WEBSTER CITY, Iowa–After nearly 700 nights of racing from January through October at 50 of America’s most popular dirt ovals, officials at the United States Racing Association have announced 95 champions for 2017 in the Summit Racing Equipment USRA Weekly Racing Series.
Among them are seven national champions, 13 regional champions, five special series champions and 70 track champions from 20 different states.
In the national points races, four drivers are first-time USRA national champions, two others earned their second titles in their class and one is now a four-time national champ in his division.
Jason Cummins of New Richland, Minn., started the season strong and never slowed down on his way to winning his second USRA Modified national championship since winning his first in 2010. While earning track championships at both the Chateau Raceway in Lansing, Minn., and Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., Cummins rolled into victory lane 20 times in his 44 starts.
Cummins held off a late-season charge by C.A. Nix of Lawton, Okla., who had a strong season at his hometown track and the Southern Oklahoma Speedway in Ardmore, as well as the Touring Outlaw Modified Series (TOMS).
Lake Ozark Speedway (Ozark, Mo.) track champion Ryan Middaugh of Fulton, Mo., broke a tie with Dustin Sorensen of Rochester, Minn., by winning 14 features to Sorensen’s six, and Trevor Latham finished fifth in national points while claiming the track title at the Tri-State Speedway in Pocola, Okla.
Previous USRA Modified national champs include Lucas Schott (2016), Jake Gallardo (2015), Fito Gallardo (2014), Matt Dotson (2013), Brandon Davis (2012), Johnny Bone Jr. (2011), Jason Cummins (2010), Greg Skaggs (2009), Brad Waits (2007, 2008), Larry Herring (2006) and Ron Luitjens (2005).
Jason Cummins is the 2017 USRA Modified national champion.
Mitch Hovden looked to be well on his way to taking a fifth trophy back to Decorah, Iowa, in the Holley USRA Stock Car division, but a dominating season and strong finish at the Summit Racing Equipment USRA Nationals put Elijah ZeVenBergen of Ocheyeden, Iowa, over the top in the final two weeks of competition.
ZeVenBergen was nearly unstoppable in 2017, winning 18 main events in just 23 starts. He competed in just seven Iron Man Challenge events but won five of them, and was the track champion at the Rapid Speedway in Rock Rapids, Iowa.
While Hovden held on for runner-up honors in the national standings, it was the first time since the 2010 season that he did not wind up with a national championship or Iron Man Challenge title. He did, however, claim the track championship at the Upper Iowa Speedway in Decorah.
2013 Holley USRA Stock Car national champion Donavon Flores of Las Cruces, N.M., finished third in the final points battle while Brett Heeter of Kansas City, Kan., capped off another stellar season with another track championship at the Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., and a fourth-place finish in national points. Jaime Torres of Las Cruces, N.M., came home in fifth place.
Previous Holley USRA Stock Car national champs include Mitch Hovden (2011, 2012, 2015, 2016), Justin Lasiter (2014), Donavon Flores (2013), Rich Gregoire (2010), Tory Reicks (2009), Tom Schmitt (2007, 2008) and Scotty Pratt (2006).
Elijah Zevenbergen is the 2017 Holley USRA Stock Car national champion.
Twenty-nine feature wins last year was not enough for Ryan Gillmore to win the Out-Pace USRA B-Mod national championship, but 29 wins again in 2017 did the trick for the 24-year-old from Springfield, Mo. He also repeated as track champion at both the Monett Motor Speedway in Monett, Mo., and Springfield Raceway.
Lucas Oil Speedway (Wheatland, Mo.) track champion Andy Bryant of Fort Scott, Kan., who earned the title in 2015, finished second in the final standings after a tight three-way battle in the standings between himself, Gillmore and third-place finisher Dan Hovden of Decorah, Iowa, who joined his brother Mitch as a track champ at the Upper Iowa Speedway.
Jake Richards used a victory on Friday night at the Summit Racing Equipment USRA Nationals to garner a fourth-place finish while Kris Jackson of Lebanon, Mo., rounded out the top five.
Previous Out-Pace USRA B-Mod national champs include J.C. Morton (2016), Andy Bryant (2015), Chad Clancy (2014), Troy Hovey (2013), Scott Drake (2012), Brandon Hare (2010, 2011), Matt Jones (2007, 2008, 2009) and Tony Dunker (2006).
Ryan Gillmore is the 2017 Out-Pace USRA B-Mod national champion.
In 2015, Dustin Gulbrandson of Sioux Falls, S.D., became the first driver to win a second USRA Hobby Stock national championship, and he hasn’t budged from there since. Gulbrandson’s seven wins and 29 top-five finishes in 36 starts propelled him to a fourth straight title in 2017 to become the first driver to perform the feat four straight seasons.
