VanderBeek Turns 50 At Ark-La-Tex

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Zack VanderBeek (33Z) and Joe Duvall (91) battle side by side on the opening lap of Friday night's USMTS feature at Ark-La-Tex Speedway. (Scott Burson Photo)
Zack VanderBeek (33Z) and Joe Duvall (91) battle side by side on the opening lap of Friday night's USMTS feature at Ark-La-Tex Speedway. (Scott Burson Photo)

VIVIAN, La. — Zack VanderBeek trailed Joe Duvall for the first 200 feet of Friday’s main event during the eighth annual USMTS Cajun Clash presented by JE Pistons.

That was the only time VanderBeek didn’t lead Friday’s 40-lapper as he notched his first victory at the Ark-La-Tex Speedway in the series’ 16th trip to the high-banked red dirt oval.

With points leader Rodney Sanders breathing down his neck in heavy lapped traffic, a couple of late-race cautions offered nothing more than hope as VanderBeek never faltered and never relinquished the top spot en route to his second triumph of the season with the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s.

“These guys behind me — they’re tough, man. They’re on their game,” VanderBeek said about the yellow flags that slowed the pace in the late stages of the feature. “We were good a couple years ago when we built these cars and everybody kind of stepped it up and we’ve got to keep going.

“We tried some new stuff tonight and I think it’s gong to be pretty promising so hopefully we can keep building on it.”

The win was worth $3,000 to the 36-year-old from New Sharon, Iowa. It was his 50th career win. His first happened July 23, 2005, at Upper Iowa Speedway.

While VanderBeek pulled away from the pack in the closing five laps, Sanders had his hands full with Brooks Strength who followed the three-time USMTS national champ to the checkered flag.

Meanwhile, Cade Dillard — a three-time winner at Ark-La-Tex — outdueled Duvall for the fourth spot.

Tyler Wolff, Dereck Ramirez, Jason Hughes, Justin Whitehead and Casey Skyberg rounded out the top-10.

The finish:

Zack VanderBeek, Rodney Sanders, Brooks Strength, Cade Dillard, Joe Duvall, Tyler Wolff, Dereck Ramirez, Jason Hughes, Justin Whitehead, Casey Skyberg, Tyler Townsend, Jason Webb, Chris Henigan, Kenny Gaddis, Tyler Davis, Terry Phillips, Dustin Hyde, Chase Hatton, Jon Mitchell, Travis Mosley, Jake Gallardo, Fito Gallardo, Adam Kates, Jeremy Vaughn, Jason Ingalls, Triston Dycus.