CRANDALL, Texas – Johnny Scott captured his third straight United States Modified Touring Series victory Friday night as he conquered a thrilling main event during the Town East Ford “Built Ford Tough 40″ at the RPM Speedway in Crandall, Texas.
A balmy 104 degrees during the day did not deter the throng of race fans that flooded the ticket window at the quarter-mile clay oval, and they were rewarded with a wild nail-biter during the evening for the sixth race during the seven-show 4s Motorsports Southern Speedweek powered by Lecolift.
USMTS boss Todd Staley threw the teams a curve ball with a round of group qualifying to set the heat race line-ups, but Scott hit a home run by leading his group with the fastest time on the clock and then proceeded to win the sixth heat race from the outside of the second row.
When Scott redrew the pole position for the 40-lap main event, it may have seemed to some that the race was over at the at point, but it was anything but.
When the green flag waved, it was fellow front-row starter Jason Hughes snagging the advantage. The 2010 USMTS national champion took to the low side of the racing surface while Scott moved to the high side and gave chase. Six laps into the race, Stormy Scott slipped underneath his younger twin brother to secure the second spot and began to reel in Hughes.
Hughes hit lapped traffic on lap 10 and Stormy Scott took advantage to power past Hughes at the flagstand to lead lap 12. As the pair entered the first turn, Hughes went to the top of the track and the duo split a back-marker as they raced down the back-stretch.
Gaining the advantage back in the next corner, Hughes settled back in front of
Stormy Scott to lead the next circuit and held him at bay for two more laps when the
race’s first of two cautions slowed the pace.
With the lead pair fighting for real estate around the bottom, Johnny Scott flew to the high side of the bullring and scooted past his brother on the restart. One lap later, he powered around the outside of Hughes and pulled out to a three-car-length cushion as he completed the 17th circuit. Rodney Sanders, who won here two months ago in the USMTS debut at Jason Troutman’s speedplant, got by Stormy Scott for third with 20 laps complete and then went around Hughes six laps later to gain second.
While Johnny Scott continued to enjoy a comfortable lead, the fight for the runner-up spot was nothing short of jaw-dropping as Sanders, Hughes and Stormy Scott repeatedly swapped positions and slide-jobs. Hughes regained second on lap 28, Sanders got it back on lap 33, Stormy Scott crossed the stripe second on lap 35, Sanders regained the position one lap later and then the yellow flag was revealed again to set up a four-lap spring to the finish.
Johnny Scott was flawless on the restart as Sanders followed him around Hughes into second. Sanders was unable to run down the leader and settled for the runner-up finish while Johnny Scott recorded his 19th career USMTS main event win and all but locked up the points title in the Allgayer, Inc. Southern Region presented by Day Motor Sports.
With bonuses, the win-his seventh of the 2013 campaign-was worth $3,250 to the 23-year-old from Las Cruces, N.M., with eight of his 19 career wins coming at racetracks in the Lone Star State.
Hughes finished third in Friday’s barn-burner while Steve Whiteaker Jr. got by Stormy Scott with two laps remaining to snare the fourth spot with Chris Brown falling in behind Stormy Scott in sixth.
Clyde Dunn Jr., who wrecked his ride in a roll-over Thursday night at the Kennedale Speedway Park, thrashed all night with his crew to repair the damage and emerged with a seventh-place finish 24 hours later. Chase Allen was eighth, Zack VanderBeek was ninth and Rick Beebe rounded out the top 10 finishers.
VanderBeek, who passed 11 competitors after starting 20th on the 26-car grid, picked up his second straight Mesilla Valley Transportation Hard Charger Award for his efforts.
The USMTS Casey’s Cup Series heads north on Saturday to the Southern Oklahoma Speedway in Ardmore, Okla., for the last of seven races in the 4s Motorsports Southern Speedweek powered by Lecolift and the final event of 2013 in the Allgayer, Inc. Southern Region presented by Day Motor Sports.
With his Friday night feat, Johnny Scott leads Sanders by 44 points and can wrap up the $5,000 regional points title by finishing 16 or better, regardless of what Sanders does. Brown and VanderBeek are tied for third in the rankings with Hughes edging Kelly Shryock for fifth. Stormy Scott and Dunn share the seventh position, Whiteaker is ninth and Dereck Ramirez is tenth.
Unfortunately for his competition, four of Johnny Scott’s wins have come in the Sooner State, including the most recent event on April 27 at the Southern Oklahoma Speedway. Sanders won the previous race in 2012.
The Southern Oklahoma Speedway is a semi-banked 3/8-mile clay oval located 0.7 mile east of I-35 (exit 29) on US 70, then 1.8 miles south on US 77. For more information call 405-627-1766 or click www.southernoklahomaspeedway.com to visit the track’s official website.
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 check out our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/USMTSTV.