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Salty Ramirez best in USMTS debut at Kansas State Fairgrounds
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (April 26)--In front of a crowd of more than 3,000 fans Friday night at the Kansas State Fairgrounds, the USMTS made their maiden voyage to the 104-year-old facility in Hutchinson, Kan., with Dereck Ramirez making his first trip to victory lane in 2019.
The big half-mile of dirt saw Rodney Sanders jump out to an early lead in the inaugural USMTS Salt City Assault main event with Ramirez close behind. Sanders slowly stretched out his advantage over the field and reached lapped traffic by lap 10.
Coming out of turn four to finish off the first half of the 30-lap race, Sanders slowed and pulled to the top of the racing surface with a flat right rear tire, leaving Ramirez as the pacesetter when the green flag returned.
"I raced him there early and kind of put a little pressure on him, but when he got out there I thought 'I'm just gonna let him go," Ramirez said. "He was setting a really fast pace. I didn't want to push mine that hard.
"I knew it was a tire but I didn't know if he broke something to initially cause that. I knew at that point I need to back 'er down a little bit.
Despite his slower but smoother approach, Ramirez was still able to distance himself from his pursuers over the final half of the race until Hunter Marriott tracked him down and applied heavy pressure over the final 10 laps or so.
Marriott got to his bumper on multiple occasions, but was never able to mount a serious threat for the position and Ramirez cruised ahead to his sixth career USMTS victory and first since a victory at the Rapid Speedway in Rock Rapids, Iowa, on Aug. 25, 2017.
"I kind of took it easy after that last yellow, and then with about five or six to go I thought 'Well I'd better turn it up.' It's wasn't really chattering very much more than it was earlier so I thought I could make it.
"This place has got such a big wall that you always hear an echo. and you're always like 'Man, I hope somebody's not out there on the top' because it was kind of black up there too, but we made it work and this is awesome."
Not only was it the first visit by the USMTS to the home of the famed Hutch Nationals, but it was the first time the Woodward, Okla., racer had ever stepped foot on the property in his 32 years.
"I live three hours from here and never even seen this place," Ramirez said. "It's an awesome place."
While Ramirez went home with the $3,000 winner's share of the prize money, Marriott continued his impressive string of efforts in the 2019 campaign with a runner-up result.
"The track raced really narrow and we could gain on him there in (turns) one and two," Marriott recalled. "I thought something might happen but he's a good enough driver that he held his line good. Hats off to him on getting the win.
"(The track) is definitely big, I've never been on a place like this but we didn't have a bad night. I'm glad to be here."
Jake O'Neil added another strong run with a third-place finish, holding off Cody Schniepp who came from the 12th starting spot to register his second top-five finish in as many nights in his home state. Darron Fuqua rebounded from an early-race spin to claim the fifth position.
Austin Siebert started the main event from the inside of the tenth row and clawed his way to a sixth-place finish, netting both the Eibach Spring Forward Award and a $100 bill for being the FK Rod Ends Hard Charger Award recipient.
Sanders fought his way back to seventh over the last half of the contest, Jake Nightingale turned a Real Racing Wheels "B" Main triumph into an eight-place finish in the Casey's General Stores "A" Main, Adam Kates took ninth and Jon Herring completed the top 10.
Longdale up next: The tripleheader wraps up Saturday with the fourth trip in six seasons for the series to the Longdale Speedway in Longdale, Okla.
One of Longdale Speedway's marquee events of the season is coming up this Saturday when the track hosts USMTS Night of the Stars. Pure Stocks and IMCA Sport Mods will also be in action.
The five-year-old facility features a gravel pit area off the back-stretch with a concrete viewing area. The pit area also surrounds the track with an electronic scoreboard, television quality lighting, aluminum grandstand seating for 2,000, a souvenir shop, snow cone hut, concessions and Herb's Smoke Shack featuring ribs and turkey legs. All these features make Longdale Speedway the premier dirt track in Northwest Oklahoma.
