BAYTOWN, Texas -- Zack VanderBeek picked up right where he left off on Thursday with his second victory in as many nights Friday on the second night of the 4th Annual Texas Winter Nationals at the Houston Raceway Park.
“The Z-Man” led all 35 laps as he held off Jason Hughes, Ryan Gustin, Rodney Sanders and Kelly Shryock en route to a $3,000 payday.
VanderBeek drew the pole position for the 35-lap WIX Filters “A” Main with Sanders starting to his outside in the front row in a continuation of their one-two finish in Thursday night’s 30-lapper.
While VanderBeek headed to the low side of the racing surface, Sanders shot to the high side and kept VanderBeek in his sights for the first three laps before the leader began to pull away, prompting Sanders to dive to the low side in his pursuit.
Meanwhile, Hughes and Gustin formed a nose-to-tail draft around the top of the racetrack and began to run down the leaders.
Four caution flags during the main event kept the field close to VanderBeek’s bumper, but the New Sharon, Iowa, racer was able to pad his lead again on each restart and sailed to the checkered flag to score his third career win at the 3/8-mile clay oval in Baytown, Texas.
Bobby Malchus finished sixth and scored his second top ten finish, while Randy Timms came from deep in the field for the second night in a row and grabbed the seventh spot.
Tommy Weder Jr. Tyler Townsend and Corey Babbitt finished eighth, ninth and tenth, respectively.
With his runner-up finish, Hughes clinched his third straight USMTS Southern Series crown to add to his first USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Tour title which he captured in September.
Shryock sits second in the standings with Timms just two points behind heading into the final points race of the year on Saturday night.
Sanders is fourth and Gustin is fifth despite missing three events during the 2010 USMTS Southern Series campaign. Morgan Bagley is sixth, followed by Bumper Jones, Steve Holzkamper, Shane Hebert and Steven Whiteaker Jr.
In Thursday night’s accompanying Southern Limited Modified main event, Howard Willis completed a late-race pass of Randy Timms to take the checkered flag and claim the $700 winner’s share of the purse.
Southern Limited Modifieds will be racing for $1,000 to win on Saturday while $5,000 is earmarked for the USMTS Modified feature winner.