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Monday, September 24, 2018
The Inside Dirt: Volume 10
By: Chris Stepan
(Photo by: Tyler Rinken)
This week’s Inside Dirt will focus on the Featherlite Fall Jamboree weekend, the conclusion of the championship points portion of the 20th season of the USMTS and a look ahead to the final two USMTS events of 2018.
 
First and foremost, a huge congratulations to 2018 USMTS National Champion Johnny Scott on his $50,000 championship payday after his 15 win dominating season. Johnny started off the 2018 campaign strong in February on the opening weekend and never really let off the gas, wrapping up the richest title in Modified racing history before the final weekend’s events even hit the dirt. Stormy Scott capped off a great season as well finishing second to his twin brother in the points chase, so a big congrats needs to go out to Scott Bros. Racing for your incredible season.
 
A big shout out is also needed for Jake O’Neil on winning the $5,000 USMTS Grant Junghans Rookie of the Year award this year. Jake has had a breakout year, winning his first 3 USMTS career victories and to cap it off with the ROY honors is a big accomplishment for the Arizona racer.  
 
The weather leading up to this year’s Fall Jamboree was anything but pleasant, with Southern Minnesota receiving upwards of 4 inches of the rain in the days before the event. Thursday’s show was scrapped and it became a 2 day event with Johnny Scott dominating the opener and then Rodney Sanders winning a thriller of a finale and collecting the $11,000 payday that went along with it, continuing his dominance of big money races this year.
 
Nearly 90 cars competed over the two days with some excellent racing taking place on both nights. You can read the recaps and box scores at USMTS.com but several things that stood out to me include:
 
*The hard work and dedication of the Deer Creek staff getting their facility ready for the weekend under less than ideal conditions. Many tracks would have just said let’s pull the plug, but that was never an option for the Creek.
 
*Brandon Davis’s strong run on the opener after getting into the wall with a stuck throttle in hot laps. Brandon ended up winning his heat, was running in the top five early in the main, spun, went to the tail and came back through traffic to salvage a top ten finish.
 
*Several Jamboree first timers turned some heads over the weekend. Missouri’s Ronnie Woods charged from 26th to 12th in Friday’s feature. Young Oklahoma racer Kale Westover had a good car all weekend, making the show on Friday night and running a solid third in the Non-Qualifier race on Saturday night.
 
*Owatonna, Minnesota pilot Mark Motl’s $2,000 Non Qualifier race victory stands out as well, being that it was over a hungry field of 30 competitors and it was his first career victory. Congrats!
 
*And finally to wrap up the Jamboree, we saw the return of the Reaper this weekend. Ryan Gustin hasn’t been behind the wheel a ton this year and has won a couple races in recent weeks, but we saw him race from 11th to 2nd in a heat on Friday and then win a heat and challenge for the lead during the first half of the 50-lapper on Saturday night. His weekend results weren’t what the team had hoped for, but he definitely looked like the Gustin of old over the weekend.
 
The Hunt for the Casey’s Cup portion of the USMTS 20th anniversary season has wrapped up, but a pair of events still remain on the calendar, including the $15,000 to win finale for the Summit Southern Series on the first weekend of November at the Kennedale Speedway Park in Kennedale, Texas. The 3 night extravaganza should be a huge one and Johnny Scott will try to cap off his phenomenal season by winning the Southern Series point championship, which he currently leads by 76 markers over Rodney Sanders.
 
The 3rd annual Chisholm Trail Showdown at the 81 Speedway in Park City, Kansas will officially end the 2018 season for the USMTS. The 2 day event just outside of Wichita will put an exclamation point on a banner season for the series and then all eyes will shift to the 2019 season, which will likely start in mid-February.
 
There you have this week’s Inside Dirt.
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