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Sanders seals fifth USMTS title with fifth win in ARMI All-American at Arrowhead

October 13, 2023  |  by Jeff Nun

From left to right: Runner-up Jake Timm, winner Rodney Sanders and third-place finisher Jeremy Nelson.

From left to right: Runner-up Jake Timm, winner Rodney Sanders and third-place finisher Jeremy Nelson.

The second of three nights at the inaugural ARMI Contractors All-American at the Arrowhead Speedway on Friday had more twists and turns than a convention of contortionists, but for Rodney Sanders it was a straight line to his fifth win of the year and set him up to collect his fifth USMTS crown.

The all-new state-of-the-art 1/3-mile dirt oval in Colcord, Okla., welcomed the Summit USMTS National Championship presented by RacinDirt for the three-day event on Thursday and delivered Jason Hughes from the longest winless drought of his career.

On Friday, a magnificent racing surface delivered to the tune of $5,000 for Sanders, and almost assuredly the $100,000 title and ownership of the second-ever Leon Ramirez Trophy.

Sanders set the pace for the start of the 40-lap main event on Friday, and built a 2.5-second lead by lap five over the No. 4 machines of Jeremy Nelson and Bo Day. He expanded his advantage to four seconds by the time he found the back of the field with ten laps complete.

That’s when the first of five caution flags waved and saved Sanders from having to deal with back-markers. On three other occasions, the yellow flag appeared just as Sanders could smell the tailpipe exhaust of the first lapped car.

While it did save him from traffic trouble, it also allowed erased big leads each time. The final one nearly cost him the win.

Nelson ran a distant second for the majority of the race, but kept it close with less than ten laps remaining. That’s when Timm tip-toed his way around the bottom to take second and challenge Sanders.

On Thursday, it was four-time national champion Hughes holding off Timm at the checkers by less than a half-second. On Friday, Sanders delivered the same fate to the second-generation racer from Winona, Minnesota.

“I know Jake’s been really good lately and I felt like I was pretty good around the top once we got rolling but there’s a lot of grip down there,” Sanders said. “I saw his nose down there and I felt like to win the race I had to at least go block a lap or two. I just didn’t want to overshoot it. It’s kind of hard running the top and then slow down on the bottom.

“I felt like I had a really good car early, but I didn’t know about the lapped cars. I didn't know where I needed to be. I moved around early and I felt pretty good on the bottom too.”

After advancing nine spots to finish sixth on Thursday, Sanders could have mailed it in and cruised safely to his fifth USMTS national championship over the final four events. But “The Rocket” instead was a cruise missile.

He kicked off Friday’s show by earning the Swift Springs Fastest Lap Award with the best qualifying time of the 58 entrants. He earned the Sybesma Graphics Pole Award and then led all 40 laps of the main event to assure himself the maximum points for the night.

His effort put him out of reach in the points race. All that’s left to do is sign in Saturday night, and again October 27-28 for the final weekend and he’ll be a five-time series champ and $100,000 richer.

“Hats off to the track guys. This is a complete 180 from last night so hats off to them. The race track was great tonight.

Despite back-to-back runner-up finishes totaling less than one second behind a pair of four-time USMTS nationals champions, Timm was impressive as he climbed from tenth and eighth on the starting grid, respectively, to garner two second-place finishes.

Nelson, meanwhile, recorded his second top-five finish in his rookie season as he held off 16th-starting hard charger Tanner Mullens for third.

Dereck Ramirez rounded out the top five with Tom Berry Jr., Zack VanderBeek, Tyler Wolff, Hughes and Gary Christian completing the top ten.

Big money Saturday on tap: The biggest and highest-paying dirt modified show in Oklahoma history continues Saturday with the winner of the ARMI Contractors All-American main event earning $20,023 plus all feature race starters will take home no less than $1,200 each.

The pits open at 3 p.m. and grandstands open at 4. USMTS qualifying starts at 5:45 with the first green flag scheduled to wave at 6.

General admission tickets are $30,e seniors (62+) and juniors (13-17) get in for $25, kids (6-12) are $5 and children under 6 get in for free.

Active military and veterans get free grandstand admission Saturday night, courtesy of ARMI Contractors.

Medieval USRA Stock Cars, AmeriFlex USRA B-Mods and USRA Tuners join the show on Saturday. Check out the FAST FACTS for everything you need know about the event.

