Ryan Gustin was just eight years old when Kevin Pittman won the first O’Reilly USMTS Modified race at Allison (then called Butler County Speedway) in 1999. Now 17 years old, the popular young gun from Marshalltown, Iowa claimed
his first O’Reilly USMTS National Tour victory with a thrilling last-lap pass of Corey Dripps to become the youngest winner in USMTS history.
Over an inch of rain in the preceding 24 hours made for a rough racing surface, but Gustin was up to the challenge all night long as he claimed the $2,000 top prize and the 4th Annual Hawkeye Summer Classic trophy in his 38th
After winning his heat race and earning the AFCO Pole Award, Gustin drew the pole position for the start of the Holley “A” Main. Gustin steered his #19 Harris Auto Racing/ProPower Modified into the lead at the drop of the green flag and led the first six circuits before Dripps went high in turn 1 then blasted by Gustin on the low side of turn 2 to lead the seventh lap.
From there, Dripps pulled away and looked to be on his way to his first O’Reilly USMTS win since April 1, 2005. But with four laps to go, Gustin closed the gap and began pressuring Dripps. As the white flag waved, Gustin shot to the high side of turn 1 and, like Dripps did on lap 6, shot to the inside of turn 2 and motored into the lead.
Gustin carried his momentum through the next turn and streaked under the checkered flags first while Dripps settled for a season-best runner-up finish.
Eight-time O’Reilly USMTS National Champion Kelly Shryock came home third, with Tim Donlinger fourth and 13th-starting Al Hejna fifth. Alan Mondus, Jon Tesch, Scott Green, Donovan Lodge and Ron Ver Beek rounded out the top 10.
The race produced the seventh different winner in seven races so far in the Casey’s General Stores Hunt for the O’Reilly USMTS National Championship where the close battles have created a razor-thin margin between the top 5 in the points.
Despite a disappointing 13th-place finish, Zack VanderBeek hung on to the points lead, but Shryock jumped to second in the standings and closed the gap between himself and VanderBeek from 32 to just 8 points (655 to 647). Tesch is
only 11 back with 636 points, with Donlinger at 634 and Hejna with 633. Dereck Ramirez is sixth with 554 markers, followed by Tommy Weder Jr. (532), Mondus (519), Dripps (505) and John Allen (494).
WHAT’S ON TAP?
FRIDAY, AUG. 29 – It’s off to the Chateau Raceway in Lansing, Minn. for another wheel-to-wheel battle in the 3rd Annual Cedar River Races. This will be the fifth time the O’Reilly USMTS National Tour has visited the 1/3-mile
semi-banked clay oval. Five different drivers have tasted victory, including Mike Chasteen (2001), Kelly Shyrock (2001), Jon Tesch (2006), Tommy Myer (2007) and Jason Krohn (2008).
Also on the race card will be Midwest Modifieds, Street Stocks and Pure Stocks. Grandstand gates open at 5:30 p.m. and the first green flag waves at 7:30. 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, AUG. 30 – Saturday will find the Modified Monsters at the Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., for the 5th Annual Labor Day Dual, and the final tune-up race before the 10th Annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree, Sept. 17-20. A huge field of cars is expected, along with a jam-packed grandstand as the WDRL Late Model Series will also make an appearance.
Pit gates will open at 2 p.m. and the grandstands will begin filling up at 3, with hot laps slated for 5 and racing at 5:30. The 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval 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, AUG. 31 – The four-race weekend wraps up on Sunday, Aug. 31 at the Dodge County Speedway in Kasson, Minn. for the 7th Annual Kasson Klash—the 22nd USMTS event staged at the 1/3-mile semi-banked clay oval. Gates open at 3 p.m. and the mud starts flying at 5 p.m. Late Models, Super Stocks, Midwest Mods and Street Stocks will also be featured.
The Dodge County Speedway (formerly Kasson Speedway) is located 1.1 miles north of US 14 on SR 57 (at the Dodge County Fairgrounds). For more information, call Track: (507) 634-4281 or check out www.dodgecountyspeedway.com.
Fans can pick up $2-off discount coupons all weekend long at Casey’s General Stores locations in Austin, Owatonna, Rochester and Stewartville, Minn.
On Friday, Kelly Shryock will be on hand to meet and greet fans in Austin, Minn. at the Casey’s General Store located at 1702 12th St. SW from 12-2 p.m. Saturday will find the Skyrocket pilot at 605 S. Main St. in Stewartville from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Sunday Shryock fans can meet the man and his machine at the Casey’s General Store location at 4500 18th Ave. NW in Rochester from 12-2 p.m.
All four events will pay $2,000 to the winner of the O’Reilly USMTS main event.
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.