WHEATLAND, Mo. – Every once in a while a race fan buys a ticket and the stars align to deliver ideal weather conditions, a perfectly-prepared racetrack and an unforgettable race that has more action than two eyeballs can keep up with.
Such was the case Saturday night at the Lucas Oil Speedway as race fans witnessed Terry Phillips pass half the field to win the 5th Annual Lucas Slick Mist Show-Me Shootout and a 40-lap main event that featured more plot twists than an entire season of soap operas.
Rodney Sanders has stolen the headlines this summer, winning 11 of the previous 14 races and leading the feature race at one time or another in two of the other three. Early in Saturday night’s Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup feature it looked like Sanders would need to dust off yet another spot in his trophy case.
After a caution on lap 17 erased his two-second cushion over Jeremy Payne, Sanders had a problem under the hood and failed to come up to speed on the restart. He stopped one lap later and ducked into the work area where his crew fixed the problem and sent him back onto the track to rejoin the race at the rear of the field.
Payne, who dashed past Sanders on the previous restart, took charge and set a strong pace with Trevor Hunt, Dereck Ramirez, Zack VanderBeek and 14th-starting Phillips filling in the top five slots.
Phillips passed both VanderBeek and Hunt on lap 18 and then scooted by Ramirez for second with 20 laps in the books. Slowly but surely, Phillips began to chip away at Payne’s advantage and pulled even with him on lap 30.
Over the next few laps, the former teammates traded multiple “slide jobs” with Phillips leading for the first time as they completed the 32nd lap.
Meanwhile, Cade Dillard broke into the top five after coming all the way from the 26th starting spot and Sanders, who restarted 18th just 15 laps earlier, found himself grappling with Ramirez and VanderBeek for a top-five finish.
A final caution with four laps to go set up a wild dash to the checkered flag. Hunt was able to get around Payne on the restart with Dillard following him into third and Sanders sliding into fifth behind Payne.
Terry Phillips, Trevor Hunt, Cade Dillard, Jeremy Payne, Rodney Sanders, Zack VanderBeek, Dereck Ramirez, Terry Schultz, Matt Dotson, Chase Jones, Stormy Scott, Kelly Shryock, Jake Gallardo, Joe Duvall, Daniel Hilsabeck, John Allen, Tyler Davis, Nathan Vaughn, Terry Beckham II, Jason Pursley, Jon Sheets, Stephen Muilenburg, Kerry Davis, Austin Siebert, Darron Fuqua, Johnny Scott, Jeff Cutshaw, Scotty Roberts.