Mason City Motor Speedway track champion Matt White of Nashua, Iowa, made a late-season run and picked up a win at the Summit Racing Equipment USRA Nationals, but had to settle for second-place in the final standings ahead of Waukon, Iowa’s Brady Link; Chad Lonneman of Adrian, Minn.; and Steve Larson of Decorah, Iowa, won claimed the USRA Hobby Stock track championship at the Fayette County Speedway in West Union, Iowa.
Previous USRA Hobby Stock national champs include Dustin Gulbrandson (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), Adam Cline (2013), Dillon Anderson (2012), Dan Strandberg (2011), Shane Klaassen (2010), Chris Hovden (2009). Jason McDaniel (2008), Mitch Hovden (2007) and Nathan Wood (2006).
Dustin Gulbrandson is the 2017 USRA Hobby Stock national champion.
For the first time in history, a national champion will be recognized in the USRA Late Model division, and his name is Lance Hofer of Cochrane, Wis. While nailing the track championship at Bob Timm’s Mississippi Thunder Speedway in Fountain City, Wis., Hofer recorded 15 wins in his 22 starts at five different race tracks.
Justin Sass of Elgin, Minn., will be the runner-up in the class, followed by Matt LaDuke of Cochrane, Wis.; Shaun Mann of Buffalo City, Wis.; and Derek Nelson of Ashland, Wis.
Lance Hofer is the 2017 USRA Late Model national champion.
A new division to the USRA family in 2017, the USRA Tuner division will also crown its first national champion. Holding off his brother for the title, Kyle Balik of Fort Atkinson, Iowa, emerged as the USRA Tuner national champ while his brother, Mitch Balik, finished in the second spot.
Claremont, Iowa’s Steve Lane wound up third, Fayette County Speedway track champion Dylan Clinton finished fourth and Mason City Motor Speedway track champ Ryan Bryant of Mason City was fifth.
Kyle Balik is the 2017 USRA Tuner national champion.
The 2017 racing season was the second year for the USRA Limited Mods, and it was another dominating performance by Jordan Eddleman of Kirtland, N.M., who claimed his second national title as well as the track championship at the Aztec Speedway in Aztec, N.M.
Aztec’s John Hanks Jr. was the runner-up in the final standings, Albuquerque’s Brittany Yates wound up third, Sergio Luengas of Farmington, N.M., finished fourth and Travis Montgomery of La Plata, N.M., completed the top five.
Jordan Eddleman is the 2017 USRA Limited Mod national champion.
Another new incentive was added in 2017 for drivers competing in the Summit USRA Weekly Racing Series with the additional of regional points championships in four divisions. In all, 13 drivers claimed titles in regional action, which gave heavier weight to those drivers who support more USRA tracks.
The following drivers claimed Summit USRA Weekly Racing Series regional championships in 2017:
CP-Carrillo Central Region presented by MVT: Ryan Middaugh, Fulton, Mo. (USRA Modifieds), Dean Wray, Jamesport, Mo. (Holley USRA Stock Cars) and Jake Richards, Lansing, Kan. (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Ryan Middaugh is the 2017 CP-Carrillo Central Region champion for the USRA Modifieds.
MSD Performance Southwest Region presented by MVT: Fito Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M. (USRA Modifieds), Jaime Torres, Las Cruces, N.M. (Holley USRA Stock Cars) and Jimmy Ray, Las Cruces, N.M. (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Summit Racing Equipment Mid-American Region presented by MVT: Trevor Latham, Rogers, Ark. (USRA Modifieds) and Mike Hailmann, Reeds Spring, Mo. (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Summit Racing Equipment Northern Region presented by MVT: Jason Cummins, New Richland, Minn. (USRA Modifieds), Luke Sathoff, Jackson, Minn. (Holley USRA Stock Cars), Jayden Larson, Mankato, Minn. (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods) and Dustin Gulbrandson, Sioux Falls, S.D. (USRA Hobby Stocks).
Summit Racing Equipment Southern Region presented by MVT: C.A. Nix, Lawton, Okla. (USRA Modifieds).
Five drivers also scored titles in five classes in special USRA-sanctioned series.
For the second straight year, Triston Dycus of Waxahachie, Texas, claimed the title of champion of the Touring Outlaw Modified Series (TOMS) which staged 18 USRA Modified points races during the 2017 campaign.
The Iron Man Challenge saw two first-time champions in Derek Green of Granada, Minn. (Holley USRA Stock Cars) and Dan Hovden of Decorah, Iowa (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Derek Green is the 2017 Iron Man Challenge champion in the Holley USRA Stock Car division.
