PARK CITY, Kan. — Just a little more than three weeks ago, Jon Mitchell’s United States Modified Touring Series victory celebration was short-lived when his machine came up a few pounds light when crossed the scales at the end of the main event at the Lonestar Speedway.
But on Wednesday night, about 500 miles northwest of there at the 81 Speedway, Mitchell left no doubt as he led all 40 laps of the USMTS main event and led the top four finishers across the scales with room to spare.
“Twenty-four eighty. That sounds about right,” a smiling Mitchell said after climbing out of his winning mount, which weighed in at 2,480 pounds. “We had a lot of fuel burn off tonight so we made sure we had plenty of weight. We even bolted on some extra just to be sure.”
Similar to the race last month in Kilgore, Texas, Mitchell had to contend with Cade Dillard for most of the race, but prevailed in the end. This time, however, the victory celebration will last long into the night.
“It feels really good to get this win,” he added. “This is such a talented bunch of drivers that it makes it even that much sweeter when you can run up front with them. This trophy feels like gold to me.”
Along the road to his first USMTS win, Mitchell survived three caution periods and several breath-taking tussles with lapped traffic, all the while keeping Dillard behind him around the long three-eighths-mile dirt oval.
Zack VanderBeek hounded Mitchell for the first 15 laps before Dillard slipped past to assume the second position. The race’s final yellow flew with just three laps remaining and VanderBeek took the opportunity to slip past Dillard.
After chewing away around the top of the track with the leaders for most of the race, VanderBeek found his groove late on the low side and nearly snuck by Mitchell at the end, but instead settled for the runner-up paycheck behind “Catman” while Dillard finished third.
Behind the top trio, Wehrs Machine “Trick Move” of the Race Award recipient Joe Duvall rode to a fourth-place finish with local ace Tyler Davis claiming fifth.
Jon Mitchell, Zack VanderBeek, Cade Dillard, Joe Duvall, Tyler Davis, Dereck Ramirez, Ricky Thornton Jr., Stormy Scott, Tyler Wolff, Cody Gearhart, Dan Powers, Lance Town, Ryan McAninch, Logan Robertson, Scott Green, Brandon Givens, Kirby Robe, Johnny Cammon, Kyle Prauner, Tanner Mullens, Josh Lanterman, Kevin Newell, Jake Nightingale, Jason Hughes, Cole Traugott, Ryan Gustin.