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USMTS to battle for $100k in six shows this week


NickHolt

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USMTS DRIVERS BATTLE FOR NEARLY $100,000 IN SIX STAR-STUDDED SHOWS THIS WEEK

 

OSKALOOSA, Iowa (Aug. 31) – The USMTS Casey's General Stores National Tour swings back into action this week with six races throughout Iowa and Minnesota worth nearly $100,000 in prize money. Incredible on-track action is in store for local and traveling fans of the mud-slinging Modifieds, and a lot is on the line for drivers competing in the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s General Stores USMTS National Championship.

 

This week's half-dozen blockbuster events will serve as rounds 8 through 13 of the 18-race campaign — exactly one-third of all the ’Hunt’ races that will determine the 2009 champ. It all starts Tuesday at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and wraps up on Sunday night at the Dodge County Fairgrounds in Kasson, Minn.

 

Already pre-entered for the six-pack of shows are drivers from 12 different States, including Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.

 

With the season-ending title chase format in it's fourth year, the points battle is wide open and the caliber of competitors strapping on the helmets at this year's clashes has never been more talent-riddled. Five different drivers from five different States emerged victorious in the first seven events, which featured just about every style, size and shape of dirt oval racetrack possible.

 

WHERE THEY'VE BEEN …

 

The Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Championship kicked off with five straight nights of intense action. A whopping 64 entries packed the pit area of the LA Raceway in La Monte, Mo., for opening night ... and a night of firsts on several levels. DandyLand Farms Rookie of the Year points leader Grant Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., got his career-first USMTS victory after apparent winner Jeremy Payne was disqualified during post-race technical inspections. It was the first time the opening event of the 'Hunt' was staged at the 3/8-mile oval and the first time the 'Hunt' did not kick off with Jon Tesch in victory lane.

 

Round 2 of the championship chase saw the touring titans take on the Monett Speedway where 18-year-old Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, scored an impressive win over veteran racer Terry Phillips and fellow teen sensation Rodney Sanders. In his first trip to Monett, the win was worth $3,000 to Gustin and was his fourth main event win of the season. At the age of 17, Gustin's first win in August of last year gave him the honor of being the youngest driver to ever win a USMTS-sanctioned event.

 

The next night it was off the Springfield Raceway for another thriller at Jerry Hoffman's quick quarter-mile oval. Jeremy Payne earned a measure of redemption to go along with the $3,000 winner's share of the purse. His disqualification on Tuesday took away the second USMTS victory of his career, and he was nearly as dominant Thursday night in front of his hometown fans. This time, however, Payne got the thumbs up from USMTS tech officials and took the trophy home.

 

Friday night found the fearless dirt merchants at the Humboldt Speedway for the third time in 2009. And for the seventh time this season, fans saw Westville, Okla.'s Jason Hughes roll into the winners circle at the end of a USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Tour main event. On Tuesday, Hughes failed to qualify for the main event at the LA Raceway and Wednesday's visit to the Monett Speedway wasn't much better as Hughes made the big show but was the first car to drop out of the race. Thursday was another step forward with a seventh-place finish at the Springfield Raceway, but Friday night's victory completed a rags-to-riches climb from the USMTS cellar for the season's most dominant driver.

 

It was a familiar face in victory lane as the Hunt for the USMTS Casey's General Stores National Championship rolled into unfamiliar territory on Saturday night. After three rain-outs earlier this season, the Caney Valley Speedway finally got cooperation from Mother Nature which resulted in a huge field of cars, a jam-packed grandstand and Jason Hughes in victory lane for the second straight night. A field consisting of 55 of the toughest Modified drivers on the planet converged on the quarter-mile bullring located just a few miles north of the Oklahoma border.

 

Despite being winless in the 'Hunt,' eight-time USMTS National Champion Kelly Shryock used consistency and a reliable machine to remain atop the points standings heading into a week off for the competitors. Action was scheduled to move north on Thursday, Aug. 20, to the Steele County Speedway in Owatonna, Minn., for another $3,000-to-win showdown, but the event was rained-out.