This Saturday the pit gates open at 4 p.m. and the grandstands open at 5:30. Racing is slated to start at 6:30. Adult general admission tickets are $18 per person and reserved are $22 per person. Seniors and military member general admission pricing is $12 per person and reserved is $15 per person. Children ages 12 years and younger get in free.
The Longdale Speedway is a semi-banked, 3/8-mile clay oval located 0.5 mile south of Longdale on SR 58 (4959 S Hwy 58, Longdale, OK 73755). The track is on west side of highway. For more information, call (580) 886-5375 or visit longdalespeedway.com.
To learn more about the United States Modified Touring Series, visit USMTS.com or call (515) 832-7944. You can also like the USMTS on Facebook, visit us on Instagram, follow us on Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn and watch us on YouTube. Keep up to speed with everything USMTS and subscribe to the USMTS e-Newsletter.
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United States Modified Touring Series
Casey's General Stores USMTS National Championship powered by Summit
MSD Performance USMTS Mid-American Series
Inaugural USMTS Salt City Assault
Kansas State Fairgrounds, Hutchinson, Kan.
Friday, April 26, 2019
Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown, chassis/engine builder and money won. The top 12 in heat race passing points advance to the Casey's General Stores "A" Main with the top 8 redrawing for the first 8 starting spots.
SIMPSON PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #1 (8 laps):
1. (2) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla.
2. (1) 4w Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark.
3. (5) 25 Scott Green, Derby, Kan.
4. (7) 21c Cody Schniepp (R), Wichita, Kan.
5. (3) 21b Bryce Schniepp (R), Wichita, Kan.
6. (8) 16 Austin Siebert, Grandview, Mo.
7. (6) 42r Ross McCartney (R), Lahoma, Okla.
8. (4) 60 Cody Kretchmar (R), Wichita, Kan.
FAST SHAFTS HEAT RACE #2 (8 laps):
1. (2) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla.
2. (1) 0 Jake O'Neil, Tucson, Ariz.
3. (3) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa.
4. (5) 3j Jake Nightingale (R), Wichita, Kan.
5. (4) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan.
6. (6) 52 Ryan McAninch, Hutchinson, Kan.
7. (7) 4 Dan Powers, Wichita, Kan.
DNS - 22h Dustin Hodges (R), Centralia, Mo.
EDELBROCK HEAT RACE #3 (8 laps):
1. (2) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan.
2. (3) 65 Tyler Davis, Haysville, Kan.
3. (6) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo.
4. (5) 02 Tanner Mullens, Wichita, Kan.
5. (7) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo.
6. (4) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla.
7. (1) 86 Eric Main (R), Hutchinson, Kan.
8. (8) 22n Kevin Newell (R), Wichita, Kan.
MSD PERFORMANCE HEAT RACE #4 (8 laps):
1. (2) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas.
2. (1) 11n Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark.
3. (6) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla.
4. (5) 4a Josh Lanterman, Derby, Kan.
5. (3) 96jr Jon Herring, Woodward, Okla.
6. (4) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
7. (7) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa.
REAL RACING WHEELS "B" MAIN #1 (10 laps, top 5 advance):
1. (1) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa.
2. (2) 02 Tanner Mullens, Wichita, Kan.
3. (3) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo.
4. (5) 16 Austin Siebert, Grandview, Mo.
5. (4) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan.
6. (7) 42r Ross McCartney (R), Lahoma, Okla., Hughes/Sput's, $75.
7. (9) 60 Cody Kretchmar (R), Wichita, Kan., BillsBuilt/KBS, $75.
8. (6) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla.
9. (8) 86 Eric Main (R), Hutchinson, Kan., BillsBuilt/Main, $75.
DNS - 22n Kevin Newell (R), Wichita, Kan., Custom/Newell, $75.