The Arrowhead Speedway is a 1/3-mile semi-banked clay oval located 5.5 miles west of Arkansas/Oklahoma State Line at 20316 US-412 W, Colcord, OK 74338. Visit arrowheadspeedway.com and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

For its Silver Anniversary season, the Summit USMTS National Championship presented by RacinDirt currently features racing at some of America's premier dirt track racing venues. The winners of those events are set to earn more than $300,000 with nearly $2 million in purses and prize money earmarked for the 2023 campaign.

Watch every USMTS event online live and on-demand from anywhere on any device with RacinDirt. Download the app at Roku, Amazon Fire, iOS, Apple TV or on Google Play.

Visit usmts.com for schedules, points, photos, souvenirs, videos and more. Follow our social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Click here to get USMTS news delivered to your inbox.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
United States Modified Touring Series
Summit USMTS National Championship presented by RacinDirt
Inaugural ARMI Contractors All-American – Night 2 of 3
Arrowhead Speedway, Colcord, Okla.
Friday, Oct. 13, 2023

Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver and hometown. Heat race lineups are determined via group qualifying. The top 15 in heat race passing points advance to the Summit Racing Equipment “A” Main.

QUALIFYING GROUP A:
1. 60 Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, Minn., 14.704
2. 02 Tanner Mullens, Wichita, Kan., 14.790
3. 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., 14.791
4. 88S Nathan Smith, Anthony, N.M., 14.805
5. 01 Peyton Taylor, Batesville, Ark., 14.816
6. 4 Jeremy Nelson, Alexandria, Minn., 14.859
7. 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., 14.861
8. 4W Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark., 14.887
9. 5 Steve Holzkamper, Gentry, Ark., 15.004
10. 0 Jake O'Neil, Tucson, Ariz., 15.012
11. 08 Dakota Sproul, Hays, Kan., 15.012
12. 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., 15.027
13. 11X Tom Berry Jr., Des Moines, Iowa, 15.044
14. 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla., 15.075
15. 4RJ Jared Russell, Wagoner, Okla., 15.132
16. 11N Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark., 15.139
17. 51 Eddie Martin, Stilwell, Okla., 15.154
18. 49 Jake Timm, Winona, Minn., 15.181
19. 5* John Briggs, Harrison, Ark., 15.188
20. 12H Mike Hansen, Dickinson, N.D., 15.195
21. 24C Jim Chisholm, Osage, Iowa, 15.212
22. 712 Trevor Hughes, Westville, Okla., 15.219
23. 19R Chris Kratzer, Haysville, Kan., 15.245
24. 19SB Lance Mari, El Centro, Calif., 15.350
25. 33 Chad Smith, Springdale, Ark., 15.422
26. 7G Gabe Hodges, Lebo, Kan., 15.706
27. 57 Ryan Rasberry, Decatur, Ark., 15.832
28. 7W Willie Gammill, Siloam Springs, Ark., 15.885
29. 9 Justin Koch, Mt Home, Ark., 16.698

QUALIFYING GROUP B:
1. 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, 14.509
2. 4D Bo Day, Greenville, Texas, 14.534
3. K9 Will Krup, Mt. Carmel, Ill., 14.551
4. 55H A.J. Hoff, Mantorville, Minn., 14.604
5. 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., 14.608
6. 7X Chris Dawson, Lubbock, Texas, 14.620
7. 10B Brandon Givens, Wichita, Kan., 14.657
8. 396 R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz., 14.664
9. 15W Kale Westover, Altus, Okla., 14.689
10. 21K Kyle Brown, Madrid, Iowa, 14.761
11. 44T Tanner Black, Otis, Kan., 14.809
12. 75M Gunner Martin, Sugar Creek, Mo., 14.820
13. 65X Carlos Ahumada Jr., El Paso, Texas, 14.822
14. 58X Gary Christian, Broken Bow, Okla., 14.827
15. 99L Steve Lavasseur, River Falls, Wis., 14.839
16. 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan., 14.851
17. 211 Chase Hatton, De Berry, Texas, 14.866
18. 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, 14.871
19. 10C Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa, Iowa, 14.914
20. 15WX Alex Williamson, Rushford, Minn., 14.940
21. 89 Tate Cole, Fort Gibson, Okla., 14.942
22. 75A Shannon Anastosopolos, Carl Junction, Mo., 15.051
23. 44K Kelsie Foley, Otis, Kan., 15.053
24. 84 John Yeoman, Joplin, Mo., 15.073
25. 18 Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan., 15.092
26. 15ZL Ryan Taylor, Springdale, Ark., 15.240
27. 25C Brandon Huff, Concord, Okla., 15.493
28. 96T Randy Brown, Chowchilla, Calif., 15.557
29. 32 Tyler Barker, Springfield, Mo., 15.944

