ALEXANDRIA, Minn.-The outside front row was the place to be for the start of Wednesdays main event, and Thursday night was no different as Brady Gerdes led all 35 laps in dominating fashion to capture his career first USMTS victory in the series first-ever voyage to the Viking Speedway.
Gerdes, a United States Modified Touring Series Rookie of the Year contender with less than a dozen career starts, looked like a veteran on the big half-mile clay oval as he beat runner-up Rodney Sanders to the finish line with a seven-car-length cushion.
Less than 24 hours after having his rear end fail on the first lap of the feature and finishing dead last at the KRA Speedway Wednesday night, Gerdes turned the tables in a big way using a borrowed quick change from Bob Gierke.
With an extra grand thrown in by an anonymous donor, the winners share of the prize money expanded to $4,000 for the 20-year-old from Villard, Minn.
Rodney Sanders, who only finished two laps the night before after being involved in the early-race melee, rebounded to register a second-place finish after getting around Jesse Sobbing with just four laps remaining in Thursday’s nightcap.
Sobbing suffered a blown engine on the final circuit but nursed his No. 99 Home Pride machine to the finish line to hang on for third while last nights winner, Craig Thatcher, finished fourth with Zack Johnson fifth.
As the highest-finishing WISSOTA competitor, Johnson pocketed an extra $250 for his efforts.
Joey Jensen turned the QA1 Fastest Lap of the evening in his heat race and brought home a sixth-place paycheck. Seventh through tenth, respectively, were Jason Thoennes, 25th-starting Jesse Glenz, 23rd-starting Tim Johnson and Eric Pember.
Tomorrow, the USMTS Caseys Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental blasts into the Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis., for another bout in the Farm Boy BBQ Sauce Northern Region and the first of two days at the legendary speedplant for the 17th Annual Masters.
The event will also feature the UMP Hell Tour Late Models both days, with grandstands opening at 5 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday. Race time is 7 p.m. both nights. Ticket prices are $25 on Friday and $30 on Saturday. Kids ages 6-16 are half price and children ages 5 and under are free.
The Cedar Lake Speedway is a high-banked 3/8-mile clay oval located 1.0 mile east of SR 35 on SR 64 (in Somerset), then 4.2 miles north on CR C to CR CC, then left 1.8 miles. For more information call 715-248-7119 or check out www.cedarlakespeedway.com online.
On Sunday, the 13th Annual Stars & Stripes Shootout takes place at the Cresco Speedway in Cresco, Iowa, to wrap up the five-race swing in the Farm Boy BBQ Sauce Northern Region.
The event will also put the feature on the Holley Iron Man Series for USRA Stock Cars and USRA B-Mods. USRA Hobby Stocks will also be in action at the Mighty Howard County Fairgrounds with hot laps starting at 6 p.m. and racing to follow.
The Cresco Speedway is a high-banked 4/10-mile clay oval located 0.2 miles north of SR 9 on SW 7th (at the Howard County Fairgrounds). For more information call 563-547-3400.
After a three-day rest, action heats back up on Wednesday and Thursday, June 17-18, for a pair of MSD Central Region shoot-outs at the Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Mo., and C. Ray Halls 81 Speedway located just outside of Wichita, Kan.
The annual USMTS Southern Speedweek commences on Friday, June 19, at the new Red River Speedway in Wichita Falls, Texas, for the first of seven events in nine days in the highly-competitive Double H Bands Southern Region.
With trips to the Route 66 Motor Speedway in Amarillo, Texas, on June 22; Heart O Texas Speedway near Waco, Texas, on June 23; Devils Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas, on June 24; Mountain Creek Speedway in Grand Prairie, Texas, on June 25; and Southern Oklahoma Speedway in Ardmore, Okla., on June 26; the swing through the south wraps up on Saturday, June 27, at the historic Lawton Speedway in Lawton, Okla.
Nearly $40,000 has been earmarked for the winners from an overall purse of more than $250,000 for events during the month of June.
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 subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usmtstv.