Locked and loaded: Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Championship powered by Swan Energy fires off Thursday
JETMORE, Kan. (Aug. 8) – The most anticipated title fight in the 13-year history of the United States Modified Touring Series is just a few days away as The Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Championship powered by Swan Energy begins this Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Great American Dirt Track in Jetmore, Kan., for the first of 21 blockbuster events that will ultimately decide the 2011 USMTS National Champion.
In all, 46 of America’s favorite, fastest and most-feared dirt Modified drivers representing 12 different states comprise the class of 2011, with each competitor possessing a legitimate shot at becoming the next king of dirt Modified racing.
This will be the second year in a row that the Great American Dirt Track will host the ‘Hunt’ opener. Last year’s debut at the high-banked 3/8-mile oval saw Shryock edge Ryan Gustin at the finish line by a bumper as they banged their way to the finish line in front of the fans who braved 100-degree heat.
The Great American Dirt Track opened on June 23, 2001, and soon became a popular destination for drivers and fans alike due to its wide open, limited wall setting. The National Weather Service is promising much more comfortable weather for this year’s tilt, but rest assured that the heat on the track will be pushing the mercury to the limit.
Gates open at 5 p.m., hot laps start at 7 and racing gets underway at 7:30. Don’t forget to get your coupon worth $2 off adult admission at Casey’s General Stores locations in Great Bend and Hays. Check out www.caseys.com for more information or to find the location nearest you.
Shawnee’s Rick Beebe and his #22 Hughes Chassis sponsored by SLAP Energy will be on hand to greet fans and sign autographs Thursday at the Casey’s located at 1600 E. 27th St. in Hays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Great American Dirt Track is a semi-banked 3/8-mile dirt oval located 6.6 miles south of SR 156 on 283 in Jetmore, Kan. Don’t want to drive to Jetmore? The racetrack is adjacent to Jetmore Municipal Airport with plenty of room to park your plane right of the departure end of runway 35.
For more information, call 620-385-0551 or check out www.greatamericandirttrack.com online.
While the drivers participating in ‘The Hunt’ will be grappling for their piece of more than $60,000 in year-end points fund cash and thousands in contingency awards, all entrants will lock horns for more than $400,000 in prize money up for grabs during the 21-race, 45-day campaign.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
Thu, Aug 11 … Great American Dirt Track, Jetmore, Kan.
Fri, Aug 12 … Humboldt Speedway, Humboldt, Kan.
Sat, Aug 13 … Lucas Oil Speedway, Wheatland, Mo.
Sun, Aug 14 … Monett Speedway, Monett, Mo.
Wed, Aug 17 … Ogilvie Raceway, Ogilvie, Minn.
Thu, Aug 18 … Rice Lake Speedway, Rice Lake, Wis.
Fri, Aug 19 … Mississippi Thunder Speedway, Fountain City, Wis.
Sat, Aug 20 … Hamilton County Speedway, Webster City, Iowa
Sun, Aug 21 … Nobles County Speedway, Worthington, Minn.
Thu, Aug 25 … I-35 Speedway, Winston, Mo.
Fri, Aug 26 … Cedar County Raceway, Tipton, Iowa
Sat, Aug 27 … Upper Iowa Speedway, Decorah, Iowa
Wed, Aug 31 … Fairmont Raceway, Fairmont, Minn.
Thu, Sep 1 … Highway 3 Raceway, Allison, Iowa
Fri, Sep 2 … Chateau Raceway, Lansing, Minn.
Sat, Sep 3 … Deer Creek Speedway, Spring Valley, Minn.
Sun, Sep 4 … Dodge County Speedway, Kasson, Minn.
Fri, Sep 16 … Outlaw Motor Speedway, Oktaha, Okla.
Sat, Sep 17 … Salina Highbanks Speedway, Salina, Okla.
Sun, Sep 18 … West Plains Motor Speedway, West Plains, Mo.
Thu-Sat, Sep 22-24 … Deer Creek Speedway, Spring Valley, Minn.
‘The Hunt’ will wrap up at the Deer Creek Speedway with the 13th Annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 22-24, where the 2011 USMTS National Champion will be crowned.
Proving that any driver who qualifies for ‘The Hunt’ is capable of winning the title, Jason Krohn captured the 2007 title after entering the first event with just seven points and ranked 18th in the standings. He became just the second driver to wear the USMTS crown, dethroning Kelly Shryock who had captured all eight previous titles.
Similarly, Tim Donlinger found himself outside of the top-10 in points after the first two races of the 2008 championship crusade. He won the third event, but was only seventh in the rankings with 11 races to go but went on to upset Shryock for the 2008 title, sealing the deal with a thrilling victory on the final night of the Featherlite Fall Jamboree.