 

Defending USMTS National Champion Tim Donlinger of Rochester, Minn., has proven time and time again that he's one of the best of the best at wheeling a USMTS Modified. Three inches of rain on Thursday night followed up by light drizzle throughout the next morning soaked the Mississippi Thunder Speedway in Fountain City, Wis., and made for a lightning-fast sticky surface but a rough and bumpy ride for the competitors on Friday night, Aug. 21. Donlinger led the main event from start to finish, but Gustin kept the fans on their feet with an amazing run from 18th on the starting grid to finish second behind Donlinger.

 

Gustin, however, picked up his fifth USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Tour win of the 2009 season the following night with a wire-to-wire victory in the 40-lap Sunoco "A" Main at the Upper Iowa Speedway in Decorah, Iowa. Kelly Shryock could only follow and hope for a mistake, but Gustin was flawless in leading the current points leader to the checkered flag.

 

Despite remaining winless during the 'Hunt,' Shryock's fifth top-5 finish in seven starts helped him increase his lead to 72 points (698 to 626) over Rodney Sanders in the title chase. Gustin jumped up to third with 601 markers, followed by Zack VanderBeek (590), Dereck Ramirez (588), Jason Hughes (574), Tim Donlinger (531), Jon Tesch (524), Morgan Bagley (514) and Tommy Myer (505). Less than 80 points separate Myer from the next eight drivers in the standings.

 

Although Shryock is winless in the ’Hunt’ so far, a betting man would be a wiser betting man if he put his money on the eight-time USMTS National Champion to make some noise at the next six tracks where he has logged 29 of his 150+ career wins over 10 years on the USMTS Casey's General Stores National Tour, and tops the career wins list at all six venues.

 

WHERE THEY'RE GOING …

 

TUESDAY, SEPT. 1 – What promises to be a September to remember kicks off this Tuesday, Sept. 1, at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa, for the eighth of eighteen events in the Hunt for the USMTS Casey's General Stores National Championship. This will be the first of six straight nights of racing at six tracks with a top prize of $3,000 each night — $18,000 for the winner’s share of nearly $100,000 in prize money up for grabs over the six days!

 

Past winners at the Southern Iowa Speedway include Kelly Shryock (11 wins), Brad Pinkerton (3), Chris Spieker (2), John VanDenBerg (2), Tommy Myer (2), Jason Krohn (2), Tony Fraise, Dan Bohr, Bruce Hanford, Mark Noble, Zack VanderBeek, Jason Hughes and Al Hejna, who topped a thriller at Osky on Aug. 5.

 

Also on tap at the Mahaska County Half-Mile Monster will be the American Racer USRA Weekly Racing Series featuring USRA Karl Chevrolet Stock Cars, USRA Karl Chevrolet B-Mods and USRA Hobby Stocks. Pit gates will open at 5:00, with grandstand gates opening at 5:30. Hot laps begin at 7:00 and the first heat race takes to the track at 7:30.

 

Zack VanderBeek and his Doritos-sponsored Modified will be at the Casey's General Store located at 1310 A Ave. West in Oskaloosa from 12:00 to 2:00. Fans can pick up $2-off discount coupons for Tuesday night's races at all three Casey's General Stores locations in Oskaloosa.

 

The Southern Iowa Speedway is a half-mile semi-banked clay oval located 0.5 mile west of US 63 on SR 92, then 0.3 mile north on N. I St. (at the Southern Iowa Fairgrounds). For more information, contact the RL Promotions offices at (515) 832-6000 or visit www.rlpromotions.com online. Race day info is available by calling the track hotline at (641) 673-7004.

 

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 2 – The 5th Annual Hawkeye Summer Classic presented by Car Country and Schroeder Racing Products on Wednesday, Sept. 2, will be the 15th USMTS-sanctioned event since 1999 on the half-mile clay oval at the Butler County Fairgrounds.

