ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa –Fans witnessed a classic back-and-forth feature race fight Friday night at the Rapid Speedway that ended with Dereck Ramirez scoring his first United States Modified Touring Series victory since Feb. 13, 2015.
From the inside of the second row, Rodney Sanders got off to a strong start and led the first six laps before Ramirez, who started next to Sanders in the 40-lap main event, inched ahead to lead the seventh lap.
Ramirez continued to set the pace for the next 17 times around the 3/8-mile clay oval in Rock Rapids, Iowa, but it wasn’t without several challenges from Sanders as both drivers used every inch of the racing surface.
Sanders regained control of the race with 24 laps down, but Ramirez battled back and wrestled the lead away for good on lap 30, leading the final 10 orbits to score his fifth career win and first of the 2017 campaign in his 60th start this season.
Although he was first to the finish line, the win was anything but easy for Ramirez. Here, the top four exit turn two nearly four-wide on the final lap of the main event.
Along with a $2,000 bonus from Rancho Milagro, the win was worth $5,000 to the 30-year-old from Woodward, Okla.-his first during the USMTS Hunt for the Casey’s Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental.
Ryan Gustin got around Sanders late in the contest to claim the runner-up paycheck in Friday’s 7th Annual USMTS Rapid Rumble presented by Casey’s General Stores while last year’s winner, Cade Dillard came from the 10th starting spot to register a fourth-place finish.
Stormy Scott, who sits second in the points battle, finished fifth while current points leader and two-time defending USMTS national champion Jason Hughes was sixth. Curt Myers, Cory Crapser, USMTS legend Jon Tesch and Grant Junghans Rookie of the Year points leader R.C. Whitwell completed the top 10 in the main event just before rain began to fall on the speedway.
Nineteenth-starting Zane DeVilbiss finished 11th and scored the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award while Ramirez added the Wehrs Machine & Racing Products Trick Move of the Race Award to his nightly grab.
The Park Jefferson Speedway in Jefferson, S.D., hosts the 8th Annual USMTS River City Rumble presented by B&B Salvage on Saturday with the high-flying action of the USMTS Modifieds plus the Iron Man Challenge featuring Holley USRA Stock Cars and Out-Pace USRA B-Mods and the lightning-fast Nebraska 360 Sprint Car Series vs. MSTS Sprint Cars also in action.
Pits open at 4 p.m. and spectator gates open at 5 with hot laps at 6:30 and the first green flag slated to wave at approximately 7:15. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors age 70 and up or $12 for youth ages 6-16. Children under 6 get in for free. A seat in the suite is $12 in addition to your grandstand ticket. Pit passes are $35.
Coupons good for $2 off adult admission available at Casey’s General Stores locations in Elk Point and Vermillion plus Akron, Le Mars, Merrill, Moville, Sergeant Bluff and Sioux City in Iowa, as well as South Sioux City in Nebraska. To find the location nearest you, visit www.caseys.com.
Ricky Thornton Jr. and his Double Stuf Oreo USMTS Modified will meet and greet fans from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Casey’s General Store located at 1313 River Dr. in North Sioux City, S.D. Fans can get a special $5 ‘Hot Ticket’ coupon (while supplies last) directly from Thornton during his appearance.
The Park Jefferson Speedway is a semi-banked 4/10-mile dirt oval located off of I-29 at exit 4, then 0.2 mile east to SR 105, then 1.8 miles north (48426 332nd St., North Sioux City, SD 57049). For more information call (712) 202-5540 or visit www.parkjeff.com.
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.