Rock Rapids, IA -- With less than eight laps to go in the main event Friday night at the Rapid Speedway, an unusual turn of events paved the way for Terry Phillips to collect his fourth Casey's General Stores USMTS National Championship victory of the 2019 campaign.
From the outside of the front row, Ryan Gustin took charge at the drop of the green flag. A two-time winner of the USMTS Rapid Rumble presented by Wrisco, 'The Reaper' set a torrid pace for the first half of the race while Phillips pressured him the whole way.
The only other driver with two career wins at the 3/8-mile clay oval in the Northwest corner of Iowa, Rodney Sanders raced by Phillips just shy of halfway in the 40-lapper, and disposed of Gustin on the 22nd lap.
The race's second caution occurred with 30 laps complete when Jake O'Neil, who was running fourth and looking to back up his win on Thursday night in Webster City, spun into the infield at the exit of turn four.
The yellow flag slowed the pace and wiped out a sizeable advantage for Sanders, but Gustin had been reeling in 'The Rocket' since finding new life tip-toeing around the high side of the turns.
When the green flag returned, Phillips tried to stay with Sanders on the low side while Gustin made a bold challenge around the top. One lap later, Sanders and Gustin were door to door racing down the back-stretch when the exit of turn four swallowed its next victims.
Gunning to regain the lead he lost ten lap earlier, Gustin drove hard into the third turn and slipped over the banking in turn four. Meanwhile, as he tried to settle himself and power back onto the racing surface, Sanders spun into the infield in the same spot O'Neil had two lap earlier.
As the lead duo performed synchronized spinning, the center of the racetrack parted like the red sea and Phiillips' familiar red No. 75 came shooting out of the cloud of dust as he became the new leader.
Gustin regained control but Sanders stopped on the front-stretch to bring about the final yellow flag of the contest.
Phillips-a second-generation veteran racer nearly twice the age of Gustin and Sanders-nailed a flawless restart and was able to keep Gustin behind him until he streaked beneath the checkered flag with his 29th career USMTS triumph and a $3,000 paycheck for his efforts.
Gustin was denied his 101st series win and settled for second place while Dereck Ramirez finished third.
Hometown favorite Don Gerritsen Jr. raced from tenth on the starting grid and collected a career-best fourth-place finish with the nation's elite modified tour and Hunter Marriott rounded out the top five after starting 12th.
Lance Mari also recorded a career-best sixth-place finish and USMTS legend Jon Tesch-winner of the 2007 event here-drove a second car out of the Ramirez Motorsports stable to seventh, garnering both the Eibach Spring Forward Award and FK Rod Ends Hard Charger Award in the process after rolling off 18th.
Adam Kates was eighth at the finish line while Sanders regrouped and salvaged a ninth-place finish. Polesitter Travis Saurer completed the top ten.
Nobles Next: The USMTS ventures to the Nobles County Speedway in Worthington, Minn., on Saturday for the 9th Annual USMTS Summer Slam presented by Beyea Custom Headers.
The pit gate opens at 4 p.m., grandstands open at 5, hot laps at 7 and racing gets underway 7:30. Two bikes will be given away and there will be a candy toss for the kids too.
Rodney Sanders and Ryan Gustin have both tasted victory twice at the semi-banked 3/8-mile clay oval just off of I-90. Johnny Scott, Jason Krohn, Jon Tesch and Kelly Shryock have also tasted victory here.
Gustin will meet and greet fans at the Casey's General Store located at 1704 Oxford in Worthington from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. While you're there, get yourself a slice of delicious Casey's pizza, meet the 'The Reaper' and see his No. 19r Spike Hardcore Energy USMTS Modified.
Tickets are $20 for adults or $15 for seniors (65+) and juniors (12-16). Kids ages 11 and under are $5. Pit passes are $35.
Fans can grab coupons good for $2 off an adult ticket at Casey's locations in locations in Fulda, Windom and Worthington, plus Arnolds Park, George, Okoboji, Sibley and Spirit Lake in Iowa. For the location nearest you, visit caseys.com.
In addition to the USMTS, the on-track action will see the Arnold Motor Supply Iron Man Challenge featuring American Racer USRA Stock Cars and Out-Pace USRA B-Mods, plus Cook Racing Supplies USRA Hobby Stocks ($400 to win) and USRA Tuners ($200 to win).