 

Past winners at the Highway 3 Raceway include Kelly Shryock (3), Kevin Pittman (2), John Logue, Mike Sorensen, Johnny Saathoff, Ryan Ruter, Mark Noble, Mike Hejna, Tim Donlinger, Ryan Gustin and Jon Tesch, who won the most recent event here on June 3.

 

Pits open at 4:00, grandstand gates open at 5:00, hot laps are at 6:30 and racing starts at 7:00. Also on the night's program will be USRA Karl Chevrolet Stock Cars ($400 to win), USRA Karl Chevrolet B-Mods ($400 to win), USRA Hobby Stocks ($400 to win) and Hornets ($100 to win).

 

Zack VanderBeek and his Doritos-sponsored Modified will be at the Casey's General Store located at 100 Cherry St. in Allison from 12:00 to 2:00. Fans can pick up $2-off discount coupons for Wednesday night's races at Casey's General Stores locations in Allison, Aplington and Clarksville.

 

The Highway 3 Raceway is located 0.3 miles north of SR 3 on S. Main St. (at the Butler County Fairgrounds). For more information, check out the track's website at www.highway3raceway.com or call 319-267-9977 for day-of-race updates.

 

THURSDAY, SEPT. 3 – The Buena Vista Raceway held its first USMTS event last year in front of a standing-room-only grandstand. It was no different this past June and officials expect nothing less than another epic battle when they return to the Alta, Iowa, bullring on Thursday for the Inaugural Battle at the Beaver presented by Cookies Bar “B” “Q” Sauce.

 

Kelly Shryock won the inaugural event in 2008 and Al Hejna held off Corey Dripps to take the checkers three months ago on June 4.

 

Pit gates will open at 5:00, grandstands open at 6:00, hot laps begin at 6:45 and the first heat race is scheduled to take the green flag at 7:30. Also on the racing card will be Stock Cars, SportMods, Hobby Stocks and Sport Compacts. All four classes will be governed under IMCA or USRA rules.

 

Corey Dripps and his Cheetos-sponsored Modified will be at the Casey's General Store located at 303 E. Hwy. 7 in Alta from 12:00 to 2:00. Fans can pick up $2-off discount coupons for Thursday night's races at Casey's General Stores locations in Alta, Aurelia and Storm Lake.

 

The Buena Vista Raceway is a 3/8-mile semi-banked clay oval located 0.5 mile east of CR M31 on SR 7 (at the Buena Vista County Fairgrounds). For more information, call 712-664-2662 or 712-284-2561 or visit www.buenavistaraceway.com online.

 

FRIDAY, SEPT. 4 – On Friday, it's off to the Chateau Raceway in Lansing, Minn. for another wheel-to-wheel battle in the 4th Annual Cedar River Race.

 

This will be the eighth time the USMTS Casey's General Stores National Tour has visited the 1/3-mile semi-banked clay oval. Eight different drivers have tasted victory here, including Mike Chasteen, Kelly Shryock, Jon Tesch, Tommy Myer, Jason Krohn, Tim Donlinger and Jason Hughes, who captured the most recent event back on May 22.

 

Also on the race card will be WISSOTA Midwest Mods, Pure Stocks and Hornets. Pits open at 5:00, grandstand gates open at 5:30, hot laps begin at 7:00 and the first green flag waves at 7:30.

 

Tommy Myer and his Snickers-sponsored Modified will be at the Casey's General Store located at 1702 12th St. SW in Austin from 12:00 to 2:00. Fans can pick up $2-off discount coupons for Friday night's races at Casey's General Stores locations in Austin, Owatonna, Rochester and Stewartville.

 

The Chateau Raceway is located 5.0 miles north of Austin on US 218 to the Lansing Exit, then 1.3 miles east on CR 2, then 0.4 mile south on CR 25, then 0.3 mile east. For more information, call the track hotline at (507) 433-4578 or log on to www.chateauraceway.net.

 

SATURDAY, SEPT. 5 – Saturday will find the Modified Monsters at the Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., for the 5th Annual BP Labor Day Dual presented by Baudoin Oil Co., and the final tune-up race at the 3/8-mile high-banked oval before the 11th Annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree here, Sept. 23-26.

