MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — Rodney Sanders returned to his winning ways Wednesday night as he scored the United States Modified Touring Series victory at the Marshalltown Speedway.
A runner-up in the last four rounds of the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup, Sanders avoided trouble early on as several racers ahead of his fell by the way side and then used a late-race caution to make his move.
Cade Dillard, who climbed into the USMTS Rookie of the Year points lead for the first time this season Sunday night, held off polesitter Joe Duvall at the start and led the first four laps until the first yellow flag of the race appeared.
On the restart, Duvall and third-running Stormy Scott made contact on the exit of turn, which resulted in Scott retiring from the race while Duvall was forced to restart at the tail of the field.
With 10 laps in the books, Zack VanderBeek looked to the inside of Dillard but was unable to make the pass and settled back into second while Sanders, who started ninth, slipped by John Allen for the third spot.
Lapped traffic throughout the middle of the contest allowed Dillard to stretch out his cushion over VanderBeek to ten car-lengths but a third caution on lap 20 erased the leader’s advantage.
The yellow waved again on lap 24 and Sanders blasted by both VanderBeek and Dillard on restart, but another quick caution reset the line-up back to the previous order.
Sanders got by VanderBeek on the final restart of the night, and then battled side by side with Dillard for two laps before sliding up into the high groove in front of Dillard to claim the lead on lap 27.
From there, Sanders seemed to find another gear and the defending USMTS national champion pulled away from the field for his 24th win of the 2014 campaign and tying him with Ryan Gustin (2011) for the second-most wins in a season and six wins shy of matching Kelly Shryock’s mark of 30 wins in 2006.
It also gave the 24-year-old from Happy, Texas, his 42nd career USMTS triumph, tying him with Tommy Myer for fourth on the all-time wins list.
While Dillard settled for the runner-up finish, Brad Dierks made a last-lap last-corner pass of VanderBeek to finish fourth with Shryock coming home fifth.
Rodney Sanders, Cade Dillard, Brad Dierks, Zack VanderBeek, Kelly Shryock, Daniel Hilsabeck, Johnny Scott, John Allen, Joe Duvall, Dereck Ramirez, Dan Fetters, Martin Bennett, Pat Graham, Rodney Clement, Trent Jackson, Lance Town, Derek Reimer, Joe Beal, Richie Gustin Jr., Jeff Conner, Josh Gilman, Zack Rawlins, Stormy Scott, Corey Dripps.