Sanders Displays A Reign Of Dominance At I-80 Speedway In USMTS

Photos by Todd Boyd.

On Friday, July 19, Rodney Sanders picked up where he left off last year by winning Friday’s preliminary feature for the USMTS Modifieds during the opening night of I-80 Speedway’s 9th Annual Imperial Tile Silver Dollar Nationals.

After six qualifying heat races, 20 drivers competed in the 30-lap main event which was split into two 15-lap segments. Terry Phillips was the leader at the end of the first segment, which garnered the Springfield, Mo., native a $1,000 bonus.

Sanders finished second but the top six were inverted for the final 15-lap dash, so Sanders rolled off fifth with Phillips to his outside in row three.

Hunter Marriott led the 16th lap before Jason Hughes recorded his first lap led with the USMTS this season on lap 17. The four-time USMTS National Champion led through lap 24 when Sanders blasted around the outside to grab the lead.

From there, Sanders proceeded to sail away to a comfortable ten-car-length advantage at the checkered flag and earned an additional $1,000 in registering his 89th career USMTS victory (nine of which have happened at the I-80 Speedway).

Hughes was second at the end of 30 laps while Dereck Ramirez was in third place at the conclusion of each segment. Phillips wound up fourth in the second segment and Marriott rounded out the top five.

Zack VanderBeek, Jacob Bleess, and Jake Timm finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, and are all locked into the first four rows of Saturday’s $8,000-to-win, $500-to-start main event.

OFFICIAL RESULTS: United States Modified Touring Series
Springs – Night 1 of 2, I-80 Speedway, Greenwood, Nebraska. Friday, July 19, 2019

Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown, chassis/engine builder, laps completed and money won. The top 12 in heat race passing points advance to the Casey’s General Stores “A” Main.

Round #1, SIMPSON PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #1 (8 laps): 1. (3) 96t R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz., 2. (5) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas., 3. (4) 21 Jacob Bleess, Chatfield, Minn., 4. (9) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa., 5. (8) 49jr Jake Timm, Minnesota City, Minn. 6. (1) R21 Ryan Schaffer, Corning, Iowa., 7. (6) 5k Kyle Prauner, Norfolk, Neb., 8. (2) 9 Kent Arment, Aberdeen, S.D., 9. (7) 78 Derrick Hicks (R), Ravenwood, Mo.

Round #1, FAST SHAFTS HEAT RACE #2 (8 laps): 1. (4) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., 2. (8) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., 3. (2) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo., 4. (7) 19 Dustin Sorensen, Rochester, Minn., 5. (9) 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis., 6. (6) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Earlham, Iowa., 7. (5) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa., 8. (3) 20b Brandon Clough (R), Wallace, Neb., 9. (1) 64 Nick Hermsen, Omaha, Neb.

Round #1, EDELBROCK HEAT RACE #3 (8 laps): 1. (4) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo., 2. (5) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., 3. (7) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan., 4. (1) 19sb Lance Mari, Imperial, Calif.,  5. (6) 21x Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn., 6. (2) 88 Randy Klein, Lisbon, N.D., 7. (3) 8c Chris Clark, Jackson, Wyo., DNS – 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz.

Round #2, SIMPSON PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #1 (8 laps): 1. (7) 96t R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz., 2. (2) 49jr Jake Timm, Minnesota City, Minn., 3. (5) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo., 4. (1) 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis., 5. (8) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo., 6. (9) R21 Ryan Schaffer, Corning, Iowa., 7. (6) 8c Chris Clark, Jackson, Wyo., 8. (4) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Earlham, Iowa., 9. (3) 19 Dustin Sorensen, Rochester, Minn.

Round #2, FAST SHAFTS HEAT RACE #2 (8 laps): 1. (5) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas., 2. (6) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., 3. (2) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., 4. (8) 19sb Lance Mari, Imperial, Calif., 5. (3) 21x Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn., 6. (4) 5k Kyle Prauner, Norfolk, Neb., 7. (7) 20b Brandon Clough (R), Wallace, Neb., 8. (1) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa., DNS – 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz.

