championship presented by Hanson Tire Service, it would be hard to argue with that.
With 58 career wins over the last four seasons, the 21-year-old from Marshalltown, Iowa, is far and away the winningest driver in the United States Modified Touring Series during that time span. He’s also hopped into the cockpit of Modifieds in unknown territory under different rulebooks and proven himself a force to be reckoned with.
The only chink in his armor it seemed was he had yet to win one of those high-profile special events when the really big money was on the line – much like a top-ranked golf pro with multiple wins, but still missing that major victory on his résumé.
So much for that argument.
Saturday night at the Deer Creek Speedway, Gustin started on the inside of the second row in the 75-lap main event featuring a three-wide start and quickly moved into second place to challenge polesitter and early leader Joey Jensen.
Before the first lap could be completed, caution delayed the start when Friday night winner Jordan Grabouski lost the handle in the fourth turn. The resulting scramble behind the leaders saw front-row starter Mike Sorensen and Ryan Ruter join Grabouski at the rear of the field after they ducked into the pits for repairs.
Jensen, who won Wednesday night’s 35-lap qualifying feature, took to the high side of the track on the restart. Gustin looked for a way around the leader on the inside while 2010 USMTS national champion Jason Hughes, three-time Deer Creek track champion Jason Cummins and Lucas Schott, who turned 16 on Thursday, followed close behind.
As Jensen stretched out his lead to four car-lengths, Gustin continued to search the bottom of the track for a faster way around. Hughes pulled alongside Gustin on the third lap but was unable to complete the pass and Gustin quickly shut the door, sliding up to mirror Jensen’s line on the cushion.
After brief cautions on the ninth and tenth laps, Hughes dove to the low side of the first turn and briefly edged in front of Jensen. Jensen raced back into the lead down the back-stretch and pulled back out to a five-car-length lead while Gustin slipped back to third with Cummins glued to his rear bumper.
Meanwhile, Schott, Jason Miller, Jason Krohn, Stormy Scott, Johnny Scott and Jon Tesch were close behind in tight battles of their own while 17th-starting Rodney Sanders and 15th-starting Brandon Davis were looking to crack the top 10.
With 15 laps down, Gustin began to run a little closer to he wall and streaked back into second while Cummins took away the low line to challenge Hughes for third. Little by little, Gustin began to reel in Jensen.
Lapped traffic came into the picture on lap 22, and Jensen was briefly slowed by a lapped car as they raced through turns 3 and 4. For just a moment, the high line was open and Gustin pounced on the opportunity as he shot past Jensen on the outside as they came to the flagstand to complete lap 23.
“I knew I wasn't going to get another opportunity to pass him again for a while, so I figured I’d stick it in there and see what I could do,” Gustin said.
After the pass, Jensen wrestled with the back-marker for another orbit while Gustin opened up a four-car-length lead of his own. Once in the clear, Jensen quickly closed back in behind Gustin and the two raced side by side until the race’s final caution occurred four laps later.
“We just kind of cruised there for a little bit and tried to keep the right rear (tire) under it,” Gustin recalled. “I got lucky to get by (Jensen) and then I was just trying to hold him off after that.”
Prior to the start of the race, drivers and officials agreed that if four cautions occurred that all drivers would stop on the front-stretch for two minutes while a crew member added fuel. No other changes to the racecar were permitted.
Jensen again showed his nose to Gustin on the restart and contested for the lead in every turn for the next three laps. It looked like the next 40 laps would be a nail-biter, but that’s when ‘The Reaper’ turned on the afterburners.
“We had that stop for fuel and there was no concern about the right rear so we just took off.”
Riding the cushion and taking the longest route around the high-banked 3/8-mile clay oval, Gustin was on rails as he extended his lead to a full straight-away ahead of Jensen within 10 laps.
