CRANDALL, Texas – Dereck Ramirez met every challenge that came his way Saturday night at RPM Speedway, and it paid off with a $10,000 prize and victory in the finale of the 11th annual USMTS Texas Spring Nationals.
Sybesma Graphics Pole Award winner Kale Westover took control at the waving green flag while Friday’s winner, Terry Phillips, quickly jumped from fifth on the starting grid to second in less than two laps around the quarter-mile bullring.
With Phillips searching for an opening around Westover around the bottom of the racing surface, Ramirez made a charge around the outside of third-running Tyler Wolff to put himself into contention when the yellow flag was displayed for the first time with seven laps in the books to thwart the four-car breakaway.
Phillips to the high side, gets by Westover and slams the door shut to lead the ninth lap. Westover followed Phillips to the top while Ramirez and Wolff occupied the short way around the track.
Meanwhile, defending USMTS national champ Rodney Sanders joined the action up front.
The next dozen or so laps were jaw-dropping, as Phillips went high with Ramirez low in one corner and then crossing-over to swap lanes in the next while Westover and Sanders sat back and enjoyed the show.
Ramirez was rewarded for his patience and shot past Phillips to lead lap 21.
Four laps later, Westover executed a bottom-to-top monster slider to put Phillips back to third place. Five laps later Phillips was all the way back to fifth, while Ramirez, Westover and Sanders battled up front with Wolff in tow.
Sanders erased the advantage Ramirez enjoyed and the leaders finally reached the back of the field on the 38th lap — 31 rotations since the last slowdown on the seventh lap — but the battle that was brewing was cooled off as the race’s third caution slowed the pace.
Ramirez took to the low side on the restart while Sanders went to the top, but the two changed lanes in the next corner with Ramirez continuing to cling to a thin advantage with 10 laps to go. Meanwhile, 2018 USMTS national champ Johnny Scott was catfishing his way forward and challenged Wolff for third as they completed lap 41.
With five to go, Sanders peeked to the inside of Ramirez but was unable to pull ahead. Ramirez responded by pulling away while Wolff filled the top line when Sanders abandoned it.
Ramirez saw the checkered flag first to earn a $10,000 paycheck and his 15th career USMTS win. He’ll be sporting the bright yellow Wrisco Points Leader spoiler when the series invades the Humboldt speedway for King of America X in two weeks.
Wolff wound up one spot shy of notching his second USMTS triumph, while Sanders held on for third and Scott and Westover completed the top five.
Tanner Mullens, Jake O’Neil, Phillips, Lucas Schott and Jake Gallardo closed the top 10.
1. (4) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett, $10,000.
2. (2) 4w Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark., MBCustoms/ECE, $5,000.
3. (6) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, $3,000.
4. (7) 1st Johnny Scott, Las Cruces, N.M., MBCustoms/Stoen, $2,000.
5. (1) 15 Kale Westover, Altus, Okla., WesternFlyer/Knowles, $1,700.
6. (11) 02 Tanner Mullens, Wichita, Kan., Mullens/Mullens, $1,500.
7. (17) 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz., LG2/Cornett, $1,200.
8. (5) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Durham, $1,000.
9. (13) 19s Lucas Schott, Chatfield, Minn., MBCustoms/Action, $900.
10. (15) J17 Jake Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M., GRC/Mullins, $850.
11. (18) 60 Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, Minn., Lethal/Ebert, $800.
12. (14) 12L Lucas Lee, Paris, Tenn., Hughes/Mullins, $775.
13. (27) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, $175.
14. (9) 65 Tyler Davis, Haysville, Kan., Hughes/Mullins, $740.
15. (16) K19 Will Krup, Mt. Carmel, Ill., Elite/Baldwin, $735.
16. (26) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., MBCustoms/Stoen, $730.
17. (12) 21 Jacob Bleess, Chatfield, Minn., VanderBuilt/KSE, $725.
18. (19) 12J Jason Ingalls, Longview, Texas, IRP/Shipley, $720.
19. (24) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Stoen, $715.
20. (20) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan., MBCustoms/Driskell, $710.
21. (8) 19 Dustin Sorensen, Rochester, Minn., MBCustoms/Action, $705.
22. (23) 19sb Lance Mari, El Centro, Calif., MRT/Yeoman, $700.
23. (21) 89x Jesse Glenz, Chippewa Falls, Wis., MBCustoms/KSE, $700.
24. (10) 82 Max Eddie Thomas, Wills Point, Texas, IRP/Shoulders, $700.
25. (3) 6 Casey Skyberg, Rapid City, S.D., Lethal/Mullins, $700.
26. (25) 65x Carlos Ahumada Jr., Canutillo, Texas, Hughes/BMS, $700.
27. (22) 85 Jayson Good, Watertown, S.D., MBCustoms/Tim’s, $700.
Lap Leaders: Westover 1-8, Phillips 9-20, Ramirez 21-50.
Total Laps Led: Ramirez 30, Phillips 12, Westover 8.
Margin of Victory: 1.112 seconds.