MASON CITY, Iowa — One week ago, Terry Phillips surpassed the two-year anniversary of his last United States Modified Touring Series win. After Sunday night’s race at the Mason City Motor Speedway, there won’t be a third.
Phillips experienced his share of bad luck during the winless streak, but Sunday night a little good fortune came in the direction of the 52-year-old veteran from Springfield, Mo., when race leader Johnny Scott suffered a flat tire with eight laps to go.
When opportunity knocked, Phillips kicked open the door and pulled away from the pack over the last few laps to notch his 25th career USMTS victory-his first since Aug. 5, 2016.
Scott, on the other hand, was well on his way to scoring his third straight win of the weekend and extend his points lead in the USMTS Hunt for the Casey’s Cup powered by Summit before misfortune struck on lap 17.
While it’s been a dream season for Scott, it’s been a nightmare for Phillips. But what better time than the 7th Annual Diamond Jo Casino “All-In 77” to turn his luck around?
Scaling back his successful late model program this year to focus on chasing the $50,000 USMTS national championship, the title is all but out of reach at this point. But that hasn’t stopped him from digging-and the miles on his tow vehicle are no fewer than if he had one every race this season.
Commitment and tenacity paid off to the tune of $2,875 Sunday night, but the cold-blooded murder of the monkey on his back was priceless.
For the second time in as many nights, “Cool Hand” Lucas Schott wound up second at the finish line. Rodney Sanders earned the FK Rod Ends Hard Charger Award by racing from ninth to third in 25 laps and early race leader Zack VanderBeek held off Dereck Ramirez for fourth.
Johnny Scott rebounded to finish sixth while twin brother Stormy Scott followed him in seventh. Cory Crapser, Joe Duvall and Adam Kates completed the top ten.
In nine USMTS events held at the North Iowa Fairgrounds half-mile dirt oval, Phillips became the eighth different driver to visit victory lane. Only Ryan Gustin has two wins-both of them coming on the same night last August after an early-season rain-out forced the double-features night.
From the track formerly known as the I-35 Speedway, the series heads south on said interstate highway to invade the still-known-as I-35 Speedway in Winston, Mo., this Thursday, Aug. 16.
Then on Friday, the Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., hosts the 3rd Annual Grant Junghans Memorial with a $10,002 top prize up for grabs.
The weekend wraps up Saturday at the Salina Highbanks Speedway in Pryor Creek, Okla.
CASEY’S GENERAL STORES “A” MAIN (25 laps):
1. (3) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Durham, 25, $2875.
2. (6) 69 Lucas Schott, Chatfield, Minn., MBCustoms/Hill, 25, $1850.
3. (9) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, 25, $1325.
4. (1) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Stoen, 25, $1020.
5. (5) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett, 25, $915.
6. (4) 1st Johnny Scott, Cameron, Mo., VanderBuilt/Hill, 25, $810.
7. (8) 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M., VanderBuilt/Mullins, 25, $755.
8. (7) 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis., MBCustoms/Troy’s, 25, $400.
9. (11) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., MBCustoms/ChevPerf, 25, $675.
10. (10) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan., LG2/Speedway, 25, $550.
11. (13) 65D Dustin Brown, Thornton, Iowa, Skyrocket/ASI, 25, $225.
12. (14) 8c Chris Clark, Jackson, Wyo., GRT/ChevPerf, 25, $300.
13. (12) 19sb Lance Mari (R), Imperial, Calif., MRT/Yeoman, 16, $275.
14. (2) 0 Jake O’Neil (R), Tucson, Ariz., LG2/Cornett, 3, $545.
15. (15) 32 D.J. Shannon (R), Merced, Calif., LG2/ChevPerf, 0, $250.
-USMTS Press Release
-Photo credit: Buck Monson