Sanders Edges Ramirez In Another USMTS Thriller At 81 Speedway

Rodney Sanders may have been late to the party but he was the one celebrating after he, Dereck Ramirez, and a few of their friends produced another thriller for the fans at the 81 Speedway when the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s invaded the 3/8-mile clay oval Thursday.

The start of the 40-lap main event looked like the ending but with a different cast of characters. Joe Duvall powered to a big lead at the drop of the green flag but Zack VanderBeek stuck with the high line and eventually pulled even with Duvall on the second lap.

VanderBeek edged ‘Big Daddy’ to lead lap three, and the two raced wheel-to-wheel for several laps. Meanwhile, Ramirez was working his way to the front from the fourth row on the starting grid.

By lap 15, Ramirez was threatening for the top spot. VanderBeek turned it up a notch and they traded lines on a couple of occasions with Ramirez finally securing the lead for the first time as they completed the 18th lap.

From there, the Woodward, Oklahoma, native stretched his advantage over the pack to as much as ten car lengths and appeared to be on his way to a fifth feature win this season.

As Ramirez tried to run off and hide, Sanders slipped by VanderBeek for second on lap 25 and set out to run down the leader.

Sanders, who started sixth, reached the back bumper of Ramirez with four laps to go and snuck underneath to lead lap 37. Ramirez stayed even with Sanders and gave him just enough room to operate the shortest path around the racetrack.

Ramirez was the leader by inches when they crossed beneath the flagstand on laps 38 and 39 but Sanders emerged out of the final corner with the advantage and crossed the finish line with less than three-tenths of a second to spare.

“Man, Dereck was really good tonight and I was just trying to keep it straight off the corner because if I hit it straight off the bottom there was a lot of traction,” said Sanders as he celebrated his series-best sixth win at the 81 Speedway. “It was a lot of fun. Dereck’s probably the cleanest driver there is out there I feel like, so I can always race him clean and we always race each other hard but it seems like we never touch. That was a lot of fun and it was a hell of a night.”

In slightly padding his points lead over Ramirez, the win was the seventh of the season for Sanders and 104th of his USMTS career while Ramirez came up a car-length short of nabbing his fifth of the 2020 campaign.

I got to racing them lapped cars and I didn’t know he was there. He showed me a nose and he was already beside me so I couldn’t do anything about it,” Ramirez admitted. “figured I’d better race him clean. We’ve raced each other clean for the whole year so… It’s fun racing with him. He raced me clean and he did what he had to do on the last lap and I just missed it. It’s what happens.”

One year and five days ago, Ramirez executed a “slide job” on the final lap to steal the win from Terry Phillips. Phillips, however, beat Ramirez to the stripe by two one-thousandths of a second that night and finished third Thursday.

Four-time USMTS national champ Jason Hughes stormed from the 14th starting spot to finish fourth while VanderBeek held off Tanner Mullens for the final spot in the top five.

Duvall claimed the seventh spot after a spirited late-race battle with eighth-place finisher Cole Traugott. Hunter Marriott pocketed a ninth-place paycheck and Darron Fuqua rounded out the top ten.

Friday finds USMTS at The Hummer: When the Humboldt Speedway hosts the 14th Annual Summer Fling @ The Bullring it will be the 52nd feature race for the USMTS at the 1/4-mile semi-banked clay oval.

The Humboldt Speedway is located 0.1 miles west of US 169 at the Humboldt Exit, then 0.5 miles south, then 0.9 miles east on Georgia Rd. The physical address is 1663 Georgia Rd, Humboldt, KS 66748.

Slick Mist Show-Me Shootout Saturday: After a spectacular mid-week show earlier this summer, the USMTS makes its traditional August return to Lucas Oil Speedway this Saturday. Gates open at 4 p.m. this Saturday with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:05.

