LOCUST GROVE, Ark. – Terry Phillips drew first blood Friday night as the United States Modified Touring Series kicked off the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s National Championship at the Batesville Motor Speedway.
Zack VanderBeek and Dereck Ramirez led the field to the green flag for the start of the 35-lap main event with Ramirez taking command at the end of lap one, but Jeremy Payne squirted out of the second row and assumed control one lap later.
Payne held the top spot for the next 25 laps but his former teammate, Phillips, was methodically working his way to the front from the ninth starting spot.
Using lapped traffic to his advantage, Phillips roared past Payne in turn three and led for the first time with 28 laps in the books.
A caution with three laps to go set up a short-distance shoot-out to the finish line, but Phillips was up to the task and sailed away for the victory and a $3,000 payday.
It was the 18th career USMTS victory for Phillips, which ties him on the all-time list with Payne.
VanderBeek snuck past Payne on the restart but Payne battled back and captured the runner-up spot while Rodney Sanders saw his eight-race win streak come to an end with a fourth-place finish.
Rick Beebe opened up ‘The Hunt’ with a fifth-place finish while Scott Crigler, Joe Duvall, Jeff Wells, Ramirez and Chad Wheeler rounded out the top 10.
Terry Phillips, Jeremy Payne, Zack VanderBeek, Rodney Sanders, Rick Beebe, Scott Crigler, Joe Duvall, Jeff Wells, Dereck Ramirez, Chad Wheeler, Kelly Shryock, Cade Dillard, Stormy Scott, Johnny Scott, Daniel Hilsabeck, Lance Town, John Allen, Kenny Gaddis, Bryan Rowland, Trevor Hunt, Jake Gallardo, Grant Junghans.