Despite winning just two races all season, Shryock went on to claim his ninth USMTS National Championship in 2009 by just 33 points, beating an 18-year-old up-and-comer named Ryan Gustin. And last year, Jason Hughes finally secured his first USMTS National Championship while Gustin settled for runner-up honors again.
Since the inception of the regional points format in 2006, Shryock has begun ‘The Hunt’ as the points leader each time … until this year, that is.
After winning four out of five regional titles, Gustin will lead all drivers into ‘The Hunt’ with a perfect base score of 80 points. The rest of the top 10 are Shryock, Rodney Sanders, Zack VanderBeek, Hughes, Johnny Scott, Corey Dripps, Shane Hebert, Krohn and Bryan Rowland.
With 34 wins under his belt during the past two seasons, Gustin has been the winningest USMTS driver during that time but the 20-year-old from Marshalltown, Iowa, will be looking for his first national title after finishing second in the final standings in each of the last two campaigns.
1. 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa … 80
2. 3 Kelly Shryock, Fertile, Iowa … 75
3. 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas … 67
4. 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa … 66
5. 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla. … 58
6. 1st Johnny Scott, Las Cruces, N.M. … 41
7. 31 Corey Dripps, Waterloo, Iowa … 38
8. 9 Shane Hebert, Lafayette, La. … 30
9. 7k Jason Krohn, Slayton, Minn. … 29
10. 20r Bryan Rowland, Woodward, Okla. … 23
11. 22b Rick Beebe, Shawnee, Kan. … 22
11. 5t Randy Timms, Wheatland, Okla. … 22
13. 14 Jon Tesch, Watertown, S.D. … 20
14. 18 Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan. … 19
14. 88xx Bobby Malchus, Red Oak, Texas … 19
14. 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla. … 19
17. 8 Colt Mather, Webster, Iowa … 18
18. 99 Jason Grimes, Jamestown, N.D. … 17
18. 9 Jimmy Ray, Las Cruces, N.M. … 17
18. 5w John O Whittington, Vidor, Texas … 17
21. 22 Dustin Boney, Platte City, Mo. … 16
22. 12m Jason Miller, Osceola, Wis. … 15
22. 56 Chris Spieker, Massena, Iowa … 15
24. 02 Tommy Weder Jr., Woodward, Okla. … 14
25. 15m Shane Demey, Denison, Iowa … 13
26. 65 Tommy Myer, Blooming Prairie, Minn. … 12
26. 37 Scott Ward, Watertown, S.D. … 12
28. 72 Doug Hillson, Blooming Prairie, Minn. … 11
29. 88xxx Clyde Dunn Jr., Sunnyville, Texas … 10
29. 71h Philip Houston, Odessa, Texas … 10
29. 76 Jeff Rowland, Pauls Valley, Okla. … 10
29. 87 John Webb, Pauls Valley, Okla. … 10
33. 95 Keith Foss, Winona, Minn. … 7
33. 7 Al Hejna, Clear Lake, Iowa … 7
35. 30 Chase Allen, Midlothian, Texas … 5
35. 12c Corey Babbitt, Channelview, Texas … 5
35. 73 Mickey Burrell, Fair Grove, Mo. … 5
35. 707 P.J. Egbert, Copperas Cove, Texas … 5
35. 1 T.J. Herndon, Atwood, Tenn. … 5
35. 76 Jesse Manning, Brazoria, Texas … 5
35. 156 Steve Pugh, Anderson, Texas … 5
35. 69 Lucas Schott, Chatfield, Minn. … 5
35. 21 Troy Seidl, Magnolia, Texas … 5
35. 16 Austin Siebert, Grandview, Mo. … 5
35. 18s Cody Smith, Kaufman, Texas … 5
35. 2 Jerry Standifer, Howe, Okla. … 5
HOW THEY GOT HERE: With a series-best 18 wins to his credit this season, Ryan Gustin comes into ‘The Hunt’ atop the rankings, but just four points ahead of Kelly Shryock, who won the Farm Boy BBQ Sauce Great Plains Region points title to thwart a sweep of all regions by Gustin.
Rodney Sanders is third in ‘Hunt’ points – just one marker ahead of Zack VanderBeek, while ‘The Z-Man’ has three wins in 2011 compared to two for ‘The Rocket.’
After concentrating on primarily three regions, Jason Hughes comes into the season-ending campaign with nine victories and ranked fifth – one position better than last year when he went on to win the USMTS National Championship.
New Mexico young gun Johnny Scott has three wins to his credit this season and sits seventh. Eighth is Corey Dripps who captured one checkered flag this year, followed by Shane Hebert, Jason Krohn and Bryan Rowland with all three still seeking their first win of the season.
