‘The Reaper’ returns to USMTS racing Friday at Lakeside Speedway

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August 21, 2015

After finishing as the runner-up two straight seasons, Ryan Gustin won back-to-back USMTS National Championships in 2011 and 2012.
After finishing as the runner-up two straight seasons, Ryan Gustin won back-to-back USMTS National Championships in 2011 and 2012.

Two-time USMTS National Champion Ryan Gustin has announced that he will be suited up and ready to battle this weekend when the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental returns to America’s heartland for a pair of critical clashes in the battle to become the 2015 champion of the United States Modified Touring Series.

Two weeks ago, the 24-year-old from Marshalltown, Iowa, became a father for the second time with the birth of his daughter, Ivey, and ‘The Reaper’ will be making his first start with the USMTS since June 18 when action kicks off Friday, Aug. 21, at the Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., for the first of two $3,000-to-win blockbuster events.

This will be the 13th time the USMTS has circled the historic Lakeside Speedway since making its debut there three years ago.Ryan Gustin Gustin won the inaugural race during his second straight USMTS National Championship season in 2012.

Since then, Jeremy Payne has won three times while two-time defending USMTS National Champion Rodney Sanders has two wins. But Terry Phillips leads all drivers with four victories at Lakeside, including the most recent visit on May 1.

2013 USRA Modified National Champion Matt Dotson and defending Lakeside Speedway track champion Nic Bidinger each have one USMTS victory—both coming during the 2013 ‘Sunflower Showdown.’

Friday’s ‘Salute to Military Night’ presented by Budweiser will feature all military personnel getting in to witness the spectacle for just $10, and all fans can enjoy beer specials all night long. USRA Stock Cars and USRA B-Mods will also be turning laps on Friday night.

Pit gate opens at 4 p.m., spectator gates open at 5 p.m., hot laps start at 7 p.m. and racing begins at 7:30 p.m. Adult grandstand tickets are $18, youth ages 13-16 and military personnel with valid ID are $10, kids ages 6-12 are $5 and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge. A limited number of seats in the air-conditioned V.I.P. suites are available for $25. Pit passes are $35.

Fans can get discount coupons good for $2 off adult general admission at Casey's General Stores locations in Kansas City, Leavenworth, Lenexa, Platte City, Nashua and Shawnee. Joe Duvall and his No. 91 AMP Energy machine will be greeting fans in person at the Casey’s General Store located at 13000 State Ave. in Kansas City from 12-2 p.m. Listen to 610 Sports Radio on your AM dial to hear live broadcasts from the appearance.

The Lakeside Speedway is a semi-banked 4/10-mile dirt oval located 1.0 mile west of I-435 (exit 18) on SR 5 (northwest of Kansas City). For more information, call 913-299-9206 or visit www.lakesidespeedway.net.

Then on Saturday, Aug. 22, the gear-grinding goliaths of the USMTS return to the Salina Highbanks Speedway for what promises to be yet another classic nail-biter on the steep clay oval with all military veterans getting in free of charge on ‘Salute to Veterans Night’ presented by Bob Hart Chevrolet.

Jason Hughes was the winner when the USMTS Modifieds made their first appearance at the Salina Highbanks Speedway way back on Aug. 27, 2004. He returned to the track’s winners circle two more times when the USMTS visited in 2013.

Terry Phillips, Stormy Scott, Bryan Rowland and Jeremy Payne have also tasted victory at Salina, while Ryan Gustin has three checkered flags here.

Gates open at 5 p.m., hot laps get going at 6:30 and the first green flag waves at 7 p.m. with the always-exciting sprint cars of the Oil Capital Racing Series (OCRS) also in action, plus 360 Modifieds and Pure Stocks too.

Tickets for adults are $20, kids are $10 and children ages 6 and under get in for free. Discount coupons good for $2 off adult general admission re available on race day at Casey's General Stores locations in Wagoner and Tahlequah, as well as Siloam Springs on the Arkansas side of the border.

In 2011, the unique racetrack reopened after sitting idle for many years and the new owners refurbished the entire facility, including a brand new office and tech garage building on the pit side, and a pit area that can accommodate over 200 race teams with room to expand.

