Rodney Sanders Wins Wild West Shootout Championship

Rodney Sanders Wild West Shootout

Rodney Sanders was a very busy man during USA Racewaty’s Wild West Shootout. While pulling double duty between the Super Late Model and USRA Modified ranks, Sanders bagged two more wins in the USRA Modified and won the miniseries point title in the Super Late Model division.

The Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout was back underway on Friday night at USA Raceway (Tucson, Arizona) with a $1,000-to-win, Open Wheel Modified event. Sanders started his outing with a fifth to second charge in heat race action, earning him the second starting spot on the feature grid. In the 25 lap finale, Sanders rocketed to the lead at the onset of the event and never looked back as he drove his #20 Open Wheel Modified to his victory of the weekend. Rodney took the checkered flag in dominating fashion ahead of Ryan Gustin, Grant Junghans, Jake Gallardo and Mike Stearns.

In the Super Late Model ranks, Sanders went into battle against a stout field of fifty-two competitors. He raced to the win from his third starting spot in his heat race, which positioned him starting fifth in the $3,000-to-win feature. Sanders battled amongst the top for much of the event, and used a last lap pass on Ronny Lee Hollingsworth to secure a third place finish behind race winner, Darrell Lanigan and Billy Moyer. Hollingsworth and Ryan Gustin rounded out the top five finishers.

Rodney Sanders claimed his second Open Wheel Modified victory in as many nights on Saturday evening. A strong field of twenty-nine entries were on hand for the program, and Sanders would see his night start much like it had all week. A convincing heat race win from the third starting spot earned Rodney the fifth starting position on the feature grid. When the race went green, Sanders quickly marched forward and took control of the second spot just as Jake Gallardo assumed the lead on lap four.

Sanders would make his first attempt at the top spot on lap ten only to be denied by Gallardo. The duo continued to race side-by-side with Sanders using a slider in turn four to take the lead on lap thirteen. Gallardo would return the favor entering turn one on lap fourteen but, slip over the cushion allowing Sanders regain control down the backstretch. From there, Sanders went on to take the checkered flag and the $1,000 payday ahead of Ricky Thornton Jr., Gallardo, Mike Stearns and Fito Gallardo.

Fifty-two Super Late Models registered for the $3,000-to-win event, and Sanders would rocket from his ninth starting spot to finish fifth in his heat race, locking him into the fifteenth starting position for the 30 lap feature. During the course of the finale, Rodney drove past eight other competitors in route to a solid eighth place finish in the final rundown.

The miniseries drew to a close on Sunday evening with Sanders once again competing in both the Open Wheel Modified and Super Late Model ranks. Twenty-four Open Wheel Modified warriors registered for battle, and an eighth to fourth run in his heat race positioned him starting second in the $1,000-to-win finale. At the drop of the green, pole-sitter Ricky Thornton Jr. lead the way with Sanders trailing in second. Sanders waged a fierce battle at the front of the pack lap-after-lap before ultimately settling into the runner-up spot behind race winner, Ryan Gustin. Jake Gallardo, Mike Stearns and Fito Gallardo rounded out the top five finishers.

A $10,000 winner’s check was posted for Super Late Models as fifty entries registered for battle. A heat race win positioned Rodney starting eighth in the 50 lap finale. Sanders battled amongst the top ten throughout the duration of the feature before crossing the finish line in sixth behind race winner, Jimmy Owens, Jimmy Mars, Chris Simpson, Jason Papich and Tony Jackson Jr.

In addition to a trio of victories over the course of the week-long miniseries, Sanders was also crowned the Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout Super Late Model champion. Finishing just two points ahead of Jason Papich in the championship standings, and earning $2,000 for his efforts.

“It was a great week for our team in both divisions, and definitely gives us some momentum to start the season,” said Sanders. “I’m really excited about the potential that this season holds for us.”

Complete results from the event are available at www.RaceUSARaceway.com.

About the author

Jeff Huneycutt

Jeff Huneycutt has been in the automotive industry long enough to collect more project cars than he can afford to keep running. When not chasing electrical gremlins in his '78 Camaro, he can usually be found planning unrealistic engine builds.
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