From that point on, it seemed the only thing that could stop Gustin from reaching the winner’s circle would be a crash, mechanical failure or a late-race caution. None of those things happened, and even a few sprinkles that fell during the final 30 laps weren’t enough to change the outcome.
With $25,000 going to the winner, not only did Gustin pick up the biggest paycheck of his career but he also did it in dominating fashion as he crossed the finish line more than seven seconds ahead of Jensen.
“As the race went on the track got better and better and better,” said Jensen, whose earnings of $13,713 dwarfed the $5,000 he pocketed just over a month ago when he captured his career-first USMTS win at this same track. “At the end there after 75 laps I probably burned off my tires trying to run away from Gustin there. Then I seen Hughes there and just kind of went into block mode and pulled off a second.
“We’re very, very happy with our finish. Give the credit to Ryan. He did a great job. He’s a great competitor and a great driver.”
Hughes, a three-time winner of the Featherlite Fall Jamboree which takes place here in less than two months, came home with a third-place finish and an $8,913 payday.
“We had that wreck in the first corner there, and then these guys got up there and put on a show I just kind of got to watch,” he said. “Seen the rain start coming in so we thought we’d better go, but we didn’t have quite enough to go.”
The next two finishing positions were secured by Cummins and Davis – two drivers who have battled all season at Deer Creek in weekly USRA Modified competition with Davis coming out on top in the majority of those contests.
“Those (early) cautions came in handy,” said Davis, a four-time winner in USMTS action this year. “(A late caution) would have been very helpful, but we were getting a little rain and that could’ve made it interesting.”
Cummins earned $6,913 for his efforts while the ‘Medford Monster’ gobbled up $5,713 after racing from 15th to fifth.
Thursday night’s winner, Stormy Scott, held off last year’s WMDTC Thursday night winner, Timms, for the sixth spot while younger twin brother Johnny Scott was eighth. Terry Phillips started 20th on the 31-car grid and came home ninth while Tesch rounded out the top 10.
HEADS YOU WIN, TAILS YOU LOSE
As part of the $30,000 influx of cash from several sponsors on Friday night, Tesch and 11th-place finisher Nate Wasmund stopped on the track after the race where a coin flip would decide which driver would get a $5,000 bonus. Tesch called ‘heads’ and the coin landed heads up, giving him the extra dough. The bonus brought his take for the weekend to $7,713.
Modified racer Greg Jensen emceed the auction for the 31st starting spot prior to the start of the main event. Leon Ramirez, who owns the car driven by his son, Dereck, won the prize with a winning bid of $7,900 -- more than double last year’s amount.
He selected Swan Energy boss Brandon Davis of Castle Rock, Colo., for the 31st starting position in the 75-lapper. Swan Energy was one of nine companies that chipped in more than $30,000 to the main event purse on Friday night.
Of the money raised, $1,500 went to the 31st starting spot with the remaining $6,400 spread out evenly between second and last place in the feature race – an extra $213 fore each competitor.
FROM HARD LUCK TO HARD CHARGER
Zack VanderBeek made headlines a few days ago when he announced a switch from Skyrocket Chassis to a Hughes Racing Chassis on the eve of the World Modified Dirt Track Championship. After a seventh-place finish in Thursday night’s qualifying race, the 2004 USMTS Rookie of the Year decided to stick with his points total, which put him near the front of tonight’s “B” Main.
He finished fifth to qualify for the big show, but his #20z machine would not fire prior to the start of the championship race. After heading to the pits, VanderBeek emerged on the racetrack in time for the green flag but had to start at the rear of the pack.
Through 75 laps, he found his way past 18 others to wind up with a 13th-place finish.
JAMBOREE JUST 54 DAYS AWAY
Not long after the checkered flag waved Saturday night, attention turned to the 14th Annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree, set for Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 20-22, at the Deer Creek Speedway.
Prior to that, however, the USMTS Modifieds will make one more stop at ‘The Creek’ on Saturday, Sept. 1, for the 7th Annual BP Labor Day Dual presented by Baudoin Oil Co. and the 12th race in the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup.
