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Ramirez dodges traffic, rain to notch USMTS victory in Mason City

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June 18, 2020  |  by Jeff Nun, USMTS.com

Dereck Ramirez scored the tenth victory of his career Thursday when the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s invaded the Mason City Motor Speedway for the tenth time since 2009.

But it was the first time for the series on the newly-configured high-banked 1/3-mile clay oval and that has seen just a handful of races since the end of the 2018 season.

Dubbed Mayhem! in Mason City, the race delivered with a fantastic battle between three or four racers contending for the lead throughout the 40-lap main event.

Jason Cummins, who won last Sunday’s USRA Modified feature here, took off from the pole and beat Jacob Bleess to the first corner. Bleess fought back but began to lose grip in turn four as he nearly spun.

The chain reaction of those slowing behind him resulted in the first and only caution of the race with one lap officially scored. At least six were involved with three of them—Bleess, Joe Duvall and Casey Skyberg—unable to return for the next green flag.

The remainder of the race was not without drama though as Cummins set a fast pace with Ramirez, Tanner Mullens and Rodney Sanders all within striking distance.

Ramirez used lapped traffic to his advantage and slipped past Cummins to lead the seventh lap. Although he never relinquished the lead after that, Ramirez saw the other three in the breakaway quartet on multiple occasions.

While Ramirez got the $2,500 top prize, Sanders was able to take advantage of Mullens’ brief delay in getting by a back-marker to steal the runner-up spot away while Cummins trailed in fourth.

Kyle Brown came from tenth on the grid to finish fifth with Adam Kates, Tyler Davis, Jason Hughes, Hunter Marriott and Alex Williamson rounding out the top ten.

The win—his second in three nights—was the first for Ramirez at the North Iowa Fairgrounds facility. Sanders won here on the big half-mile track in 2016 and Hughes was the winner when the series arrived in 2013 when it was called I-35 Speedway.

Eventual winner Dereck Ramirez (4R) leads Tanner Mullens (02) and Rodney Sanders in the late stages of Thursday's main event at the Mason City Motor Speedway. (Tyler Rinken photo)

The race was nearly completed without caution and may not have survived another as a downpour soaked the area just minutes after the checkered flag waved. The rained-out features for the USRA Stock Cars and USRA B-Mods will happen Sunday when the Mason City Motor Speedway hosts another round of the Summit USRA Weekly Racing Series.

Rolling into Rock Rapids Friday: A five-day celebration of freedom, fun and fast cars criss-crossing the Hawkeye State, Iowa Speedweek continues Friday at the Rapid Speedway in Rock Rapids for the 12th Annual USMTS Rapid Rumble presented by American Racer.

The $3,000-to-win penultimate show for the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s will also see action in the USRA Stock Cars, USRA B-Mods, USRA Hobby Stocks and Sportsmans.

“Rocky” was the site of one of the most thrilling shows in 2019 when both Rodney Sanders and Ryan Gustin spun while racing for the lead. That opened for door for Terry Phillips to sneak in, take the money and run. Fans witnessed a barn-burner two years ago when Johnny Scott limped home the final lap with a blown tire.

In the nine previous USMTS events held here, only Rodney Sanders has visited victory lane twice. Other former winners here include Dereck Ramirez (USMTS Race of the Year Award in 2017), Cade Dillard, Cory Crapser, Zack VanderBeek, Jason Krohn, Jon Tesch and Kelly Shryock who won the first USMTS show at the Lyons County Fairgrounds on June 23, 2006.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for kids ages 7-14 and free for kids 6 and under. Pit passes will be $35 for all ages. You must be at least 10 years old to enter the pits. The pit gate will open at 4:30 and grandstands open at 5:30. Driver registration will be cut off at 6:30. Hot laps start at 7 with racing to follow around 7:30 p.m.

The Rapid Speedway is a semi-banked 3/8-mile dirt oval located 0.5 mile east of US 75 on SR 9, then 0.5 mile south on South Tama St. (400 S. Tama St., Rock Rapids, IA 51246). For more information, visit rockrapidsspeedway.com.

