Wichita, KS.-With 37 regional events behind them and 1,615 laps of main event battles under their belt, the rugged road warriors of the United States Modified Touring Series embark on their annual crusade in pursuit of the most lucrative title in all of dirt modified racing.
The Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental begins Thursday, Aug. 6, at the 81 Speedway near Wichita, Kan., for the first of four straight nights of racing to begin the championship chase.
On Friday, the series heads back to the Humboldt Speedway in Humboldt, Kan., and then travels east to the state-of-the-art Lucas Oil Speedway on Saturday. The four-night swing wraps up Sunday at the Monett Speedway in Monett, Mo.
Thirty-nine drivers have earned a chance at becoming the 2015 USMTS National Champion by virtue of finishing in the top 15 in points or having perfect attendance in one or more of four regions. Each of the 39 drivers qualified for ‘The Hunt’ have a legitimate shot to pocket the $20,000 prize that goes with being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the dirt modified world.
When the checkered flag drops on opening night of the Featherlite Fall Jamboree on Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., the tireless USMTS touring titans will have 15 more races under their belts and the USMTS will crown it’s 17th national champion.
Of course any dirt modified driver desiring to lock horns with the Best of the Best can enter, compete and possibly win a USMTS event during ‘The Hunt,’ but just one of the 39 names below will be embellished on the 2015 USMTS National Champion trophy.
2015 HUNT FOR THE USMTS CASEY’S CUP POINTS:
1. 99 Jesse Sobbing, Malvern, Iowa … 110
2. 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas … 90
3. 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla. … 83
4. 97 Cade Dillard, Robeline, La. … 81
5. 2 Casey Arneson, Fargo, N.D. … 76
5. 2 Grant Junghans, Manhattan, Kan. … 76
5. 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa … 76
8. 71 Philip Houston, Odessa, Texas … 52
9. 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla. … 46
10. 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Adel, Iowa … 31
11. 10 Austin Arneson, Fargo, N.D. … 30
11. 1st Johnny Scott, Las Cruces, N.M. … 30
13. 60 Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, Minn. … 29
13. 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M. … 29
15. 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla. … 28
15. IOU1 Brent Larson, Lake Elmo, Minn. … 28
17. 38 Ronnie Gould III, Seminole, Okla. … 26
18. 7x Jesse Glenz, Cadott, Wis. … 25
19. 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis. … 23
19. J17 Jake Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M. … 23
21. 40 Brian Green, Pierce City, Mo. … 22
22. 51 Chris Oertel, Marshfield, Wis. … 21
23. 11 Dustin Allen, Enid, Okla. … 20
23. 26g Bob Gierke, Westport, Minn. … 20
25. 1g Pat Graham, Ames, Iowa … 19
25. 23k Ben Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan. … 19
27. 4 Cody Bauman, Eureka, Ill. … 18
28. 29 Brock Bauman, Eureka, Ill. … 17
28. 7d Austin Theiss, Hockley, Texas … 17
30. 89c Steve Whiteaker Jr., Corpus Christi, Texas … 13
31. V2 Joey Jensen, Harris, Minn. … 12
32. 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo. … 11
33. 30 Chase Allen, Midlothian, Texas … 10
33. 86d Dagan Heim, Rosemount, Minn. … 10
33. 123 Logan Robertson, Shamrock, Texas … 10
36. 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa … 9
37. 14t Triston Dycus, Waxahachie, Texas … 7
37. 3 Kelly Shryock, Fertile, Iowa … 7
39. 89 Eric Pember, Pittsville, Wis. … 6
Jesse Sobbing enters the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup atop the points standings. Consistency-along with perfect attendance in all four regions-has earned the 33-year-old driver of the Home Pride No. 99 MB Customs top billing. Although the Rookie of the Year points leader has just one win, he has recorded a top-five finish in nearly 40% of the 37 events to date.
Not far behind, however, is two-time defending USMTS National Champion Rodney Sanders of Happy, Texas, who has 14 wins in those same 37 contests. At just 25 years of age, ‘The Sandman’ is fourth on the all-time USMTS career wins list and, by virtue of his three regional points titles, is the lone driver eligible for a $100,000 payday if he can capture his third straight crown.
For anybody but Sanders, the 2015 Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental will award $20,000 to the champion. Furthermore, any driver competing in all 15 of the $3,000-to-win events during ‘The Hunt’ is guaranteed a minimum of $1,000 from the year-end points fund.
Proving that any driver who qualifies for ‘The Hunt’ is capable of winning the title, Jason Krohn captured the 2007 title after entering the first event with just seven points and ranked 18th in the standings. He became just the second driver to wear the USMTS crown, dethroning Kelly Shryock who had captured all eight previous titles from 1999-2006.
Similarly, Tim Donlinger found himself outside of the top-10 after the first two races of the 2008 championship crusade. He won the third event, but was only seventh in the rankings with 11 races to go. He went on to upset Shryock for the 2008 title, sealing the deal with a thrilling victory on the final night of the Featherlite Fall Jamboree.
Despite winning just two races all season, Shryock went on to claim his ninth USMTS National Championship in 2009 by just 33 points, beating out an 18-year-old up-and-comer named Ryan Gustin.