The Deer Creek Speedway sits on 60 acres of scenic rural rolling hills with one of America’s most popular state-of-the-art racing complexes and a busy modern campground. The 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval is located 11.3 miles south of I-90 (exit 209) on US 63 (0.7 mile north of SR 16) in Spring Valley, Minn. Call toll-free 877-DCS-RACE or 507-346-2342 to order your tickets for the 14th Annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree or visit www.deercreekspeedway.com on the World Wide Web.
USMTS TRIPLEHEADER ON TAP
The USMTS Modifieds will be back in action in just four days with three USMTS National Championship Series events paying $4,000 to win each.
On Wednesday, Aug. 1, the Best of the Best trek to the Buena Vista Raceway in Alta, Iowa, for the 4th Annual Vander Haag's “Battle at the Beaver” and then it’s on to the Mineral City Speedway in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on Thursday for the 6th Annual Fort Dodge Modified Nationals.
The tripleheader wraps up Friday for a return trip to the Cedar County Raceway in Tipton, Iowa.
To learn more about the United States Modified Touring Series, visit www.usmts.com online or call 515-832-7944. You can also like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ustmts and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/usmts.
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United States Modified Touring Series
2nd Annual World Modified Dirt Track Championship presented by Hanson Tire Service – Night 4 of 4
Deer Creek Speedway, Spring Valley, Minn.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown, chassis/engine builder, laps completed, reason out (if any) and money won.
“E” MAIN (20 laps, top 6 advance):
1. (4) 89 Eric Pember, Pittsville, Wis.
2. (12) 24 Brad Waits, Rochester, Minn., Waits/ASi.
3. (15) 26 Bob Gierke, Westport, Minn.
4. (5) 1k Pat Graham, Ames, Iowa.
5. (9) J17 Jake Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M.
6. (10) 50w Andrew Wiste, Adams, Minn.
7. (7) 72 Doug Hillson, Blooming Prairie, Minn., Skyrocket/Sput’s, $450.
8. (21) 14w Clayton Wagamon, Blaine, Minn., Wheeler/Wagamon.
9. (8) 7s John Schulke, LaPorte, Minn., Jones/Adams, $450.
10. (11) 76x Troy Hovey, Castalia, Iowa, Rage/Brunner, $450.
11. (19) 86 David McClain, Potosi, Wis., Skyrocket/Sperry, $450.
12. (17) 49 Ben Anderson, Winona, Minn., GRT/BuckBuilt, $450.
13. (14) 43 Luke Schilling, Granton, Wis., J-Car/B&B, $450.
14. (16) 6m Ted Marrs, Bethel, Minn., Frederick/Homerun, $450.
15. (2) 61 Bruce Hanford, Davenport, Iowa, Skyrocket/AutoRon’s, 35.
16. (13) 1L Brad Loveday, Fort Frances, Ont., Canada, GRT/Mullins, $450.
17. (1) 0 Les Duellman, Winona, Minn., DirtDueler/KSE.
18. (3) 23k Darwin Karau, Kasson, Minn., Killer/Flyin’J, $450.
19. (6) 96 Greg Jensen, Albert Lea, Minn., Skyrocket/KSE, $450.
20. (20) 23 Brandon Davis, Castle Rock, Colo., Hughes/Geddes, 73, 2138.
21. (18) 83 Billy Steinberg, Kasson, Minn., Wheeler/Flyin’J, $450.
DNS - 16s David Schoenberger, Beaver Dam, Wis., Victory/Warren’s, $450.
DNS - E26 Dallas Everett, Beebe, Ark., Shaw/Kuntz, $450.
DNS - 60 William Gould, Calera, Okla., Shaw/BMS, $450.
DNS - 88t Terry Timmerman, Spring Valley, Minn., Skyrocket/Dean, $450.
