Sanders Sails To ARMI Salute To Veterans Victory At Salina Highbanks

Rodney Sanders had 93 United States Modified Touring Series victories under his belt coming into the 7th Annual ARMI Salute To Our Veterans presented by Bryke Racing, but none at the Salina Highbanks Speedway.

That all changed Saturday night as the 29-year-old from Happy, Texas, notched his first triumph at the high-banked 3/8-mile clay oval in Pryor Creek, Okla., and 94th of his USMTS career with a dominating performance.

Sanders had the worst draw of the 34 entries but charged from ninth on the grid to second at the checkered flag in just eight laps during Fast Shafts Heat Race #2.

Another unfortunate selection saw ‘The Sandman’ draw the seventh starting spot for the 35-lap main event with multiple heavy-hitters taking the green flag in front of him.

He fell back to eighth by the end of the first lap while polesitter Hunter Marriott took off and set a furious pace up front, but Sanders disposed of Willie Gammill on lap 2 and screamed past both Jason Hughes and Jake O’Neil one lap later to move up to fifth.

Meanwhile, up front Marriott was working to hold back the challenges from Dereck Ramirez who was hoping to improve on his back-to-back runner-up finishes the previous two nights.

Sanders got around Chad Wheeler for the fourth position with six laps in the books, and then worked his way around Tyler Wolff for third on lap 10 and began to reel in the lead duo.

With Sanders closing the gap, Ramirez got by Marriott to grab the lead with 19 complete and Sanders followed into second the next time around.

By lap 22, Sanders was all over the rear bumper of Ramirez and powered ahead to lead the 23rd lap. With the yellow flag remaining holstered for the entire feature race, Sanders disappeared over the final 13 circuits and rolled to a $3,000 payday plus an additional $100 for earning the FK Rod Ends Hard Charger Award.

For most dirt modified racers, finishing second in a USMTS main event is the second-best feeling in the sport. But for Ramirez, it may feel like a cruel joke. Saturday’s second-place effort was the sixth bridesmaid in his last eight starts.

Marriott held on for third with Wolff and Ryan Gustin completing the top five. Sixth through tenth at the finish line Hughes, O’Neil, Terry Phillips, Mitch Keeter and Chad Wheeler.

To connect with the United States Modified Touring Series, visit usmts.com.

OFFICIAL RESULTS: United States Modified Touring Series. 7th Annual ARMI Salute To Our Veterans presented by Bryke Racing. Salina Highbanks Speedway, Pryor Creek, Oklahoma. Saturday, Aug. 17, 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.

SIMPSON PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #1 (8 laps):
1. (6) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo., 2. (5) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla., 3. (3) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., 4. (1) 26 Brian Williams, Fayetteville, Ark., 5. (4) 15 George Martin, Fort Smith, Ark., 6. (7) 17 Brandon Dean (R), Sapulpa, Okla., 7. (9) 00 Cody Jolly (R), Jasper, Mo., 8. (8) 10h Randy Henson, Alma, Ark., 9. (2) 8c Chris Clark, Jackson, Wyo.

FAST SHAFTS HEAT RACE #2 (8 laps): 1. (2) 7 Willie Gammill, Colcord, Okla., 2. (9) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas., 3. (6) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa., 4. (4) 19sb Lance Mari, Imperial, Calif., 5. (8) 34 Jared Russell (R), Muskogee, Okla., 6. (1) 8 Jeremy Vaughn (R), Pocola, Okla., 7. (7) 71 Jim Body, Diamond, Mo., 8. (3) 84c Craig Yeoman (R), Diamond, Mo., 9. (5) 30 Joel Hill (R), Tulsa, Okla.

EDELBROCK HEAT RACE #3 (8 laps): 1. (8) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., 2. (5) 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz., 3. (1) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., 4. (7) 52 Mitch Keeter, Webb City, Mo., 5. (4) 21x Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn., 6. (3) 91 Greg Skaggs, Broken Arrow, Okla., 7. (2) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo., 8. (6) 73 Jay Arnold (R), Haskell, Okla.

