Sanders & Phillips Split USMTS Segments

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Rodney Sanders won the second 15-lap segment of the United States Modified Touring Series event Friday at I-80 Speedway. (USMTS Photo)
Rodney Sanders won the second 15-lap segment of the United States Modified Touring Series event Friday at I-80 Speedway. (USMTS Photo)

GREENWOOD, Neb. – Rodney Sanders picked up where he left off last year by winning Friday’s preliminary feature for the United States Modified Touring Series during opening night of I-80 Speedway’s ninth annual Imperial Tile Silver Dollar Nationals.

After six qualifying heat races, 20 drivers competed in the 30-lap main event, which was split into two 15-lap segments. Terry Phillips was the leader at the end of the first segment, which garnered the Springfield, Mo., native a $1,000 bonus.

Sanders finished second but the top six were inverted for the final 15-lap dash, so Sanders rolled off fifth with Phillips to his outside in row three.

Hunter Marriott led the 16th lap before Jason Hughes recorded his first lap led with the USMTS this season on lap 17. The four-time USMTS National Champion led through lap 24 when Sanders blasted around the outside to grab the lead.

From there, Sanders proceeded to sail away to a comfortable ten-car-length advantage at the checkered flag and earned an additional $1,000 in registering his 89th career USMTS victory.

Hughes was second at the end of 30 laps while Dereck Ramirez was in third place at the conclusion of each segment. Phillips wound up fourth in the second segment and Marriott rounded out the top five.

The top eight finishers in Friday’s A Main will redraw for starting positions in Saturday’s finale. Two last-chance heat races will start heads-up based on Friday’s finishes with the top four from each transferring to the A Main and the remainder to the B Main where an additional eight more drivers will transfer to the A Main.