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Tuesday, January 16, 2018
The FAST® Power Rankings Presented by COMP Cams® USMTS/USRA Power Rankings
By: Sam Stoecklin
Ryan Gustin is the 2017 RacinDirt.com Driver of the Year. Gustin swept all number one placements from voters on the final USMTS/USRA FAST® Power Rankings Presented by COMP Cams of the season. Voting staff based their final 'Driver of the Year' Rankings based upon a driver's full season of results. Although Jason Hughes captured his third-consecutive and fourth overall USMTS crown, voters took note of Gustin's winning ways and dominance of the year's high-profile events to award him in the number one ranking. Gustin's turn at the top of the rankings marks the seventh straight week leading the way this season. 
 
Among his 15 USMTS victories in 2017, Gustin's first big payday came in late March when he took home $10,000 and became the first driver in history to win a second King of America crown at Humboldt Speedway. In mid-June, Gustin claimed the biggest win of his career in the $50,000-to-win USA Masters at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wisconsin. Just over a month later, Gustin captured a third five-digit payout by capturing victory at I-80 Speedway in the seventh-annual Silver Dollar Nationals. Gustin finished his amazing year with a fourth five-digit payout after grabbing $13,000 in the Fall Jamboree for his 94th career USMTS victory.
 
Jason Hughes finished the year at the top of the USMTS overall standings for a fourth time during a season that included the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Hughes' remarkable year as champion may well be most remembered for the horrific accident he was involved in at Thunderbird Speedway. Incredibly, Hughes rebounded from the crash and led the rankings for two weeks in late August and not surprisingly returned to form as part of the dream team partnership with Gustin to close out the year with nine USMTS victories. The short-lived Hughes/Gustin team did not disappoint and will surely go down as one of if not the most successful high-profile driver partnerships in dirt-racing history.
 
Third overall this year is Zack VanderBeek, who at one point this season led the rankings for nine straight weeks. The New Sharon, Iowa driver set the bar high, especially after unveiling his VanderBuilt chassis. In fact, from May 10th at Heart 'O Texas Speedway to the July 22nd finale of the Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway, VanderBeek did not miss the top five, an incredible run of 19 straight USMTS top-five finishes! VanderBeek finished the year with six wins and closed the year out sitting fifth on the USMTS all-time wins list. 
 
Stormy Scott finishes the year ranked in the number four position. Like VanderBeek, Scott's season came to life once he sat behind the wheel of a VanderBuilt chassis. Scott found his way to victory lane on seven occasions and finished second overall in the final USMTS standings. Stormy finished his solid season with a victory in the final race of the year at the Chisholm Trail Showdown. Stormy ranked as high as number two on the rankings in early May. 
 
Rounding out the top five for the year is former number one Cade Dillard, who led the rankings for 11 non-consecutive weeks from mid-March to mid-June. Dillard nearly swept the regional championships by claiming the top spot in the Southern and Central regions but came up just short of the sweep with a second-place finish in the Northern region. Dillard recorded nine USMTS wins and finished third for the year in the final USMTS overall standings. 
 
Completing the top 10 for the year are USRA Champion and 20-time winner Jason Cummins in sixth, four-time USMTS winner and Grant Junghans Memorial victor Rodney Sanders in seventh, TOMS Nationals winner and USRA standings runner-up C.A. Nix in eighth, fourteen-time and USRA Central Region champion Ryan Middaugh in ninth, and Dereck Ramirez, who finished the year strong third in the Central Region and fourth overall in the final USMTS standings in the tenth position. 
 
Our voters recognized a total of 27 drivers in assembling their final top 20 lists for the year. Drivers also earning votes but just missing out of the top 20 included Dustin Sorensen, Joe Duvall, Jake Gallardo, Travis Saurer, Logan Robertson, Johnny Scott, and Tyler Wolff.  
 