DNS - 29d Brad Dierks, Clarence, Iowa, Shaw/Sperry, $450.
“D” MAIN (20 laps, top 6 advance):
1. (2) 20 Cole Queensland, Grand Meadow, Minn.
2. (1) 29h Joe Horgdal, Kasson, Minn.
3. (18) 24 Brad Waits, Rochester, Minn.
4. (12) 9 Shane Hebert, Lafayette, La.
5. (8) 61 Timothy Culp, West Monroe, La.
6. (3) 00 Robby Bunkelman, Abbotsford, Wis.
7. (14) 56h Brandon Hare, Elma, Iowa, Skyrocket/Action, $475.
8. (7) G17 Fito Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M., GRC/BMS, $475.
9. (13) 24 Jeff Lien, Mora, Minn., Matrix/Mullins, $475.
10. (16) 65 Tommy Myer, Blooming Prairie, Minn., Ramirez/Sput’s, $475.
11. (15) 01 Brandon Aggen, Rushmore, Minn., Skyrocket/Sput’s, $475.
12. (11) 60 Kurt Krauskopf, Decorah, Iowa, Skyrocket/Sput’s, $475.
13. (17) 89 Eric Pember, Pittsville, Wis., LG2/Mullins, $475.
14. (4) 18 Mick Glenn, Minnesota City, Minn., Skyrocket/JRM, $475.
15. (6) 7x Chris Dawson, Lubbock, Texas, Shaw/Fletcher, $475.
16. (22) 50w Andrew Wiste, Adams, Minn., Hughes/Premier, $475.
17. (9) 40 Paul Knauf, Marshfield, Wis., Allen/Licciardi, $475.
18. (20) 1k Pat Graham, Ames, Iowa, Victory/JRM, $475.
19. (5) 27 Don Gerritsen Jr., Rock Rapids, Iowa, Razor/HarryHeads, $475.
20. (21) J17 Jake Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M., GRC/BMS, $475.
21. (10) 431 Mike Gibson, Star Prairie, Wis., Matrix/Tim’s, $475.
22. (19) 26 Bob Gierke, Westport, Minn., GRT/RoushYates, $475.
DNS - 88x Jimmy Broszeit, Postville, Iowa, Skyrocket/Sput’s, $475.
DNS - 7 Al Hejna, Clear Lake, Iowa, BC/JRM, $475.
“C” MAIN (20 laps, top 10 advance):
1. (5) 89 Steven Whiteaker Jr., Corpus Christi, Texas.
2. (2) 0 Richie Gustin, Gilman, Iowa.
3. (4) 33x Adam Hensel, Baldwin, Wis.
4. (1) 31 Corey Dripps, Waterloo, Iowa.
5. (7) 26 Dan Fetters, Montour, Iowa.
6. (20) 29h Joe Horgdal, Kasson, Minn.
7. (6) 52 Jason Thoennes, Garfield, Minn.
8. (9) 96x Jay Ihrke, Dover, Minn.
9. (8) 49jr Jake Timm, Winona, Minn.
10. (22) 9 Shane Hebert, Lafayette, La.
11. (13) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Waukee, Iowa, GRT/Mullins, $600.
12. (21) 24 Brad Waits, Rochester, Minn., Waits/ASi, $575.
13. (12) 5 Brandon Beckendorf, Danube, Minn., Skyrocket/Sput’s, $550.
14. (24) 00 Robby Bunkelman, Abbotsford, Wis., Skyrocket/Tim’s, $525.
15. (3) 4a Joel Alberts, Mantorville, Minn., Skyrocket/Action, $500.
16. (23) 61 Timothy Culp, West Monroe, La., Skyrocket/Sput’s, $500.
17. (18) 39 Luke Driskell, Stilwell, Kan., GRT/Driskell, $500.
18. (15) 8 Bobby Swanson, Kasson, Minn., Skyrocket/Sput’s, $500.
