18 More Heats At King of America III

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HUMBOLDT, Kan. — The second night of qualifying Friday at the King of America III Modified Nationals saw another 18 heat races chock full of action and a dozen drivers locking themselves into Saturday night’s $10,000-to-win, $1,000-to-start main event.

After Thursday’s qualifying night, Terry Phillips sat tied atop the points with fellow Springfield, Mo., driver Jeremy Payne. Following Friday’s session, Phillips holds the No. 1 spot all to himself and will start on the pole in Saturday’s 100-lap finale.

Al Purkey bettered his position by one spot and will join Phillips on the front row of the main event, making for an intriguing battle between two seasoned speedsters with a wealth of experience in long-distance dirt late model shows.

Jeremy Payne, who was knotted for first with Phillips after Thursday, is third. He will be joined in the second row by two-time defending USMTS national champion Ryan Gustin who was the only driver to win both of his heat races Friday and is looking to add the King of America crown to his ever-improving résumé.

Twelve of the 97 entrants locked themselves into the first six rows of Saturday’s main event. Starting fifth through twelfth, respectively, will be 2010 USMTS national champ Jason Hughes, Jake Gallardo, Johnny Scott, last year’s KoA runner-up Zack VanderBeek, Dustin Boney, Chris Brown, Steve Whiteaker Jr. and Chase Junghans.

Defending King of America winner Stormy Scott will start on the outside of the front row of the C Main. Nine-time USMTS national champion Kelly Shryock, who captured the first King of America crown in 2011, goes from the outside of row 5 in the B Main.

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