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Thornton conquers “The Cage”

Thornton conquers “The Cage”

Twenty-six days of silence was broken Thursday night when the USMTS Casey’s Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental invaded the Atchison County Raceway and refired the engines for the 2nd Annual “Cage Match.”

The Scott brothers—Johnny and Stormy—filled the front row for the start of the 50-lap MSD Central Region main event, and Stormy Scott jumped out to lead the first 13 laps until the race’s first caution flag waved for a slowing car with a flat tire.

But Stormy Scott had a flat tire of his own. He ducked into the pits under caution and never returned to rejoin the field, giving Johnny Scott the point for the restart.

With Cade Dillard and Chase Junghans tucked in behind, Rodney Sanders snuck into third on lap 14 and the top four reeled off another six 12-second orbits around the high-banked 1/5-mile oval until the next yellow waved with 20 laps complete.

At the halfway mark, Johnny Scott continued to lead Dillard around the high side of the track with Sanders, Ricky Thornton Jr. and Josh Blumer filling the rest of the top five spots.

Hard contact on the short back-stretch between Sanders, Darron Fuqua and Dereck Ramirez. Although the green flag remained out, the incident caused crippling to the Modifieds of Sanders and Ramirez.

With the laps winding down, Thornton began to search around the middle of the track and found a spot to slide up in front of Johnny Scott to lead the 45th circuit, but Thornton crawled over the cushion two laps later and allowed Scott to regain the position.

Thornton again got by Scott on lap 48 which saw the final caution come out to set up a two-lap, green-white-checkered dash to the finish.

While Thornton cruised the final two laps to register the victory, 10th-starting Zack VanderBeek nudged in front of Scott to take the runner-up position while Joe Duvall, who started 15th, wrestled fourth away from Dillard in the final two laps.

Fuqua rolled the top side to beat Dillard to the finish line for fifth, Tyler Wolff snagged seventh, Kyle Prauner earned an eighth-place paycheck in his USMTS debut with fellow Nebraska racer Mike Densberger ninth and Sanders rounding out the top 10.

Thornton took a $3,000 payoff back to the Gressel Racing pit for his fourth triumph of the 2017 campaign.

United States Modified Touring Series action continues Friday when the USMTS touring titans trek to the Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., for the first time since last year’s inaugural Grant Junghans Memorial presented by

This will be the 18th event held at the historic speedplant near the banks of the Missouri River. Terry Phillips leads all drivers with four victories here while Jeremy Payne and Rodney Sanders are three-time winners. Ryan Gustin, Nic Bidinger, Matt Dotson, Jesse Sobbing, Ricky Thornton Jr., Aaron Marrant and Lucas Schott have one apiece.

The Iron Man Challenge featuring Holley USRA Stock Cars and Out-Pace USRA B-Mods will share the spotlight along with local Grand Nationals and Factory Stocks in action.

Fans can save $2 off admission by picking up a commemorative discount coupon at Casey’s General Stores locations in Basehor. Belton. Blue Springs. De Soto. Grain Valley. Independence. Kansas City. Kearney. Lees Summit. Lenexa. Overland Park. Shawnee and Smithville. To find the location nearest you, visit

The Lakeside Speedway is located 1.0 mile west of I-435 (exit 18) on SR 5 (northwest of Kansas City). For more information, call (913) 299-9206 or visit

The curtain closes on Saturday, April 22, with the 17th trip in 15 years to the I-35 Speedway. Five main events were held here in 2002 at the former Winston Speedway with Kelly Shryock winning three of them and the other two checkered flags waving for John Allen and John Van Den Berg.

Gustin has joins Shryock with three wins. Other feature winners include Scott Drake, Mark Noble, Johnny Scott, Ron Ver Beek, Stormy Scott, Sanders and Jason Hughes.

The four-division card will be rounded out by the Iron Man Challenge featuring Holley USRA Stock Cars and Out-Pace USRA B-Mods plus E-Mods.

