VanderBeek Gets It Done At 81, Scores First USMTS Checkers Of 2019

After several near misses in the early going this season, Zack VanderBeek finally found the road to victory lane and garnered his 48th career USMTS win at the 81 Speedway on Thursday night.

The 34-year-old from New Sharon, Iowa, hasn’t employed any drastic measures to get faster, just plugging away.

“We made some little changes, but we’re just working hard and not giving up,” he said after receiving the winner’s trophy just shortly after 10:30. “It’s a heck of a lot easier when you can start in front of these guys.”

Local favorite and Wichita native Cody Schniepp snagged the Sybesma Pole Award, but VanderBeek muscled his familiar No. 33z Casey’s General Stores VanderBuilt Race Cars USMTS Modified into the top spot to lead the first lap.

About 20 minutes and 40 laps later, ‘The Z-Man’ finally had a checkered flag to take home from C. Ray Hall’s historic facility—a place where VanderBeek had piled up several near-misses over the last decade.

“King of America was tough, and then going down south there’s a lot of good cars,” VanderBeek added. “We’ve been kind of right there but you just have to get in the right position. I think we’ll have some more wins this year.”

Conversely, Rodney Sanders has a series-best four triumphs at the 81 Speedway and two wins under his belt this season already. This time, however, ‘The Sandman’ had to follow his long-time nemesis to the finish line.

Sanders chased Schniepp for the first half of the main event before eventually working his way into second, but he was never able to mount a serious challenge on the leader despite two caution flags late in the race.

“Once I got to second I knew Zack was probably not going to make a mistake,” said the 2013 and 2014 USMTS National Champion. “At that point I was just trying to save my right rear tire and just kind of hang on.”

For his part, Schniepp kept pace with the lead duo until the end, coming home with a career-best third-place USMTS finish and holding off Ryan Gustin over the final laps.

Jake O’Neil returned to USMTS action after nearly a month off to recover from an apparent staff infection in his legs, and snatched a top-five finish as a ‘Welcome Home’ gift.

R.C. Whitwell, Dereck Ramirez, Hunter Marriott, Joe Duvall and Chad Wheeler completed the top 10.  learn more about the United States Modified Touring Series, visit USMTS.com or call (515) 832-7944.

OFFICIAL RESULTS: USMTS National Championship powered by Summit. 8th Annual Sunflower State Showdown. 81 Speedway, Park City, Kansas. Thursday, April 25, 2019

SIMPSON PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #1 (8 laps):
1. (1) 19R Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, 2. (3) 96T R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz, 3. (2) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla, 4. (5) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla, 5. (6) 4W Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark, 6. (4) 11n Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark, 7. (7) 86 Eric Main (R), Hutchinson, Kan.

FAST SHAFTS HEAT RACE #2 (8 laps): 1. (1) 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz, 2. (3) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, 3. (4) 65 Tyler Davis, Haysville, Kan, 4. (6) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo, 5. (5) 4a Josh Lanterman, Derby, Kan, 6. (2) 747 Colton Eck (R), Goddard, Kan, 7. (7) 54 Tim Clark (R), Great Bend, Kan.

EDELBROCK HEAT RACE #3 (8 laps): 1. (5) 21C Cody Schniepp, Wichita, Kan, 2. (3) 25 Scott Green, Derby, Kan, 3. (1) 9 Cole Traugott (R), Woodward, Okla, 4. (4) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan, 5. (2) 21b Bryce Schniepp, Wichita, Kan, 6. (7) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan, 7. (6) 42R Ross McCartney (R), Lahoma, Okla.

MSD PERFORMANCE HEAT RACE #4 (8 laps): 1. (1) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo, 2. (3) 02 Tanner Mullens, Wichita, Kan, 3. (5) 4 Dan Powers, Wichita, Kan, 4. (4) 22H Dustin Hodges (R), Centralia, Mo, 5. (2) 52 Ryan McAninch, Hutchinson, Kan, 6. (6) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo, 7. (7) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla.