 

A huge field of cars is expected, along with a jam-packed grandstand as the WDRL Late Model Series will also make an appearance as they battle for $5,000 to win.

 

More than any other track in America, the United States Modified Touring Series has staged 38 events at 'The Creek.' Past winners include Kelly Shryock (9 wins), Tim Donlinger (4), Jason Hughes (4), Corey Dripps (2), Ryan Ruter (2), Steve Wetzstein, Mark Noble, Darin Walker, Tony Fraise, Dan Daniels, Dan Chapman, Les Duellman, Mike Hejna, Mike Spaulding, Brad McEwan, Mark Burgtorf, Chad Kinder, Steve Arpin, Jason Krohn, Jon Tesch, Dean Mahlstedt and Zack VanderBeek.

 

Live music by Lost Faculties will be featured in the hospitality tent following Saturday's races ... yet another tune-up for the 96-hour-long party that is the Featherlite Fall Jamboree.

 

Pit gates will open at 2:00 and the grandstands will begin filling up at 3:00, with hot laps slated for 5:00 and racing at 5:30.

 

Zack VanderBeek and his Doritos-sponsored Modified will be at the Casey's General Store located at 605 S. Main St. in Stewartville from 12:00 to 2:00. Fans can pick up $2-off discount coupons for Saturday night's races at Casey's General Stores locations in Austin, Owatonna, Rochester and Stewartville.

 

The Deer Creek Speedway is located off of I-90 at Exit 209, then 11.3 miles south on US 63 (0.7 mile north of SR 16). Day-of-race info is available by calling 507-346-2342 or check out www.deercreekspeedway.com online.

 

SUNDAY, SEPT. 6 – The six-race swing wraps up on Sunday, Sept. 6, at the Dodge County Speedway in Kasson, Minn. for the 8th Annual Kasson Klash.

 

Pit gates open at 2:00, grandstand gates open at 3:00, hot laps starts at 4:30. and the mud starts flying at 5:00. WISSOTA Midwest Mods, WISSOTA Super Stocks, WISSOTA Street Stocks, Pure Stocks and Hornets will also be featured.

 

Past winners at the 1/3-mile semi-baked clay oval include Kelly Shryock (4), Jason Hughes (3), Brad Waits (2), Tommy Myer (2), Todd Scharkey (2), Dan Chapman (2), Mike Chasteen, Chris Spieker, Scott Megonigle, Nate Wasmund, Corey Dripps, Jon Tesch, Mike Sorensen and Mike Hejna. Hughes won the most recent race at Kasson back on May 24.

 

Corey Dripps and his Cheetos-sponsored Modified will be at the Casey's General Store located at 4500 18th Ave. NW in Rochester from 12:00 to 2:00. Fans can pick up $2-off discount coupons for Sunday night's races at Casey's General Stores locations in Austin, Owatonna, Rochester and Stewartville.

 

The Dodge County Speedway is located 1.1 miles north of US 14 on SR 57 (at the Dodge County Fairgrounds). For more information, call 507-634-4281 or check out www.dodgecountyspeedway.com.

 

All six events will pay $3,000 to win and a minimum $250 to start.

 

CURRENT POINTS STANDINGS (after 7 of 18 events):

 

1. 3 Kelly Shryock, Fertile, IA ... 698 pts.

