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Photos: Dayton Sutterby

Ryan Gustin is known to most everybody in the dirt modified racing world as ‘The Reaper,’ but until next March you can call him ‘The King.’

After taking the lead from polesitter Terry Phillips on lap 25, Gustin held off several challengers over the final 75 circuits Saturday night at the Humboldt Speedway to win the main event at the King of America III Modified Nationals.

With the first three starting spots occupied by the three drivers with the most experience in long-distance dirt late model races, the advantage before the green flag belonged to them in the first-ever 100-lap United States Modified Touring Series race.

The opening lap saw the trio of Phillips, Jeremy Payne and Al Purkey take charge, but by the seventh lap Gustin had moved into second to challenge Phillips for control of the race.

For the first quarter of the race, the field of 24 starters tested multiple lines on the 3/8-mile clay oval. While Gustin was studying his favored high line, Phillips used the bottom and middle of the surface to pace the first 25 laps.

Phillips lapped his first competitor with 24 laps complete and faced a hive of back-markers just ahead. Two laps later, Gustin used a lapped car to power around the inside of Phillips and then streaked beneath the flagstand as the leader of lap 26.

Meanwhile, Payne kept the leaders within sight as last year’s King of America runner-up, Zack VanderBeek, raced with Jason Hughes and Chris Brown for a spot in the top 5.

Phillips, who led the first 15 laps of this event one year ago, never let Gustin get out of reach and shadowed the two-time defending USMTS national champion every orbit the first caution flag since the fifth laps waved with 73 laps in the books.

Like a shark smelling blood in the water, the front-runners made their moves when green flag racing resumed. Brown jumped past Payne for third, but Payne used the low line to regain that spot as well as second place from Phillips.

Payne challenged Gustin on the low side of the track, but Gustin remained flawless and held Payne at bay while Brown shuffled Phillips back to fourth. Six laps later, Hughes stopped on the track to bring out the final yellow flag of the contest, but was able to return for the restart with fresh tires.

Back under green, Gustin continued to dive low in turns 1-2 and then shoot to the top of the track and dance with the wall in turns 3-4. Meanwhile, Brown made a strong run in turn 3 and moved ahead of Payne and into second place.

About this time, Joey Jensen made his presence known. After clawing his way through the “C” and “B” Mains to get a spot in the big dance, Jensen wrestled fourth away from Phillips as the top five crossed the start-finish line less than a second apart with 15 laps to go.

With 10 laps remaining, Brown was all over Gustin. While Gustin was stronger in turns 1-2, Brown was flying through the third turn and nosed underneath Gustin each time around.

Brown pressured Gustin even harder with three laps remaining, pulling alongside in the turn and racing side by side down the front-stretch. Again, Gustin secured his line into the first turn and held his advantage while Payne snuck up behind the pair and made it a three-way tussle for the title.

Coming to the checkered flag, Brown again took one final peek underneath Gustin, but the 22-year-old from Marshalltown, Iowa, never flinched and raced to a car-length victory over Brown at the end of the 100-lapper.

“it was just awesome racing with guys like Chris Brown, Terry Phillips, Jeremy Payne side by side,” said Gustin, who appeared physically drained after the race. “Everybody raced each other so clean tonight. It’s just an honor to race with guys like that.”

With the win, Gustin pocketed a cool $10,000 to go along with the king’s crown and cape, and added another feather to his cap by winning one of the USMTS crown jewel events. With two national titles, a win at the World Modified Dirt Track Championship last year and checking the Lecolift Texas Spring Nationals off his bucket list this past February, all that remains for Gustin on the USMTS “grand slam” checklist is the finale of the Featherlite Fall Jamboree.

Brown netted his biggest USMTS paycheck with a $6,000 runner-up finish while Payne filled the final slot on the podium with third place and a $4,000 payday. Phillips held on for fourth and VanderBeek rounded out the top 5 finishers.

Jensen, who started 23rd and restarted from last place after spinning on the first lap, came home in sixth. Hughes worked his way back to a seventh-place finish after his late-race pit stop, fellow Oklahoman Thomas Tillison Jr. earned the eighth spot, 2011 King of America winner Kelly Shryock finished ninth for the second straight year and Purkey completed the top 10.

All 24 starters took home at least a $1,000 for their efforts, and drivers who pre-entered earlier this year got their full entry fee returned on Saturday.

