WATERTOWN, S.D.–Ryan Gustin took control at the drop of the green flag and then held off a swarm of challengers Sunday night en route to winning the 2nd Annual Sandy Benson Memorial and his first USMTS victory at the Casino Speedway in Watertown, S.D.
‘The Reaper’ got the advantage over polesitter Tim Johnson to start the race, but Johnson never let Gustin out of his cross-hairs for most of the race.
Cautions of laps 12, 25 and 37 kept the field close behind Gustin, and the final yellow flag with three laps to go made for a mad three-lap dash around the 1/4-mile bullring.
For his tenth win of the 2017 campaign and 89th of his United States Modified Touring Series career, Gustin pocketed $4,500.
Stormy Scott kept his hopes alive for a USMTS national title with a runner-up finish while Cade Dillard came from the 11th starting spot to finish third. Johnson held on for fourth and Rodney Sanders claimed the fifth spot.
In search of his third straight USMTS crown, Jason Hughes nabbed sixth at the finish line ahead of Zack VanderBeek, Dereck Ramirez, Jon Tesch and Jake Timm.
Making just his second start this year and third in nearly two years, Tesch climbed from 19th on the starting grid to finish ninth and earned the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award.
The Wehrs Machine & Racing Products ‘Trick Move’ of the Race Award went to the field’s only female driver, Morgan Ward, who garnered the most passing points among the 34 entries in five heat races.
Just six races remain in the USMTS Hunt for the Casey’s Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental. The final surge begins this Wednesday, Aug. 30, when the USMTS returns to the Kossuth County Speedway in Algona, Iowa, for the first time since 2010.
Wednesday, Aug. 30 – Kossuth County Speedway, Algona, Iowa
Thursday, Aug. 31 – Fairmont Raceway, Fairmont, Minn.
Friday, Sept. 1 – Fayette County Speedway, West Union, Iowa
Saturday, Sept. 2 – Deer Creek Speedway, Spring Valley, Minn.
Sunday, Sept. 3 – Cresco Speedway, Cresco, Iowa
Thursday, Sept. 21 – Deer Creek Speedway, Spring Valley, Minn.
The 2017 USMTS national champion will emerge following the final race of The Hunt and the first night of the 19th Annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree on Thursday, Sept. 21, at the Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn.
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