Ramirez Refuses To Lose In USMTS

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Dereck Ramirez in victory lane. (USMTS photo)

GREENWOOD, Neb. — Dereck Ramirez refused to settle for second place in Saturday’s 30-lap finale at the 10th annual Imperial Tile Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway and notched his 11th career victory with the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s.

Twelve times during the 2019 campaign did the 33-year-old from Woodward, Okla., wind up as the runner-up finisher, and four times in the first seven races of 2020.

Since his last near-miss June 3, Ramirez has turned the corner and turned those second-place finishes into victories. He now has three for the year after Saturday’s dramatic late-race heroics to steal the top spot away from leader Jake Timm.

Ramirez followed Timm and Calvin Iverson through the first half of the race before finding his way around Iverson for the second position. He passed Timm on lap 25 and showed the way over the final five laps.

Timm, who finished fourth in Friday’s opening round of the doubleheader at the Kosiski family’s four-tenths-mile high-banked dirt oval, earned the Sybesma Graphics Pole Award and was on his way to making it a wire-to-wire effort before Ramirez ruined his plans.

Just one caution slowed the fast-paced feature race which lasted just a little more than 12 minutes.

While Timm had to settle for the bridesmaid’s paycheck this time around, Ramirez gathered a $3,000 prize and inched a little closer to points leader Rodney Sanders who struggled to a seventh-place finish in Saturday’s contest.

Including his impressive second-place finish on Friday night, it was only the third time in the last nine Silver Dollar Nationals that Sanders did not win at least one feature during the weekend. His seventh crown will be delayed until at least 2021.

As he has for three seasons now, Ramirez drove a Hughes Racing Chassis built by Jason Hughes of Wats, Okla., who came home third in Saturday night’s race after taking the green flag from the 10th.

Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year contender Tanner Mullens wound up in the fourth spot while the fifth spot went to Terry Phillips.

The finish:

Dereck Ramirez, Jake Timm, Jason Hughes, Tanner Mullens, Terry Phillips, Calvin Iverson, Rodney Sanders, Hunter Marriott, Cory Crapser, Tyler Wolff, Zack VanderBeek, Joe Duvall, Tyler Davis, Chase Rudolf, Casey Skyberg, Al Hejna, Dennis Elliott, Adam Kates, Gene Nicholas, Duke Erickson, Brandon Givens, Ryan Schaffer, Jason Roe, Jake O’Neil, Justin Gregg, Nick Hermsen