Plans are already underway for the King of America IV Modified Nationals in 2014. Dates and event details will be announced when finalized.

 


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OFFICIAL RESULTS
United States Modified Touring Series
King of America III Modified Nationals – Night 3 of 3
Humboldt Speedway, Humboldt, Kan.
Saturday, March 30, 2013


Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown, laps completed and money won.

NEXT-TO-LAST CHANCE RACE (20 laps, top 8 advance):
1. 44 Jared Rogers.
2. 4a Josh Lanterman.
3. 2c Dave Cain.
4. 99h Trevor Hunt.
5. 51 Tim Thomas.
6. 18jr Chase Sigg.
7. 66t Tyler Schmidt.
8. 48m Rick Murcko.

Next-to-Last Chance Race Non-Transfers:
M80 Mike Lawrence, Winfield, Kan., $200.
1 Dennis Bishop, Chanute, Kan., $200.
38c Jason Pursley, Hermitage, Mo., $200.
56 Brain Troxel, Sturgeon, Mo., $200.
27 Don Gerritsen Jr., Rock Rapids, Iowa, $200
64 Dustin Lawrence, Winfield, Kan., $200.
21B Bryce Schniepp, Wichita, Kan., $200.
72 Doug Hillson, Blooming Prairie, Minn., $200.
14 Aaron Olson, Mekinock, N.D., $200.
36 Jeff Conner, Panora, Iowa, $200.
0 Bob Lane, Wichita, Kan., $200.
118 Terry Beckham II, Webb City, Mo., $200.
7k Jason Krohn, Slayton, Minn., $200.

LAST CHANCE RACE #1 (20 laps, top 6 advance):
1. (1) 99 Josh Angst.
2. (4) 98 John Allen.
3. (2) 48s Travis Smith.
4. (3) 17 Lucas Conley.
5. (12) 160m Michael Maggard.
6. (6) 71 Philip Houston.

LAST CHANCE RACE #2 (20 laps, top 6 advance):
1. (1) 30 Jordan Grabouski.
2. (3) 91 Craig Thatcher.
3. (2) 8s Jon Sheets.
4. (4) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck.
5. (7) 71 Jim Body.
6. (5) 01 Joey Galloway.

Last Chance Race Non-Transfers:
90 Steve Wetzstein, West Concord, Minn., $350.
98 Jeff Cutshaw, Cross Timbers, Mo., $350.
66 Greg Burt, Enid, Okla., $350.
73 Mickey Burrell, Fair Grove, Mo., $350.
311 Adam Schrag, Hutchinson, Kan., $350.
00 Masen Big Eagle, Manor, Sask., Canada, $350.
39 Luke Driskell, Stilwell, Kan., $350.
23 Robbie Gates, Alma, Ark., $350.
40 Jessy Willard, Pleasanton, Kan., $350.
9d Scott Daniels, Humboldt, Kan., $350.
10 Jake Timm, Winona, Minn., $350.
1x Cody Erickson, Ulen, Minn., $350.
99h Trevor Hunt, Liberty, Mo., $350.
91 Joe Duvall, Chelsea, Okla., $350.
18jr Chase Sigg, Iola, Kan., $350.
21c Cody Schniepp, Wichita, Kan., $350.
48m Rick Murcko, Iola, Kan., $350.
4a Josh Lanterman, $350.
44 Jared Rogers, Berryton, Kan., $350.
4a Josh Lanterman, Wichita, Kan., $350.
2c Dave Cain, Corcoran, Minn., $350.
51 Tim Thomas, West Fargo, N.D., $350.
66t Tyler Schmidt, Easton, Kan., $350.

