BAYTOWN, Texas—Opening night of the 6th Annual USMTS Texas Spring Nationals was a coming out party for rookie contenders with Austin Arneson leading the charge and celebrating his career-first United States Modified Touring Series victory.
Arneson, 23, started the Mesilla Valley Transportation “A” Main at the Royal Purple Raceway from the outside of the front row, and left no doubt as to who the man to beat was tonight, leading all 30 laps and collecting $2,000 for his efforts.
The USMTS Rookie of the Year points leader from Fargo, N.D., followed Ryan Gustin to the checkered flag last Saturday at the Shady Oaks Speedway for what was a short-lived career-best second-place finish.
Driving the No. 10 UMotors GRT powered by Durham Racing Engines, Arneson became the first rookie to win a USMTS feature since Cade Dillard won his first in November—a non-points race at the Ark-La-Tex Speedway. The last driver to win a USMTS points race during his rookie season was Stormy Scott in 2012.
Jason Hughes of Watts, Okla., was the hard charger in Thursday’s contest, racing from tenth on the 26-car starting grid to second behind Arneson.
Clyde Dunn Jr. made his first start of 2015 pay off with a third-place finish while USMTS Rookie of the Year hopefuls Jesse Sobbing and Ben Kates finished fourth and fifth.
Sixth through tenth were Chris Henigan, Dillard, Philip Houston, Dereck Ramirez and Johnny Scott.
With his triumph, Arneson jumped up to second in the MVT Gulf Coast Border Region points standings behind Hughes. Houston, Ramirez and Sobbing fill out the rest of the top five positions.
-USMTS Press Release. Photo Credit: Mike Spivey Photo