FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. — What seemed like a lifetime was a long and quiet 76 days since the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s last circled one of America’s racetracks, but racers and fans alike celebrated freedom Friday night at the Mississippi Thunder Speedway.
For many, it was an escape from the pandemic-induced bondage of their home state as competitors from nine other commonwealths ventured to the high-banked third-mile clay oval to compete against the best in dirt modified racing.
In the end, it was today’s youth movement capturing the top five spots with 19-year-old Dustin Sorensen leading the charge en route to his fourth career USMTS triumph.
The second-generation racer from Rochester, Minn., drew the Sybesma Graphics Pole Award but his road to a $3,000 payday was anything but a walk in the park.
Sorensen quickly reached the tail of the field, lapping his first victim just nine laps into the 40-lap contest. Heavy traffic was the norm until the race’s first and only yellow flag waved on lap 28.
Jacob Bleess rolled off from the outside of the front row and chased Sorensen for the first half of the race but 14th-starting Jake Timm blasted past his fellow Gopher State gasser to take second five laps before the caution.
Both Sorensen and Timm, who was fresh off a late model win about 30 minutes earlier, rode the dangerous high line around the speedway as they maneuvered through back-markers. Timm was able to show his nose on several occasions but Sorensen always had an answer.
With the checkered flag in the air, Sorensen crossed the finish line about three car lengths ahead of Timm, 23, and another 23-year-old pursuer, Bleess.
Meanwhile, Grant Junghans Rookie of the Year contender Calvin Iverson charged to a fourth-place finish after sitting 17th on the starting grid-enough for the 22-year-old to claim the FK Rod Ends Hard Charger Award on a night when six of the top ten finishers started 11th or farther back.
Making just his third USMTS start, and first outside of two events at his home track in Byram, Mississippi, another impressive run was executed by Brooks Strength as he held off USMTS points leader Rodney Sanders for the final spot in the top five.
Dustin Sorensen, Jake Timm, Jacob Bleess, Calvin Iverson, Brooks Strength, Rodney Sanders, Lucas Schott, Dereck Ramirez, Alex Williamson, Jason Cummins, Hunter Marriott, Zack VanderBeek, Josh Angst, Chris Oertel, Steve Lavasseur, Matt Leer, Casey Skyberg, Jason Hughes, David Baxter, Blake Arndt, Tyler Davis, John Doelle, Tony Schill, Adam Kates, Jake Miller, Nathan Hagar.