WEBSTER CITY, Iowa — Zack VanderBeek never gave Jason Hughes the mistake he was waiting for and clawed his way into victory lane Saturday at the Hamilton County Speedway as the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s wrapped up a five-race jaunt through Iowa.
Tyler Davis took control when the green flag waved to start the 35-lapper and led the first nine laps before a sluggish post-caution restart cost him three positions while VanderBeek moved in to set the pace.
As the only driver in the field with a victory in the 20 events held previously at the historic half-mile clay oval, Hughes chased VanderBeek around the gritty top line for the remaining 26 circuits but could not find a way around ‘The Z-Man.’
For VanderBeek, it was his first win of the 2020 USMTS campaign but second of the season at the Hamilton County Speedway. He won a USRA Modified feature here on May 21.
The win, worth $3,000 to the 35-year-old from New Sharon, Iowa, was the 49th of his career and propelled him into fifth on the USMTS all-time wins list.
Hughes can boast 106 more career wins than VanderBeek, but the four-time series champ had to settle for the runner-up paycheck Saturday night as he continues to post strong finishes but yearns to find the winner’s circle for the first time in nearly three years.
Davis slipped as far back as sixth in the early and middle stages of the race but came on strong in the closing laps to garner a third-place finish–good enough to retake the points lead in the Grant Junghans Rookie of the Year standings.
Point leader Rodney Sanders improved from eighth on the starting grid to finish fourth but it was Terry Phillips who bolted from 18th to fifth and earned the FK Rod Ends Hard Charger Award.
Zack VanderBeek, Jason Hughes, Tyler Davis, Rodney Sanders, Terry Phillips, Tanner Mullens, Wichita, Dereck Ramirez, Calvin Iverson, Casey Skyberg, Cayden Carter, Chase Ellingson, J.D. Auringer, Kyle Brown, Scott Olson, Nate Hughes, Hunter Marriott, Devon Havlik, Joe Horgdal, Adam Kates, Garett Wilson, Mark Elliott, Ron Ver Beek