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USMTS racers warm up Thursday, elbows up Friday

USMTS racers warm up Thursday, elbows up Friday


Dozens of racers took part in an open practice test ‘n’ tune session Thursday night at the I-37 Speedway in Pleasanton, Texas, in anticipation of Friday’s inaugural USMTS “Rustler” powered by CP-Carrillo for the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s.

Friday’s race is the first of the season for the USMTS and the first time the series has invaded the “City of Live Oaks and Friendly Folks” and will also feature USRA Factory Stocks and USRA Limited Mods. It’s also the launch pad for a six-race slate in the Lone Star State over the course of nine days.

The event will pay $3,000 to the winner of the main event. USRA Limited Mods will race for $750 to win ($250 courtesy of 3-D Landscaping) and USRA Factory Stocks are $500 to win. In addition, 3-D Landscaping will award $100 to the hard charger in both the Factory Stock and Limited Mod features.

The pits will open at 3 p.m., grandstands open at 5, hot laps begin at 6:40 and racing gets underway at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for those ages 17 and older. Juniors (12-16) and seniors (62+) are just $15. Kids ages 6-11 are $5 and children ages 5 and under get in for free. Pit passes are $35.

Track promoter Ray Doyon hosted a free BBQ for the competitors and their crew members after practice with free frozen margaritas courtesy of the I-37 Speedway.

The I-37 Speedway is a semi-banked 1/4-mile dirt oval located south of San Antonio on I-37 to mile marker 101, then east, then 2.0 miles south on the access road (101748, I-37, Pleasanton, TX 78064).

For more information, call (210) 414-1591 or check out i37speedway.com. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

BITS ‘N’ PIECES

First impressions: Thursday’s practice session was the first visit to the I-37 Speedway by most of the USMTS racers, and first impressions were positive across the board. The size of the entire property is immense and the layout is almost completely flat from one end to the other. Everything is painted, designed nicely and well-maintained.

“It’s pretty obvious to see that the owners and staff at I-37 take pride in this place, said USRA Director of Track Operations Bryce Hall. The track has signed on to sanction the Factory Stock, Limited Mod and Tuner divisions with the USRA in 2020. “We feel fortunate that the upper class of dirt tracks in each state fly the USRA banner, so I-37 Speedway is a great fit for the USRA.”

The same attention to detail spills over into the preparation of the racetrack itself. The pickiest of racing surface sleuths wouldn’t have been able to find a flaw in the clay. There certainly was little wear and tear on shocks and springs.

“Wow, what a great job of prepping the track,” said USMTS promoter Todd Staley. “We heard that the track prep guy here was pretty good and there ain’t no doubt about that. This is about the smoothest surface I’ve seen since Whynot (Mississippi) two years ago.”

As for the shape and size of the track, the National Speedway Directory lists it as a semi-banked quarter-mile dirt oval. “If it’s a quarter then it’s measured in the tires,” one driver said. “Kind of reminds me of Amarillo, only shorter and a little less banking.”

Surprises and the usual suspects: Among the drivers expected for this weekend that were at practice Thursday night were defending USMTS national champion Rodney Sanders, Dereck Ramirez, Hunter Marriott, Zack VanderBeek, Adam Kates, “Big Daddy” Joe Duvall, Jacob Bleess, Nathan Hagar, Bobby Malchus, Zane Ferrell, Calvin Iverson and Casey Skyberg.

There were a few pleasant surprises with the sighting of Show-Me State speedsters Michael Dotson and Shayne Bailey. The pair of matching Midwest Log Mafia teams parked alongside fellow Missouri racer and last year’s Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year, Hunter Marriott, who was sporting a new bright red PEM Racing Gears & Drivetrain suit.

Sanders’ Swan Song: Although his livery looks similar to those in the past with his preferred indigo blue and dayglo orange trim, one big difference in the appearance of Rodney Sanders’ graphics this season is the absence of Swan Energy in the design.

Swan Energy, which manages companies and partnerships in oil and gas, trucking and disposal, and mining, has been supporting Sanders for more than a decade and was the presenting sponsor of the USMTS from 2011-2012.

“Brandon and Swan Energy really helped me get started,” Sanders said. “I don’t think I would be where I am at today without his support.”

The company’s CEO, Brandon Davis (not the reigning USRA national champ from Minnesota), traveled alongside Sanders several years ago and competed in a few USMTS shows himself. Davis also owned Swan Racing, which competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from 2013-2014.

On that note, Sanders will be employing the services of a new crew chief this season as he seeks his second straight and fourth USMTS title overall. Trey Hopkins will be the primary tire grinder and wrench turner while another former crew chief, Grant Snider, will join the team this weekend and occasionally throughout the 2020 campaign.

