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2nd annual Tx. Shhotout - USMTS


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WILLIS, Texas — It was a standing room only crowd at the Gator Motorplex in Willis, Texas, Saturday night, as the O’Reilly USMTS Southern Series invaded the quarter-mile high-banked clay oval for the 2nd Annual Rinehart Trucking Texas Shootout.


The main event was definitely a shootout, and even the fans who had a seat were standing from the drop of the green flag to the waving of the checkers as they witnessed nine lead changes among four drivers during the 40-lap nightcap.


Michael Robertson of Minden, La., earned the AFCO Pole Award by earning the most passing points in his heat race, then started the Holley “A” Main from the outside of the front row after the redraw for the top-8 qualifiers among the 64 entries. Robertson grabbed the lead at the start, but polesitter Johnny Scott of Las Cruces, N.M., powered into the top spot to lead lap 2.


Two laps later, Robertson recaptured the lead as Scott's Modified suffered a broken shock and forced him into the pits. Robertson led the next 10 circuits while the action was thick and thrilling throughout the field behind him.


On lap 14, 15th-starting John O. Whittington of Vidor, Texas, made his move and muscled past Robertson for the lead. While Whittington paced the next 11 orbits, four drivers were charging toward the front to set up a multi-car battle for the $2,000 top prize.


Steve Holzkamper of Gentry, Ark., tried several times to overtake Whittington, and finally succeeded on lap 25. Whittington fought back to lead the next two laps, then Holzkamper for a lap, then Whittington for a lap, then Holzkamper again to lead lap 30.


Watching and waiting in the wings was Jason Hughes, who started 19th on the 24-car grid, along with fellow Oklahomans Randy Timms and Tommy Weder Jr. With Holzkamper securing the points for three laps, Hughes and Whittington raced hard into turn 1 where the pair made contact resulting in Whittington's machine spinning to a stop to bring out the yellow flag with eight laps to go.


Both drivers were forced to restart the race from the rear of the field, while Holzkamper led the pack back to green flag racing. The last two miles were much less stressful for Holzkamper as he went on to take the win ahead of Timms and Weder, who earned the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award after charging from 21st to 3rd in the 40-lapper.


Jamie Burford of Keatchie, La., finished fourth while Robertson hung on for a top-5 finish. Derick Grigsby finished sixth, Jon Tesch was seventh and Hughes clawed his way back to eighth at the finish. Morgan Bagley was ninth and Corey Babbitt rounded out the top-10 finishers.


With his second straight night of prolific passing, Hughes was able to extend his lead in the O’Reilly USMTS Southern Series points standings over Timms (195 to 176) while Holzkamper leaped 20 spots to third with 166 markers. Bagley, who currently leads the Dustin Duncan Memorial “Just Say Yes” Rookie of the Year points, is tied for fourth with Kyle Pleasant (161 points each), followed by Weder (154), Howard Willis (153), David Mitchell (146), Whittington (144) and Burford (136).


The O’Reilly USMTS Southern Series is back in action next weekend with a pair of inaugural events at first-time USMTS venues. On Friday, April 25, the rugged road warriors invade the Champion Park Speedway in Minden, La. Saturday night will find the Modified Masters at the Thunder Valley Speedway in Glenmora, La.


Both events will pay $2,000 to win and a minimum $200 to start the Holley “A” Main each night.


To learn more about the United States Modified Touring Series, call the headquarters at (515) 832-7944 or visit www.usmts.com online for the latest news and information from the USMTS — America's Hottest Ticket on Dirt.

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