Round #2, EDELBROCK HEAT RACE #3 (8 laps): 1. (3) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., 2. (4) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa., 3. (1) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan., 4. (5) 21 Jacob Bleess, Chatfield, Minn., 5. (2) 78 Derrick Hicks (R), Ravenwood, Mo., 6. (6) 88 Randy Klein, Lisbon, N.D., 7. (7) 9 Kent Arment, Aberdeen, S.D., 8. (8) 64 Nick Hermsen, Omaha, Neb.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN (10 laps, top 4 advance): 1. (1) 19 Dustin Sorensen, Rochester, Minn., 2. (7) 9 Kent Arment, Aberdeen, S.D., 3. (2) 88 Randy Klein, Lisbon, N.D., 4. (4) 78 Derrick Hicks (R), Ravenwood, Mo., 5. (3) 5k Kyle Prauner, Norfolk, Neb., Razor/ChevPerf, $150., 6. (8) 20b Brandon Clough (R), Wallace, Neb., 1stClass/ChevPerf, $140., 7. (6) 8c Chris Clark, Jackson, Wyo., GRT/ChevPerf, $120., 8. (9) 64 Nick Hermsen, Omaha, Neb., Harris/Woodard, $110., 9. (5) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Earlham, Iowa, Hilsabeck/Mullins, $100., DNS – 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz., LG2/Cornett, $200.

CASEY’S GENERAL STORES “A” MAIN – SEGMENT #1 (15 laps): 1. (3) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., 15, $1,000., 2. (2) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, 15, $700., 3. (4) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., 15, $500., 4. (1) 96t R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz., 15, $450., 5. (5) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo., 15, $400., 6. (6) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., 15, $375., 7. (13) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, 15., 8. (8) 49jr Jake Timm, Minnesota City, Minn., 15., 9. (9) 21 Jacob Bleess, Chatfield, Minn., 15., 10. (7) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan., 15. 11. (12) 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis., 15., 12. (14) 21x Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn., 15., 13. (10) 19sb Lance Mari, Imperial, Calif., 15., 14. (17) 9 Kent Arment, Aberdeen, S.D., 15., 15. (18) 88 Randy Klein, Lisbon, N.D., 15., 16. (11) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo., 15., 17. (15) R21 Ryan Schaffer, Corning, Iowa, 12., 18. (16) 19 Dustin Sorensen, Rochester, Minn., 11., 19. (19) 78 Derrick Hicks (R), Ravenwood, Mo., 11., DNS – 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, 0.

CASEY’S GENERAL STORES “A” MAIN – SEGMENT #2 (15 laps): 1. (5) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, 15, $1,000., 2. (1) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, 15, $700., 3. (4) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett, 15, $500., 4. (6) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Durham, 15, $400., 5. (2) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo., Rage/KSE, 15, $375., 6. (7) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Stoen, 15, $450., 7. (9) 21 Jacob Bleess, Chatfield, Minn., VanderBuilt/KSE, 15, $325., 8. (8) 49jr Jake Timm, Minnesota City, Minn., MBCustoms/OFI, 15, $300., 9. (11) 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis., VanderBuilt/OFI, 15, $300., 10. (12) 21x Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn., MBCustoms/ChevPerf, 15, $300., 11. (10) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan., MBCustoms/Driskell, 15, $300., 12. (19) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo., GRT/ChevPerf, 15, $300., 13. (13) 19sb Lance Mari, Imperial, Calif., MRT/Yeoman, 15, $300., 14. (14) 9 Kent Arment, Aberdeen, S.D., Hughes/Dakota, 15, $300., 15. (15) 88 Randy Klein, Lisbon, N.D., MBCustoms/Tim’s, 15, $300., 16. (3) 96t R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz., Lethal/Mullins, 8, $300., DNS – R21 Ryan Schaffer, Corning, Iowa, LG2/Mullins, 0, $300., DNS – 19 Dustin Sorensen, Rochester, Minn., MBCustoms/Action, 0, $300., DNS – 78 Derrick Hicks (R), Ravenwood, Mo., Hughes/Wyman, 0, $300.,DNS – 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, Hughes/TriStar, 0, $200.