The event is also a Summit Shootout qualifier for the Stock Cars, B-Mods and Hobby Stocks with Summit USRA Weekly Racing Series national points up for grabs in all four USRA divisions.
The Nobles County Speedway is located just off of I-90 at exit 43, then 0.4 mile south on SR 59, then 0.4 mile west on Oxford St., then 0.2 mile north on McMullan ((1600 Stower Dr., Worthington, MN 56187). For more information, check out noblescountyspeedway.com.
The four-day USMTS swing wraps up Sunday at the Casino Speedway in Watertown, S.D., for the Sandy Benson Memorial and 10th Annual USMTS Summer Slam presented by Out-Pace Racing Products. The main event winner will pocket $4,000 at that show.
To connect with the United States Modified Touring Series, visit usmts.com. You can also like us on Facebook, visit us on Instagram, follow us on Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn and watch us on YouTube. Keep up to speed, get it first and subscribe to USMTS e-News.
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United States Modified Touring Series
Casey's General Stores USMTS National Championship
Casey's Hunt for the USMTS National Championship
11th Annual Rapid Rumble presented by Wrisco
Rapid Speedway, Rock Rapids, Iowa
Friday, Aug. 23, 2019
Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown, chassis/engine builder, laps completed and money won. All drivers advanced to the Casey's General Stores "A" Main with the top eight in heat race passing points redrawing for for the first eight starting spots.
SIMPSON PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #1 (8 laps):
1. (3) 0 Jake O'Neil, Tucson, Ariz.
2. (5) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla.
3. (4) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa
4. (2) 27 Don Gerritsen Jr., Rock Rapids, Iowa
5. (1) 9 Jimmy Ray, Las Cruces, N.M.
6. (6) 57 Duke Erickson (R), Sioux Falls, S.D.
FAST SHAFTS HEAT RACE #2 (8 laps):
1. (3) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
2. (1) 21x Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn.
3. (5) 21k Kyle Brown (R), Madrid, Iowa
4. (2) 6 Dustin Kruse (R) Brandon, S.D.
5. (6) 782 Miah Christensen (R), Sioux Falls, S.D.
6. (4) 0 Justin Remus (R) New Ulm, Minn.
EDELBROCK HEAT RACE #3 (8 laps):
1. (1) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan.
2. (6) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas
3. (2) 19sb Lance Mari, El Centro, Calif.
4. (4) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo.
5. (3) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Earlham, Iowa
6. (5) 14r Jon Tesch, Watertown, S.D.
CASEY'S GENERAL STORES "A" MAIN (40 laps):
1. (4) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Durham, 40, $3000.
2. (2) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, Hughes/TriStar, 40, $1700.
3. (8) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett, 40, $1100.
4. (10) 27 Don Gerritsen Jr., Rock Rapids, Iowa, Skyrocket/HarryHeads, 40, $700.
5. (12) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo., Rage/KSE, 40, $700.
6. (9) 19sb Lance Mari, El Centro, Calif., MRT/Yeoman, 40, $650.
7. (18) 14r Jon Tesch, Watertown, S.D., Hughes/Cornett, 40, $700.
8. (6) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan., LG2/Speedway, 40, $550.
9. (5) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, 40, $500.
10. (1) 21x Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn., MBCustoms/ChevPerf, 40, $450.
11. (15) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Earlham, Iowa, Hilsabeck/Mullins, 40, $425.
12. (16) 57 Duke Erickson (R), Sioux Falls, S.D., Dominator/Hanson, 40, $400.
13. (7) 21k Kyle Brown (R), Madrid, Iowa, Harris/Tesar, 40, $375.
14. (13) 782 Miah Christensen (R), Sioux Falls, S.D., MBCustoms/JBM, 40, $225.
15. (11) 6 Dustin Kruse (R), Brandon, S.D., Sidebiter/AEI, 40, $325.
16. (3) 0 Jake O'Neil, Tucson, Ariz., LG2/Cornett, 30, $300.
17. (14) 9 Jimmy Ray, Las Cruces, N.M., AOS/AOS, 28, $300.
18. (17) 0 Justin Remus (R), New Ulm, Minn., Medieval/Bruns, 0, $200.
(R) = Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year contender
Lap Leaders: Gustin 1-21, Sanders 22-32, Phillips 33-40.
