TIPTON, Iowa- Two-time defending USMTS National Champion Ryan Gustin got the monkey off his back Thursday night as he scored a decisive victory at the Cedar County Raceway in Tipton, Iowa, during Round 13 of the Hunt for the USMTS
Winless since June 13, the 22-year-old from Marshalltown, Iowa, took the lead with nine laps in the books and blistered the field over the final 31 circuits to score his fourth win of the season and first during The Hunt.
Rookie points leader Trevor Hunt garnered his first pole and used his starting position to take command at the drop of the green flag. The rising star paced the first nine laps before The Reaper blasted by and off into the distance.
2010 USMTS National Champion Jason Hughes drove the fastest car on the track over the last dozen laps, clawing his way from 13th on the 24-car starting grid to a runner-up finish, albeit more than five seconds behind Gustin at the checkers.
Johnny Scott, who held the second position until the final lap, scored a third-place finish while Zack VanderBeek and Rodney Sanders took fourth and fifth. Brad Dierks, Hunt, Lucas Schott, Kelly Shryock and Jeremy Payne rounded out the top 10.
For Gustin, it was his 65 career USMTS victory as he left the high-banked quarter-mile dirt oval with a $3,000 winners paycheck plus an additional $2,000 for taking part in the Big Dog Buy-In.
In the Hunt for the USMTS Caseys Cup, Scott regained the points lead he lost last week and now leads Sanders by a mere six points (1216 to 1210) with just four races left to determine the 2013 USMTS National Champion. Hughes closed the gap on the two young guns and is 35 markers out of first place. Fourth through ninth are Stormy Scott, Payne, VanderBeek, Shryock, Dereck Ramirez and Schott while Gustin moved into a tie with Hunt for tenth.
On Friday night the series returns to the Chateau Raceway in Lansing, Minn., where the winner could leave Darin Toot’s bullring with as much as $8,600 as Brew Pub Pizza has stepped up and doubled their offer on the Brew Pub Pizza Challenge.
The payoff this week is $3,600 for a driver who accepts the challenge. Coupled with the regular $3,000 it pays to win the USMTS Modified feature, that’s $6,600 to win. And if you partake in the USMTS Big Dog Buy-In for an extra hundred bucks, it makes for a possible $8,600 take home prize for the winner.
More than just the drivers on the front row, this week the Brew Pub Pizza Challenge will be offered to the top eight drivers in passing points before they get a chance to redraw. Defending USRA Modified National Champion Brandon Davis has captured two of the last three USMTS events at. Other former winners here include Jason Hughes, Tim Donlinger, Jason Krohn, Tommy Myer, Jon Tesch, Kelly Shryock, Ryan Gustin, Mike Chasteen and Mike Sorensen.
Gates open at 5:00 with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:00. Also racing Friday night will be USRA B-Mods, Street Stocks, Midwest Modifieds and Pure Stocks. Live music from Decadence will cap the night off following the final checkered flag.
General admission is $18, kids ages 6-12 are $5 and pit passes are $30. Race fans can pick up $2-off grandstand admission coupons on race day at Casey’s General Store locations in Austin and Blooming Prairie, and you can see Steve Whiteaker Jr. and his Cheetos-sponsored machine from 11:30 to 1:30 at the Casey’s General Store located at 1702 12th St. SW in Austin.
The Chateau Raceway is a semi-banked one-third-mile gumbo clay oval located 5.0 miles north of Austin on US 218 (Lansing Exit), then 1.3 miles east on CR 2, then 0.4 mile south on CR 25, then 0.3 mile east on 266th St. For more information call 507-391-2486 or check out www.chateauraceway.net online.
On Saturday, the series invades the Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., for the 8th Annual BP Labor Day Dual presented by Baudoin Oil and Sunday will find the mud-slinging USMTS Modifieds at the Cresco Speedway in Cresco, Iowa, for the next-to-last race in the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup.
The final USMTS points race during ‘The Hunt’ will take place on the first night of the 15th Annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree on Thursday, Sept. 19, back at the Deer Creek Speedway.
To learn more about the United States Modified Touring Series, visit www.usmts.com online or call 515-832-7944. You can also like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usmts, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/usmts or check out our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usmtstv.