MASON CITY, Iowa – As of Thursday night, Dereck Ramirez has four wins in this year’s Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s.
Two have occurred at the Mason City Motor Speedway including his win in Thursday’s Mod Mania finale.
Starting fourth on the grid, Ramirez stalked Lucas Schott and Rodney Sanders for most of the 40-lap main event while the lead pair jousted for the lead, but a yellow flag on lap 23 opened the door for Ramirez. He happily stepped in to take control a few laps later.
“I knew the bottom was going to clean off at the end there, it just took a while,” Ramirez revealed in victory lane. “When we got that long green flag everybody was throwing the dust out there, and on that restart, I knew it’d clean back up so I just stayed down there.”
Sybesma Graphics Pole Award winner Lucas Schott jumped out to lead the first 19 laps, with Sanders chasing him around the third-mile dirt oval. Sanders edged in front to lead the 19th lap, but Schott reclaimed the lead the next time around.
Following a caution on lap 23 for a tangle between top-five contenders Tanner Mullens and Alex Williamson, Sanders again wrestled the lead away from Schott with 24 circuits in the books.
Looking for his seventh win of the season and a chance to expand his series points lead, Sanders stayed around the high side of the racing surface, while Ramirez used the shortest route to get by Schott for second.
After a couple of side-by-side orbits, Ramirez took the lead for good on lap 26.
“Rodney was struggling. He was probably the better car, but he just didn’t get down there fast enough,” said Ramirez, who had turned in a pair of head-scratching 11th-place finishes the previous two nights.
“I did a little different thing to the car tonight. I talked to Jimmy (Owens) a little bit and he helped out, and the two guys over here (referring to crew members Johnny Overgaard and Marco Costa) … we went to work and figured a little bit of something out.”
The fourth win of the 2020 campaign for the 33-year-old from Woodward, Okla., was the 12th USMTS triumph of his career and worth $4,000.
Meanwhile, Schott’s bid for back-to-back wins came up one spot and .567 seconds short as he settled for the runner-up paycheck, with Sanders following in third.
Terry Phillips improved eight spots Thursday night to claim fourth and the FK Rod Ends Hard Charger Award. Hunter Marriott was fifth.
Completing the top 10 were Jake Timm, Chase Rudolf (his first USMTS top 10), Joe Duvall, four-time USMTS national champion Jason Hughes and newlywed Zack VanderBeek.
1. (4) 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett, 40.
2. (1) 69 Lucas Schott, Chatfield, Minn., MBCustoms/Stoen, 40.
3. (2) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, 40.
4. (12) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Durham, 40.
5. (8) 62 Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo., Rage/KSE, 40.
6. (10) 49JR Jake Timm, Winona, Minn., MBCustoms/OFI, 40.
7. (6) 20JR Chase Rudolf (R), Norwalk, Iowa, Rage/KSE, 40.
8. (7) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., MBCustoms/BMS, 40.
9. (13) 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, 40.
10. (15) 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Stoen, 40.
11. (16) 21 Jacob Bleess, Chatfield, Minn., VanderBuilt/KSE, 40.
12. (24) 444 Brooks Strength (R), Raymond, Miss., MBCustoms/Stoen, 40.
13. (11) 19 Dustin Sorensen, Rochester, Minn., MBCustoms/Action, 40.
14. (19) 6 Casey Skyberg (R), Rapid City, S.D., Lethal/Mullins, 40.
15. (23) 27X Calvin Iverson (R), Eleva, Wis., MBCustoms/Tim’s, 40.
16. (22) 23 Adam Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan., Jet/Speedway, 40.
17. (18) 19SB Lance Mari, El Centro, Calif., MRT/Yeoman, 40.
18. (20) 71 Jason Cummins, New Richland, Minn., Rocket/Baier’s, 36.
19. (14) 10 Dustin Robinson (R), Post, Texas, WFRC/ASI, 32.
20. (9) 02 Tanner Mullens (R), Wichita, Kan., Mullens/Mullens, 26.
21. (17) 777 Al Hejna, Clear Lake, Iowa, Rage/ChevPerf, 24.
22. (5) 15W Alex Williamson (R), Rushford, Minn., SSR/KSE, 23.
23. (21) 65 Tyler Davis (R), Haysville, Kan., Hughes/Mullins, 4.
DNS – 44 Adam Hensel, Baldwin, Wis., DirtDueler/OFI, 0.