VP RACE FUELS HEAT RACE #5 (8 laps): 1. (3) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, 2. (1) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla,
3. (5) 16 Austin Siebert, Grandview, Mo, 4. (6) 3J Jake Nightingale (R), Wichita, Kan, 5. (4) 96jr Jon Herring, Woodward, Okla, 6. (7) 22N Kevin Newell (R), Wichita, Kan, 7. (2) 60 Cody Kretchmar (R), Wichita, Kan.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #1 (15 laps, top 5 advance): 1. (1) 65 Tyler Davis, Haysville, Kan, 2. (2) 9 Cole Traugott (R), Woodward, Okla, 3. (4) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan, 4. (5) 4W Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark, 5. (3) 3J Jake Nightingale (R), Wichita, Kan, 6. (7) 96jr Jon Herring, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Sput’s, $75, 7. (6) 21b Bryce Schniepp, Wichita, Kan, 8. (9) 747 Colton Eck (R), Goddard, Kan., GRT/Hillsboro, $75, 9. (8) 22N Kevin Newell (R), Wichita, Kan., Custom/Newell, $75, 10. (12) 60 Cody Kretchmar (R), Wichita, Kan., BillsBuilt/KBS, $75, 11. (11) 42R Ross McCartney (R), Lahoma, Okla., Hughes/Sput’s, $75, 12. (10) 86 Eric Main (R), Hutchinson, Kan., BillsBuilt/Main, $75.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #2 (15 laps, top 5 advance): 1. (3) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla, 2. (2) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo, 3. (1) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla, 4. (7) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan, 5. (4) 22H Dustin Hodges (R), Centralia, Mo, 6. (9) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo, 7. (6) 52 Ryan McAninch, Hutchinson, Kan., MBCustoms/McAninch, $75, 8. (5) 4a Josh Lanterman, Derby, Kan, 9. (8) 11n Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark., Hughes/Kelly, $90, 10. (11) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla, 11. (10) 54 Tim Clark (R), Great Bend, Kan., BMS/Clark, $75.

CASEY’S GENERAL STORES “A” MAIN (40 laps):
1. (2) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Stoen, 40, $2500, 2. (6) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, 40, $1500, 3. (1) 21C Cody Schniepp, Wichita, Kan., Mullens/Thiel, 40, $800, 4. (5) 19R Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, Hughes/TriStar, 40, $800, 5. (3) 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz., LG2/Cornett, 40, $700, 6. (8) 96T R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz., Longhorn/Mullins, 40, $400, 7. (14) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett, 40, $550, 8. (16) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo., Rage/KSE, 40, $600, 9. (10) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., MBCustoms/ChevPerf, 40, $450, 10. (18) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla., VanderBuilt/Durham, 40, $400, 11. (9) 02 Tanner Mullens, Wichita, Kan., Mullens/Mullens, 40, $375, 12. (26) 21b Bryce Schniepp, Wichita, Kan., GRT/Thiel, 40, $200, 13. (19) 4W Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark., MBCustoms/Hill, 40, $325, 14. (12) 16 Austin Siebert, Grandview, Mo., MBCustoms/Durham, 40, $200, 15. (22) 22H Dustin Hodges (R), Centralia, Mo., VanderBuilt/Crane, 40, $275, 16. (4) 25 Scott Green, Derby, Kan., Hughes/Mullins, 40, $200, 17. (23) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo., MBCustoms/ChevPerf, 40, $250, 18. (15) 9 Cole Traugott (R), Woodward, Okla., Mullens/ASI, 37, $200, 19. (24) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla., Shaw/BlueDiamond, 35, $250, 20. (7) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Durham, 30, $250, 21. (20) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan., LG2/Speedway, 28, $250, 22. (21) 3J Jake Nightingale (R), Wichita, Kan., Mullens/Mullens, 25, $200, 23. (11) 4 Dan Powers, Wichita, Kan., GRT/KBS, 17, $200, 24. (25) 4a Josh Lanterman, Derby, Kan., BillsBuilt/Hillsboro, 15, $200, 25. (13) 65 Tyler Davis, Haysville, Kan., Hughes/Hatfield, 12, $200,
26. (17) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan., MBCustoms/Driskell, 8, $200.

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

Lap Leader: VanderBeek 1-40.
Total Laps Led: VanderBeek 40.
Margin of Victory: 0.482 second.
Time of Race: 20 minutes, 27.585 seconds (3 cautions).
Provisional Starters: Striegel (regional), Hagar (national), Lanterman (track), B. Schniepp (track).
Eibach Spring Forward Award: Ramirez (advanced 10 positions).
FK Rod Ends Hard Charger: Marriott (started 16th, finished 8th).
Entries: 35.

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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