O’Neil Runs Away From Deer Creek USMTS Field

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Jake O’Neil topped the United States Modified Touring Series field Saturday at Deer Creek Speedway.
Jake O’Neil topped the United States Modified Touring Series field Saturday at Deer Creek Speedway.

SPRING VALLEY, Minn. – Jake O’Neil zeroed in on the lead at the start and proceeded to run away and hide from the field in Saturday’s caution-free 40-lap main event to cap the 15th annual J&S JCB USMTS Labor Day Duel at the Deer Creek Speedway.

His first win at Deer Creek was the eighth of his USMTS career and worth $3,000 to the 28-year-old from Tucson, Arizona. It ties him on the all-time wins list with Ryan Ruter, Tommy Weder Jr., Ricky Thornton Jr. and Brandon Davis, who finished third behind O’Neil in the main event and ended his three-race win streak at the track.

O’Neil shared the front row with polesitter Matt Leer and took off from the pack at the start. With no cautions to aid his pursuers, O’Neil built a lead of more than four seconds at one point in the race, eventually beating Tanner Mullens to the finish line by 1.228 seconds.

Behind Mullens, Davis passed seven cars to squeeze onto the podium while Leer held on for a career-best fourth-place finish ahead of fellow Dairy State driver David Baxter.

Defending Featherlite Fall Jamboree champ Jacob Bleess was sixth and fellow Chatfield resident Lucas Schott followed in seventh. Dereck Ramirez finished eighth and gained just two markers on points leader Rodney Sanders in ninth. Zack VanderBeek rounded out the top 10.

More than any other racetrack in America, Saturday’s show was the 113th time the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s circled the Deer Creek Speedway, but due to an unpredictable 2020 season it was also the longest hiatus from the high-banked 3/8-mile clay oval in Spring Valley, Minn., since the first race in 2002.

The series last competed at Deer Creek on Sept. 21 of last year during the final night of the 21st annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree. This year’s Jamboree kicks off in 20 days on Friday, Sept. 25.

O’Neil is the 44th different driver to take home a USMTS trophy from the Deer Creek Speedway.

The finish:

Jake O’Neil, Tanner Mullens, Brandon Davis, Matt Leer, David Baxter, Jacob Bleess, Lucas Schott, Dereck Ramirez, Rodney Sanders, Zack VanderBeek, Jason Hughes, Terry Phillips, Dustin Sorenson, J.T. Wasmund, Joel Alberts, Joe Horgdal, Casey Skyberg, Jayden Larson, Ryan Wetzstein, Joe Ludemann, Alex Williamson, Ron Ver Beek, Tyler Davis, Adam Kates.