BAYTOWN, Texas – The nation’s elite dirt Modified drivers begin their quest for the 2013 USMTS national championship as the 15th season for the United States Modified Touring Series begins with the 4th Annual USMTS Texas Spring Nationals powered by Lecolift on Feb. 21-23, at the Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas.
With the best names in the business expected for this year’s lid-lifter, just making one of the main events will be a feat but one driver could come up smelling like roses and walk away with $15,000 or more at the state-of-the-art three-eighths-mile clay oval located just east of Houston.
Thursday’s show will pay $2,000 to win while Friday night’s winner gets $3,000 and Saturday’s winner earns $4,000.
However, for some drivers the winner’s share will be $4,000, $5,000 and $6,000 to win, respectively. Every driver is eligible to participate in the “Big Dog Buy-In” for an additional $100 entry fee at the time of registration. Those who “buy in” will race for an extra $2,000 to win that night.
All three nights will kick off the 2013 season and award points in the USMTS Allgayer Inc. Southern Region presented by Day Motor Sports.
A practice session is slated for Wednesday night, Feb. 20, from 6-9 p.m. Admission to the grandstands is free for practice. Pit passes are $20.
On Thursday and Friday, the pit gate opens at 4 p.m., grandstand gates open at 5, hot laps begin at 6 and racing kicks off at 6:30 p.m. All times are one hour earlier on Saturday.
Grandstand tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for teenagers, $5 for kids and children ages 5 & under get in free each day. Pit passes are $35 each day.
Johnny Scott of Las Cruces, N.M., who captured the Saturday night feature in last year’s USMTS Texas Spring Nationals powered by Lecolift, comes in as the event’s defending champion, but all eyes will be on newlywed Jeremy Payne.
Less than three months ago, the 27-year-old from Springfield, Mo., made history as he swept all three nights of the USMTS Texas Winter Nationals – the first time that feat had happened in the 14-year existence of the USMTS.
Preliminary winners in last year’s event were Terry Phillips and Jason Hughes. Hughes leads all drivers with six career USMTS wins at the former Houston Raceway Park.
Texan Paul White won the first-ever USMTS event at the track in 2007. Since then, trips to victory lane have also been made by Alan Mondus, Kelly Shryock, Tommy Weder Jr., Johnny Bone Jr., Zack VanderBeek, Rodney Sanders, Ryan Gustin, John O Whittington, Chris Brown and Dereck Ramirez, who captured back-to-back wins on the final two nights of the 5th Annual USMTS Texas Winter Nationals in 2011.