The USMTS/USRA FAST® Power Rankings Presented by COMP Cams top 20 will resume when racing returns in the spring of 2018. We wish to thank everyone and the voting staff for participating in and checking in each week to view the rankings. Each week, RacinDirt.com's racing insiders rank drivers based on United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS), United States Racing Association (USRA), and similar car-type results to compile their lists. Voter opinions do not reflect the thoughts as a whole of RacinDirt.com. Send voting inquiries to RacinDirt.com staff member Sam Stoecklin at samonthemic@hotmail.com.
RankPriorDriver Name
11Ryan Gustin
As one voter put it, "It was a tough call with Ryan and Jason Hughes, but the number of big money wins puts Ryan at the top." Gustin won basically every big money show this year. Fantastic season for 'The Reaper' in 2017 with 15 wins. Finished second in the Southern Region, third in the Northern Region, and fifth in the Casey's Cup final standings.
22Jason Hughes
Huge year winning yet another USMTS National Championship with 18 top-ten finishes out of 20 events. Found his momentum after his injuries and claimed nine USMTS wins on the year. Also added top-five finishes in the Southern and Northern USMTS Regions.
33Zack VanderBeek
Northern Region Champion and second in the Central Region. His new chassis made a difference this year. Had a hot streak in the middle of the year where he was virtually unbeatable and did not miss the top five. Capped the year off with back-to-back top five's at 81 Speedway. The Z-Man finished the season with six USMTS victories.
46Stormy Scott
Very solid season once he debuted his VanderBuilt, Stormy caught fire when he changed to the VanderBuilt chassis. Chisholm Trail Showdown night 2 winner after posting a third on night one. Claimed seven USMTS victories on the year. Second in the final Casey's Cup standings and fourth in the Central Region final points.
55Cade Dillard
Another solid year for the Louisianan with 16 wins, including 9 USMTS victories, and the USMTS Southern and Central Region Championships and was runner-up in the Northern Region. Finished third in the overall Casey's Cup standings.
68Jason Cummins
USRA National Champion for a second time (2010) after dominating 2017 with a 20-win season and the USRA Northern Region Championship. He is the Deer Creek Speedway Champion with eight wins, he also claimed the Chateau Raceway crown. Out of 44 starts, Cummins ran top-ten on 37 occasions with 34 of those finishes inside the top-five!
74Rodney Sanders
Grant Junghans Memorial, Chisholm Trail Showdown, and Midwest Dirt Track Nationals Champion. When Sanders raced the Modified he was a factor. The new dad added another four USMTS wins in 2017.
810C. A. Nix
Under the radar season down south on his way to second in USRA National Points with 12 wins on the year, including three TOMS victories. Capped the year with an impressive win in the TOMS Nationals and was the USRA Southern Region Champion.
99Ryan Middaugh
Third in USRA National final point standings with 14 wins. The Lake Ozark Speedway track champion racked up 39 USRA top-ten finishes in 2017, more than any other driver. Captures the Central Region USRA crown.
1014Dereck Ramirez
Potential race of the year winner at Rock Rapids. Solid in new Hughes car at the end of the season with a pair of top-five finishes at the Chisholm Trail Showdown. Fourth in the Casey's Cup final standings and grabbed a late season feature win and finished third in the USMTS Central Region.
117R.C. Whitwell
He is the 2017 USMTS Rookie of the Year with 12 victories overall for the year including his first-ever USMTS victory. Solid end to the season with a third-place run at the Chisholm Trail Showdown.
1219Ricky Thornton, Jr.
Grabbed first career USMTS Hunt victory, claimed the $20,000 payday at the Batesville special event, finished top 5 at Southern New Mexico Speedway Fall Nationals. Finished with six USRA wins for the year and 10th overall in the Casey's Cup standings.
1311Mitch Keeter
Virtually owned Humboldt and Salina Highbanks Speedways and picked up his first USMTS win this year. Two Track Championships at Humboldt and Salina Highbanks. Experienced a breakout year with more than a dozen USRA and NASCAR wins.
1418Bumper Jones
Sixth in the final USRA points with seven wins and the Southern New Mexico Speedway Track Championship. At one point over the summer, Jones was nearly unbeatable with a multi-week win streak.
1512Jake Timm
Strong in the USMTS Northern Region, where he finished fourth overall and seventh in the Casey's Cup final standings. Fall Fest winner, picked up his first career USMTS win, plus a multi time winner at Mississippi Thunder Speedway and Deer Creek Speedway with four USRA 2017 victories.
1620Triston Dycus
Registered six TOMS victories this season on his way to a second-straight TOMS Championship and scored eight total USRA victories throughout the year.
17NewJackie Dalton
Monett and Springfield Raceway track champion with 12 USRA wins. He was top ten 30 out 32 USRA races entered for the season.
18NewTrevor Latham
Fifth in the final USRA standings and claimed the Track Championship at Tri-State Speedway. Posted 11 USRA wins on the season and finished in the top-ten 38 out of 40 races! USRA Mid-American Region Champion.
19NewJosh Angst
Finishes with five USRA wins for the year and eighth overall in the USRA standings. He sat on the pole for $50k Masters as one of the highlights of his season and claimed the Mississippi Thunder Speedway 2017 Championship.
20NewLucas Schott
Defending USRA National Champion was not able to win as much this year, but still strong overall with a pair of victories at Mississippi Thunder Speedway and 24 top-ten finishes out of 24 USRA races on the year.
Each week, RacinDirt insiders rank their top 20 drivers based on United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS), United States Racing Association (USRA) results, and USRA-type modified results and competition. The opinions of our voters, are just that, opinions, and do not reflect the thoughts as a whole of RacinDirt.com or its staff. Would you like to be an USMTS/USRA Power Rankings voter? Email samonthemic@hotmail.com for more information.
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