REAL RACING WHEELS "B" MAIN #2 (10 laps, top 5 advance):
1. (1) 3j Jake Nightingale (R), Wichita, Kan.
2. (4) 96jr Jon Herring, Woodward, Okla.
3. (8) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa.
4. (2) 4a Josh Lanterman, Derby, Kan.
5. (6) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
6. (5) 52 Ryan McAninch, Hutchinson, Kan., MBCustoms/McAninch, $75.
7. (3) 21b Bryce Schniepp (R), Wichita, Kan.
DNS - 22h Dustin Hodges (R), Centralia, Mo., VanderBuilt/Crane, $90.
CASEY'S GENERAL STORES "A" MAIN (30 laps):
1. (1) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett, $3000.
2. (7) 62 Hunter Marriott (R), Brookfield, Mo., Rage/KSE, $1700.
3. (9) 0 Jake O'Neil, Tucson, Ariz., LG2/Cornett, $1100.
4. (12) 21c Cody Schniepp (R), Wichita, Kan., Mullens/Thiel, $700.
5. (4) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan., MBCustoms/Driskell, $600.
6. (19) 16 Austin Siebert, Grandview, Mo., MBCustoms/Durham, $650.
7. (2) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, $600.
8. (14) 3j Jake Nightingale (R), Wichita, Kan., Mullens/Mullens, $375.
9. (21) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan., LG2/Speedway, $500.
10. (16) 96jr Jon Herring, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Sput's, $450.
11. (5) 4w Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark., MBCustoms/Hill, $425.
12. (23) 4 Dan Powers, Wichita, Kan., GRT/KBS, $275.
13. (17) 17 Mike Striegel (R), Wheatland, Mo., GRT/Driskell, $375.
14. (11) 25 Scott Green, Derby, Kan., Hughes/Mullins, $225.
15. (10) 11n Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark., Hughes/Kelly, $325.
16. (3) 65 Tyler Davis, Haysville, Kan., Hughes/Hatfield, $225.
17. (6) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla., VanderBuilt/Durham, $300.
18. (18) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Stoen, $300.
19. (20) 4a Josh Lanterman, Derby, Kan., BillsBuilt/Hillsboro, $225.
20. (13) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, Hughes/TriStar, $300.
21. (8) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., MBCustoms/ChevPerf, $300.
22. (22) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Durham, $300.
23. (24) 21b Bryce Schniepp (R), Wichita, Kan., GRT/Thiel, $225.
24. (15) 02 Tanner Mullens, Wichita, Kan., Mullens/Mullens, $300.
25. (25) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla., Shaw/BlueDiamond, $200.
(R) = Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year contender
Lap Leaders: Sanders 1-14, Ramirez 15-30.
Total Laps Led: Ramirez 16, Sanders 14.
Provisional Starters: Hagar, Powers (track), B. Schniepp (track).
Eibach Spring Forward Award: Siebert (advanced 16 positions).
FK Rod Ends Hard Charger: Siebert (started 19th, finished 6th).
Next Race: Saturday, April 27, Longdale Speedway, Longdale, Okla.
Casey's General Stores USMTS National Championship Points: Sanders 658, VanderBeek 627, Duvall 583, Phillips 577, Gustin 569, Marriott 555, Ramirez 533, Striegel 507, Kates 503, Wolff 485.
MSD Performance USMTS Mid-American Series Points: Sanders 396, Ramirez 393, Fuqua 379, O'Neil 377, Marriott 376, VanderBeek 373, Duvall 364, Wolff 354, Gustin 346, Siebert 340.
Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year Points: Marriott 552, Striegel 507, Hagar 415, Carlos Ahumada Jr. 340, Hodges 302.
USMTS Engine Builder of the Year Points: Stoen 44, Hatfield 42, Durham 30, KSE 29, ChevPerf 25.
USMTS Manufacturers Championship Points: MBCustoms 53, Hughes 43, VanderBuilt 41, Rage 37, GRT 37.