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #1 (8 laps):
1. (2) 11X Tom Berry Jr., Des Moines, Iowa
2. (4) 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla.
3. (3) 0 Jake O'Neil, Tucson, Ariz.
4. (6) 60 Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, Minn.
5. (5) 88S Nathan Smith, Anthony, N.M.
6. (9) 33 Chad Smith, Springdale, Ark.
7. (10) 7W Willie Gammill, Siloam Springs, Ark.
8. (7) 5* John Briggs, Harrison, Ark.
9. (1) 11N Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark.
10. (8) 712 Trevor Hughes, Westville, Okla.

FAST SHAFTS HEAT RACE #2 (8 laps):
1. (2) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla.
2. (4) 4W Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark.
3. (5) 01 Peyton Taylor, Batesville, Ark.
4. (6) 02 Tanner Mullens, Wichita, Kan.
5. (8) 19R Chris Kratzer, Haysville, Kan.
6. (1) 51 Eddie Martin, Stilwell, Okla.
7. (9) 7G Gabe Hodges, Lebo, Kan.
8. (7) 12H Mike Hansen, Dickinson, N.D.
9. (3) 08 Dakota Sproul, Hays, Kan.
10. (10) 9 Justin Koch, Mt Home, Ark.

EDELBROCK HEAT RACE #3 (8 laps):
1. (1) 49 Jake Timm, Winona, Minn.
2. (5) 4 Jeremy Nelson, Alexandria, Minn.
3. (3) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
4. (7) 24C Jim Chisholm, Osage, Iowa
5. (2) 4RJ Jared Russell, Wagoner, Okla.
6. (4) 5 Steve Holzkamper, Gentry, Ark.
7. (8) 19SB Lance Mari, El Centro, Calif.
8. (9) 57 Ryan Rasberry, Decatur, Ark.
9. (6) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla.

WIELAND HEAT RACE #4 (8 laps):
1. (1) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan.
2. (2) 65X Carlos Ahumada Jr., El Paso, Texas
3. (6) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas
4. (4) 10B Brandon Givens, Wichita, Kan.
5. (5) 55H A.J. Hoff, Mantorville, Minn.
6. (7) 10C Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa, Iowa
7. (9) 18 Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan.
8. (3) 21K Kyle Brown, Madrid, Iowa
9. (8) 75A Shannon Anastosopolos, Carl Junction, Mo.
10. (10) 96T Randy Brown, Chowchilla, Calif.

VP RACING HEAT RACE #5 (8 laps):
1. (2) 58X Gary Christian, Broken Bow, Okla.
2. (6) 4D Bo Day, Greenville, Texas
3. (4) 396 R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz.
4. (5) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla.
5. (1) 211 Chase Hatton, De Berry, Texas
6. (3) 44T Tanner Black, Otis, Kan.
7. (7) 15WX Alex Williamson, Rushford, Minn.
8. (8) 44K Kelsie Foley, Otis, Kan.
9. (9) 15ZL Ryan Taylor, Springdale, Ark.
10. (10) 32 Tyler Barker, Springfield, Mo.