To connect with the USMTS check out

OFFICIAL RESULTS: United States Modified Touring Series. 7th Annual Event presented by American Racer
81 Speedway, Park City, Kansas. Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020

Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown, chassis/engine builder and laps completed. The top 12 in heat race passing points advanced to the Casey’s “A” Main with the top-8 drawing for starting positions 1-8.

SIMPSON PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #1 (8 laps): 1. (1) 02 Tanner Mullens (R), Wichita, Kan.; 2. (2) 65X Carlos Ahumada Jr., El Paso, Texas; 3. (4) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla.; 4. (7) 6 Casey Skyberg (R), Rapid City, S.D.; 5. (8) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan.; 6. (5) 5* Jason McGehee (R), Wichita, Kan.; 7. (6) 51 Lucas Gibbs (R), Udall, Kan.; 8. (3) 191 Jason Roe (R), Wichita, Kan.; 9. (9) 16 Austin Siebert, Grandview, Mo.

FAST SHAFTS HEAT RACE #2 (8 laps): 1. (2) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla.; 2. (1) J17 Jake Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M.; 3. (7) 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla.; 4. (5) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan.; 5. (6) 9D8 Paden Phillips, Chanute, Kan.; 6. (8) 86 Brian Franz, Halstead, Kan.; 7. (3) 7 Treyton Gann (R), Ponca City, Okla.; 8. (4) 44 Braden Stoner (R), Wichita, Kan.; 9. (9) 21B Bryce Schniepp (R), Wichita, Kan.

EDELBROCK HEAT RACE #3 (8 laps): 1. (2) 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa; 2. (3) G17 Fito Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M.; 3. (8) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas; 4. (7) G3 Brendon Gemmill (R), Wichita, Kan.; 5. (5) 71 Patrick McManus (R), Derby, Kan.; 6. (4) 22N Kevin Newell (R), Wichita, Kan.; 7. (1) 69 Cecil Dymond (R), Goddard, Kan.; 8. (6) 99T T.J. Tolan (R), Wichita, Kan.

MSD PERFORMANCE HEAT RACE #4 (8 laps): 1. (2) 65 Tyler Davis (R), Haysville, Kan.; 2. (4) 3J Jake Nightingale (R), Hutchinson, Kan.; 3. (3) 10W Hunter Wilbanks (R), Lakeland, Tenn.; 4. (7) 2G Brandon Givens (R), Perry, Okla.; 5. (5) 87K Kenny Sweet, Wichita, Kan.; 6. (6) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla.; 7. (1) 10 Dustin Robinson (R), Post, Texas; 8. (8) K19 Will Krup (R), Mount Carmel, Ill.