The first season for the Southwest Touring Series saw R.C. Combs of Rio Rancho, N.M. claim the Holley USRA Stock Car title while Josh Cain of Moriarity, N.M. came out on top in the Out-Pace USRA B-Mods.
Last, but certainly not least, Summit USRA Weekly Racing Series competitors battled it out throughout 2017 as dozens of USRA Member Tracks, with 70 track championships being earned along the way. The following drivers earned track championships in 2017:
Atchison County Raceway (Atchison, Kan.) – Anthony Robertson, Savannah, Mo. (Holley USRA Stock Cars); Kyle Henning, Atchison (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Aztec Speedway (Aztec, N.M.) – Jason Keeler, Farmington (USRA Modifieds); Jeramy Bradley, Aztec (Holley USRA Stock Cars); Christopher Higgins, Bloomfield (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods); Jordan Eddleman, Kirtland (USRA Limited Mods).
Callaway Raceway (Fulton, Mo.) – Robbie Reed, Mexico (USRA Modifieds).
Caney Valley Speedway (Caney, Kan.) – Caleb Edwards, South Coffeyville, Okla. (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Central Missouri Speedway (Warrensburg) – Jim Moody, Odessa (USRA Modifieds); Jacob Ebert, Oak Grove (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Chateau Raceway (Lansing, Minn.) – Jason Cummins, New Richland (USRA Modifieds); Kadden Kath, Owatonna (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Deer Creek Speedway (Spring Valley, Minn.) – Jason Cummins, New Richland (USRA Modifieds); Dustin Kruse, Brandon, S.D. (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, Texas) – Max Eddie Thomas, Quinlan (USRA Modifieds).
Fayette County Speedway (West Union, Iowa) – Lynn Panos, Calmar (Holley USRA Stock Cars); Trevor Fecht, Allison (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods); Steve Larson, Decorah (USRA Hobby Stocks); Dylan Clinton, Elkader (USRA Tuners).
Flint Creek Speedway (Colcord, Okla.) – Steve Holzkamper, Gentry, Ark. (USRA Modifieds); Levi Phillips, Neosho, Mo. (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
I-35 Speedway (Winston, Mo.) – Dennis Elliott, Mount Ayr, Iowa (USRA Modifieds); Dean Wray, Jamesport (Holley USRA Stock Cars); Bud Wilson, Trenton (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Lake Ozark Speedway (Eldon, Mo.) – Ryan Middaugh, Fulton (USRA Modifieds); Adam Hall, Columbia (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, Kan.) – Nic Bidinger, Perry (USRA Modifieds); Brett Heeter, Kansas City (Holley USRA Stock Cars); Brad Smith, Belton, Mo. (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Lawton Speedway (Lawton, Okla.) – James Reed, Oklahoma City (USRA Modifieds).
Legit Speedway Park (West Plains, Mo.) – Sawyer Crigler, Alton (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Lucas Oil Speedway (Wheatland, Mo.) – Jeff Cutshaw, Bolivar (USRA Modifieds); Andy Bryant, Fort Scott, Kan. (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Mason City Motor Speedway (Mason City, Iowa) – J.D. Auringer, Evansdale (USRA Modifieds); Luke Sathoff, Jackson, Minn. (Holley USRA Stock Cars); Brandon Hare, Elma (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods); Matt White, Nashua (USRA Hobby Stocks); Ryan Bryant, Mason City (USRA Tuners).
Midway Speedway (Lebanon, Mo.) – Tyler Brown, Richland (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Mississippi Thunder Speedway (Fountain City, Wis.) – Josh Angst, Winona, Minn. (USRA Modifieds); Lance Hofer, Cochrane (USRA Late Models); Parker Hale, Grand Meadow, Minn. (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods); Steve Holthaus, Cresco, Iowa (USRA Hobby Stocks).
Monett Motor Speedway (Monett, Mo.) – Jackie Dalton, Carthage (USRA Modifieds); Ryan Gillmore, Springfield (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Nobles County Speedway (Worthington, Minn.) – Luke Sathoff, Jackson (Holley USRA Stock Cars); Cullen DeRuyter, Ruthton (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods); Dan Strandberg, Worthington (USRA Hobby Stocks); Scott Espey, Alpha (USRA Tuners).
North Central Arkansas Speedway (Flippin, Ark.) – Jason Snodgrass, Mountain Home (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Rapid Speedway (Rock Rapids, Iowa) – Elijah ZeVenBergen, Ocheyeden (Holley USRA Stock Cars); Tyler Johnson, Montrose, S.D. (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods); Blake Arends, Little Rock (USRA Hobby Stocks).