The fifth round of action during 2020 Iowa Speedweek happens at the Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City with the USMTS touring titans again sparring over a $3,000 top prize plus USRA Stock Cars, USRA B-Mods and USRA Hobby Stocks. Race time is 7:30. Get more information at hamiltoncospeedway.com.

Currently, the 2020 schedule for the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s is highlighted by 42 nights of racing at 27 unique dirt ovals for the 22nd season of competition for the world’s Best of the Best in dirt modified racing.

To connect with the USMTS check out USMTS.com, like us on Facebook, follow on Twitter, check us out on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Keep up to speed by joining our email list

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United States Modified Touring Series
Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s
Mayhem! in Mason City
Mason City Motor Speedway, Mason City, Iowa
Thursday, June 18, 2020

Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown, chassis/engine builder, and laps completed. All racers advance to the Casey’s “A” Main with the top 8 in heat race passing points redrawing for starting positions 1-8.

1. (3) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla.
2. (1) 02 Tanner Mullens (R), Wichita, Kan.
3. (2) 29H Joe Horgdal, Kasson, Minn.
4. (4) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan.
5. (5) 6 Casey Skyberg (R), Rapid City, S.D.
6. (6) 20JR Chase Rudolf (R), Norwalk, Iowa
DNS – 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa

1. (1) 21 Jacob Bleess, Chatfield, Minn.
2. (4) 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla.
3. (3) 27X Calvin Iverson (R), Eleva, Wis.
4. (5) 21K Kyle Brown, Madrid, Iowa
5. (2) 15W Alex Williamson (R), Rushford, Minn.
6. (6) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla.
7. (7) 45H Jason Hickingbottom (R), Duncombe, Iowa

1. (1) 71 Jason Cummins, New Richland, Minn.
2. (2) 62 Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.
3. (7) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas
4. (3) 777 Al Hejna, Clear Lake, Iowa
5. (5) 65 Tyler Davis (R), Haysville, Kan.
6. (6) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla.
7. (4) 21R Tony Ranes (R), Lake Mills, Iowa

CASEY’S “A” MAIN (40 laps):
1. (4) 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett, 40.
2. (7) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, 40.
3. (6) 02 Tanner Mullens (R), Wichita, Kan., Mullens/Mullens, 40.
4. (1) 71 Jason Cummins, New Richland, Minn., Rocket/Baier's, 40.
5. (10) 21K Kyle Brown, Madrid, Iowa, Harris/Tesar, 40.
6. (9) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan., Jet/Speedway, 40.
7. (13) 65 Tyler Davis (R), Haysville, Kan., Hughes/Mullins, 40.
8. (3) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, 40.
9. (8) 62 Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo., Rage/KSE, 40.
10. (16) 15W Alex Williamson (R), Rushford, Minn., SSR/KSE, 40.
11. (14) 27X Calvin Iverson (R), Eleva, Wis., MBCustoms/Tim's, 39.
12. (5) 29H Joe Horgdal, Kasson, Minn., Killer/Baier’s, 39.
13. (17) 20JR Chase Rudolf (R), Norwalk, Iowa, Rage/KSE, 39.
14. (14) 777 Al Hejna, Clear Lake, Iowa, Rage/ChevPerf, 39.
15. (20) 45H Jason Hickingbottom (R), Duncombe, Iowa, Harris/ChevPerf, 38.
16. (19) 21R Tony Ranes (R), Lake Mills, Iowa, Victory/KSE, 36.
17. (18) 55 Nathan Hagar (R), Adair, Okla., GRT/ChevPerf, 23.
18. (2) 21 Jacob Bleess, Chatfield, Minn., VanderBuilt/KSE, 1.
19. (11) 6 Casey Skyberg (R), Rapid City, S.D., Lethal/Mullins, 0.
20. (12) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., MBCustoms/BMS, 0.
DNS – 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Stoen, 0.

