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Phillips rules Modifieds, Howell paces SportMods at record-setting Due


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Phillips rules Modifieds, Howell paces SportMods at record-setting Duel

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Nov. 15) – Teammate Jordan Grabouski made it close in the final laps but there was no denying Terry Phillips a third career Duel In The Desert title Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


Phillips ran in front the last 35 circuits in the caution-free, 40-lap main event for IMCA Xtreme Mo­tor Sports Modifieds at the LVMS half-mile Dirt Track. He led by as much as a straightaway be­fore being slowed by a lapped car, holding on to beat Grabouski to the $7,777 checkers by little more than a car length.


Also the 2010 and 2011 Duel winner, the new Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifier was followed across the stripe by Grabouski, R.C. Whitwell, Johnny Scott and Chris Brown.

J.C. Howell dominated from start to finish in winning the 25-lap main event for Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Southern SportMods and Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods.


That victory paid $1,777 and came ahead of Robert Elliott, Gabe Tucker, Daniel Gottschalk and Tyler Fain.


A record 332 drivers from 26 states and three Canadian provinces competed at the 17th annual special, one of the richest on the IMCA schedule this season. Ninety-six SportMods, also a new Duel mark, were entered.


Top four finishers from each of two qualifying features Thursday and Friday and the winners of 12 last-chance races on Saturday made up the Modified grid; the top six from Thursday and Friday qualifiers, and the top three from each of four last-chance races on Saturday filled out the SportMod grid.


Scott took the lead from pole starter Johnny Saathoff and ran in front for the first five laps of the Modified main. Phillips, who’d raced his way back into the field on Friday after giving up a qualify­ing spot on opening night, took charge on the high side coming out of turn four and was scored first on lap six.


His advantage over Scott grew to more than half a straightaway by lap nine and to a full straight by lap 12. Phillips encountered lapped traffic on lap 15 with Scott still a distant second and Brown, Grabouski and Whitwell locked in a tight three-car battle for third.


Grabouski finally secured third and chased Scott and Phillips through traffic. He caught Scott on lap 24 and began making up ground as Phillips was slowed by a slower car.


Grabouski cut the deficit to a couple car-lengths with 10 to go. Phillips ran the top in one and two and low in three and four, while Grabouski hugged the tires in both corners and nearly drew even in turn two with six circuits left.


That’s as close as he’d get, however, after Phillips finally cleared the lapped car with five laps to go. Grabouski made it close but Phillips held on to win the Duel for the third time in five years.


Howell was equally impressive in winning a SportMod main interrupted by caution three times. He’d checked out on the rest of the field before a lap 21 caution for debris set up a late-race shootout.


Elliott, Nick Sylvester and then Gabe Tucker stayed closest to Howell very early on. It was clear from the onset, however, that Howell was going to be just as fast as he was in winning the Thurs­day qualifying feature.


Howell’s advantage was more than a straightaway over Elliott and Tucker when lapped traffic loomed with seven laps remaining.


Howell pulled away again with Elliott second and Tucker third. Gottschalk ran high side into fourth before Howell took checkers by nearly a full straightaway.


Lawrence O’Connor was first in the Legends feature for Modifieds and Ethan Dotson was fastest among the Young Guns.


The previous Duel In The Desert record for car count was 320, established last year.


Feature Results


Modifieds – 1. Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.; 2. Jordan Grabouski, Beatrice, Neb.; 3. R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz.; 4. Johnny Scott, Shreveport, La.; 5. Chris Brown, Cleveland, Texas; 6. Mike Mullen, Suamico, Wis.; 7. Johnny Saathoff, Beatrice, Neb.; 8. Jesse Sobbing, Glenwood, Iowa; 9. Jeff Taylor, Cave City, Ark.; 10. Bobby Hogge IV, Salinas, Calif.; 11. Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.; 12. David Murray Jr., Oberlin, Kan.; 13. Todd Shute, Des Moines, Iowa; 14. Chris Abel­son, Sioux City, Iowa; 15. Ricky Alvarado, Delta, Colo.; 16. Brad Pounds, Bakersfield, Calif.; 17. Robby Sawyer, Bakersfield, Calif.; 18. Dustin Andersen, Omaha, Neb.; 19. Troy Cordes, Dunker­ton, Iowa; 20. Chad Andersen, Fort Calhoun, Neb.; 21. Cody Gearhart, Turpin, Okla.; 22. Travis Hagen, Williston, N.D.; 23. William Gould, Calera, Okla.; 24. Kyle Strickler, Mooresville, N.C.; 25. Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz.; 26. Robert Hellebust, Minot, N.D.; 27. Ryan Ruter, Kanawha, Iowa; 28. Cody Laney, Torrance, Calif.


Young Guns – 1. Ethan Dotson, Bakersfield, Calif.; 2. Tom Berry Jr., Medford, Ore.; 3. Riley Simmons, Susanville, Calif.; 4. Collen Winebarger, Coburg, Ore.; 5. Jeff Stafford Jr., New River, Ariz.; 6. Cody Laney, Torrance, Calif.; 7. Cole Dick, Ramona, Calif.; 8. Justin Dyke, Jamul, Calif.; 9. Stetson Dickinson, Monroe, Utah; 10. Ben Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan.; 11. Wyatt Howard, Price, Utah; 12. Reese Artz, Battle Mountain.


Legends – 1. Lawrence O'Connor, Port Hardy, B.C.; 2. Sherman Barnett, El Paso, Texas; 3. Steve Simpson Jr., Kingman, Ariz.; 4. Joe Carr, Petaluma, Calif.; 5. Bob Heffer, Swift Current, Sask.; 6. 9 Roger Bonneville, Calgary, Alb.; 7. Chris Clark, Jackson, Wyo.; 8. Russell Rosario, Truckee, Calif.; 9. Larry Corning, San Diego, Calif.; 10. Mickey Stubbings, Helper, Utah; 11. Jim Perkins, Williams, Ariz.; 12. Stephen Streeter, Madera, Calif.; 13. Dave Lindsay, Pierce, Colo.; 14. Donald Parker, Las Vegas.


SportMods – 1. J.C. Howell, Mabank, Texas; 2. Robert Elliott, Clinton, Okla.; 3. Gabe Tucker, Carbon, Texas; 4. Daniel Gottschalk, Ellis, Kan.; 5. Tyler Fain, Abilene, Texas; 6. Gary Dutton, Bakersfield, Calif.; 7. Jake Upchurch, Grand Prairie, Texas; 8. Kyle Griffith, Taft, Calif.; 9. Zack Forster, Bakersfield, Calif.; 10. Nick Sylvester, Bakersfield, Calif.; 11. Nick Spainhoward, Bakers­field, Calif.; 12. Jesse Baldwin, Farmington, N.M.; 13. Michael Maraschick, Midland, Texas; 14. Ethan Dotson, Bakersfield, Calif.; 15. Jared Timmerman, Norwalk, Iowa; 16. Randy Eitel, Farming­ton, N.M.; 17. Jeffrey Abbey, Comanche, Texas; 18. Michael Johnson, Bakersfield, Calif.; 19. Levi Kiefer, Bakersfield, Calif.; 20. Rick Childress Jr., Bakersfield, Calif.; 21. Justin Shaw, Sweet­water, Texas; 22. Clay Money, Penokee, Kan.; 23. Shane Helton, Artesia, N.M.; 24. Shawn Harker, Nebraska City, Neb.

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