JIM FALLS, Wis. – After a thrilling 40-lap USMTS Casey’s Cup Series event Thursday night at the Eagle Valley Speedway in Jim Falls, Wis., Ryan Gustin was back in familiar territory: victory lane.
The win was a complete turnaround from Wednesday night after the Marshalltown, Iowa, speedster failed to qualify for the feature race and had to watch the trailer—a rare vantage point for the two-time defending USMTS national champion.
Thursday’s setting was far more common with a lightning-fast pass-anywhere-you-want racetrack, a field of uncommonly talented drivers and ‘The Reaper’ crossing beneath the checkered flags before anybody else on the racetrack.
From the outside of the front row, Joey Jensen of Forest Lake, Minn., grabbed the lead at the start of the main event. His reign lasted just two laps before Lucas Schott wrestled away the top spot.
Two laps later, Gustin moved into the runner-up spot but was showing no signs of challenging Schott for the lead.
With no cautions to slow the pace of the race, Schott had pulled out to a comfortable lead by the time he reached lapped traffic just past the halfway point. That’s when Gustin began to close the gap.
Mired behind a pair of back-markers embroiled in their own battle, the 16-year-old from Chatfield, Minn., watched as Gustin powered by on the outside to take the lead away on lap 30.
Schott stayed within striking distance, but Gustin flawlessly executed the final 10 laps to score a $4,000 victory and his 64th career USMTS win while ‘Cool Hand Luke’ held on for a career-best second-place finish.
Meanwhile, Jensen and Slayton, Minn.’s Jason Krohn had their own two-man battle going on. Krohn snagged third away from Jensen on lap 19, but Jensen was able to sneak back by the 2007 USMTS national champ with just two laps to go.
Behind Krohn, Farm Boy BBQ Sauce Northern Region points leader Stormy Scott held off Craig Thatcher for the fifth position while Kelly Shryock, Matt Leer, Johnny Scott and Austin Siebert rounded out the top 10.