Lap Leaders: Whitwell 1-4, Phillips 5-15, Marriott 16, Hughes 17-24, Sanders 25-30.

Saturday, July 20, 2019: Sanders Extends Silver Dollar Nationals Reign Of Dominance

The deed to the venue may show that the Kosiski family has possession of the land and buildings, but two-time USMTS National Champion Rodney Sanders simply owns I-80 Speedway.

Since 2005 when Tommy Myer won the first USMTS feature held here, the United States Modified Touring Series has staged 17 more main events at the popular 25-year-old 4/10-mile clay oval in Greenwood, Nebraska. Sanders has won 10 of those. In fact, since his first win here in 2013, he has been absent from victory lane just three times.

 

His latest came on Saturday night in a dominating wire-to-wire performance before a standing-room-only packed house. The win was worth $8,000 and the 90th of his USMTS career.

After winning Friday’s night’s preliminary feature, Sanders redrew the pole for Saturday night’s 40-lap finale and, except for a possible game-changing caution flag with just three laps to go, the 29-year-old from Happy, Texas, was never seriously challenged.

The late yellow flag was for Terry Phillips, who was running second when mechanical failure struck. Phillips was the Silver Dollar Nationals champion in 2012—one year prior to Sanders’ first at the track.

With 2017 Silver Dollar Nationals winner Ryan Gustin and four-time USMTS National Champion Jason Hughes on his rear bumper for the restart and three-lap dash to the finish, Sanders might have been considered a sitting duck but sped away from the pack when the green flag reappeared.

Hughes, who won a Casey’s General Stores Hunt for the USMTS National Championship event here in August 2013, snuck past Gustin the closing laps to finish second while ‘The Reaper’ kept Jake Timm at bay for third-place money.

Zack VanderBeek, who gave Sanders his toughest challenge in the opening laps of the feature race, rounded out the top five finishers while 17th-starting Jake O’Neil, 19th-starting R.C. Whitwell, Hunter Marriott, 18th-starting Dustin Sorensen and Dereck Ramirez completed the top 10.

One position at the end turned out to be huge for Ramirez as Sanders edged him for the MSD Performance USMTS Mid-American Series points title by a single point (826 to 825). O’Neil, Marriott, and Gustin rounded out the top five finishers in the final regional standings.

The race was also the final points contest in the Spike Hardcore Energy USMTS Northern Lights Series, and Sanders claimed that title too with a bit more breathing room (712 to 646) over VanderBeek. Gustin, O’Neil, and Ramirez filled out the rest of the top five positions.

And Sanders continues to lead the Casey’s General Stores USMTS National Championship points with 24 points races left on the 2019 campaign. Ramirez, Gustin, Marriott, and O’Neil fill out the top five in the national standings.

Race Results: United States Modified Touring Series. 9th Annual Imperial Tile Silver Dollar Nationals presented by Swift Springs – Night 2 of 2. I-80 Speedway, Greenwood, Nebraska. Saturday, July 20, 2019

Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown, chassis/engine builder, laps completed and money won. The top 8 from Friday’s “A” Main were locked into tonight’s “A” Main.

SIMPSON PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #1 (8 laps): 1. (1) 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis., 2. (2) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan., 3. (3) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo., 4. (6) 78 Derrick Hicks (R), Ravenwood, Mo., 5. (9) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Earlham, Iowa., 6. (5) R21 Ryan Schaffer, Corning, Iowa., 7. (4) 88 Randy Klein, Lisbon, N.D., 8. (10) 15m Shane Demey (R), Denison, Iowa., 9. (7) 5k Kyle Prauner, Norfolk, Neb., 10. (8) 8c Chris Clark, Jackson, Wyo.

