Sanders soldiers on to USMTS win at Salina Highbanks Speedway

The Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s wrapped up a three-race weekend Saturday at the Salina Highbanks Speedway and Rodney Sanders racked up his ninth win of the season and 106th of his career.

Polesitter Jared Russell led the first four laps of the 40-lap main event before Sanders got by to lead the fifth lap.

While much of the field behind him tip-toed around the quicker but more dangerous top side of the 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval, Sanders remained committed to the shortest way around the racetrack while he led comfortably for most of the race.

Meanwhile, Tyler Wolff used the high line and disposed of some stiff competition to work his way into second place with 25 laps in the books before the race’s final caution waved on lap 30.

Sanders fired off on the restart and led the next two circuits but Wolff came screaming around the outside to beat Sanders to the flagstand and complete lap 33.

When it looked like Wolff might drive away, Sanders briefly toyed with a higher lane but quickly returned to his preferred low line and seemed content to pocket the runner-up paycheck.

What was left of a cushion appeared to be gone with two laps to go. Wolff smacked the back-stretch wall and then was unable to keep the car under control in turn four, allowing Sanders to sneak back by at the white flag.

Wolff dug deep and fought back to pull even with Sanders entering the final corner, but again the high side was too far gone and Wolff did a dramatic job just to keep his machine out of the wall while Sanders scooted away to the checkered flag.

“There was little bit of moisture on the bottom but it was kind of slimy if you got too low,” Sanders revealed in victory lane. “I felt like if I hit my marks I was good down there, but you had to be so slow. We lapped a car and I felt better in the middle and then Tyler came flying by me.

“Him and his dad help me a lot. If I couldn't have won this deal I was hoping it’d be him.”

The Wolff family’s Arkansas Myriad, Inc. (ARMI) is a sponsor on Sanders’s MBC Customs ride—as well as many other competitors—and picked up the tab to give free admission to veterans and active military attending Saturday night’s 8th Annual ARMI Salute to our Veterans presented by Bryke Racing.

While Wolff settled for second, Sanders earned $3,000 for his second win at “The Highbanks” and added to his advantage in the points standings. He’s seeking his second straight USMTS national championship and fourth overall.

One of three previous winners in field, Terry Phillips charged from 11th on the starting grid to collect a third-place finish with Jake O’Neil finishing fourth and Tanner Mullens taking the fifth spot.

Mullens, who started 14th, earned both the FK Rod Ends Hard Charger Award and Eibach Spring Forward Award for his effort. He also seized the top position in the Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year standings for the first time in 2020.

R.C. Whitwell started and finished sixth while four-time USMTS national champion Jason Hughes settled for seventh in his quest for a series-best seventh win here.

Zack VanderBeek put back-to-back nights of mechanical failures in his rearview mirror and earned the eighth position, Dereck Ramirez nabbed ninth and ‘Big Daddy’ Joe Duvall matched Mullens in passing nine cars in the feature en route to rounding out the top 10.

Labor Day tripleheader looms: The series returns to action Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 4-6, for a traditional Labor Day Weekend excursion through Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa. After a three-year hiatus, the USMTS returns to the Chateau Speedway in Lansing, Minnesota, on Friday and then travels to familiar and hallowed ground on Saturday for the 15th Annual USMTS Labor Day Duel at the Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minnesota. The high-speed hat trick wraps up Sunday at the Fayette County Speedway in West Union, Iowa, for the 8th Annual USMTS War in West Union.

Currently, the 2020 schedule for the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s is highlighted by 44 nights of racing at 27 unique dirt ovals for the 22nd season of competition for the world’s Best of the Best in dirt modified racing.

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United States Modified Touring Series
Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s
8th Annual ARMI Salute to our Veterans presented by Bryke Racing
Salina Highbanks Speedway in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma
Saturday, August 22, 2020

Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown, chassis/engine builder and laps completed. The top 12 in heat race passing points advanced to the Casey’s “A” Main with the top-8 drawing for starting positions 1-8.