Fans can pick up $2-off discount coupon at Casey’s General Stores locations in Albany, Bethany, Braymer, Cameron, Chillicothe, Gallatin, Hamilton, King City, Lathrop, Lawson, Maysville, Polo and Trenton. To find the location nearest you, visit

The I-35 Speedway is a semi-banked 3/8-mile dirt oval located 10 miles north of Cameron on SR 6 (Exit 64). For more information, call 660-749-5317 or check out their website at

Both shows will see pit gates opening at 4 p.m. with grandstands swinging open at 5 and the first heat race at 7:30. Adult grandstand tickets are $20 each night, youth ages 12-16 are $10 and kids ages 11 and under get in for free. Pit passes are $35 each night.

To learn more about the United States Modified Touring Series, visit online or call 515-832-7944. You can also like us on Facebook at, follow us on Twitter at and Instagram at or subscribe to our YouTube channel at Keep up to speed with everything USMTS by joining our email list at

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United States Modified Touring Series
USMTS Casey’s Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental – MSD Central Region presented by Summit Racing Equipment
2nd Annual USMTS “Cage Match”
Atchison County Raceway, Atchison, Kan.
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown, chassis/engine builder, laps completed and money won.

1. (3) 20rt Ricky Thornton Jr., Chandler, Ariz.
2. (6) 97 Cade Dillard, Robeline, La.
3. (5) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan.
4. (4) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla.
5. (7) 4w Tyler Wolff (R), Fayetteville, Ark.
6. (2) 3f Cole Ferguson (R), Dexter, Iowa.
7. (1) 74 Rodney Schweizer, Kansas City, Kan.

1. (2) 1st Johnny Scott, Las Cruces, N.M.
2. (1) 21 Josh Blumer, Marysville, Kan.
3. (3) 23 Adam Kates (R), Tonganoxie, Kan.
4. (5) 81 Mike Densberger, Lincoln, Neb.
5. (4) 18 Paul Jones, Casper, Wyo.
DNS – 96 R.C. Whitwell (R), Tucson, Ariz.

1. (1) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla.
2. (2) 21 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas.
3. (3) 7 Shayne Bailey, Lathrop, Mo.
4. (5) 78 Derrick Hicks, Ravenwood, Mo.
5. (4) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Clive, Iowa.
DNS – 21t Lance Town, Wellsville, Kan.

1. (1) 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M.
2. (2) 18 Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan.
3. (5) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa.
4. (3) 5k Kyle Prauner (R), Norfolk, Neb.
5. (6) 7 Doug Keller, Easton, Mo.
6. (4) 8c Chris Clark (R), Jackson, Wyo.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN (12 laps, all advance):
1. (1) 4w Tyler Wolff (R), Fayetteville, Ark.
2. (7) 74 Rodney Schweizer, Kansas City, Kan.
3. (2) 7 Doug Keller, Easton, Mo.
4. (4) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Clive, Iowa.
5. (5) 3f Cole Ferguson (R), Dexter, Iowa.
6. (3) 18 Paul Jones, Casper, Wyo.
7. (6) 8c Chris Clark (R), Jackson, Wyo.
DNS – 96 R.C. Whitwell (R), Tucson, Ariz., MBCustom/Mullins, $90.
DNS – 21t Lance Town, Wellsville, Kan., Phoenix/Driskell, $90.

