With his new daughter, Ivey, safe at home with her mommy, Ryan Gustin and the Gressel Racing headed out for two nights of competition with the USMTS Modifieds on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 21-22.
On Friday, the series invaded the Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., and 'The Reaper' picked up right where he left off with a dominating heat race performance. In the main event, polesitter Shad Badder led the first three of 35 laps while Gustin, who started in the third row, quickly began his march toward the front.
The event was slowed after a caution on the second lap when the track’s medical had to attend to an emergency in the grandstands. A red flag during the incident paused the race for just over 20 minutes.
Back under green, Gustin pounded the cushion around the high side of the half-mile oval and zoomed past Badder to lead the fourth lap. Meanwhile, Rodney Sanders broke into the top five by the third lap and made his way to second with six laps in the books. For the next six laps, the duo that wears the last four USMTS crowns battled it out in a thrilling high-speed slugfest.
Sanders shut the door to lead for the first time on lap 13, but Gustin did not fade away. Meanwhile, Badder, Stormy Scott and 2007 USMTS National Champion Jason Krohn tried to keep up with the streaking young guns.
The yellow flag waved on lap 18 for debris just as the leaders had reach the back of the field, and Sanders took advantage of the restart to jump out to a ten-car-length lead one lap later. Badder slipped by Gustin on the restart, but ‘The Reaper’ raced back into second on lap 20.
Krohn moved in to claim second on lap 24 and, with four laps to go, Gustin ducked into the infield with mechanical troubles.
Unfortunately, Saturday's event at the Salina Highbanks Speedway in Pryor Creek, Okla., was rained out.
To learn more about the United States Modified Touring Series, visit www.usmts.com.