DECORAH, Iowa (May 26)–Sunday night’s 12th Annual Nordic Nationals presented by American Racer at the Upper Iowa Speedway saw Jake O’Neil outduel Rodney Sanders to score his fifth career USMTS victory and second of the 2019 campaign.
The 27-year-old from Tucson, Ariz., grabbed the lead from Sanders on lap 11, but gave it right back one lap later as the lead duo circled the semi-banked 1/4-mile dirt oval at the Winneshiek County Fairgrounds in Decorah, Iowa.
O’Neil fired back on the 16th lap and this time the pass was for good as he paced the final 24 circuits to earn a $2,500 paycheck.
Emerging in the runner-up spot for the second straight night, Hunter Marriott tightened his grip on the Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year standings while Sanders fended off 11th-starting Ryan Gustin for the third spot.
Dereck Ramirez rounded out the top five with Zack VanderBeek, Dustin Hodges, Chris Oertel, Cory Crapser and Mike Striegel completing the top ten.
After passing seven cars in the main event and nine overall for the night, Gustin took home both the FK Rod Ends Hard Charger and Eibach Spring Forward Award.
Sanders remains atop the Casey’s General Stores USMTS National Championship points battle and thus retains the fluorescent yellow Wrisco spoiler heading into the next event on May 31 at the I-30 Speedway, Little Rock, Ark.
VanderBeek trails Sanders by 79 points (1013 to 934) followed by Marriott (907), Gustin (896) and Ramirez (855).
In the Spike Hardcore Energy USMTS Northern Lights Series, O’Neil leads the chase with 274 markers followed by Marriott (271), Gustin (265), Sanders (264) and VanderBeek (249).
The May 31 show at the I-30 Speedway kicks off a grueling swing of eight shows in nine days. The series returns to the Tri-State Speedway in Pocola, Okla., on June 1, and the Creek County Speedway in Kellyville, Okla., on June 2 before taking a 24-hour rest prior to a five-race excursion through the Lone Star State.
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– USMTS Press Release