HOW IT WORKS: The Hunt is comprised of the final 21 races of the USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Tour powered by Swan Energy, with qualifying through 52 regional events. Each region awards 15 base points for first place, 14 for second and so forth, descending to 6 points for the 10th-place finisher. In addition, each driver with perfect attendance in the region earns 5 base points.
The cumulative base points earned are the points that each driver will start The Hunt with. Drivers may use their best points combination from any four of the six regions for their total starting points. Once ‘The Hunt’ begins, the USMTS points system will be used to determine the 2010 USMTS National Champion.
USMTS POINTS SYSTEM: “A” Main Finish – 1. 100 points, 2. 95 points, 3. 91 points, 4. 87 points, 5. 84 points, 6. 81 points, 7. 78 points, 8. 76 points, 9. 74 points, 10. 72 points, 11. 70 points, 12. 68 points, 13. 66 points, 14. 64 points, 15. 62 points, 16. 60 points, 17. 58 points, 18. 56 points, 19. 55 points, 20. 54 points, 21. 53 points, 22. 52 points, 23. 51 points; All other starters earn 50 points while non-qualifiers get 45 points. Each driver who leads at least one lap earns 1 point and the driver leading the most laps earns another 2 points.
WHY IT WORKS: Created for the fans, ‘The Hunt’ serves as a “playoff” for the USMTS National Championship. While handicapping gives a moderate advantage to the drivers that compete in all or most regional events, each driver who has earned a spot in ‘The Hunt’ has a legitimate shot at capturing the USMTS National Championship.
CASEY’S CREW: Rick Beebe, Dustin Boney and Tommy Myer will represent Casey’s General Stores and their affiliated vendors during each race of ‘The Hunt.’ All three members of the Casey’s Crew will have unique graphics for their USMTS Modifieds, snazzy new branded driving suits, autograph cards and more, plus each driver will be making appearances at local Casey’s General Stores locations at various events.
Beebe will have his #22 Hughes Chassis decked out in the SLAP Energy Drinks colors, Boney will wear sponsorship from Snickers on his #22 Hughes Chassis and Myer got the nod for his #65 GRT Chassis to be embellished with the Cheetos brand.
Be sure to stop by a Casey’s location before and after the races for all your supplies and needs, and remember to get your $2-off admission coupons available on raceday at most events during ‘The Hunt.’
TOP DOG BONUS: Beginning with Thursday’s kick-off at the Great American Dirt Track, all drivers ranked among the top-10 points in ‘The Hunt’ are guaranteed a minimum of $400 in winnings at each event. Each driver must maintain perfect attendance during the campaign to remain eligible.
PROVISIONALS: Each driver qualified for ‘The Hunt’ will have one provisional starting spot at his disposal. After 10 races completed, a second provisional will be earned. At events where 40 or fewer cars entered, 24 drivers will start the main event plus one provisional. On nights when 41 or more cars check in, 26 starters will take the green flag in the WIX Filters “A” Main with the provisional starting 27th.
USMTS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS FUND:
In addition, all other drivers qualified for The Hunt who have perfect attendance during The Hunt but fail to finish among the top 10 in points will get $1,000.
To learn more about the United States Modified Touring Series, visit www.usmts.com online or call 515-832-7944. You can also follow the USMTS on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
USMTS TITLE SPONSORS: Casey’s General Stores, Swan Energy.
USMTS OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Racer Racing Tires, Awesome Race Suits, Cheetos, Intercomp, Karl Chevrolet, KEVKO Oil Pans & Components, New Vision Graphics, Nitroquest, RACEceiver, SLAP Energy, Snickers.
USMTS PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: Arnold Motor Supply, ASi Racewear, BRODIX Cylinder Heads, DAY Motor Sports, Dirthead.com, DirtKnights.com, Dirt Track Racing School, DrySlik Dirt Trak Racewear, Farm Boy BBQ Sauce, Intensitee Custom Racewear, Karl Performance Parts, Mesilla Valley Transportation, Olympic Fire Protection, Ramirez Race Cars, Ruter Farms, Schwab’s Tinker Shop, Sybesma Graphics, Yeager Machine.
USMTS CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: AFCO Racing Products, COMP Cams, CPD Racing Tools, Eibach Springs, Erson Cams, Fast Shafts, Forty9Designs.com, Genesis Shocks, Hooker Harness, Hypercoil Springs, ISKY Racing Cams, The Joie of Seating, KSE Racing Products, Marsh Racing Wheels, Out-Pace Racing Products, PBM Performance Products, Quarter Master, Real Racing Wheels, RHS – Racing Head Service, Tiger Rear Ends, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products, WIX Filters.
United States Modified Touring Series, Inc. (USMTS)
1715 W. 2nd St., P.O. Box 905
Webster City, IA 50595