PARK CITY, Kan. — Just a little more than three weeks ago, Jon Mitchell’s United States Modified Touring Series victory celebration was short-lived when his machine came up a few pounds light when crossed the scales at the end of the main event at the Lonestar Speedway.
But on Wednesday night, about 500 miles northwest of there at the 81 Speedway outside of Wichita, Kan., Mitchell left no doubt as he led all 40 laps of the USMTS main event and led the top four finishers across the scales with room to spare.
“Twenty-four eighty. That sounds about right,” a smiling Mitchell said after climbing out of his winning mount which weighed in at 2,480 pounds. “We had a lot of fuel burn off tonight so we made sure we had plenty of weight. We even bolted on some extra just to be sure.”
Similar to the race last month in Kilgore, Texas, Mitchell had to contend with Cade Dillard for most of the race, but prevailed in the end. This time, however, the victory celebration will last long into the night.
“It feels really good to get this win,” he added. “This is such a talented bunch of drivers that it makes it even that much sweeter when you can run up front with them. This trophy feels like gold to me.”
Along the road to his career-first USMTS win, Mitchell survived three caution periods and several breath-taking tussles with lapped traffic, all the while keeping Dillard behind him around the long 3/8-mile dirt oval.
Zack VanderBeek hounded Mitchell for the first 15 laps before Dillard slipped past to assume the second position. The race’s final yellow flew with just three laps remaining and VanderBeek took the opportunity to slip past Dillard.
After chewing away around the top of the track with the leaders for most of the race, VanderBeek found his groove late on the low side and nearly snuck by Mitchell at the end, but instead settled for the runner-up paycheck behind “Catman” while Dillard finished third.
Behind the top trio, Wehrs Machine “Trick Move” of the Race Award recipient Joe Duvall rode to a fourth-place finish with local ace Tyler Davis claiming the fifth spot. Dereck Ramirez, Ricky Thornton Jr., Stormy Scott, Tyler Wolff and Cody Gearhart rounded out the top 10.
Thornton and Scott blazed a trail through field, finishing seventh and eighth after starting 23rd and 24th on the grid, respectively, using provisional starting spots. Provisional starters are not eligible for the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award though, so that honor went to Gearhart who passed ten cars from his 20th starting position.
Thursday, June 8, takes the tireless USMTS touring titans to the Salina Speedway for the first time in the 19-year history of the series. The track took a direct hit from a tornado less than three weeks ago, but track crews and volunteers have worked tirelessly to fix buildings and lights, and repair fences that were destroyed by the 70+ mph winds.
All systems are a go for the MSD USMTS Central Region clash, with Mod Lites and Hobby Stocks also on the menu for Thursday night with pit gates opening at 5 p.m. and spectator seating available at 5. Hot laps start at 7:15 and the green flag waves at 8 p.m.
Adult tickets are $20 with free admission for kids under 16 years old. Pit passes are $35. Race fans can get $2-off discount coupons on race day at Casey’s General Stores locations in Abilene, Lindsborg, Minneapolis and all six locations in Salina. Visit www.caseys.com to find the location nearest you.
The Salina Speedway is a 3/8-mile semi-banked clay oval located off of I-135 at exit 92, then 2.5 miles west on Crawford St., then 2.7 miles south on Burma Rd. in Salina, Kan. For more information, call (785) 292-9220 or visit www.racesalinaspeedway.com online.
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 and Instagram at www.instagram.com/usmts or subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usmtstv. Keep up to speed with everything USMTS by joining our email list at www.usmts.com/subscribe.
-USMTS Press Release. Photo credit: Todd Boyd
CASEY’S GENERAL STORES “A” MAIN (40 laps):
1. (1) 5 Jon Mitchell, Texarkana, Texas, MBCustom/CB, 40, $3000.
2. (4) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Sput’s, 40, $1700.
3. (6) 97 Cade Dillard, Robeline, La., MBCustom/ASI, 40, $1200.
4. (9) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., MBCustom/Hatfield, 40, $1000.
5. (5) 65 Tyler Davis, Haysville, Kan., Hughes/Hatfield, 40, $800.
6. (11) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., LG2/Cornett, 40, $800.
7. (23) 20RT Ricky Thornton Jr., Chandler, Ariz., Shaw/Mullins, 40, $700.
8. (24) 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M., GRT/Mullins, 40, $650.
9. (8) 4w Tyler Wolff (R), Fayetteville, Ark., MBCustom/Mullins, 40, $600.
10. (20) 1M Cody Gearhart, Turpin, Okla., Shaw/Gearhart, 40, $450.
11. (3) 4 Dan Powers, Wichita, Kan., BillsBuilt/KBS, 40, $500.
12. (7) 21T Lance Town, Wellsville, Kan., MBCustom/Driskell, 40, $450.
13. (13) 52 Ryan McAninch, Hutchinson, Kan., GRT/McAninch, 40, $350.
14. (17) 23 Logan Robertson (R), Shamrock, Texas, MBCustom/PPE, 40, $325.
15. (15) 25 Scott Green, Derby, Kan., Hughes/Mullins, 40, $300.
16. (2) 10B Brandon Givens, Cheney, Kan., GRT/Hatfield, 40, $275.
17. (21) 1 Kirby Robe, Wichita, Kan., MBCustom/Robe, 40, $250.
18. (12) 25c Johnny Cammon, Wichita, Kan., GRT/Mullins, 40, $250.
19. (18) 5K Kyle Prauner (R), Norfolk, Neb., Razor/GMPP, 36, $300.
20. (22) 20T Tanner Mullens, Wichita, Kan., Hughes/Mullins, 21, $300.
21. (25) 4a Josh Lanterman (R), Derby, Kan., BillsBuilt/Hillsboro, 17, $300.
22. (19) 22K Kevin Newell, Wichita, Kan., Custom/Newell, 15, $250.
23. (26) 3J Jake Nightingale, Hutchinson, Kan., Mullens/Mullins, 10, $250.
24. (10) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, 4, $300.
25. (14) 9 Cole Traugott, Woodward, Okla., LG2/TRE, 1, $250.
26. (16) 19R Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, Hughes/Mullins, 1, $300.