19. (19) 20 Cole Queensland, Grand Meadow, Minn., Skyrocket/Action, $500.
20. (10) 68 J.J. Wise, Manly, Iowa, Skyrocket/KSE, $500.
21. (17) 11 Ryan Peckham, Corning, Iowa, IROC/PerfAuto, $500.
22. (16) 11 Lance Hofer, Cochrane, Wis., SSR/BK’s, $500.
23. (14) 77 Brian Craighead, Farmerville, La., DirtWorks/Sput’s, $500.
24. (11) 7 Eric Dailey, Armstrong, Iowa, Skyrocket/Grawmondbeck’s, $500.
“B” MAIN (25 laps, top 12 advance):
1. (8) 21 Chris Brown, Spring, Texas.
2. (11) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
3. (4) 12 Tommy Weder Jr., Woodward, Okla.
4. (2) 3 Kelly Shryock, Fertile, Iowa.
5. (3) 20z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa.
6. (12) 52w Nate Wasmund, Rochester, Minn.
7. (1) 99 Josh Angst, Winona, Minn.
8. (5) 555 Ryan Ruter, Kanawha, Iowa.
9. (7) 51 Eddie Martin, Stillwell, Okla.
10. (20) 31 Corey Dripps, Waterloo, Iowa.
11. (13) 41 Mark Teske, Spring Valley, Minn.
12. (10) 10 Mike Steensma, Luverne, Minn.
13. (26) 9 Shane Hebert, Lafayette, La., Hughes/ASi, $1000.
14. (24) 96x Jay Ihrke, Dover, Minn., Fegers/Dean, $800.
15. (6) 21m Dean Mahlstedt, Clear Lake, Iowa, GRT/Midstate, $700.
16. (21) 26 Dan Fetters, Montour, Iowa, Sidebiter/KSE, $650.
17. (17) 89 Steven Whiteaker Jr., Corpus Christi, Texas, Hughes/Mullins, $600.
18. (25) 49jr Jake Timm, Winona, Minn., GRT/BuckBuilt, $600.
19. (15) 05 Jake Hartung, Elmwood, Wis., SSR/MAS, $600.
20. (23) 52 Jason Thoennes, Garfield, Minn., MasterSbilt/Sower, $600.
21. (18) 0 Richie Gustin, Gilman, Iowa, GRT/Yeoman, $600.
22. (22) 29h Joe Horgdal, Kasson, Minn., Killer/Flyin’J, $600.
23. (16) 1 T.J. Herndon, Atwood, Tenn., GRT/JRM, $600.
24. (14) 66 Dan Bohr, Decorah, Iowa, GRT/Sput’s, $600.
25. (9) 85 Thomas Tillison Jr., Wellston, Okla., Hughes/Geddes, $600.
26. (19) 33x Adam Hensel, Baldwin, Wis., Rocket/Malcuit, $600.
“A” MAIN (75 laps):
1. (4) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, Hughes/Mullins, 75, $25,000.
2. (1) V2 Joey Jensen, Forest Lake, Minn., GRT/Tim’s, 75, $13,713.
3. (5) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, 75, $8,913.
4. (6) 71 Jason Cummins, New Richland, Minn., Skyrocket/Sput’s, 75, $6,913.
5. (15) 50iii Brandon Davis, Medford, Minn., BC/KSE, 75, $5,713.
6. (11) 20s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M., Hughes/ProPower, 75, $5,413.
7. (12) 5t Randy Timms, Wheatland, Okla., Hughes/Geddes, 75, $3,713.
8. (14) 1st Johnny Scott, Las Cruces, N.M., Hughes/ProPower, 75, $3,513.
9. (20) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Hatfield, 75, $2,863.
10. (13) 14 Jon Tesch, Watertown, S.D., GRT/Sput’s, 75, $7,713.
11. (23) 52w Nate Wasmund, Rochester, Minn., Hughes/KSE, 75, $2,713.
