MCCOOL JUNCTION, Neb. – Those in attendance for night one of the annual King of the Hill Late Model Shootout at Junction Motor Speedway will remember the 25-lap, $2,000-to-win main event by one word – domination.
Ryan Gustin began the main event from pole position alongside Mike Wiarda. Gustin made quick work of Wiarda and the rest of the field darting out to an early race lead.
Former MLRA Champion John Anderson drew the first of two cautions during the race when his car went around in turns three and four. One lap later on the third circuit Tommy Weder Jr. also found trouble in turns three and four to draw the second and final caution flag of the event.
Gustin led the field after both restarts as Wiarda, Chad Simpson, Terry Phillips, and Jase Kaser tried to keep up with Gustin’s torrid pace. With each passing lap Gustin’s built a sizeable lead over Simpson with Phillips gaining ground to move inside the top three.
Meanwhile, fourteenth-starting Travis Dickes and seventeenth-starting Bill Leighton continued raced their way towards the top five. As Gustin went unchallenged at the front, Phillips, Simpson, and Wiarda did all they could to keep the leader within site of the same straightaway.
With less than five laps remaining, Phillips surged into the runner-up position when Simpson’s car veered out of the preferred racing line. Simpson quickly regrouped and held on to the third position by lap 23.
Gustin virtually went unchallenged save for a few close calls with lapped traffic as he claimed his third Lucas Oil MLRA main event of the year and fourth of his career.
Phillips claimed the second spot after starting fifth with series point’s leader Chad Simpson finishing third. Wiarda held on for fourth while Dickes charged his way into the top five.
Ryan Gustin, Terry Phillips, Chad Simpson, Mike Wiarda, Travis Dickes, Bill Leighton, Justin Asplin, J.C. Wyman, Justin Zeitner, Tony Jackson Jr., Kyle Berck, John Anderson, Al Humphrey, Jeremy Payne, Dean Moore, Les Siebert, Scott Lewis, Jase Kaser, John Hansen, Bill Koons, Tommy Weder Jr., Leroy Johnson, Jeremy Petty.