PARK CITY, Kan. – In a classic fight to the finish that will be talked about for years to come, Rodney Sanders prevailed over Zack VanderBeek in Thursday night’s 40-lap United States Modified Touring Series main event at the 81 Speedway.
By eleven one-thousandths of a second.
After losing the lead late in the race-and eventually the win-to VanderBeek Wednesday night at the Valley Speedway, it was nearly déjà vu for Sanders Thursday night when a caution on lap 37 set up a three-lap mad dash to the checkers.
From the outside of the front row, Sanders blasted off at the drop of the green flag and disappeared from the field.
Within seven laps, his lead over second-place Stormy Scott was nearly half of a lap and he reached lapped traffic before completing lap 10.
Without some help the other 23 main event starters didn’t have a prayer, but help arrived on lap 18 when the race’s first yellow flag slowed the action and put the field right back on Sanders’ rear bumper.
But now the field was without Scott, who was the cause of the caution when an overheating engine forced him to stop on the back-stretch.
That opened the door for VanderBeek who inherited the second spot with nine-time USMTS national champion Kelly Shryock in third.
VanderBeek was able to stay close for a couple of laps but Sanders began to slowly rebuild his cushion until a second caution on lap 23 again silenced the roar of engines.