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.
Saturday’s USMTS Speedweeks finale at Gene Boyter’s high-banked 3/8-mile red clay oval gets started at 6 p.m.USMTS Modifieds will race for $4,000 to win with Limited Mods paying $700 to win, Factory Stocks $500 to win and Pro-Mods joining the card for $400 to win.
The Ark-La-Tex Speedway is located 0.6 mile south of SR 2 on SR 1, then 0.7 mile west on Airport Rd., then 2.2 miles south on Boyter Lane Rd. For race day information, call the track hotline at 318-375-3470 or clickwww.arklatexspeedway.net to visit them online.
For unfortunate fans unable to make one or more of these blockbuster events, every lap of every race at every event during USMTS Winter Speedweeks will be broadcast live via pay-per-view atwww.RacinDirt.comm/LiveVideo.
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/usmts, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/usmts and Instagram at www.instagram.com/usmts or subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usmtstv.
-USMTS Press Release & Photo