GREENWOOD, Neb.-After a grueling Southern Speedweek to open the month of June, the drivers and crews of the USMTS are currently on a two-week vacation or testing their meddle elsewhere before roaring back full force for the final half of the 2015 campaign next Friday and Saturday, July 17-18, at the 5th Annual Silver Dollar Nationals at the I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb.
Earlier this year, United States Modified Touring Series officials announced a record-shattering points fund with a possible $150,000 payout to the 2015 USMTS National Champion.
“This is something we have wanted to do for some time now, but you have to have the support from drivers, fans and sponsors to make it work,” said USMTS President Todd Staley. “Not only are the drivers who compete in the USMTS the best of the best, but this is proof that our fans and marketing partners are the best of the best too.”
If any driver could to secure all four regional championships and the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental, he or she would collect the coveted $110,000 bonus to make the total take as much as $150,000.
That dangling carrot was pulled away two weeks ago when Rodney Sanders clinched the Double H Bands Southern Region points title. With USMTS Rookie of the Year contender Austin Arneson capturing the MVT Gulf Coast Border Region back in early March, it meant the four-region sweep was no longer possible.
What Sanders did, however, was solidify himself as the lone man in line for a possible $100,000 payoff if he can stay near-perfect through the end of September.
Winning three regional championships plus ‘The Hunt’ will net a driver $35,000 plus a $65,000 bonus for a total payday of $100,000. Beyond that, two regional triumphs and the USMTS National Championship could earn somebody $30,000 plus a $20,000 bonus for $50,000 total.
With one regional crown already on his head, Sanders is in the driver’s seat in the two remaining regional battles. In the MSD Central Region, Sanders holds a 47-point lead over Cade Dillard with just two races remaining. Sanders has already mathematically clinched the Farm Boy BBQ Sauce Northern Region with just one race remaining on Tuesday, July 21, at the Rapid Speedway in Rock Rapids, Iowa.
Now all the 25-year-old from Happy, Texas, has to do is come out on top in the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental and capture his third straight USMTS National Championship.
Sanders has amassed 12 feature wins so far this season and is fourth on the USMTS all-time wins list with 57 career victories, but he will have his work cut out for him if he intends to complete the national title three-peat.
Twenty-two other drivers are already locked into ‘The Hunt’ including Dereck Ramirez, Jesse Sobbing, Cade Dillard, Philip Houston, Grant Junghans, Joe Duvall, Daniel Hilsabeck, Austin Arneson, Casey Arneson, Ronnie Gould III, Zack VanderBeek, Jake Gallardo, Stormy Scott, Dustin Allen, Johnny Scott, Ben Kates, Austin Theiss, Jason Hughes, Steve Whiteaker Jr., Logan Robertson, Chase Allen and Triston Dycus.
Ryan Gustin, Kelly Shryock, Brian Green, Dan Ebert, Brent Larson, Jesse Glenz, Joey Jensen, Cory Crapser, Chris Oertel, Bob Gierke, Cody Bauman, Pat Graham, Brock Bauman, Dagan Heim and Billy Vogel can punch their ticket by simply showing up at the final two MSD Central Region races or the Farm Boy BBQ Sauce Northern Region finale, and even more can race their way in by notching a top-15 finish in the final points for either region.
When the 15-race Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 6, at the 81 Speedway in Park City, Kan., no more than 112 points will separate the incoming points leader and the last-place driver in the standings.
It’s anybody’s $20,000 title to win, but for Sanders the stakes are five times higher.
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.
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– USMTS press release and supplied photo