RPM Speedway (Crandall, Texas) – Jack Sartain, Terrell (USRA Modifieds).
Southern New Mexico Speedway (Las Cruces, N.M.) – Bumper Jones, Mesilla Park (USRA Modifieds); Jaime Torres, Las Cruces (Holley USRA Stock Cars); Jimmy Ray, Las Cruces (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Southern Oklahoma Speedway (Ardmore, Okla.) – Kyle Robinson, Pilot Point Texas (USRA Modifieds).
Springfield Raceway (Springfield, Mo.) – Jackie Dalton, Carthage (USRA Modifieds); Ryan Gillmore, Springfield (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Tri-State Speedway (Pocola, Okla.) – Trevor Latham, Rogers Ark. (USRA Modifieds); Lonny Flanagan, Rudy Ark. (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
U.S. 36 Raceway (Osborn, Mo.) – Zach Sanders, Kearney (USRA Modifieds); Alvie Christofferson, St. Joseph (Holley USRA Stock Cars); Tim Eaton, St. Joseph (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Upper Iowa Speedway (Decorah, Iowa) – Mitch Hovden, Decorah (Holley USRA Stock Cars); Dan Hovden, Decorah (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods); Brady Link, Waukon (USRA Hobby Stocks).
Valley Speedway (Grain Valley, Mo.) – Tony Layne, Kansas City (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods).
Wichita Speedway (Wichita Falls, Texas) – Tommy Fain, Abilene (USRA Modifieds).
Awards Banquet: The United States Racing Association will host its annual awards banquet for drivers competing in this year’s Summit USRA Weekly Racing Series on Saturday, January 27, 2018, at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City.
Headlining the honorees will be Summit USRA Weekly Racing Series national champions Jason Cummins (USRA Modifieds), Elijah Zevenbergen (Holley USRA Stock Cars), Lance Hofer (USRA Late Models), Ryan Gillmore (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods), Jordan Eddleman (USRA Limited Mods), Dustin Gulbrandson (USRA Hobby Stocks) and Kyle Balik (USRA Tuners).
USRA-sanctioned series competitors such as Iron Man Challenge champions Derek Green (Holley USRA Stock Cars) and Dan Hovden (Out-Pace USRA B-Mods) will also be honored along with 13 first-ever USRA Regional champs and several USRA member track operators, marketing partners and more.
A record crowd of nearly 300 people attended last year’s gala, and this year’s party will once again be a joint effort for both the USRA and United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS). Fans and members of the media are invited to attend too.
Those attending this year’s celebration are encouraged to reserve their rooms as soon as possible to take advantage of huge savings. For reservations, call the Ameristar Casino Hotel at (816) 414-7435 and request the USMTS discounted room rate.
In addition to the awards ceremony, the evening’s meal will feature a luxurious and plentiful selection of fine food, plus a huge dessert bar. A cash bar will also be available.
Tickets will go on sale this month.
The Ameristar Casino Hotel is an entertainment hub that offers something for everyone with huge casino floors, nine restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining, a luxury hotel, 18 movie screens, supervised child care and more.
Located just east of downtown Kansas City, the property features the largest casino and the most games in the Kansas City area, as well as one of the largest poker rooms in the Midwest. The property includes a 140,000 square-foot casino, seven dining venues, live entertainment in several venues featuring local and regional acts, an 18-screen movie theater and more.
The AAA-rated three-diamond full-service 184-room hotel includes 36 mini and 12 king suites. All rooms feature luxury furnishings, plasma-screen televisions, one king-sized or two queen-sized beds, mini refrigerators and in-room safes. Each king suite contains a bar, an in-room dining area and custom artwork. Non-smoking and wheelchair accessible rooms are available.
The awards banquet will be held inside the Star Pavilion. With more than 12,000 square feet of function space, the Star Pavilion serves a multitude of events including corporate meetings, training seminars, trade shows, social receptions and live performances. The list of entertainers who have appeared on stage could go on forever.
Situated on 183-acres immediately east of the Interstate 435 Missouri River bridge (at 210 Highway), Ameristar Casino Hotel is only seven miles east of downtown Kansas City.
For more information, check out www.ameristar.com. You can also like their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Ameristar.Casino.KC and follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AmeristarKC.
To learn more about the USRA, visit www.usraracing.com or call 515-832-6000. You can also like USRA Racing on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usraracing, follow www.twitter.com/usraracing on Twitter and check out the USRA YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usratv. Keep up to speed with everything USRA by joining our email list at www.usraracing.com/subscribe.