Hughes Wraps Up USMTS Southern Crown

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Jason Hughes won Saturday's USMTS main event at Route 66 Motor Speedway. (Bobby Thomas Photo)
Jason Hughes won Saturday's USMTS main event at Route 66 Motor Speedway. (Bobby Thomas Photo)
Jason Hughes won Saturday’s USMTS main event at Route 66 Motor Speedway. (Bobby Thomas Photo)

AMARILLO, Texas – Jason Hughes only needed to take the green flag to clinch the Production Jars Southern Region title Saturday night at the Route 66 Motor Speedway, but the defending USMTS National Champion found the checkered flag more to his liking.

From the pole position, the 41-year-old from Watts, Okla., was the first to see the green in the 42-lap main event, but relinquished the top spot to Scott Drake just past the race’s halfway point.

Drake held serve for eight times around the high-banked three-eighths-mile dirt oval before Hughes snuck underneath on lap 30 to take the lead back for good.

The only caution of the contest came with ten laps to go and gave hometown favorite Rodney Sanders a shot at repeating as winner of the Amarillo Ambush.

But Hughes was too smooth and did not offer up a mistake for Sanders to capitalize on over the final stretch as he rolled to a $3,000 payday for his 137th career USMTS triumph.

In a reversal of Friday night’s result in Lubbock, Sanders settled for the runner-up honors behind Hughes while Drake secured the third spot ahead of Jeremy Gossett and 14th-starting Cade Dillard.

The finish:

Jason Hughes, Rodney Sanders, Scott Drake, Jeremy Gossett, Cade Dillard, Philip Houston, Dustin Austin, Dereck Ramirez, Joe Duvall, Masen Big Eagle, Gene Weaver, Tyler Wolff, Brock Bauman, Jett Big Eagle, Braden Woods, Matt Newkirk, Joey Galloway, Butch Reid, Willie Smith, Kevin Rutherford, David Tanner, Cody Bauman, Chris Dawson, Dee Gossett, Alan Sharpensteen, Jesse Sobbing.