Total Laps Led: Gustin 21, Sanders 11, Phillips 8.
Margin of Victory: 1.039 seconds.
Time of Race: 22 minutes, 7.928 seconds (2 cautions).
Provisional Starters: none.
Eibach Spring Forward Award: Tesch (advanced 10 positions).
FK Rod Ends Hard Charger: Tesch (started 18th, finished 7th).
Next Race: Saturday, Aug. 24, Nobles County Speedway, Worthington, Minn.
Casey's General Stores USMTS National Championship Points: Sanders 2902, Ramirez 2712, Marriott 2581, Phillips 2407, Gustin 2378, O'Neil 2250, Kates 1844, Zack VanderBeek 1799, Mike Striegel 1706, Joe Duvall 1471.
Casey's Hunt for the USMTS National Championship Points: Sanders 1020, Ramirez 1007, Phillips 956, Marriott 950, Gustin 691, Saurer 687, O'Neil 680, Kates 680, Mari 647, Mike Striegel 544.
Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year Points: Marriott 2064, Mike Striegel 1571, Dustin Hodges 584, Carlos Ahumada Jr. 549, Nathan Hagar 415.
USMTS Manufacturers Championship Points: MBCustoms 263, Hughes 258, GRT 204, Rage 198, LG2 185.
USMTS Engine Builder of the Year Points: Hatfield 236, Cornett 230, KSE 173, Durham 169, TriStar 131.
American Racer - Ray.
Beyea Custom Headers - Gerritsen.
Bryke Racing - Kruse.
BSB Manufacturing - Gerritsen.
Casey's General Stores - TBD.
Champ Pans - Marriott.
Deatherage Opticians - Erickson.
E3 Spark Plugs - Ramirez.
Edelbrock - Kates.
Eibach - Tesch.
Fast Shafts - Phillips.
FK Rod Ends - Tesch.
Hooker Harness - Brown.
Integra Racing Shocks & Springs - Remus.
Jerovetz Motorsports Racing Parts - Ray.
K1 RaceGear by Ryan Bowers Motorsports - Erickson.
Keyser Manufacturing - Saurer.
KSE Racing Products - Sanders.
Maxima Racing Oils - Phillips.
Out-Pace Racing Products - O'Neil.
PEM Racing Gears & Drivetrain - Phillips.
QA1 - Gerritsen.
RacerWebsite.com - Marriott.
Simpson Performance Products - O'Neil.
Swift Springs - Phillips, Gerritsen.
Sybesma Graphics - Saurer.
Tire Demon - Hilsabeck.
VP Racing Fuels - Phillips.
Wilwood Disc Brakes - Tesch.
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USMTS OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Racer Racing Tires, Casey's General Stores, Chevrolet Performance, CP-Carrillo, Deatherage Opticians, Eibach Springs, Fast Shafts, FK Rod Ends, Intercomp, Jerovetz Motorsports Racing Parts, K1 RaceGear by Ryan Bowers Motorsports, KSE Racing Products, Malvern Bank, Mesilla Valley Transportation, MSD, MyRacePass, Nitroquest Media, Pace Performance, PEM Racing Gears & Drivetrain, RacinDirt.com, RacingJunk.com, Snickers, Spike Hardcore Energy, Summit Racing Equipment, VP Racing Fuels, Wrisco Industries.
USMTS PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: Arizona Sport Shirts, ASi Racewear, Boubin Tire & Automotive, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Duvall Electric, Eagle Moon Farm, Impact RaceGear, PBM Performance Products, RACEceiver, Rancho Milagro Racing, River's Edge Scrap Management, Tony Moro Powder Coat, Top of the World Ranch, YouDirt.com.
USMTS CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: 905 Ink, AFCO Racing Products, Allstar Performance, Beyea Custom Headers, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Bryke Racing, BSB Manufacturing, Champ Pans, E3 Spark Plugs, Edelbrock, Forty9 Designs, Genesis Racing Shocks, Hooker Harness, Hyperco, Integra Racing Shocks and Springs, Keyser Manufacturing, Maxima Racing Oils, Out-Pace Racing Products, QA1, RacerWebsite.com, Real Racing Wheels, Simpson Performance Products, Swift Springs, Sybesma Graphics, Tire Demon, Wilwood Racing.
-USMTS Press Release
-Photo Credit: USMTS