PARK CITY, Kan. — Cole Traugott nipped polesitter Jacob Bleess at the flag stand to lead the opening lap of Thursday night’s 40-lap main event at the 81 Speedway and stayed there for the next 39 circuits to claim his career-first victory with the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s.
The win may come as a surprise to those outside of the region but for regular fans of the three-eighths-mile clay oval it was no shock to see the USRA Modified track points leader up front again.
Unlike his win here five nights ago where he came from the 20th-starting spot to notch his third victory of the season at the track, Thursday’s wire-to-wire effort required Traugott to fend off the challenges from four-time defending USMTS national champ Rodney Sanders, who pressured the winner from the ninth lap on.
After slipping past Lucas Schott for second on the ninth lap, Sanders stayed within striking distance of Traugott the rest of the way while more great action was happening behind the lead duo from start to finish.
Cautions on laps 14, 29 and 36 gave Sanders and Traugott’s other pursuers a glimmer of hope, but the 26-year-old never waivered and earned a $10,000 paycheck for his efforts.
Joining Carlos Ahumada Jr., King of America victor Brooks Strength, A.J. Diemel and Mod Wars winner Alex Williamson, Traugott is the fifth first-time USMTS feature winner during the 2021 campaign — arguably the toughest one yet in the 23-year history of the series.
Behind Traugott and runner-up Sanders, Tanner Mullens rode the high line to a third-place finish while Dereck Ramirez came from the 10th-starting spot to finish fourth while Schott held on for a top-five results.
Fifty-eight competitors rolled in for Thursday night’s program.
Cole Traugott, Rodney Sanders, Tanner Mullens, Dereck Ramirez, Lucas Schott, Jason Hughes, Dan Ebert, Tyler Wolff, Zack VanderBeek, Dustin Sorensen, Fito Gallardo, Landon Atkinson, Jake Gallardo, Jake O’Neil, Tyler Davis, Carlos Ahumada Jr., Jacob Bleess, Lance Mari, Cody Schniepp, Brandon Givens, Darron Fuqua, Bryce Schniepp, Terry Phillips, Joe Duvall, Jesse Stovall, Brooks Strength, Jake Nightingale, Mike Hansen