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Ahumada Takes Opening Night Of King Of America X

HUMBOLDT, Kan. – It’s a long way from El Paso, Texas, to Humboldt, Kansas — about 860 miles to be exact — but the road from his first start to his first USMTS win Friday night was a lot longer for Carlos Ahumada Jr.

Shortly after midnight Friday, Ahumada pulled into victory lane to celebrate his first Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s triumph after a thrilling 50-lap main event to kick off King of America X powered by Summit that featured 91 entries.

Ahumada paced the field to the green flag from the pole and led the opening lap, but slipped back to second on the second lap when Mississippi’s Brooks Strength muscled his way past the 24-year-old Texan.

Strength was solid and smooth during the opening act that lasted 32 laps before the yellow flag made its first appearance. On lap 27, however, Ahumada pulled alongside Strength as the pair zoomed past the flagstand before stealing the lead back with 28 laps in the books.

The lap-32 caution appeared just as the lead group of Ahumada, Strength, Terry Phillips and Ricky Thornton Jr. were contending with a swarm of back-markers. The cause was for ninth-running Jake O’Neil whose engine exploded in a wall of smoke and left him stopped on the racing surface.

When the green flag waved again, the yellow quickly returned as Strength and Phillips traded blows in turns one and two, and then again in turns three and four with both racers spinning in front of the field and Strength tagging the rear of the field for the next restart.

Two more cautions occurred over the final 18 laps, each time wiping out a sizeable lead for Ahumada. With his pursuers searching every line around the track for a way to run down the leader, the 24-year-old was flawless as he sailed smoothly around the low groove every time — except the final turn where he missed his mark but had a big enough cushion that it made no difference.

“Yah, it got a little snug,” a smiling Ahumada said about his last turn of the wheel coming to the checkered flag. “I tried to coast it in as easy as I could. I got a little shove and just didn’t go in as deep as I needed to and it shoved on me there at the end. Glad nobody got by me.

“The bottom’s my favorite line. If the bottom’s good you’ll find me down there, that’s for sure. This is a dream come true.”

Earlier this month in the season opener at the RPM Speedway in Crandall, Texas, it was the low line that he used to track down Terry Phillips late in the race, but that night had to settle for the runner-up paycheck.

Phillips played the role of the bridesmaid this time, but his second-place effort was good enough to regain the Wrisco points lead back from Dereck Ramirez, who finished sixth after rolling off from the 23rd starting spot.

Tanner Mullens came on strong at the end, passing three drivers in the final ten laps to finish third while defending series champ Rodney Sanders wound up fourth. Defending King of America winner Ricky Thornton Jr. was fifth, followed by Ramirez, Dan Ebert, Nathan Smith, Zack VanderBeek and Tyler Davis.

In Medieval USRA Stock Car action, Mitch Hovden picked up the win and Tony Bahr opened up Battle at The Bullring VI with a B-Mod feature race victory.

The finish:

Carlos Ahumada Jr., Terry Phillips, Tanner Mullens, Rodney Sanders, Ricky Thornton Jr., Derek Ramirez, Dan Ebert, Nathan Smith, Zack VanderBeek, Tyler Davis, Dustin Sorensen, Tyler Wolff, Lucas Schott, Jayson Good, Jesse Glenz, Alex Williamson, Johnny Scott, Jason Hughes, Joe Duvall, Brooks Strength, Casey Skyberg, Kale Westover, Johnny Broking, Tyler Peterson, Clint Johnson, Steven Bowers Jr., Jake O’Neil, Chase Domer.