Jason Hughes finally secured his first USMTS National Championship in 2010 while Gustin settled for runner-up honors again, but ‘The Reaper’ roared back in 2011 to claim his first title, and then did it again in 2012 to join Shryock as the only other multi-time champion before Sanders duplicated the feat in 2013-2014.
2015 HUNT FOR THE USMTS CASEY’S CUP SCHEDULE:
Thursday, Aug. 6 … 81 Speedway, Park City, Kan. ($3,000 to win)
Friday, Aug. 7 … Humboldt Speedway, Humboldt, Kan. ($3,000 to win)
Saturday, Aug. 8 … Lucas Oil Speedway, Wheatland, Mo. ($3,000 to win)
Sunday, Aug. 9 … Monett Speedway, Monett, Mo. ($3,000 to win)
Thursday, Aug. 13 … Red Cedar Speedway, Menomonie, Wis. ($3,000 to win)
Friday, Aug. 14 … Mississippi Thunder Speedway, Fountain City, Wis. ($3,000 to win)
Saturday, Aug. 15 … Ogilvie Raceway, Ogilvie, Minn. ($3,000 to win)
Friday, Aug. 21 … Lakeside Speedway, Kansas City, Kan. ($3,000 to win)
Saturday, Aug. 22 … Salina Highbanks Speedway, Pryor Creek, Okla. ($3,000 to win)
Wednesday, Sept. 2 … Hamilton County Speedway, Webster City, Iowa ($3,000 to win)
Thursday, Sept. 3 … Fairmont Raceway, Fairmont, Minn. ($3,000 to win)
Friday, Sept. 4 … Chateau Raceway, Lansing, Minn. ($3,000 to win)
Saturday, Sept. 5 … Deer Creek Speedway, Spring Valley, Minn. ($3,000 to win)
Sunday, Sept. 6 … Cresco Speedway, Cresco, Iowa ($3,000 to win)
Thursday, Sept. 24 … Deer Creek Speedway, Spring Valley, Minn. ($5,000 to win)
HOW THEY GOT HERE: At each of the USMTS Casey’s Cup Series regional events, drivers earned points toward the regional championship. The champion of each region received 20 points to begin ‘The Hunt’ with second-place getting 24 points and so on back to the 15th-place finisher who got 6 points. All drivers with perfect attendance in the region also received 10 points toward their base points for ‘The Hunt’ regardless of where they finished in the final standings. From here on out, the traditional USMTS points system is used for each event in the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup.
USMTS POINTS SYSTEM: “A” Main Finish – 1. 100 points, 2. 95 points, 3. 91 points, 4. 87 points, 5. 84 points, 6. 81 points, 7. 78 points, 8. 76 points, 9. 74 points, 10. 72 points, 11. 70 points, 12. 68 points, 13. 66 points, 14. 64 points, 15. 62 points, 16. 60 points, 17. 58 points, 18. 56 points, 19. 55 points, 20. 54 points, 21. 53 points, 22. 52 points, 23. 51 points; all other “A” Main starters earn 50 points while non-qualifiers get 45 points each. In addition, each driver who leads at least one “A” Main lap earns 1 point and the driver leading the most “A” Main laps earns another 2 points.
CASEY’S CREW: Cory Crapser, Cade Dillard and Joe Duvall will represent Casey’s General Stores and their affiliated brands during each race of the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup. All three members of the Casey’s Crew will have unique graphics for their machines, snazzy new branded driving suits, autograph cards and more. Plus, each driver will be making appearances at local Casey’s General Stores locations at various events.
Crapser will be driving the #07 GRT Chassis with sponsorship from Sour Patch Kids and Oreos. Dillard will represent Snickers with his #97 LG21 Chassis and Duvall’s familiar #91 MB Customs Chassis will be carrying the AMP Energy logo and colors.
Be sure to stop by a Casey’s General Store location before and after the races for all your supplies and needs, and remember to get your $2-off admission coupons available on race day at most events during ‘The Hunt.’ Check out www.caseys.com for more information or to find the location nearest you.
TOP DOG BONUS: Beginning with Thursday’s kick-off at the 81 Speedway, all drivers ranked among the top-10 points in are guaranteed a minimum of $400 in earnings at each event. Each driver must maintain perfect attendance during the campaign to remain eligible.
PROVISIONALS: All drivers in ‘The Hunt’ are guaranteed two provisionals for the first ten (10) races. One additional provisional is awarded after the tenth event. Again, the driver must maintain perfect attendance to remain eligible.
Celebrating its 17th season in 2015, the United States Modified Touring Series is the fastest-growing and most popular dirt modified series in the world. Attracting the most talented and professional drivers in North America, the fan-friendly format and exciting show produces an enthusiastic and loyal fan base, and the USMTS routinely competes in front of capacity crowds. When it comes to a touring series that features the Best of the Best in dirt modified racing, the USMTS has no equal… although plenty of imitators litter the landscape.
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 or subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usmtstv.
-USMTS Press Release. Photo Credit: Bruce Nuttleman