With a series-best five wins during this year’s campaign, Rodney Sanders has been crowned the champion of the Summit USMTS National Championship presented by RacinDirt.
Becoming just the second driver in the 25-year history of the USMTS to capture at least five titles, “The Rocket” will pocket $100,000 for his efforts to go along with the Leon Ramirez Trophy when the USMTS hosts their annual awards banquet this January in Kansas City.
Sanders notched 17 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes in his 34 starts. Three of his five wins happened at the Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., while the other two happened at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo., and the all-new Arrowhead Speedway in Colcord, Okla.
After a slow start to the season where he finished inside the top five just twice in the first eight USMTS races, Sanders went on a streak of eight straight top-fives that propelled him to the points lead.
Sitting 24th in points after the opening weekend at the Rocket Raceway Park in his home state of Texas, he didn’t even crack the top 10 in points until the ninth race of the season.
On April 22, he was sitting fourth in points heading to the Hamilton County Speedway, and left in third place. But after sweeping the first two nights at the Deer Creek Speedway during the Memorial Day Weekend four-banger, Sanders found himself sporting the orange Weiland Points Leader spoiler.
At 19 years of age, the driver from Happy, Texas, earned his first USMTS win at the at the LA Raceway in La Monte, Mo.
His most recent win in October was the 117th of his career — good enough for third on the all-time wins list behind Kelly Shryock (182) and Jason Hughes (157). He led the most laps in 2023 too, crossing the start-finish line in first-place on 177 occasions.
Behind the top three, fourth on the top 10 career wins list for the USMTS are Ryan Gustin (103), Zack VanderBeek (51), Stormy Scott (48), Johnny Scott (45), Tommy Myer (42), Terry Phillips (40) and Jon Tesch (36).