“Rodney has had a tremendous amount of success over the last 10 years with 90 wins and three championships. I feel truly honored to have been a small part of it,” Davis said. “I have reduced the size of my business to allow me to spend more time with my kids and be involved with them daily which I truly cherish.

“Rodney has had several new sponsors step up and really help him over the past few years and even more so this year and they are way more engaged and involved than I could ever be. Rodney is an amazing father, driver and friend to me and that will never change.”

Ruling the roost: If you simply cannot be in attendance, Friday’s show—and all six nights of racing during the next nine days—can be enjoyed live on RacinDirt TV from the comfort of your own sofa.

RacinDirt TV is your one-stop shop for all things USMTS when you can't be at the track. Live and on-demand coverage, pre- and post-race interviews, FK Rod Ends Instant Replay and multiple camera angles... One low price gets you all the action.

You can access RacinDirt TV via your computer or smartphone with a suite of apps including Roku, Amazon Fire, iOS, Apple TV and Google Play for added convenience. Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with the sweet smell of burning fuel. On the bright side, however, your Q-tip inventory should see no change.

Dressed to thrill: The USMTS souvenir trailer will be at all six events the next two weekends and those fans in attendance will get the first look at the all-new 2020 USMTS Signature Series apparel which will be on sale nightly. Some sizes and possibly even a design or two may be out of stock by the time the new apparel goes on sale at shopusmts.com after March 8, so being there just got more valuable.

All 2019 apparel is on sale now online at super-low clearance prices. Stock up on the things you missed out on as you get ready to fill your closet with some of the wicked 2020 designs from Sybesma Graphics, ASi Racewear, 905 Ink, Arizona Sport Shirts, Indy Screen Print and others. As you might expect, the #BestoftheBest only use the best of the best in racing apparel.

Gimme three steps: The tireless USMTS touring titans roll on to the South Texas Speedway in Corpus Christi on Saturday before wrapping up the year’s first tripleheader weekend on Sunday, March 1, at the Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige.

A few days later, fans and racers trek to the Big O Speedway in Ennis, Texas, for the 10th Annual USMTS Texas Spring Nationals on Friday and Saturday, March 6-7. Update 3/5/2020 11:44AM: Thursday's show was rained out.

Joining the USMTS Modifieds every night will be the USRA Factory Stocks and USRA Limited Mods racing for big money plus Summit USRA Weekly Racing Series national points.

The 2020 schedule for the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s is highlighted by 58 nights of racing at 33 unique dirt ovals as part of the 22nd season for the world’s #BestoftheBest in dirt modified racing.

After the two-week journey through Texas, the engines scream again three weeks later for the first of five crown jewels this season when the Humboldt Speedway in Humboldt, Kan., hosts King of America X powered by Summit on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 26-28.

To connect with the USMTS check out USMTS.com, like us on Facebook, follow on Twitter, check us out on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Keep up to speed by joining our email list

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USMTS OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Racer Racing Tires, Casey’s, Chevrolet Performance, Compstar Performance Engine Components by Callies, CP-Carrillo, Eibach, Fast Shafts, FK Rod Ends, Intercomp, Jerovetz Motorsports Racing Parts, K1 RaceGear by Ryan Bowers Motorsports, KSE Racing Products, Malvern Bank, Mesilla Valley Transportation, MSD Performance, MTN DEW Zero Sugar, MyRacePass, Nitroquest Media, Pace Performance, PEM Racing Gears & Drivetrain, RacinDirt.com, Snickers, Summit Racing Equipment, Super Clean, VP Racing Fuels, Wrisco Industries.

USMTS PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: Boubin Tire & Automotive, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Duvall Electric, Eagle Moon Farm, JE Pistons, Miller Welders, PBM Performance Products, Rancho Milagro Racing, Rivers Edge Scrap Management, Tony Moro Powder Coat, Top of the World Ranch, YouDirt.com.

USMTS CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: AFCO Racing Products, Allstar Performance, Beyea Headers, BigDeal Car Care, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Bryke Racing, BSB Manufacturing, Champ Pans, Deatherage Opticians, Edelbrock, Forty9 Designs, Genesis Racing Shocks, Hooker Harness, Integra Racing Shocks and Springs, Keyser Manufacturing, Maxima Racing Oils, Penske Racing Shocks, QA1, RacerWebsite.com, Real Racing Wheels, Simpson Performance Products, Swift Springs, Sybesma Graphics, Tire Demon, Wehrs Machine & Race Products, Wilwood Racing.



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