About the USMTS
The United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) is the fastest growing and most popular open-wheel dirt modified touring series in the world. Attracting some of the most talented and professional drivers in North America, the fan friendly format and exciting show creates an enthusiastic and loyal fan base, and the USMTS routinely competes in front of capacity crowds.
With no less than 20,000 men and women competing nationwide on any given weekend, the modified is by far the most popular and most widely-used type of race car circling America’s dirt tracks today.
And when it comes to a touring series that features the Best of the Best in dirt modified racing, the USMTS has no equal.
Embarking on its 17th season in 2015, the USMTS is the ultimate playground for the nation’s hottest drivers, while the USMTS rulebook allows for close competition and inclusion among local racers. More than 700 different drivers from 26 states took part in USMTS events in 2014 as the rugged road warriors staged more than 80 blockbuster events at 42 unique venues in 13 different states throughout America’s heartland.
In 1998, Todd and Janet Staley acquired the fledgling five-year-old United States Modified Series (USMS) and began racing under the USMTS name in 1999. In the sixteen seasons since then, the USMTS has doled out nearly $20 million in prize money to more than 4,600 different drivers while traveling to 181 different venues in 19 states.
During the first eight seasons, one driver emerged as the USMTS National Champion: Kelly Shryock of Fertile, Iowa. A second-generation racer (his father, Bob, won more than 300 races during his career), Shryock won his first two USMTS national titles without capturing a single main event win.
Since then, however, he has been the most prolific driver on tour with more than 170 career victories and an unprecedented ten USMTS championships, including nine national titles and the 2007 USMTS Southern Series crown.
In 2007, Jason Krohn of Slayton, Minn., captured his first USMTS National Championship, snapping Shryock’s string of titles at eight. In 2008, it was Tim Donlinger of Rochester, Minn., taking the crown after a thrilling season finale during the Featherlite Fall Jamboree at the Deer Creek Speedway. Shryock bounced back in 2009 to capture his ninth USMTS National Campionship after holding off Ryan Gustin and Jason Hughes right up until the checkered flag of the final race.
Hughes, from Colcord, Okla., rebounded to capture his first USMTS National Championship in 2010 and won his third Featherlite Fall Jamboree main event to cap off a near-perfect run in the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Championship.
The 2011 campaign saw a star born as 20-year-old phenom Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, recorded the second-most wins in a single season and became the youngest driver to capture the most coveted prize in all of dirt track racing. Fans and competitors alike took notice of the ‘The Reaper’ late in the 2008 season when he snagged his first career USMTS victory at the Highway 3 Raceway in Allison, Iowa, to become the youngest winner in USMTS history at 17 years, 10 months and 13 days old.
It was sweet vindication for Gustin after two straight seasons of runner-up finishes despite entering the final weekend of competition with the title within reach. Gustin won 25 times in 2011 and led 750 main event laps compared to his closest competitor, Shryock, who led 287.
Gustin repeated the feat in 2012... twice! At 21 years of age, Gustin captured both the USMTS National Championship Series title as well as the first-ever USMTS Casey's Cup Series crown to join Shryock as the only other multi-time champ. His earnings for the 2012 campaign eclipsed the $200,000 mark—yet another record for the rising star of the dirt modified racing world.
With the final points race of 2013 coming down to three drivers on the final night, another rising star—Rodney Sanders—bested Johnny Scott and Hughes by a mere eight points to earn his first USMTS National Championship.
The 23-year-old from Happy, Texas, not only emerged as the first racer from the Lone Star State to capture the crown, but recorded a remarkable 13 top-five and 16 top-ten finishes in 17 starts during the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup.
Another even younger racer made a name for himself in 2013 as Trevor Hunt of Kearney, Mo., clinched the USMTS Rookie of the Year Award in late August. At 14 years of age, Hunt became the youngest driver to qualify for a USMTS main event (he qualified for 43 feature races overall) and the youngest to earn the rookie title.
Sanders returned to form in 2014 and earned his second straight USMTS National Championship while putting forth one of the greatest individual efforts in series history. He won a total of 29 times, including King of America IV ($10,000), World Modified Dirt Track Championship ($20,000) and Fall Jamboree ($17,000), plus preliminary feature wins at all three as well as the Halloween Havoc and USMTS Winter Nationals.
A record 228 people attended Saturday night’s annual USMTS Awards Banquet in the Star Pavilion located at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City as the United States Modified Touring Series closed the curtain on the 2015 season. Jason Hughes was celebrated as the 2016 USMTS national champion following one of the most exciting points races in the 17-year history of the series.
The 41-year-old from Watts, Okla., blended together experience and hard work with a dash of good fortune in producing a nearly flawless effort in winning the opening night of the Featherlite Fall Jamboree to clinch his second USMTS title. Hughes entered the night with a delicate four-point lead over two-time defending USMTS national champion Rodney Sanders, but proceeded to go uncontested as he led every lap of the main event to secure the win and the USMTS crown.
Hughes began the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental tied for 15th in the standings and 82 points behind leader Jesse Sobbing. Winning three main events along the way, he slowly chipped away at the deficit and notched his fourth win of The Hunt in dominating fashion on the last night. In claiming his second title, Hughes netted a $20,000 prize and now owns two titles, along with Sanders and Ryan Gustin. Kelly Shryock, who won the first eight from 1999-2006, has nine overall. Hughes was runner-up to Shryock in many of those seasons.