FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. – Jason Hughes emerged with the victory Friday night after a thrilling 40-lap main event at the Mississippi Thunder Speedway for round seven of the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup.
For most of the race, you could have thrown a blanket over the top four of Craig Thatcher, Rodney Sanders, Hughes and Stormy Scott as they jockeyed and jousted for position in every turn.
Sanders drew the pole but it was Thatcher getting the advantage at the drop of the green flag with Dan Bohr, Hughes and Daniel Hilsabeck in tow.
After leading his first lap in United State Modified Touring Series competition, Thatcher proceeded to lead another 23 circuits before Sanders snuck underneath to lead lap 25.
Meanwhile, Hughes moved past Bohr on the fourth lap and Scott made his way into fourth on lap eight. The pair shadowed the two front-runners the rest of the time with Scott edging ahead of Hughes for third on lap 19.
With the top three claiming a monopoly on the bottom groove, Hughes moved up the track and went searching for a different line. He found it quickly and reclaimed the third spot from Scott with 26 laps complete and then disposed of Thatcher the next time around.
For the next ten laps, Hughes was able to pull alongside Sanders in the straight-aways but was never able to make the pass.
With six laps remaining, a lapped car forced Hughes to go high in turn one and Scott was able to pull ahead as they exited turn two. Hughes, However, regained his momentum and reclaimed the second spot in the next corner.
With five laps to go, Sanders had to deal with lapped traffic and Hughes got the assist he needed. Accelerating out of turn two on lap 36, Hughes raced past Sanders on the outside and officially took the lead when they crossed beneath the flagstand side by side to complete the 37th lap.
Hughes was flawless over the final four orbits of Bob Timm’s immaculate high-banked three-eighths-mile oval and took the checkered flag to earn a $5,100 paycheck while Sanders settled for the runner-up position for the second time in as many nights.
Scott and Thatcher finished third and fourth, respectively, while defending track champion Lucas Schott followed the leaders in fifth.