TIPTON, Iowa — In dirt-track racing, actions speak louder than pedigrees but in the case of Tanner Mullens both are sounding the alarm bell that the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s may have a contender to be the new sheriff in town.
On Wednesday evening, the third-generation 27-year-old from Wichita, Kan., drew the pole for the start of the 40-lap main event and that was all she wrote.
With Zack VanderBeek breathing down his throat from beginning to end, he cruised through the caution-free contest to his second USMTS victory of the season.
And while his name may be unfamiliar to some fans outside of his region, it is one that is synonymous with winning for three generations now.
His father, Buddy Mullens, is a heavily-decorated driver who won 10 Hutchinson Grand Nationals crowns–six of them in the Modified division–at the Kansas State Fairgrounds half-mile dirt track. His grandfather, Pinky Mullens, also claimed a Hutch Nationals title in 1992.
Tanner Mullens is a three-time winner of the Hutchinson event himself, and is now a two-time USMTS winner battling the Best of the Best in the sport of dirt modified racing.
While VanderBeek had to settle for runner-up honors Wednesday, Jason Hughes came out on top of a good race-long battle with Rodney Sanders to finish fourth. Jacob Bleess completed the top five.
Tanner Mullens, Zack VanderBeek, Jason Hughes, Rodney Sanders, Jacob Bleess, Hunter Marriott, Chris Simpson, Dereck Ramirez, Joe Duvall, Kyle Brown, Cayden Carter, Adam Kates, Bryce Garnhart, Chase Rudolf, Casey Skyberg, Tyler Davis, Nathan Hagar, Calvin Iverson, John Fellman, Josh Starr, Justin Kay.