NEW RICHMOND, Wis. — What many would call a dream season so far is considered an up-and-down start when you’re the three-time and defending champion of the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s, but Rodney Sanders was on the upside Thursday with a decisive victory on opening night of the 21st Annual Masters at the Cedar Lake Speedway.
“It’s been pretty good,” Sanders said of his familiar orange and blue Hatfield-powered No. 20 MB Customs USMTS Modified. “I’ve felt like I screwed it up the last few races but it was good at Tri-State and we were good tonight.”
Thursday night’s effort by the 30-year-old from Happy, Texas, was worth $3,000 and was career win number 101. His 100th USMTS triumph happened June 6 at the Tri-State Speedway in Pocola, Okla., in the last event leading up to the Masters.
“We started off good and we just got kind of got a slump there and I think we got off on what we’re doing so just had to regroup and we’ve been going good lately.”
Shooting for his fourth Masters trophy, Sanders started the 30-lap main event from the second row behind his chassis builder, Jimmy Mars, and Dustin Sorensen-last year’s Thursday night feature winner.
Sorensen got the jump on Mars to take the initial lead and Sanders snuck past to take second with five laps in the books. Five laps later, Sanders disposed of Sorensen and that was as close as anybody would get the rest of the way in the caution-free nightcap.
“I knew it was going to be tough,” Sanders added. “Dustin’s been really good and Jimmy’s always good. I didn’t know really where to be but we were good around the bottom. I saw a little bit of a lead there and I was just trying to ride-on the board I saw I had like a four-second lead.”
Indeed, Sanders crossed the finish line with 4.68 seconds to spare ahead of Sorensen. Mars held off Michael Truscott for third and four-time USMTS national champion Jason Hughes rounded out the top five.
Rodney Sanders, Dustin Sorensen, Jimmy Mars, Michael Truscott, Jason Hughes, Calvin Iverson, Lucas Schott, Clayton Wagamon, Zack VanderBeek, A.J. Diemel, Jake Smith, Dave Cain, Shane Sabraski, Tyler Peterson, Brandon Davis, Tyler Kaeter, Brandon Dolman, Dereck Ramirez, Terry Phillips, Hunter Marriott, Robby Bunkelman, Adam Kates, Tyler Davis, Zach Johnson, Casey Skyberg, Jake Timm, Alex Williamson, Darrell Nelson