USMTS Hunt revs up
The Hunt for the USMTS National Championship was scheduled to open Thursday night at the nine-year-old, 3/8-mile Great American Dirt Track in Jetmore, Kan., with 40 drivers registered to race full-time in the Hunt.
The 45-day, 20-race Hunt will pay out more than $400,000 in prize money, with $3,000 going to the winners of each of the first 17 A Mains. The final three races are the season-ending Featherlite Fall Jamboree, scheduled to take place Sept. 23-25 at Deer Creek Speedway near Spring Valley. The three-night event features winner's checks of $2,000; $4,000 and $6,000.
More than one-third of the 20-race Hunt will take place in southeastern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin. Mississippi Thunder Speedway in Fountain City, Wis., will play host to a Hunt race on Aug. 20; Chateau Raceway in Lansing will hold a Hunt race on Sept. 3; Dodge County Speedway in Kasson closes its season with a Hunt event on Sept. 5; and Deer Creek will play host to the Hunt on Sept. 4 and for the Jamboree, Sept. 23-25.
Kelly Shryockof Fertile, Iowa, has won nine of 11 USMTS national championships. He won his ninth title last year after a two-year absence from the top spot. Rochester's Tim Donlingerwon in 2008, while Jason Krohnof Slayton, Minn., won in 2007.
Shryock led the points standings with 75 points to open this year's Hunt, entering Thursday's races at Jetmore. He held a seven-point lead over last year's national runner-up, 19-year-old Ryan Gustinof Marshalltown, Iowa. Zack VanderBeekof New Sharon, Iowa, started the Hunt in third place with 63 points.
Local drivers who have qualified to compete in the Hunt include Donlinger, Tommy Myerand Doug Hillsonof Blooming Prairie, and Steve Wetzsteinof West Concord.
Drivers qualify for the Hunt by finishing the regular season in the top 10 in one of three USMTS National Tour regions or the USMTS Southern Series. Drivers with perfect attendance in a region also qualify.
Donlinger and Colt Mather, of Webster, Iowa, will have their cars sponsored by Casey's General Stores -- the title sponsor of the Hunt -- for the 20-race championship schedule. Donlinger's No. 3D car will feature a Cheetos paint scheme, while Mather's will feature a Snickers candy bar paint scheme.
Among the rules changes in this year's Hunt: No provisionals will be awarded. That means each driver must race his or her way into the A Main each night. At shows with 40 cars or less, 24 cars will start the A Main. At shows with 41 or more cars, 26 drivers will start the A Main.
wins one at DCS
Jared Boumeesterhad been close to Victory Lane multiple times this season at Deer Creek Speedway.
The Midwest Modified driver from Waseca had six heat race victories and five top-five finishes in features at the track near Spring Valley, including one runner-up finish. But it took until Aug. 7 for Boumeester to finally wheel his way into Victory Lane, winning an entertaining 18-lap battle against Jerry Young.
"It's been awhile. I thought we'd be in Victory Lane sooner," Boumeester told the Deer Creek crowd from Victory Lane. "We got a new car and we're just getting it figured out."
Young was on Boumeester's tail for most of the race and pulled even with him at the line with seven laps to go. Boumeester worked the entire track to hold off Young over the final five laps.
"Jerry was going pretty good (on the low side of the track)," Boumeester said. "I went down to see what it was like down there and I thought he'd have to pull pretty good down low so I went back to the top."
Boumeester sits eighth in the Deer Creek points standings, just three points out of seventh, with three points races remaining on the schedule.
Hare wins No. 20
USRA B Modifieds national points leader Brandon Haremade it to Deer Creek Speedway last Saturday just minutes before heat races began. He and his team worked through the night to get his No. 56 car back in shape after a wreck on Friday night.
The late arrival was no trouble for Hare, who won his heat race after starting in the back of the field. He started on the outside of the front row in the 18-lap feature and drove away from the rest of the pack. Despite four stoppages for cautions, Hare had a full-straightaway lead by the time he took the checkered flag.
The win was Hare's third of the week, eighth of the season at Deer Creek and 20th of the year overall.
"The car was working pretty good and starting out front certainly helped," Hare said.
Another strong run for Arpin
Steve Arpinclimbed back into the No. 55 Chevrolet for last Saturday's ARCA Series race at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich., and earned his fourth top-five finish of the season in 10 races for the Venturini Motorsports team.
Arpin started fifth, but battled a loose car during the first three-quarters of the race and dropped back several spots. He stayed out with the leaders to hold track position until crew chief Kevin Caldwell finally called him in around lap 150 of the 200-lap race to make adjustments. Arpin was able to race his way back up to third after his crew made the adjustments.
"We had a fast car from the moment we unloaded," Arpin said. "As the race started we were just a little too free, which we knew would happen. We expected the car to come in and tighten up as the race went on, but it didn't nearly as much as we thought."
He is back in the No. 55 car Sunday for a roadcourse race, the Garden State ARCA 150 at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J.
Mississippi Thunder Speedway will play host to the USRA Modified nationals Sept. 9-11, featuring a monster purse of $10,000-to-win the Sept. 11 A Main. Sept. 9 is a practice night, while the Sept. 10 show features a $1,000-to-win A Main. The Sept. 11 show also features a $1,000-to-win non-qualifiers feature. The large payout could attract some of the country's best modified drivers, as the USMTS is on a break from its Hunt for the National Championship schedule that weekend. ... Drivers and track officials seemed pleased with the way the track at Deer Creek Speedway held up and produced multiple lines last weekend. Track officials placed more than 20 truckloads of new clay on to the 3/8-mile track last week. ... In the past week, DirtCast.com has conducted interviews with USMTS stars Corey Dripps, Kelly Shryockand Zack VanderBeek, as well as Chub Frank, a Late Model driver who tours with the World of Outlaws. Frank is a former Heartland Nationals winner at Deer Creek Speedway. Interviews with those drivers can be listened to or podcast at DirtCast.com.