SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Unable to extend his eight-race win streak on Friday night in Batesville, Rodney Sanders bounced back Saturday and captured round two of the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s National Championship by holding off a pair of hometown heroes by the slimmest of margins at Springfield Raceway.
From the pole, the defending USMTS national champion took control at the waving of the green flag and led all 40 laps to extend his points lead in ‘The Hunt’ and record his 18th United States Modified Touring Series main event win of the season-exactly half of his 36 career series triumphs.
While Sanders jumped out to an early lead, Terry Phillips bolted from the fourth row to grab third on the first lap and then move into the runner-up spot by the end of lap two with Kelly Shryock following suit and securing the third position.
But despite his quick launch to the front of the field, Phillips was unable to make a bid for the lead as Sanders navigated the quarter-mile Springfield oval to perfection with each passing lap.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Payne was methodically picking up positions from his 11th starting spot. He climbed to fifth by lap 11, and then roared past both Zack VanderBeek and Shryock into third on lap 18.
With five laps to go, Payne snuck by Phillips for second and began to reel in Sanders.
A final charge on the final lap saw Payne pull even with Sanders in the final turn and the lead duo crossed beneath the checkered flags in a virtual dead heat with Sanders beating Payne to the line by a mere five hundredths of a second.
Phillips held on for a third-place finish behind his former teammate and fellow Springfield resident while VanderBeek and Rookie of the Year contender Cade Dillard rounded out the top 5.
Rodney Sanders, Jeremy Payne, Terry Phillips, Zack VanderBeek, Cade Dillard, Jordan Grabouski, Kelly Shryock, Johnny Scott, Brian Green, Jeff Cutshaw, Logan Martin, Joe Duvall, Johnny Bone Jr., Daniel Hilsabeck, Dereck Ramirez, Chase Domer, Chad Wheeler, Jon Sheets, Jake Gallardo, Trevor Hunt, John Allen, Stormy Scott, Rick Beebe, Mickey Burrell.