1. (1) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla.
2. (6) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas.
3. (7) 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla.
4. (5) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
5. (4) 19SB Lance Mari, El Centro, Calif.
6. (9) 02 Tanner Mullens (R), Wichita, Kan.
7. (2) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan.
8. (8) 6 Casey Skyberg (R), Rapid City, S.D.
9. (3) 9H Aaron Halpain (R), Hulbert, Okla.

1. (3) 4W Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark.
2. (4) 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa.
3. (8) 96T R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz.
4. (6) 0 Jake O'Neil, Tucson, Ariz.
5. (1) 00 Cody Jolly (R), Jasper, Mo.
6. (9) 65 Tyler Davis (R), Haysville, Kan.
7. (7) 8 Jeremy Vaughn, Pocola, Okla.
8. (2) 65X Carlos Ahumada Jr.., El Paso, Texas.
9. (5) 6 Jason Payton (R), Greenwood, Ark.

1. (5) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla.
2. (4) 4R Jared Russell (R), Wagoner, Okla.
3. (6) 37 Clint Johnson (R), Neosho, Mo.
4. (2) 52 Mitch Keeter, Webb City, Mo.
5. (7) 99 Jared Baird (R), Norman, Okla.
6. (8) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla.
7. (1) 57 Ryan Rasberry (R), Decatur, Ark.
8. (3) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN (8 laps, all starters advance):
1. (1) 00 Cody Jolly (R), Jasper, Mo.
2. (3) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan.
3. (8) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla.
4. (6) 6 Casey Skyberg (R), Rapid City, S.D.
5. (2) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla.
6. (7) 65X Carlos Ahumada Jr.., El Paso, Texas.
7. (4) 8 Jeremy Vaughn, Pocola, Okla.
8. (10) 6J Jason Payton (R), Greenwood, Ark.
DNS – 9H Aaron Halpain (R), Hulbert, Okla., Hughes/UFO.
DNS – 57 Ryan Rasberry (R), Decatur, Ark., Hughes/.

CASEY’S “A” MAIN (40 laps):
1. (3) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, 40.
2. (7) 4W Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark., MBCustoms/ECE, 40.
3. (11) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Durham, 40.
4. (10) 0 Jake O'Neil, Tucson, Ariz., LG2/Cornett, 40.
5. (14) 02 Tanner Mullens (R), Wichita, Kan., Mullens/Mullens, 40.
6. (6) 96T R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz., Longhorn,/Mullins, 40.
7. (2) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, 40.
8. (4) 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Stoen, 40.
9. (8) 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett, 40.
10. (19) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., MBCustoms/BMS, 40.
11. (13) 99 Jared Baird (R), Norman, Okla., Hughes./Stoen, 40.
12. (9) 37 Clint Johnson (R), Neosho, Mo., VanderBuilt/Yeoman, 40.
13. (1) 4R Jared Russell (R), Wagoner, Okla., Hughes/Thomas, 40.
14. (18) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan., Jet/Speedway, 40.
15. (12) 52 Mitch Keeter, Webb City, Mo., GRT/ECE, 40.
16. (22) 65X Carlos Ahumada Jr.., El Paso, Texas, Hughes/BMS, 40.
17. (23) 8 Jeremy Vaughn, Pocola, Okla., Hughes/BMS, 40.
18. (24) 6 Jason Payton (R), Greenwood, Ark., MBCustoms/ChevPerf, 27.
19. (20) 6 Casey Skyberg (R), Rapid City, S.D., Lethal/Mullins, 26.
20. (15) 65 Tyler Davis (R), Haysville, Kan., Hughes/Mullins, 26.
21. (5) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla., VanderBuilt/Durham, 14.
22. (17) 00 Cody Jolly (R), Jasper, Mo., MBCustoms/Yeoman, 14.
23. (16) 19SB Lance Mari, El Centro, Calif., MRT/Yeoman, 12.
24. (21) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla., GRT/ChevPerf, 10.

