ARDMORE, Okla. — Rodney Sanders reeled in his first win of the season with a dominating wire-to-wire effort on the final day of the 5th Annual Production Jars Sooner Showdown Saturday at the Southern Oklahoma Speedway.
The 2012 and 2013 USMTS national champion had not led one of the previous 545 laps of feature racing this season, but he made up for it on a cold and wet day in Ardmore, Okla., by leading all 50 laps of the main event Saturday to earn a $4,000 check and his 76th career USMTS triumph.
Although the 27-year-old from Happy, Texas, led comfortably for most of the 50 laps around John and Nikki Webbs 3/8-mile dirt oval, things got tense with about 15 laps remaining when thick lapped traffic allowed Dereck Ramirez to close in on the rear bumper of the leader.
In fact, Ramirez nosed ahead at one point while Sanders was working the high side to pick off back-markers, but Sanders was able to shut the door and hold the spot.
After that, Sanders found a new line to his liking and pulled away from the pack over the final ten circuits.
As Sanders took the checkered flag, a melee occurred in turn four which brought out the yellow flag and the rest of the field was scored as they finished lap 49.
Ramirez, Chris Brown, Zack VanderBeek and Jason Hughes claimed the rest of the top-five positions while Clyde Dunn Jr., Stormy Scott, Ricky Thornton Jr., R.C. Whitwell and Ryan Gustin rounded out the top ten.
As a provisional starter, VanderBeek was not eligible for the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award, which went to tenth-starting Hughes.
However, the Wehrs Machine Trick Move of the Race Award went to the Z-Man after he passed 19 cars from his 23rd starting spot.
Saturdays event was moved up to a 3 p.m. start due to impending weather later in the evening. Nonetheless, a brief shower moved into the area around 5 p.m. and brought on a one-hour delay in the program.
With the final race in the Summit Racing USMTS Winter Speedweeks in the books, the series is now a perfect 15-0 against Mother Nature to start the 2017 campaign.
The series returns to the Southern Oklahoma Speedway on Thursday, May 4, for the 16th round in the Summit Racing USMTS Southern Region presented by Production Jars.
KING OF AMERICA VII MARCH 23-25
In less than two weeks, the nations best dirt modified drivers will invade the Humboldt Speedway in Humboldt, Kan., for the King of America VII Modified Nationals presented by Summit Racing.
Set for March 23-25, the event will culminate with Saturdays $10,000-to-win, $1,000-to-start championship race with the possibility of a seventh different winner in seven events.
Zack VanderBeek captured last years big check after a thrilling late-race battle with 2014 race winner Rodney Sanders. Jason Hughes was the 2015 champion, Ryan Gustin won in 2013, Stormy Scott took the 2012 event and Kelly Shryock claimed the inaugural King of America crown in 2011.
Thursday will be the seasons first event in the MSD Central Region presented by Summit Racing a prelude to King of America qualifying the following day featuring a $3,000-to-win show.
On Friday, each driver will run three heat races from three different starting positions. Passing points will be combined for the three heat races with the top 12 drivers in overall points locked into the first six rows of Saturdays A& Main. The next 12 drivers will be locked into Saturdays B Main, the next 12 into Saturdays C Main and the remainder will run in Last Chance races on Saturday.
Spectator tickets can be purchased by calling 515-832-7944. Three-day reserved seats are $60. Single-day tickets on Thursday and Friday are $20 each while Saturdays show is $25. All single-day tickets are general admission and will only be sold on the night of the races.
The entry fee is $300 if received or postmarked no later than March 17. The entry fee is $400 after March 17 or at the track on race day. Entry fee covers all three days. Entry forms are available for download at www.usmts.com/downloads/entry-forms or call the USMTS offices Monday-Friday during normal business hours.
All drivers who have their entry submitted by Friday, March 17, will be entered for a provisional lottery draw. Of those that do not qualify for Saturdays main event through qualifying and preliminary races, one name will be randomly drawn for a provisional starting spot in the finale.
There will be an open practice for all drivers on Wednesday, March 22, from 6-9 p.m. Admission to the grandstands is free. Pit passes are $20.
The Iron Man Series featuring Out-Pace USRA B-Mods will run a complete show of heat races and main events all three days, racing for $600 to win Thursday, $1,500 to win Friday and $1,000 to win Saturday.
The Humboldt Speedway is a located 0.1 mile west of US 169 at the Humboldt Exit, then 0.5 mile south, then 0.9 mile east on Georgia Rd. For more information, call 620-431-2470 or visit www.humboldtspeedway.com. For camping, ATV and/or golf cart permits call 620-473-3694.
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 and Instagram at www.instagram.com/usmts or subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usmtstv. Keep up to speed with everything USMTS by joining our email list at www.usmts.com/subscribe.