“C” MAIN (20 laps, top 12 advance):
1. (2) 2s Stormy Scott.
2. (1) 23 Justin Rexwinkle.
3. (4) 16 Austin Siebert.
4. (5) 69 Lucas Schott.
5. (6) V2 Joey Jensen.
6. (10) 2 Jon Tesch.
7. (9) 20r Bryan Rowland.
8. (16) 91 Craig Thatcher.
9. (3) 4m Bobby Malchus.
10. (15) 98 John Allen.
11. (18) 8s Jon Sheets.
12. (12) 36m Logan Martin.
13. (14) 30 Jordan Grabouski, Beatrice, Neb., $500.
14. (7) 9m Dale Mathison, Clearwater, Minn., $500.
15. (24) 01 Joey Galloway, Manor, Sask., Canada, $500.
16. (17) 48s Travis Smith, Parsons, Kan., $500.
17. (23) 71 Phillip Houston, Odessa, Texas, $500.
18. (20) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Waukon, Iowa, $500.
19. (11) 33 Steve Muilenburg, Sparta, Mo., $500.
20. (19) 17 Lucas Conley, Spring Hill, Kan., $500.
21. (8) 21 Jackie Dalton, Carthage, Mo., $500.
22. (22) 71 Jim Body, Diamond, Mo., $500.
23. (13) 99 Josh Angst, Winona, Minn., $500.
24. (21) 160m Michael Maggard, Springfield, Mo., $500.

“B” MAIN (20 laps, top 12 advance):
1. (6) 4r Dereck Ramirez.
2. (4) G17 Fito Gallardo.
3. (9) 3 Kelly Shryock.
4. (13) 2s Stormy Scott.
5. (2) 77k Ron Jones.
6. (8) 85 Thomas Tillison Jr.
7. (12) 20 Rodney Sanders.
8. (11) 71 Jason Cummins.
9. (16) 69 Lucas Schott.
10. (5) 90 Terry Schultz.
11. (17) V2 Joey Jensen.
12. (10) 88d Matt Dotson.
13. (20) 91 Craig Thatcher, Knapp, Wis., $700.
14. (3) 87 Darron Fuqua, Topeka, Kan., $700.
15. (14) 23 Justin Rexwinkle, South Coffeyville, Okla., $700.
16. (18) 2 Jon Tesch, Watertown, S.D., $700.
17. (22) 98 John Allen, Chanute, Kan., $700.
18. (7) 22 Brad Buck, Paragould, Ark., $700.
19. (15) 16 Austin Siebert, Grandview, Mo., $700.
20. (23) 8s John Sheets, Nevada, Mo., $700.
21. (21) 4m Bobby Malchus, Red Oak, Texas, $700.
22. (1) 6 Justin Folk, Iola, Kan., $700.
23. (24) 36 Logan Martin, West Plains, Mo., $700.
24. (19) 20r Bryan Rowland, Woodward, Okla., $700.

“A” MAIN (100 laps):
1. (4) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, 100, $10,000.
2. (10) 21 Chris Brown, Spring, Texas, 100, $6000.
3. (3) 186 Jeremy Payne, Springfield, Mo., 100, $4000.
4. (1) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., 100, $2700.
5. (8) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, 100, $2200.
6. (23) V2 Joey Jensen, Forest Lake, Minn., 100, $1800.
7. (5) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., 100, $1500.
8. (18) 85 Thomas Tillison Jr., Wellston, Okla., 100, $1400.
9. (15) 3 Kelly Shryock, Fertile, Iowa, 100, $1300.
10. (2) 33 Al Purkey, Coffeyville, Kan., 100, $1200.
11. (24) 88d Matt Dotson, Cameron, Mo., 100, $1150.
12. (11) 89 Steven Whiteaker Jr., Corpus Christi, Texas, 100, $1125.
13. (21) 69 Lucas Schott, Chatfield, Minn., 100, $1100.
14. (12) 18 Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan., 79, $1075.
15. (14) G17 Fito Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M., 73, $1050.
16. (22) 90 Terry Schultz, Sedalia, Mo., 67, $1025.
17. (9) 22 Dustin Boney, Gower, Mo., 63, $1000.
18. (19) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, 60, $1000.
19. (16) 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M., 59, $1000.
20. (6) J17 Jacob Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M., 50, $1000.
21. (13) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., 43, $1000.
22. (17) 77x Ron Jones, Princeton, Minn., 41, $1000.
23. (7) 1st Johnny Scott, Las Cruces, N.M., 40, $1000.
24. (20) 71 Jason Cummins, New Richland, Minn., 31, $1000.

Lap Leaders: Phillips 1-25, Gustin 26-100.
Total Laps Led: Gustin 75, Phillips 25.
Time of Race: 40 minutes, 17.118 seconds.
Margin of Victory: 0.335 second.
Hard Charger: Jensen (started 23rd, finished 6th).

 

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Contact Info

  • Humboldt Speedway
  • 1663 Georgia Rd
  • Humboldt, KS 66748
  • Tel: (620) 473-3694

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