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

Lap Leaders: Russell 1-4, Sanders 5-32, Wolff 33-38, Sanders 39-40.
Total Laps Led: Sanders 30, Wolff 6, Russell 4.
Margin of Victory: 0.878 second.
Time of Race: 22 minutes, 20.62 seconds (2 cautions).
Provisional Starters: none.
Eibach Spring Forward Award: Mullens (advanced 12 positions).
FK Rod Ends Hard Charger: Mullens (started 14th, finished 5th).
Entries: 26.
Next Race: Friday, Sept. 4, Chateau Speedway, Lansing, Minn.
Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s Points: Sanders 2688, Ramirez 2537, Hughes 2397, VanderBeek 2132, Davis 2073, Phillips 2020, Hunter Marriott 1976, Skyberg 1866, Calvin Iverson 1850, Mullens 1821.
Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year Points: Mullens 1821, Davis 1755, Calvin Iverson 1684, Skyberg 1564, Hagar 1069.
Jobbers Warehouse Supply USMTS Manufacturers Championship Points: Hatfield 225, Cornett 199, Mullins 184, Stoen 157, Mullens 144.
Compstar/JE Pistons USMTS Engine Builder of the Year Points: MBCustoms 264, Hughes 249, GRT 183, VanderBuilt 160, Mullens 155.

Contingency Awards:
American Racer – Jolly.
Beyea Custom Headers – O’Neil.
BigDeal Car Care – Sanders.
Bryke Racing – Keeter.
BSB Manufacturing – Wheeler.
Champ Pans – Mullens.
Deatherage Opticians – Johnson.
Edelbrock – Wheeler.
Eibach – Mullens.
Fast Shafts – Wolff.
FK Rod Ends – Mullens.
Forty9 Designs – Kates, Skyberg.
Hooker Harness – Baird.
Integra Racing Shocks & Springs – Payton.
Jerovetz Motorsports Racing Parts – Vaughn.
K1 RaceGear by Ryan Bowers Motorsports – Halpain.
Keyser Manufacturing – Duvall.
KSE Racing Products – Ramirez.
Maxima Racing Oils – Sanders.
Penske Racing Shocks – Russell.
PEM Racing Gears & Drivetrain – Payton.
QA1 – Sanders. – Davis.
Simpson Performance Products – Hughes.
Spyder High Performance Filters – Whitwell.
Summit Racing Equipment – Russell, Vaughn, Whitwell.
Super Clean – Sanders.
Swift Springs – Sanders, Baird.
Sybesma Graphics – Russell.
Tire Demon – Jolly.
VP Racing Fuels – Sanders.
Wehrs Machine & Racing Products – Rasberry.
Wilwood Disc Brakes – Hughes.

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USMTS OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Racer Racing Tires, Casey’s, Chevrolet Performance, Compstar Performance Engine Components by Callies, CP-Carrillo, Dirt Draft, Eibach, Fast Shafts, FK Rod Ends, Intercomp, Jerovetz Motorsports Racing Parts, K1 RaceGear by Ryan Bowers Motorsports, KS Engineering, KSE Racing Products, Malvern Bank, Mesilla Valley Transportation, MSD Performance, MTN DEW Zero Sugar, MyRacePass, Nitroquest Media, PEM Racing Gears & Drivetrain,, Snickers, Summit Racing Equipment, Super Clean, VP Racing Fuels, Wrisco Industries.

USMTS PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: Boubin Tire & Automotive, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Duvall Electric, Eagle Moon Farm, JE Pistons, Miller Welders, PBM Performance Products, Rancho Milagro Racing, Rivers Edge Scrap Management, Tony Moro Powder Coat, Top of the World Ranch,

USMTS CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: AFCO Racing Products, Allstar Performance, Beyea Headers, BigDeal Car Care, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Bryke Racing, BSB Manufacturing, Champ Pans, Deatherage Opticians, Edelbrock, Forty9 Designs, Genesis Racing Shocks, Hooker Harness, Integra Racing Shocks and Springs, Keyser Manufacturing, Maxima Racing Oils, Penske Racing Shocks, QA1,, Real Racing Wheels, Simpson Performance Products, Swift Springs, Sybesma Graphics, Tire Demon, Wehrs Machine & Race Products, Wilwood Racing.