SUPER CLEAN HEAT RACE #6 (8 laps):
1. (1) 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa
2. (2) 99L Steve Lavasseur, River Falls, Wis.
3. (4) 15W Kale Westover, Altus, Okla.
4. (3) 75M Gunner Martin, Sugar Creek, Mo.
5. (7) 89 Tate Cole, Fort Gibson, Okla.
6. (9) 25C Brandon Huff, Concord, Okla.
7. (5) 7X Chris Dawson, Lubbock, Texas
8. (8) 84 John Yeoman, Joplin, Mo.
9. (6) K9 Will Krup, Mt. Carmel, Ill.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #1 (15 laps, top 3 advance):
1. (1) 02 Tanner Mullens, Wichita, Kan.
2. (2) 99L Steve Lavasseur, River Falls, Wis.
3. (5) 10B Brandon Givens, Wichita, Kan.
4. (3) 24C Jim Chisholm, Osage, Iowa
5. (10) 19SB Lance Mari, El Centro, Calif.
6. (4) 88S Nathan Smith, Anthony, N.M.
7. (8) 7W Willie Gammill, Siloam Springs, Ark.
8. (11) 21K Kyle Brown, Madrid, Iowa
9. (12) 08 Dakota Sproul, Hays, Kan.
10. (9) 18 Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan.
11. (6) 33 Chad Smith, Springdale, Ark.
12. (7) 211 Chase Hatton, De Berry, Texas
DNS – K9 Will Krup, Mt. Carmel, Ill.
DNS – 84 John Yeoman, Joplin, Mo.
DNS – 96T Randy Brown, Chowchilla, Calif.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #2 (15 laps, top 3 advance):
1. (3) 0 Jake O'Neil, Tucson, Ariz.
2. (1) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla.
3. (6) 7G Gabe Hodges, Lebo, Kan.
4. (4) 75M Gunner Martin, Sugar Creek, Mo.
5. (8) 15WX Alex Williamson, Rushford, Minn.
6. (7) 44T Tanner Black, Otis, Kan.
7. (10) 5* John Briggs, Harrison, Ark.
8. (12) 11N Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark.
9. (2) 396 R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz.
10. (5) 25C Brandon Huff, Concord, Okla.
11. (13) 32 Tyler Barker, Springfield, Mo.
12. (11) 15ZL Ryan Taylor, Springdale, Ark.
13. (9) 57 Ryan Rasberry, Decatur, Ark.
DNS – 7X Chris Dawson, Lubbock, Texas

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #3 (15 laps, top 3 advance):
1. (9) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla.
2. (1) 65X Carlos Ahumada Jr., El Paso, Texas
3. (3) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
4. (2) 15W Kale Westover, Altus, Okla.
5. (7) 10C Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa, Iowa
6. (11) 12H Mike Hansen, Dickinson, N.D.
7. (6) 4RJ Jared Russell, Wagoner, Okla.
8. (10) 44K Kelsie Foley, Otis, Kan.
9. (12) 75A Shannon Anastosopolos, Carl Junction, Mo.
10. (13) 9 Justin Koch, Mt Home, Ark.
11. (8) 51 Eddie Martin, Stilwell, Okla.
12. (4) 19R Chris Kratzer, Haysville, Kan.
13. (5) 89 Tate Cole, Fort Gibson, Okla.
DNS – 5 Steve Holzkamper, Gentry, Ark.
DNS – 712 Trevor Hughes, Westville, Okla.

SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT “A” MAIN (40 laps):
1. (3) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas
2. (8) 49 Jake Timm, Winona, Minn.
3. (2) 4 Jeremy Nelson, Alexandria, Minn.
4. (16) 02 Tanner Mullens, Wichita, Kan.
5. (11) 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla.
6. (5) 11X Tom Berry Jr., Des Moines, Iowa
7. (10) 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa
8. (12) 4W Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark.
9. (18) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla.
10. (7) 58X Gary Christian, Broken Bow, Okla.
11. (13) 60 Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, Minn.
12. (9) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan.
13. (6) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla.
14. (1) 4D Bo Day, Greenville, Texas
15. (24) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
16. (4) 01 Peyton Taylor, Batesville, Ark.
17. (17) 0 Jake O'Neil, Tucson, Ariz.
18. (25) 24C Jim Chisholm, Osage, Iowa
19. (19) 99L Steve Lavasseur, River Falls, Wis.
20. (14) K9 Will Krup, Mt. Carmel, Ill.
21. (23) 7G Gabe Hodges, Lebo, Kan.
22. (21) 65X Carlos Ahumada Jr., El Paso, Texas
23. (15) 55H A.J. Hoff, Mantorville, Minn.
24. (27) 84 John Yeoman, Joplin, Mo.
25. (28) 19SB Lance Mari, El Centro, Calif.
26. (26) 10C Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa, Iowa
27. (22) 10B Brandon Givens, Wichita, Kan.
28. (20) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla.