FAST SHAFTS HEAT RACE #2 (8 laps): 1. (6) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa., 2. (1) 21x Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn.
3. (3) 9 Kent Arment, Aberdeen, S.D., 4. (2) 19sb Lance Mari, Imperial, Calif., 5. (9) 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz., 6. (5) 19 Dustin Sorensen, Rochester, Minn., 7. (4) 96t R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz., 8. (10) 57 Duke Erickson (R), Sioux Falls, S.D., 9. (7) 20b Brandon Clough (R), Wallace, Neb., 10. (8) 64 Nick Hermsen (R), Omaha, Neb.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN (10 laps, top 8 advance): 1. (2) 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz., 2. (4) 19 Dustin Sorensen, Rochester, Minn., 3. (6) 96t R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz., 4. (5) 88 Randy Klein, Lisbon, N.D., 5. (9) 5k Kyle Prauner, Norfolk, Neb.,
6. (3) R21 Ryan Schaffer, Corning, Iowa., 7. (1) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Earlham, Iowa., 8. (8) 57 Duke Erickson (R), Sioux Falls, S.D.,
9. (7) 15m Shane Demey (R), Denison, Iowa., Harris/ChevPerf, 40, $400., 10. (10) 20b Brandon Clough (R), Wallace, Neb., 1stClass/ChevPerf, 40, $350., 11. (11) 8c Chris Clark, Jackson, Wyo., GRT/ChevPerf, 40, $325., 12. (12) 64 Nick Hermsen (R), Omaha, Neb.

CASEY’S GENERAL STORES “A” MAIN (40 laps): 1. (1) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, 40, $8000., 2. (8) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, 40, $4000., 3. (10) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, Hughes/TriStar, 40, $2700., 4. (3) 49jr Jake Timm, Minnesota City, Minn., MBCustoms/OFI, 40, $2200., 5. (2) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Stoen, 40, $1800., 6. (17) 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz., LG2/Cornett, 40, $1500., 7. (19) 96t R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz., Lethal/Mullins, 40, $1300., 8. (6) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo., Rage/KSE, 40, $1000., 9. (18) 19 Dustin Sorensen, Rochester, Minn., MBCustoms/Action, 40, $900., 10. (7) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett, 40, $850., 11. (11) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan., MBCustoms/Driskell, 40, $800., 12. (9) 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis., VanderBuilt/OFI, 40, $750., 13. (5) 21 Jacob Bleess, Chatfield, Minn., VanderBuilt/KSE, 40, $700., 14. (12) 21x Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn., MBCustoms/ChevPerf, 40, $675., 15. (13) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo., GRT/ChevPerf, 40, $650., 16. (20) 88 Randy Klein, Lisbon, N.D., MBCustoms/Tim’s, 40, $625., 17. (14) 9 Kent Arment, Aberdeen, S.D., Hughes/Mullins, 40, $600., 18. (24) 57 Duke Erickson (R), Sioux Falls, S.D., Dominator/Hanson, 40, $575., 19. (21) 5k Kyle Prauner, Norfolk, Neb., Razor/ChevPerf, 40, $550., 20. (15) 78 Derrick Hicks (R), Ravenwood, Mo., Hughes/Wyman, 40, $540., 21. (23) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Earlham, Iowa, Hilsabeck/Mullins, 40, $530., 22. (4) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Durham, 37, $520., 23. (22) R21 Ryan Schaffer, Corning, Iowa, LG2/Mullins, 13, $510., 24. (25) 64 Nick Hermsen (R), Omaha, Neb., Harris/Woodard, 4, $500., 25. (16) 19sb Lance Mari, Imperial, Calif., MRT/Yeoman, 1, $500.

(R) = Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year contender

Lap Leader: Sanders 1-40.

 

 

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
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