2. 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, TX ... 626

3. 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, IA ... 601 (2 wins)

4. 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, IA ... 590

5. 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, OK ... 588

6. 12 Jason Hughes, Westville, OK ... 574 (2 wins)

7. 3d Tim Donlinger, Rochester, MN ... 531 (1 win)

8. 14 Jon Tesch, Watertown, SD ... 524

9. 5r Morgan Bagley, Longview, TX ... 514

10. 65 Tommy Myer, Blooming Prairie, MN ... 505

11. 7k Jason Krohn, Slayton, MN ... 493

12. 22 Dustin Boney, Tonganoxie, KS ... 490

13. 7 Al Hejna, Clear Lake, IA ... 473

14. 20r Bryan Rowland, Woodward, OK ... 460

15. 4r Ron Ver Beek, Oskaloosa, IA ... 458

16. 2 Grant Junghans, Manhattan, KS ... 445 (1 win)

17. 10 Mike Steensma, Luverne, MN ... 443

18. 31 Corey Dripps, Waterloo, IA ... 428

19. 51 Eddie Martin, Stilwell, OK ... 399

20. 25 Scott Green, Derby, KS ... 387

21. 12h Mike Hansen, Alton, IA ... 363

22. 66 Dan Bohr, Decorah, IA ... 362

23. 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, OK ... 359

24. 8 Colt Mather, Webster, IA ... 357

25. 21m Dean Mahlstedt, Clear Lake, IA ... 345

26. 75 Alan Sharpensteen, Amarillo, TX ... 320

27. 5t Randy Timms, Wheatland, OK ... 283

28. 90 Steve Wetzstein, West Concord, MN ... 276

29. 18 Chase Junghans, Manhattan, KS ... 239

30. 12t Tyler Townsend, Longview, TX ... 200

31. 12 Johnny Bone Jr., Pea Ridge, AR ... 172

32. 52 Chad Davis, Tulsa, OK ... 120

33. 72 Mike Lineberry, Fremont, NE ... 105

34. 7 Ryan Dolan, Lisbon, IA ... 71

35. 49x Jay Poidinger, Somerset, WI ... 50

35. 10 Kyle Schmidt, Farmington, AR ... 50

37. 89 Steven Whiteaker Jr., Corpus Christi, TX ... 17

38. 16 Chris Henigan, Marshall, TX ... 15

39. 9 Shane Hebert, Lafayette, LA ... 14

39. 14j Jake Neal, Omaha, NE ... 14

39. 18 Jack Sullivan, Greenbrier, AR ... 14

42. 111 Bumper Jones, Mesilla Park, NM ... 12

42. 18 Michael Long, Quincy, IL ... 12

42. 02x B.J. Robinson, Shreveport, LA ... 12

45. 05x Garrett Durrett, Simsboro, LA ... 11

46. 57 Jason Armstrong, Marshall, TX ... 5

46. 5a Wes Armstrong, Marshall, TX ... 5

46. 19 Jamie Burford, Keatchie, LA ... 5

46. 60 William Gould, Calera, OK ... 5

46. 72 Doug Hillson, Blooming Prairie, MN ... 5

46. 5 Steve Holzkamper, Gentry, AR ... 5

46. 12h Jeff Huckaby, Texarkana, TX ... 5

46. 8j Dustin Hyde, Texarkana, TX ... 5

46. 4m Bobby Malchus, Red Oak, TX ... 5

46. M80 Jim Mathieson, Sioux City, IA ... 5

46. 98 Josh Reisch, Luverne, MN ... 5

465 Michael Robertson, Minden, LA ... 5

46. 18 Cody Smith, Kaufman, TX ... 5

46. 71k Kevin Sustaire, Emery, TX ... 5

46. 5w John O Whittington, Vidor, TX ... 5

Other winner: 74 Jeremy Payne, Springfield, MO (1 win)

 

While the drivers racing for points in the Hunt for the USMTS Casey's General Stores National Championship will be grappling for their piece of nearly $40,000 in points fund money, all entrants will lock horns on a nightly basis for a $3,000 top prize and a minimum $250 to start each main event.

 

With more than $400,000 in prize money up for grabs during the 18-race campaign, overflow pit areas and grandstands are the norm, and race fans can expect to see the very best of the best — the “who's who” of dirt Modified racing — each and every night.

 

The ’Hunt’ will continue with a doubleheader at the North Central Speedway in Brainerd, Minn., on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 18-19, then wrap up back at the Deer Creek Speedway with the 11th Annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24-26, where the 2009 USMTS National Champion will be crowned.

 

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.

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