MSD PERFORMANCE HEAT RACE #4 (8 laps): 1. (4) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., 2. (8) 4w Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark., 3. (1) 84 John Yeoman (R), Joplin, Mo., 4. (6) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan., 5. (5) 13 Jonathon Beyer (R), Inola, Okla., 6. (7) 9 Jimmy Ray, Las Cruces, N.M., 7. (2) 11n Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark., 8. (3) D25 David Tanner, Wichita Falls, Texas.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #1 (10 laps, top 5 advance): 1. (3) 19sb Lance Mari, Imperial, Calif., 2. (4) 21x Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn., 3. (2) 34 Jared Russell (R), Muskogee, Okla., 4. (1) 84 John Yeoman (R), Joplin, Mo., 5. (7) 00 Cody Jolly (R), Jasper, Mo., 6. (6) 8 Jeremy Vaughn (R), Pocola, Okla., Hughes/BMS, $90., 7. (11) 8c Chris Clark, Jackson, Wyo., GRT/Cornett, $90., 8. (5) 17 Brandon Dean (R), Sapulpa, Okla., Skyrocket/Warrior, $75., 9. (8) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo., 10. (9) 10h Randy Henson, Alma, Ark., Extreme/Mullins, $75., 11. (10) 73 Jay Arnold (R), Haskell, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, $75.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #2 (10 laps, top 5 advance): 1. (1) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan., 2. (2) 26 Brian Williams, Fayetteville, Ark., 3. (8) 11n Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark., 4. (3) 15 George Martin, Fort Smith, Ark., 5. (6) 91 Greg Skaggs, Broken Arrow, Okla., 6. (4) 13 Jonathon Beyer (R), Inola, Okla., 7. (10) D25 David Tanner, Wichita Falls, Texas, WFRC/KPE, $75., 8. (11) 30 Joel Hill (R), Tulsa, Okla., RaceCraft/BMS, $75., 9. (5) 9 Jimmy Ray, Las Cruces, N.M., 10. (7) 71 Jim Body, Diamond, Mo., Shaw/Yeoman, $75., 11. (9) 84c Craig Yeoman (R), Diamond, Mo., Hoffman/Yeoman, $75.

CASEY’S GENERAL STORES “A” MAIN (35 laps): 1. (7) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, 35, $3100., 2. (3) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett, 35, $1700., 3. (1) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo., Rage/KSE, 35, $1100., 4. (4) 4w Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark., MBCustoms/Hill, 35, $900., 5. (9) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, Hughes/TriStar, 35, $800., 6. (8) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, 35, $700., 7. (5) 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz., LG2/Cornett, 35, $650., 8. (12) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Durham, 35, $600., 9. (10) 52 Mitch Keeter, Webb City, Mo., GRT/Yeoman, 35, $400., 10. (2) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla., MBCustoms/Durham, 35, $500., 11. (6) 7 Willie Gammill, Colcord, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, 34, $325., 12. (14) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan., Jet/Speedway, 34, $425., 13. (11) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., MBCustoms/Hill, 34, $400., 14. (17) 34 Jared Russell (R), Muskogee, Okla., Hughes/Thomas, 34, $250., 15. (15) 21x Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn., MBCustoms/ChevPerf, 34, $350., 16. (13) 19sb Lance Mari, Imperial, Calif., MRT/Yeoman, 34, $325., 17. (18) 11n Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark., Hughes/Kelly, 34, $300., 18. (21) 00 Cody Jolly (R), Jasper, Mo., Shaw/Yeoman, 34, $250., 19. (22) 91x Greg Skaggs, Broken Arrow, Okla., Rage/ChevPerf, 34, $250., 20. (24) 9 Jimmy Ray, Las Cruces, N.M., AOS/AOS, 34, $300., 21. (20) 15 George Martin, Fort Smith, Ark., MBCustoms/Bob’s, 33, $250., 22. (19) 84 John Yeoman (R), Joplin, Mo., Hoffman/Yeoman, 33, $250., 23. (16) 26 Brian Williams, Fayetteville, Ark., Hughes/Mullins, 33, $250., 24. (23) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo., GRT/Eagle, 21, $300., 25. (25) 13 Jonathon Beyer (R), Inola, Okla., Mack/Shinook, 16, $250.

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

Lap Leaders: Marriott 1-18, Ramirez 19-22, Sanders 23-35.
Total Laps Led: Marriott 18, Sanders 13, Ramirez 4.

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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