WEBSTER CITY, Iowa — Dustin Sorensen made the most of his opportunities Saturday night during the inaugural USMTS Spring Challenge powered by MSD at the Karl Chevrolet Hamilton County Speedway to score a $10,000 payday.
From the pole, Joe Duvall led the opening stages of the 40-lap main event with Wrisco points leader Terry Phillips providing the pressure for the first two laps before smacking the concrete wall in turn one on the third lap.
Phillips hit the wall even harder the next time around and the race’s second caution waved over the speedway while Phillips limped his damaged racecar into the pit area.
Back under green, Duvall once again drive away from the pack but Lucas Schott, who started 13th, began to reel in Duvall before his powerplant went up in smoke and left Duvall with a more-than-three-second cushion over second place Jason Hughes.
Duvall encountered heavy lapped traffic on lap 15 which allowed Hughes to narrow the advantage to less than two seconds by lap 20. Three laps later, Hughes was side by side with his fellow Oklahoman but Duvall remained ahead by a nose when they reached the start-finish line to complete the 23rd lap.
Able to slip by Duvall the next time around, Hughes took control of the fast-paced race while Duvall continued to battle back with a multitude of other racers below, beside and behind him. Jake O’Neil edged Duvall for second on lap 28 but ‘Big Daddy’ battled back to regain the runner-up spot one lap later.
Meanwhile, Hughes was cruising while Dan Ebert jumped past both Duvall and O’Neil. The next time around the historic half-mile dirt oval, Sorensen moved into contention with former USMTS national champs Rodney Sanders and Johnny Scott coming along for the ride.
The third and final yellow flag of the race was displayed on lap 34, which erased a sizable lead for Hughes. Four laps later, Sorensen blasted by Hughes on the outside and set sail for the checkered flag.
“When we first got to traffic there I thought I had something for Duvall and Hughes but I fell back to like sixth or seventh,” Sorensen said. “Then I got back to third on that restart and I found that slider line (in turn one) down here, and you could drive it in so far and it would stick. It just worked I guess.”
Although Sorensen had qualified for the feature in the five previous shows this season, the 20-year-old from Rochester, Minnesota, had yet to crack the top ten at the pay window.
“I think I just started driving harder. I was kind of being really conservative beforehand and I just kind of said ‘Screw it’ and give it my all,” he added after his $10,000 triumph. “It’s the most money I’ve ever won so that’s pretty cool.”
His fifth career USMTS victory also tied him with his father, Mike Sorensen, on the all-time USMTS wins list.
O’Neil held off Hughes for second with Ebert, who started 16th, finishing fourth. Mike McKinney and Johnny Scott finished fifth and six, respectively, after rolling off 21st and 22nd on the grid and defending series champ Rodney Sanders was seventh.
Eight place went to Dereck Ramirez, Tanner Mullens raced from 25th to finish ninth and Duvall rounded out the top 10.
Dustin Sorensen, Jake O’Neil, Jason Hughes, Dan Ebert, Mike McKinney, Johnny Scott, Rodney Sanders, Dereck Ramirez, Tanner Mullens, Joe Duvall, Brooks Strength, Darron Fuqua, Casey Skyberg, Zack VanderBeek, Carlos Ahumada Jr., Kenny Wallace, Jake Gallardo, Curt Myers, Tyler Davis, Jesse Glenz, Jacob Bleess, Tyler Wolff, Landon Atkinson, Will Krup, Lucas Schott, Terry Phillips.