VP RACING FUELS HEAT RACE #5 (8 laps): 1. (1) 9 Cole Traugott (R), Woodward, Okla.; 2. (3) 62 Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.; 3. (7) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.; 4. (5) 01X Beau Davis (R), Cheney, Kan.; 5. (4) 32B Bobby Bills (R), Wichita, Kan.; 6. (6) 27X Calvin Iverson (R), Eleva, Wis.; 7. (2) 8C Chris Clark, Jackson Hole, Wyo.; 8. (8) 21C Cody Schniepp (R), Wichita, Kan.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #1 (15 laps, top 6 advanced): 1. (2) 6 Casey Skyberg (R), Rapid City, S.D.; 2. (4) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan.; 3. (1) J17 Jake Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M.; 4. (10) 51 Lucas Gibbs (R), Udall, Kan.; 5. (3) 2G Brandon Givens (R), Perry, Okla.; 6. (5) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan.; 7. (15) 16 Austin Siebert, Grandview, Mo.; 8. (11) 69 Cecil Dymond (R), Goddard, Kan., Hughes/Briley.; 9. (8) 5* Jason McGehee (R), Wichita, Kan., ERC/TwoM.; 10. (12) 8C Chris Clark, Jackson Hole, Wyo., GRT/Cornett.; 11. (7) 32B Bobby Bills (R), Wichita, Kan., BillsBuilt/Yancy’s.; 12. (6) 71 Patrick McManus (R), Derby, Kan., Skyrocket/Acme.; 13. (9) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla.; 14. (13) 44 Braden Stoner (R), Wichita, Kan., BillsBuilt/Advanced.; DNS – K19 Will Krup (R), Mount Carmel, Ill., Elite/Baldwin.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #2 (15 laps, top 6 advanced): 1. (1) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla.; 2. (2) G3 Brendon Gemmill (R), Wichita, Kan.; 3. (5) 9D8 Paden Phillips, Chanute, Kan.; 4. (7) 86 Brian Franz, Halstead, Kan.; 5. (11) 10 Dustin Robinson (R), Post, Texas; 6. (9) 27X Calvin Iverson (R), Eleva, Wis.; 7. (10) 7 Treyton Gann (R), Ponca City, Okla., Skyrocket/Hebb’s.; 8. (3) 10W Hunter Wilbanks (R), Lakeland, Tenn., MBCustoms/Mullins.; 9. (6) 87K Kenny Sweet, Wichita, Kan., BillsBuilt/KBS.; 10. (13) 99T T.J. Tolan (R), Wichita, Kan., BillsBuilt/.; 11. (12) 191 Jason Roe (R), Wichita, Kan., GRT/KBS.; 12. (8) 22N Kevin Newell (R), Wichita, Kan., Custom/Newell.; 13. (4) 01X Beau Davis (R), Cheney, Kan., Hughes/ChevPerf.; 14. (15) 21B Bryce Schniepp (R), Wichita, Kan., Hughes/Mullins.; 15. (14) 21C Cody Schniepp (R), Wichita, Kan., Mullens/Thiel.

CASEY’S “A” MAIN (40 laps):
1. (6) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, 40.
2. (7) 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett, 40.
3. (9) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Durham, 40.
4. (14) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, 40.
5. (4) 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Stoen, 40.
6. (3) 02 Tanner Mullens (R), Wichita, Kan., Mullens/Mullens, 40.
7. (1) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., MBCustoms/BMS, 40.
8. (5) 9 Cole Traugott (R), Woodward, Okla., Mullens/ASI, 40.
9. (11) 62 Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo., Rage/KSE, 40.
10. (15) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan., MBCustoms/Driskell, 40.
11. (10) G17 Fito Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M., GR2/ProPower, 40.
12. (2) 3J Jake Nightingale (R), Hutchinson, Kan., Mullens/Mullens, 40.
13. (8) 65 Tyler Davis (R), Haysville, Kan., Hughes/Mullins, 39.
14. (12) 65X Carlos Ahumada Jr., El Paso, Texas, GRT/BMS, 39.
15. (13) 6 Casey Skyberg (R), Rapid City, S.D., Lethal/Mullins, 39.
16. (18) 9D8 Paden Phillips, Chanute, Kan., BillsBuilt/KBS, 39.
17. (23) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan., Jet/Speedway, 39.
18. (21) 2G Brandon Givens (R), Perry, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, 39.
19. (24) 27X Calvin Iverson (R), Eleva, Wis., MBCustoms/Tim’s, 39.
20. (16) G3 Brendon Gemmill (R), Wichita, Kan., VanderBuilt/Stoen, 39.
21. (19) 51 Lucas Gibbs (R), Udall, Kan., MBCustoms/Bailey, 37.
22. (22) 10 Dustin Robinson (R), Post, Texas, WFRC/ASI, 21.
23. (20) 86 Brian Franz, Halstead, Kan., GRT/Shadow, 21.
24. (26) 16 Austin Siebert, Grandview, Mo., MBCustoms/Durham, 18.
25. (17) J17 Jake Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M., GR2/ProPower, 7.
26. (25) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla., GRT/ChevPerf, 0.

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

Lap Leaders: Duvall 1-2, VanderBeek 3-17, Ramirez 18-36, Sanders 37, Ramirez 38-39, Sanders 40.
Total Laps Led: Ramirez 21, VanderBeek 15, Duvall 2, Sanders 2.

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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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