Sanders Keeps Rolling In Wisconsin

Rodney Sanders in victory lane. (USMTS photo)

NEW RICHMOND, Wis. — Fans and competitors alike took full advantage of a second straight night of stellar weather from Mother Nature and rolled out another exciting show Friday during round two of the 22nd annual Masters at the Cedar Lake Speedway.

Another field of 59 entries were on hand to battle for the $5,000 top prize for the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s.

Sybesma Graphics Pole Award winner Jake Timm took control of the race when the green light lit up and continued to set a fast pace through the first ten laps when he began to deal with lapped traffic.

The first backmarker he encountered was his last, however, as contact resulted in a right front flat tire for the second-generation racer. He slowed and headed to the pits as the race’s first caution waved.

Terry Phillips, who won last year’s Friday night feature at the Masters, assumed the top spot when the field returned to racing with Thursday night’s winner, Rodney Sanders, following in second ahead of Jacob Bleess and Michael Truscott.

Five more cautions slowed the 40-lap main event but Phillips, Sanders and, eventually, Jake O’Neil put on a show for the fans throughout the contest.

O’Neil slipped past Sanders after a lap-22 restart and had just snuck past Phillips two laps later when the last yellow of the race waved and saved Phillips for the time being.
Phillips and Sanders took off from the rest of the pack with ten laps remaining and sailed off to settle it between themselves.

After Phillips pulled away slightly, Sanders began to reel the veteran racer back in. With five laps to go he pulled alongside Phillips and best him to the line to lead the 35th lap. He wouldn’t give it up after that.

“I think (Phillips) had a little better car but it started rubbering up there on the bottom and I kind of found it before he did,” Sanders said. “We had a good car before them yellows-I just couldn’t really take off on them yellows-but once we had a good green flag run the car was good.”

Good enough for a $5,000 payday and career win number 102, leaving him just one win away from tying Ryan Gustin on the all-time USMTS wins list.

For Phillips, who struggled to a 19th-place finish one night earlier, his 31st career USMTS victory will have to wait for another day.

“We changed a lot of stuff and got better, but I just got snookered there,” Phillips admitted. “sometimes when you’re leading you don’t know where to go. After he passed me, I moved down and it started rubbering up so I’m like ‘Well, been here before.'”

Phillips followed the defending USMTS national champ to the finish line with O’Neil crossing beneath the checkered flags third while Dereck Ramirez and Zack VanderBeek completed the top five.

The finish:

Rodney Sanders, Terry Phillips, Jake O’Neil, Dereck Ramirez, Zack VanderBeek, Shane Sabraski, Jacob Bleess, Cory Crapser, A.J. Diemel, Jason Hughes, Jake Smith, Dave Cain, Joe Duvall, Tyler Peterson, Hickson, Michael Truscott, Skeeter Estey, Calvin Iverson, Tyler Wolff, Cory Williams, Tyler Davis, Tyler Kaeter, Adam Kates, Dustin Sorensen, Hunter Marriott, Jimmy Mars, Zach Johnson, Jake Timm.