Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Battle in Baytown: 6th Annual USMTS Texas Winter Nationals Set for Nov. 15-17 at Royal Purple Raceway
by Jeff Nun
BAYTOWN, Texas -- The eyes of Texas and all of the dirt modified world will be on the sport’s elite as the United States Modified Touring Series looks toward the Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15-17, for the 6th Annual USMTS Texas Winter Nationals.
The season-ending event for the USMTS Modifieds is expected to draw nearly 100 of the top names from not only the Lone Star State but at least a dozen other states too, with all of them converging on the state-of-the-art 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval looking for their share of more than $50,000 in prize money.
A possible $9,000 to win is up for grabs over three days. Thursday’s winner will take home $2,000 while Friday’s first-place finisher pockets $3,000. Saturday’s finale will carry a $4,000 top prize.
Marshalltown, Iowa’s Ryan Gustin wrapped up his second straight USMTS National Championship in September and looks to capture his second career win in Baytown, and first USMTS Texas Winter Nationals checkered flag.
Thursday night’s opener will be the 27th event for the USMTS Modifieds at the former Houston Raceway Park since 2007, and nobody has had more success than Jason Hughes of Watts, Okla. The 2010 USMTS national champion has six career wins at the Royal Purple Raceway – nearly a quarter of the races – including a win this past February during the USMTS Spring Nationals.
After making his 300th career start on Thursday night in last year’s USMTS Texas Winter Nationals, Dereck Ramirez went on to take the checkered flag in Friday’s feature race for his first-ever win and then backed it up on Saturday for his second in as many nights. That was the last time the 26-year-old from Woodward, Okla., tasted victory and he will be looking to end his year-long dry spell with a repeat performance.
On Thursday night of last year’s event, local favorite Chris Brown of Spring, Texas, notched the win driving a Skyrocket out of Kelly Shryock’s stable, but Brown will back in black this time driving Hughes chassis that he steered to a win last month in an unsanctioned event at the Texas Motor Speedway.
Other former victory lane visitors at the Royal Purple Raceway include three-time winner Zack VanderBeek of New Sharon, Iowa, who captured Saturday’s finale at the USMTS Texas Winter Nationals in 2008 and the Thursday and Friday features in 2010.
Shryock – a nine-time USMTS national champion – has two victories in Baytown, while Johnny Scott, Terry Phillips, John O Whittington, Rodney Sanders, Jeremy Payne, Johnny Bone Jr., Tommy Weder Jr., Alan Mondus and Paul White have one win apiece.
Other drivers expected for the 6th Annual USMTS Texas Winter Nationals include Steven Whiteaker Jr., Jason Krohn, Chase Junghans, Jon Tesch, Mark Dotson, Tristan Dycus, Chris Henigan, Mike Steensma, Bryan Rowland, Austin Siebert, Shane Hebert, David Ashley, Stormy Scott, Clyde Dunn Jr., T.J. Herndon, Brad Buck, Danny Hebert, Jesse Manning, Cade Dillard, Sean Jones, Dustin Hyde, Tracy Denby Jr., Howard Willis, Brian Craighead, Glen Hibbard, Danny Barringer, Jeff Hoegh, Troy Seidl, Corey Babbitt, Rob Litton, Wes Armstrong, Robert Metz Jr., Chase Allen, Pete Sagmiller, Rory Jordan and more.
USRA HotMods (Limited Mods) will also be on the racing card each night battling for $500, $600 and $900 to win, respectively, plus several bonus cash awards up for grabs.
A practice session for drivers in both classes will be held on Wednesday night, Nov. 14. Gates open at 4 p.m. and practice will take place from 6-9 p.m. Admission to the grandstands is free while pit passes are $20.
On Thursday and Friday, the pit gate opens at 3 p.m., grandstands open at 5 and racing begins at 7. On Saturday, pit gates open at 3 p.m., grandstands open at 4 and the first heat race hits the track at 5:30.
THURSDAY PAYOFF: Licensed – 1. $2000, 2. $1500, 3. $1000, 4. $800, 5. $700, 6. $600, 7. $550, 8. $500, 9. $450, 10. $400, 11. $350, 12. $325, 13-24. $300, Tow $80; Non-Licensed – 1. $2000, 2. $1200, 3. $800, 4. $600, 5. $500, 6. $400, 7. $350, 8. $300, 9. $250, 10. $230, 11. $210, 12-24. $200, Tow $60.
FRIDAY PAYOFF: Licensed – 1. $3000, 2. $1700, 3. $1200, 4. $1000, 5. $800, 6. $700, 7. $600, 8. $550, 9. $500, 10. $450, 11. $400, 12. $375, 13. $350, 14. $325, 15-24. $300, Tow $100; Non-Licensed – 1. $3000, 2. $1800, 3. $1000, 4. $800, 5. $600, 6. $500, 7. $450, 8. $400, 9. $350, 10. $300, 11-24. $275, Tow $80.
SATURDAY PAYOFF: Licensed – 1. $4000, 2. $2700, 3. $1800, 4. $1200, 5. $900, 6. $800, 7. $700, 8. $600, 9. $550, 10. $500, 11. $450, 12. $425, 13. $400, 14. $375, 15-24. $350, Tow $120; Non-Licensed – 1. $4000, 2. $2500, 3. $1700, 4. $1000, 5. $700, 6. $600, 7. $500, 8. $450, 9. $400, 10. $350, 11. $325, 12-24. $300, Tow $100.
ENTRY FEES: Early entry is $100 for Thursday, $110 for Friday and $135 for Saturday (each day $10 off for licensed drivers). Late or at-the-track entry for all drivers is $100 on Thursday, $125 on Friday and $150 for Saturday. Early entries must be received or postmarked by November 8, 2012. Drivers can download an entry form for this event under the Downloads tab on the USMTS website at www.usmts.com.
RULES & PROCEDURES: Qualifying will be done by heat race passing points and “B” Mains. Draw for heat race starting spot ends 15 minutes before hot laps. RACEceivers and AMB transponders are mandatory and available for rent or purchase at the USMTS souvenir trailer. Tires permitted for this event are the American Racer KK704 or stamped Hoosier G60. All other USMTS rules apply. See complete rules at www.usmts.com.
This is a non-points race sanctioned by the United States Modified Touring Series. No provisionals will be awarded and there is no Top Dog Bonus for this event. There is no requirement to purchase a USMTS license, however, benefits enjoyed by licensed drivers includes higher event purses and bonus payouts, increased tow money, discounted entry fees, points fund eligibility, increased media recognition, a personalized driver profile page on the USMTS website and more.
The Royal Purple Raceway is a state-of-the-art 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval with a main grandstand seating capacity of 7,500 which includes fourteen VIP luxury suites and boasts a modern Musco Lighting system suitable for television productions.
Located in Baytown, Texas, the facility is located east of Houston on I-10 to Exit 799, then 2.5 miles south on SH 99 (Grand Parkway), then 0.3 mile west on FM 565. Speedway entrance located at Gate 3. For more information, call the track office at 281-383-RACE or visit www.royalpurpleraceway.com online.
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/ustmts and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/usmts.