O’Neil Wows Worthington Crowd With Last-Lap Pass

After Terry Philips nipped Dereck Ramirez by two one-thousandths of a second for the win on the first night of ‘The Hunt’ three weeks ago, the racing in the USMTS has been nothing short of incredible. Saturday night was more of the same.

After a riveting 39 laps of racing around the Nobles County Speedway, the winner’s paycheck at the 9th Annual USMTS Summer Slam presented by Beyea Custom Headers came down to a pass for the lead on the 40th and final lap of the main event.

One of the hottest drivers in the sport during the month of August, Phillips took command at the start of the race and set the pace for ten laps but tagged the guardrail in turn two, allowing Jon Tesch to take over the top spot.

Tesch led the procession around the extreme high side of the 1/4-mile clay oval for four circuits before he smacked the backstretch wall and came to a stop at the top of turn three, ending his night and bringing out the race’s first caution.

That gave the lead back to Phillips with Jake O’Neil and Ryan Gustin trading punches for the runner-up spot behind the veteran racer. O’Neil eventually gained a solid grip on Second place, and let Phillips know on several occasions that he was not going away.

Battling heavy lapped traffic the final three laps, Phillips took the white flag with O’Neil on his rear bumper, and the scooted around the low side as O’Neil churned the dark cushion around the high side.

On their way out of turn two, O’Neil pulled alongside Phillips and beat him in the race to turn three. That was all she wrote, as the Tucson, Ariz., native kept Phillips behind him for the last few hundred feet and collected his seventh career USMTS win.

The $3,000 triumph was also the fourth of the 2019 campaign and second of the weekend for the 27-year-old while Phillips had to settle for back-to-back runner-up finishes in this event.

Gustin held firm for third with Hunter Marriott and Dereck Ramirez completing the top five. Adam Kates, Don Gerritsen Jr., Kyle Brown, Travis Saurer, and Daniel Hilsabeck were sixth through tenth, respectively.

Kates advanced eight positions overall for the night to earn the Eibach Spring Forward Award, and nine spots in the feature race to take home an extra one hundred bucks as the FK Rod Ends Hard Charger Award winner. To connect with the United States Modified Touring Series, visit usmts.com.

OFFICIAL RESULTS: United States Modified Touring Series. 9th Annual USMTS Summer Slam. Nobles County Speedway, Worthington, Minn. Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019

Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown, chassis/engine builder, laps completed and money won. All drivers advanced to the Casey’s General Stores “A” Main with the top eight in heat race passing points redrawing for the first eight starting spots.

SIMPSON PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #1 (8 laps): 1. (1) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., 2. (5) 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz., 3. (4) 21K Kyle Brown (R), Madrid, Iowa, 4. (8) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, 5. (7) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo., 6. (3) 21x Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn., 7. (6) 9 Jimmy Ray, Las Cruces, N.M., 8. (2) 0 Justin Remus (R), New Ulm, Minn.

FAST SHAFTS HEAT RACE #2 (8 laps): 1. (2) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla.,  2. (1) 27 Don Gerritsen Jr., Rock Rapids, Iowa, 3. (3) 57 Duke Erickson (R), Sioux Falls, S.D., 4. (4) 14r Jon Tesch, Watertown, S.D., 5. (6) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, 6. (5) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Earlham, Iowa, 7. (8) 19sb Lance Mari, El Centro, Calif., 8. (7) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan.

CASEY’S GENERAL STORES “A” MAIN (40 laps): 1. (3) 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz., LG2/Cornett, 40, $3000., 2. (2) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Durham, 40, $1700., 3. (5) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, Hughes/TriStar, 40, $1100., 4. (9) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo., Rage/KSE, 40, $900., 5. (8) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett, 40, $800., 6. (15) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan., LG2/Speedway, 40, $800., 7. (7) 27 Don Gerritsen Jr., Rock Rapids, Iowa, Skyrocket/HarryHeads, 40, $500., 8. (1) 21k Kyle Brown (R), Madrid, Iowa, Harris/Tesar, 40, $600., 9. (11) 21x Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn., MBCustoms/ChevPerf, 39, $550., 10. (12) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Earlham, Iowa, Hilsabeck/Mullins, 39, $500., 11. (6) 57 Duke Erickson (R), Sioux Falls, S.D., Dominator/Hanson, 39, $450., 12. (14) 9 Jimmy Ray, Las Cruces, N.M., AOS/AOS, 39, $425., 13. (13) 19sb Lance Mari, El Centro, Calif., MRT/Yeoman, 20, $400., 14. (10) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, 16, $375., 15. (4) 14r Jon Tesch, Watertown, S.D., Hughes/Cornett, 15, $350., 16. (16) 0 Justin Remus (R), New Ulm, Minn., Medieval/Bruns, 1, $250.

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

Lap Leaders: Phillips 1-10, Tesch 11-14, Phillips 15-39, O’Neil 40.
Total Laps Led: Phillips 35, Tesch 4, O’Neil 1.

About the author

USMTS Admin

The United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) is a fast growing and very popular open-wheel dirt Modified touring series in the United States.
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