Phillips Waves The Flag In Iowa

Terry Phillips in victory lane. (USMTS photo)

WEBSTER CITY, Iowa — Terry Phillips became the first repeat winner of the season for the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s with a stout performance on opening night of the inaugural USMTS Spring Challenge powered by MSD at the Karl Chevrolet Hamilton County Speedway.

Johnny Scott started on the pole for the 35-lap main event but it was his fellow Las Cruces, New Mexico, native securing the top spot at the end of the opening lap. Phillips, who started behind Gallardo in fourth, fought for real estate with Scott and Jake O’Neil for the next 10 laps before securing second place.

Phillips chased Gallardo for the next six laps before finally discovering a way around the 2015 USRA Modified national champion and stealing the lead with 17 laps in the books.

“He was going in so hard I was having to go in hard to keep up,” Phillips said about chasing Gallardo through the corners. “I kept diving and finally he pushed pretty bad and I watched him and watched him and thought he was clear. He kept almost messing up and he finally he kind of messed up — his car got tight it looked like — and then after that I just tried to hit my lines.

Gallardo’s chance at capturing the win ended four laps later when he suffered a flat right rear tire. After the caution period, Phillips was able to briefly drive away from the field while Scott and O’Neil traded blows for second.

O’Neil closed the gap to a car length by the time the checkered flag waved but Phillips held him off and crossed the finish line first to collect the $5,000 winner’s share of the prize money. It was the 35th career USMTS triumph for the Wrisco points leader.

O’Neil was second in the end, Dan Ebert climbed from ninth on the grid to a third-place finish, Scott held on for fourth and Jason Hughes finished fifth.

The finish:

Terry Phillips, Jake O’Neil, Dan Ebert, Johnny Scott, Jason Hughes, Lucas Schott, Tanner Mullens, Tyler Wolff, Dereck Ramirez, Lance Mari, Dustin Sorensen, Jesse Glenz, Rodney Sanders, Brooks Strength, Alex Williamson, Tyler Davis, Carlos Ahumada Jr., Jake Gallardo, Jacob Bleess, Zack VanderBeek, Curt Myers, Casey Skyberg, Jeff Aikey, Darron Fuqua, Joe Duvall.