(R) = Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year contender

Lap Leaders: Cummins 1-7, Ramirez 8-40.
Total Laps Led: Ramirez 33, Cummins 7.
Margin of Victory: 0.692 second.
Time of Race: 17 minutes,19.843 seconds (1 caution).
Provisional Starters: none.
Eibach Spring Forward Award: Sanders (advanced 8 positions).
FK Rod Ends Hard Charger: Davis (started 13th, finished 7th).
Entries: 21.
Next Race: Friday, June 19, Rapid Speedway, Rock Rapids, Iowa.
Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s Points: Sanders 1432, Ramirez 1371, Hughes 1273, VanderBeek 1163, Marriott 1122, Iverson 1107, Davis 1090, Bleess 957, Skyberg 941, Kates 922.
Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year Points: Iverson 1107, Davis 1090, Skyberg 891, Hagar 710, Mullens 658.
Miller Welders USMTS Manufacturers Championship Points: MBCustoms 138, Hughes 137, VanderBuilt 93, GRT 77, Rage 77.
Compstar/JE Pistons USMTS Engine Builder of the Year Points: Hatfield 119, Cornett 113, Mullins 94, Stoen 87, KSE 78.

Contingency Awards:
American Racer – Cummins.
Beyea Custom Headers – Cummins.
BigDeal Car Care – Hughes, Ramirez.
Bryke Racing – Hickingbottom.
BSB Manufacturing – Duvall.
Champ Pans – Brown.
Deatherage Opticians – Horgdal.
Edelbrock – Cummins.
Eibach – Sanders.
Fast Shafts – Bleess.
FK Rod Ends – Davis.
Forty9 Designs – Hejna, Skyberg.
Hooker Harness – Rudolf.
Integra Racing Shocks & Springs – Bleess.
Jerovetz Motorsports Racing Parts – Hagar.
K1 RaceGear by Ryan Bowers Motorsports – Duvall.
Keyser Manufacturing – Williamson.
KSE Racing Products – Marriott.
Maxima Racing Oils – Ramirez.
Penske Racing Shocks – Hughes.
PEM Racing Gears & Drivetrain – Duvall.
QA1 – Cummins.
RacerWebsite.com – Sanders.
Simpson Performance Products – Hughes.
Spyder High Performance Filters – Kates.
Summit Racing Equipment – Cummins, Hejna, Horgdal.
Super Clean – Ramirez.
Swift Springs – Ramirez, Horgdal.
Sybesma Graphics – Cummins.
Tire Demon – Hagar.
VP Racing Fuels – Ramirez.
Wehrs Machine & Racing Products – Ranes.
Wilwood Disc Brakes – Davis.

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USMTS OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Racer Racing Tires, Casey’s, Chevrolet Performance, Compstar Performance Engine Components by Callies, CP-Carrillo, Dirt Draft, Eibach, Fast Shafts, FK Rod Ends, Intercomp, Jerovetz Motorsports Racing Parts, K1 RaceGear by Ryan Bowers Motorsports, KS Engineering, KSE Racing Products, Malvern Bank, Mesilla Valley Transportation, MSD Performance, MTN DEW Zero Sugar, MyRacePass, Nitroquest Media, PEM Racing Gears & Drivetrain, RacinDirt.com, Snickers, Summit Racing Equipment, Super Clean, VP Racing Fuels, Wrisco Industries.

USMTS PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: Boubin Tire & Automotive, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Duvall Electric, Eagle Moon Farm, JE Pistons, Miller Welders, PBM Performance Products, Rancho Milagro Racing, Rivers Edge Scrap Management, Tony Moro Powder Coat, Top of the World Ranch, YouDirt.com.

USMTS CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: AFCO Racing Products, Allstar Performance, Beyea Headers, BigDeal Car Care, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Bryke Racing, BSB Manufacturing, Champ Pans, Deatherage Opticians, Edelbrock, Forty9 Designs, Genesis Racing Shocks, Hooker Harness, Integra Racing Shocks and Springs, Keyser Manufacturing, Maxima Racing Oils, Penske Racing Shocks, QA1, RacerWebsite.com, Real Racing Wheels, Simpson Performance Products, Swift Springs, Sybesma Graphics, Tire Demon, Wehrs Machine & Race Products, Wilwood Racing.