1. (7) 20rt Ricky Thornton Jr., Chandler, Ariz., Hughes/Mullins, 50, $3000.
2. (10) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Sput’s, 50, $1700.
3. (1) 1st Johnny Scott, Las Cruces, N.M., GRT/Durham, 50, $1200.
4. (15) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., MBCustom/Hatfield, 50, $1000.
5. (9) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan., GRT/GMPP, 50, $900.
6. (3) 97 Cade Dillard, Robeline, La., MBCustom/ASI, 50, $800.
7. (17) 4w Tyler Wolff (R), Fayetteville, Ark., MBCustom/Hatfield, 50, $700.
8. (16) 5K Kyle Prauner (R), Norfolk, Neb., Razor/GMPP, 50, $650.
9. (13) 81 Mike Densberger, Lincoln, Neb., Jet/Speedway, 50, $600.
10. (5) 21 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustom/Driskell, 50, $550.
11. (19) 7 Doug Keller, Easton, Mo., Keller/Keller, 50, $400.
12. (12) 7 Shayne Bailey (R), Lathrop, Mo., Skyrocket/Cameron, 50, $450.
13. (21) 3F Cole Ferguson (R), Dexter, Iowa, DirtHustler/Mullins, 50, $425.
14. (18) 74 Rodney Schweizer, Kansas City, Kan., Schweizer/RCE, 50, $325.
15. (14) 78 Derrick Hicks, Ravenwood, Mo., Hughes/Wyman, 50, $300.
16. (23) 8C Chris Clark (R), Jackson, Wyo., GRT/CNC, 50, $350.
17. (6) 18 Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan., MBCustom/Sput’s, 48, $325.
18. (20) 22D Daniel Hilsabeck, Clive, Iowa, Hilsabeck/Mullins, 35, $300.
19. (8) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., LG2/Cornett, 33, $300.
20. (4) 21 Josh Blumer, Marysville, Kan., BMS/GMPP, 31, $250.
21. (11) 23 Adam Kates (R), Tonganoxie, Kan., LG2/Speedway, 20, $300.
22. (2) 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M., GRT/Mullins, 13, $300.
23. (22) 18 Paul Jones, Casper, Wyo., Shaw/GMPP, 3, $250.

(R) = Rookie of the Year contender.

Lap Leaders: S. Scott 1-13, J. Scott 14-44, Thornton 45-46, J. Scott 47, Thornton 48-50.
Total Laps Led: J. Scott 32, S. Scott 13, Thornton 5.
Margin of Victory: 0.678 second.
Time of Race: 25 minutes, 16.510 seconds (5 cautions).
Provisional Starters: none.
KSE Racing Products Hard Charger: Duvall (started 15th, finished 4th).
Entries: 25.
Next Race: Friday, April 21, Lakeside Speedway, Kansas City, Kan.
MSD Central Region Points: Dillard 176, J. Scott 172, Duvall 155, VanderBeek 153, Thornton 151, Ramirez 139, Fuqua 135, Densberger 128, S. Scott 125, Sanders 122.
Grant Junghans Rookie of the Year Points: Travis Saurer 1075, Whitwell 1043, Wolff 1036, Billy Vogel 929, Kates 722.
Engine Builder of the Year Points: Mullins 151, Durham 134, ASI 125, Sput’s 106, Hatfield 87.
Manufacturers Championship Points: Hughes 154, MBCustoms 151, GRT 136, LG2 109, VanderBuilt 108.

Contingency Awards:
Allstar Performance – Prauner.
American Racer – Jones.
Beyea Custom Headers – Blumer.
BigDeal Car Care – Thornton.
BSB Manufacturing – Kates.
Casey’s General Stores – VanderBeek.
Chix Gear Racewear – Keller.
Day Motor Sports – S. Scott, Jones.
Deatherage Opticians – Densberger.
Dickson Racing Shocks – Hicks.
E3 Spark Plugs – J. Scott.
Edelbrock – Ramirez.
Fast Shafts – J. Scott. – Schweizer, Ramirez.
Fuel Safe Racing Cells – Dillard.
GRT Race Cars – Fuqua.
Hooker Custom Harness – Ferguson.
Integra Shocks & Springs – Hilsabeck.
Jerovetz Motorsports Racing Parts – Junghans.
Keyser Manufacturing – Sanders.
KSE Racing Products – Duvall.
Out-Pace Racing Products – Clark.
QA1 – Dillard.
Real Racing Wheels – all non-qualifiers.
Simpson Performance Products – Thornton.
Sweet Manufacturing – S. Scott.
Sybesma Graphics – J. Scott.
Tire Demon – Bailey.
VP Racing Fuels – Thornton.
Wehrs Machine & Racing Products – Thornton.
Wilwood Engineering – Wolff.

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