The grandstand side of the facility is a welcome surprise for race fans with new grandstand seating that will accommodate up to 5,000 spectators and, by late afternoon, is completely covered in shade. There is also a new covered 4,000-square-foot open air concession area, a new beer barn, picnic tables and patio seating with awnings. The grandstand concessions, gift shop and restrooms are also totally remodeled.

The real surprise though is the V.I.P. area. Located on the second level of the front stretch grandstand complex overlooking Lake Hudson is a four-star restaurant. The Finish Line Restaurant is open year-round, Thursday through Sunday. V.I.P. passes are available to the general public during the racing season to sit in air-conditioned comfort, enjoy great food and drink, and watch some of the most competitive racing in the Midwest.

Furthermore, V.I.P. suites with home theatre seating and accommodations for up to 16 people can be leased for the season.

But the real draw to the Salina Highbanks Speedway is the track itself. The high-banked oval is 3/8 of a mile at the bottom and close to a half-mile long at the top. The corners are banked nearly 30 degrees while the front- and back-stretches are nearly 20 degrees steep. The clay surface and the layout offer drivers multiple racing grooves which is conducive to close, two- and three-wide racing.

The Salina Highbanks Speedway is located 7 miles east of Pryor on SR 20. For more information, visit the website at www.salinahighbanksspeedway.com or call 918-434-7223.

Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup Points Standings:
1. 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas ... 727 (1 win)
2. 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla. ... 691 (2 wins)
3. 99 Jesse Sobbing, Malvern, Iowa ... 649
4. 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M. ... 639 (1 win)
5. 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa ... 636 (1 win)
6. 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla. ...  596
7. 1st Johnny Scott, Las Cruces, N.M. ... 514 (1 win)
8. 97 Cade Dillard, Robeline, La. ... 512
9. IOU1 Brent Larson, Lake Elmo, Minn. ... 510
10. 2 Casey Arneson, Fargo, N.D. ... 475
11. 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla. ... 462
12. 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Adel, Iowa ... 455
13. 71 Philip Houston, Odessa, Texas ... 434
14. 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis. ... 431
15. 2 Grant Junghans, Manhattan, Kan. ... 351
16. 23k Ben Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan. ... 348
17. J17 Jake Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M. ... 324
18. 40 Brian Green, Pierce City, Mo. ... 242
19. 60 Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, Minn. ... 227
20. 38 Ronnie Gould III, Seminole, Okla. ... 211
Other winners:
186 Jeremy Payne, Springfield, Mo. (1 win)

For more information about Casey’s General Stores or to find the location nearest you, visit www.caseys.com online. You can also like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CaseysGenStore and follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/caseysgenstore.

To learn more about the United States Modified Touring Series, visit www.usmts.com online or call 515-832-7944. You can also like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usmts, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/usmts or subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usmtstv.

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USMTS OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Racer Racing Tires, Casey’s General Stores, Chix Gear Racewear, COMP Cams, Day Motor Sports, Deatherage Opticians, Farm Boy BBQ Sauce, Fast Shafts, Intercomp, KEVKO Oil Pans & Components, Malvern Trust & Savings Bank, MSD, Nitroquest Media Group, RACEceiver, RacinDirt.com, S&S Fishing & Rental, VP Racing Fuels.

USMTS PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: Arizona Sport Shirts, ASi Racewear, BRODIX Cylinder Heads, Double H Bands, Duvall Electric, ElbowsUp.com, Integra Racing Shocks & Springs, Mesilla Valley Transportation, Olympic Fire Protection, Rivers Edge Scrap Management, Schwab’s Tinker Shop, UMotors Motorsports & Marine, Velocita-USA.

USMTS CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: AERO Race Wheels, AFCO Racing Products, Allstar Performance, Bell Racing Helmets, Beyea Custom Headers, BSB Manufacturing, CPD Racing Tools, Crane Cams, Driven Racing Oil, Edelbrock, Eibach Springs, FK Rod Ends, Forty9 Designs, Fuel Safe, Genesis Racing Shocks, GRT Race Cars, Holley Performance, Hooker Custom Harness, JRi Shocks, Keyser Manufacturing, KSE Racing Products, Marsh Racing Wheels, Midwest Sheet Metal, PBM Performance Products, QA1 Precision Products, Quarter Master, R2C Performance, Real Racing Wheels, Simpson Performance Products, Sybesma Graphics, Tilton Engineering, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products, Wilwood Disc Brakes.