Sanders Tops Ark-La-Tex Barn Burner

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Rodney Sanders in victory lane at Ark-La-Tex Speedway. (USMTS photo)

VIVIAN, La. — The fans in attendance at the Ark-La-Tex Speedway witnessed a barn burner of a main event Thursday to kick off the seventh annual USMTS Cajun Clash, but Rodney Sanders missed out on all of the excitement going on behind him.

After disposing of polesitter Lucas Schott on the first lap, Sanders raced out to a big lead and stayed there for 33 laps before the first caution of the race with seven to go erased his advantage.

Despite a charging Cade Dillard, Schott, Ryan Gustin and Zack VanderBeek right behind, the Casey’s General Stores USMTS National Championship points leader never faltered and, in fact, survived another caution with five laps remaining to garner his second straight Summit USMTS Southern Series victory.

Early in the race, Dillard and Gustin put on a whale of a battle for the third spot with Dillard eventually able to secure the position and then getting by Schott with 13 laps to go.

But event with the pair of late-race cautions, Dillard-the defending Cajun Clash champ-was unable to reel in Sanders and a final-lap drive came up about a car-length short.

Schott held off VanderBeek and Gustin for the third position while Carlos Ahumada Jr., Terry Phillips, Hunter Marriott, Jason Hughes and Dereck Ramirez completed the top 10.

The finish:

Feature(40 laps): 1. 20-Rodney Sanders, [2]; 2. 97-Cade Dillard, [8]; 3. 69-Lucas Schott, [1]; 4. 33Z-Zack VanderBeek, [9]; 5. 19R-Ryan Gustin, [6]; 6. 65X-Carlos Ahumada Jr., [4]; 7. 75-Terry Phillips, [11]; 8. 62-Hunter Marriott, [17]; 9. 12-Jason Hughes, [3]; 10. 4R-Dereck Ramirez, [10]; 11. 23-Adam Kates, [16]; 12. C8-Timothy Culp, [21]; 13. 12I-Jason Ingalls, [14]; 14. 23R-Logan Robertson, [7]; 15. 91-Joe Duvall, [25]; 16. 8S-Skip O’Neal, [20]; 17. G17-Fito Gallardo, [19]; 18. 17-Mike Striegel, [26]; 19. 24Z-Zane Ferrell, [24]; 20. 10C-Tye Clampitt, [22]; 21. (DNF) 4W-Tyler Wolff, [18]; 22. (DNF) 24M-Manuel Williams Jr., [13]; 23. (DNF) 4M-Bobby Malchus, [15]; 24. (DNF) 21W-David Winslett, [23]; 25. (DNF) 5A-Brandon Ball, [12]; 26. (DNF) 16-Chris Henigan, [5].