Chalk Up Another One For Rodney Sanders

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Rodney Sanders in victory lane. (USMTS photo)

PRYOR CREEK, Okla. — The Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s wrapped up a three-race weekend Saturday at the Salina Highbanks Speedway and Rodney Sanders racked up his ninth win of the season and 106th of his career.

Polesitter Jared Russell led the first four laps of the 40-lap main event before Sanders got by to lead the fifth lap.

While much of the field behind him tip-toed around the quicker but more dangerous top side of the three-eighths-mile high-banked clay oval, Sanders remained committed to the shortest way around while he led comfortably for most of the race.

Meanwhile, Tyler Wolff used the high line and disposed of some stiff competition to work his way into second place with 25 laps in the books before the race’s final caution waved on lap 30.

Sanders fired off on the restart and led the next two circuits but Wolff came screaming around the outside to beat Sanders to the flagstand and complete lap 33.

When it looked like Wolff might drive away, Sanders briefly toyed with a higher lane but quickly returned to his preferred low line and seemed content to pocket the runner-up paycheck.

What was left of a cushion appeared to be gone with two laps to go. Wolff smacked the backstretch wall and then was unable to keep the car under control in turn four, allowing Sanders to sneak back by at the white flag.

Wolff dug deep and fought back to pull even with Sanders entering the final corner, but again the high side was too far gone and Wolff did a dramatic job just to keep his machine out of the wall while Sanders scooted away to the checkered flag.

“There was little bit of moisture on the bottom but it was kind of slimy if you got too low,” Sanders said. “I felt like if I hit my marks, I was good down there, but you had to be so slow. We lapped a car and I felt better in the middle and then Tyler came flying by me.
“Him and his dad help me a lot. If I couldn’t have won this deal I was hoping it’d be him.”

The Wolff family’s Arkansas Myriad, Inc. (ARMI) is a sponsor on Sanders’s MBC Customs ride —as well as many other competitors — and picked up the tab to give free admission to veterans and active military attending Saturday night’s 8th annual ARMI Salute to our Veterans presented by Bryke Racing.

While Wolff settled for second, Sanders earned $3,000 for his second win at “The Highbanks” and added to his advantage in the points standings. He’s seeking his second straight USMTS national championship and fourth overall.

Terry Phillips charged from 11th on the starting grid to collect a third-place finish with Jake O’Neil finishing fourth and Tanner Mullens taking the fifth spot.

The finish:

Rodney Sanders, Tyler Wolff, Terry Phillips, Jake O’Neil, Tanner Mullens, R.C. Whitwell, Jason Hughes, Zack VanderBeek, Dereck Ramirez, Joe Duvall, Jared Baird, Clint Johnson, Jared Russell, Adam Kates, Mitch Keeter, Carlos Ahumada Jr., Jeremy Vaughn, Jason Payton, Casey Skyberg, Tyler Davis, Chad Wheeler, Cody Jolly, Lance Mari, Nathan Hagar.