Lap Leader: Sanders 1-40.
Total Laps Led: Sanders 40.
Margin of Victory: 0.464 second.
Time of Race: 25 minutes, 9.094 seconds (5 cautions).
Provisional Starters: Chisholm, Carter, Yeoman (track).
Emergency Provisional: Mari.
FK Rod Ends/KSE Racing Products Hard Charger: Mullens (started 16th, finished 4th).
Entries: 58.
Next Race: Saturday, Oct. 14, Arrowhead Speedway, Colcord, Okla.
Summit USMTS National Championship Points: Sanders 2655, Hughes 2484, Chisholm 2401, Ramirez 2396, Mullens 2373, O'Neil 2355, Ebert 2303, Wolff 2267, Phillips 2247, VanderBeek 2216.
Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year Points: Berry 1760, Krup 1711, Nelson 1587, Christian 1497, Lavasseur 1315.
FK Rod Ends USMTS Hard Charger Points: Chisholm 170, Sanders 131, O'Neil 116, Hughes 110, Mullens 97.
Miller Welders USMTS Manufacturers Championship Points: MBCustoms 227, Mullens 206, Hughes 202, VanderBuilt 154, Skyrocket 142.
Callies/JE Pistons USMTS Engine Builder of the Year Points: Mullins 243, Cornett 227, Hatfield 209, Stoen 197, KSE 177.

Contingency Awards:
Aero Race Wheels – T. Hughes.
American Racer – Christian.
Beyea Custom Headers – Mullens.
BigDeal Car Care – Mullens, Sanders.
Bryke Racing – Phillips.
BSB Manufacturing – Hodges.
Carquest – TBD.
Champ Pans – Ramirez.
Collins Brothers Towing – Carter.
Deatherage Opticians – Westover.
Edelbrock – Timm.
Fast Shafts – Wheeler.
FK Rod Ends – Mullens.
Hooker Harness – Fuqua.
Hyperco – T. Hughes.
Integra Racing Shocks & Springs – Chisholm.
Keyser Manufacturing – Christian.
KSE Racing Products – Mullens.
MD3 – Sanders.
Mel Hambelton Racing – Timm.
Midwest Wrap Co. – Ahumada.
MSD Performance – Nelson.
Penske Racing Shocks – Wheeler.
PEM Racing Gears & Drivetrain – Lavasseur.
QA1 – Wheeler.
Quarter Master – Wolff.
RacerWebsite.com – Hatton.
Salty’s BBQ & Catering – Mullens.
Simpson Race Products – Berry.
Summit Racing Equipment – Black, Hodges, Holzkamper, T. Hughes, E. Martin.
Super Clean – Sanders.
Swift Springs – Cole, Sanders.
Sybesma Graphics – Day.
VP Racing – Sanders.
Wehrs Machine & Racing Products – Rasberry.
Willy's Carb & Dyno Shop – J. Hughes.
Wilwood Disc Brakes – VanderBeek.

USMTS OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Racer Racing TiresBeyea HeadersCallies Performance ProductsChevrolet PerformanceFast ShaftsFK Rod EndsKSE Racing ProductsMalvern BankMesilla Valley TransportationNitroquest MediaPEM Racing Gears & DrivetrainRacinDirtSummit Racing EquipmentSuper CleanVP RacingWieland.

USMTS PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: ARMI ContractorsBoomtest Well ServiceBoubin Tire & AutomotiveBrodix Cylinder HeadsCollins Brothers TowingD&T Marriott Enterprise, LLCDAY MotorsportsDuvall ElectricGunshepherd.comHacienda MechanicalKenny's TileMel Hambelton RacingMidwest Wrap Co.Miller WeldersPBM Performance ProductsRancho Milagro RacingS&S Fishing & RentalSalty's BBQ & CateringShocker HitchShop Quik StoresYouDirt.com.

USMTS CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: AERO Race WheelsAFCO Racing ProductsAllstar PerformanceBigDeal Car CareBryke RacingBSB ManufacturingChamp PansDeatherage OpticiansEdelbrockHooker HarnessHypercoIntegra Racing Shocks and SpringsJE PistonsK1 RaceGear by Ryan Bowers MotorsportsKeyser ManufacturingMD3MSD PerformancePenske Racing ShocksPerformance Bodies & PartsQA1Quarter MasterRacerWebsite.comReal Racing WheelsSimpson Performance ProductsSwift SpringsSybesma GraphicsWehrs Machine & Racing ProductsWilly’s Carb & Dyno ShopWilwood Racing.

USMTS RACETRACKS: 81 Speedway, Ark-La-Tex Speedway, Arrowhead Speedway, Cedar Lake Speedway, Deer Creek Speedway, Fayette County Speedway, Hamilton County Speedway, Humboldt Speedway, Lakeside Speedway, Lucas Oil Speedway, Mason City Motor Speedway, Ogilvie Raceway, Rocket Raceway Park.