12. (19) 21 Chris Brown, Spring, Texas, Skyrocket/RoushYates, 75, $2,613.
13. (31) 20z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, Hughes/Sput’s, 75, $2,563.
14. (9) 69 Lucas Schott, Chatfield, Minn., Hughes/Sput’s, 74, $2,513.
15. (24) 99 Josh Angst, Winona, Minn., Skyrocket/Sput’s, 74, $2,463.
16. (18) 186 Jeremy Payne, Springfield, Mo., GRT/RoushYates, 74, $2,413.
17. (8) 12m Jason Miller, Osceola, Wis., Matrix/Mullins, 74, $2,363.
18. (22) 3 Kelly Shryock, Fertile, Iowa, Skyrocket/RoushYates, 74, $2,313.
19. (29) 10 Mike Steensma, Luverne, Minn., Hughes/Sput’s, 74, $2,213.
20. (30) 23 Brandon Davis, Castle Rock, Colo., Hughes/Geddes, 73, $2,138.
21. (25) 555 Ryan Ruter, Kanawha, Iowa, Sidebiter/Sput’s, 53, overheating, $2,063.
22. (21) 12 Tommy Weder Jr., Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, 53, mechanical, $1,988.
23. (17) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, Hughes/Geddes, 51, overheating, $1,863.
24. (7) 7k Jason Krohn, Slayton, Minn., Hughes/Sput’s, 47, tie rod, $1,813.
25. (27) 31 Corey Dripps, Waterloo, Iowa, BC/GMPP, 32, mechanical, $1,763.
26. (16) 20r Bryan Rowland, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/ProPower, 32, suspension, $1,713.
27. (3) 19 Mike Sorensen, Rochester, Minn., Hughes/Action, 32, mechanical, $1,713.
28. (2) 75g Jordan Grabouski, Beatrice, Neb., GRT/Hatfield, 31, engine, $1,713.
29. (26) 51 Eddie Martin, Stillwell, Okla., Hughes/Geddes, 14, mechanical, $1,713.
30. (28) 41 Mark Teske, Spring Valley, Minn., LG2/Vankirk, 10, crash, $1,713.
31. (10) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/ProPower, 9, mechanical, $1,713.
Lap Leaders: Jensen 1-22, Ryan Gustin 23-75.
Total Laps Led: Ryan Gustin 53, Jensen 22.
Margin of Victory: 7.430 seconds.
Hard Charger: VanderBeek (started 31st, finished 13th).
Next Race: Wednesday, Aug. 1, Buena Vista Raceway Alta, Iowa.
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USMTS TITLE SPONSORS: Casey’s General Stores, Swan Energy.
USMTS OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Racer Racing Tires, Awesome Race Suits, Cheetos, Dominator Race Products, Intercomp, KEVKO Oil Pans & Components, New Vision Graphics, Nitroquest, RACEceiver, SLAP Energy, Snickers.
USMTS PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: Arbor Masters, Arnold Motor Supply, ASi Racewear, Beebe Heating & Air Conditioning, BRODIX Cylinder Heads, Dirthead.com, DirtKnights.com, Erson Cams, Farm Boy BBQ Sauce, Intensitee Custom Racewear, Mesilla Valley Transportation, O’Brien Enterprises, Olympic Fire Protection, Ramirez Motorsports, Road Runner Trucking, Ruter Farms, Sybesma Graphics, Yeager Machine.
USMTS CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: AERO Race Wheels, AFCO Racing Products, Beyea Custom Headers, COMP Cams, CPD Racing Tools, Eibach Springs, Fast Shafts, Forty9Designs.com, Genesis Shocks, Hooker Harness, Integra Racing Shocks & Springs, Keyser Manufacturing, KSE Racing Products, Marsh Racing Wheels, PBM Performance Products, Quarter Master, Real Racing Wheels, Tiger Rear Ends.