Hughes seeks win wearing Weiland spoiler in Wichita
A familiar face and formidable force sits atop the points as the Summit USMTS National Championship presented by RacinDirt invades the 81 Speedway in Park City, Kan., this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 20-22, for the inaugural Ed Gressel Memorial.
Jason Hughes has been the leadder of the pack many times in his storied career, winding up atop the standings at season's end four times. He captured his first Summit USMTS National Championship in 2010 and repeated the feat in 2015.
Hughes returned to win all three regional titles in 2016 and led the points through all but one night during the first 16 events in 'The Hunt.' Once again in 2017, Hughes won the war to secure his fourth title.
In the next-to-last event of 2017, the 48-year-old chassis builder from Watts, Okla., snared his 155th career feature win on September 3 at the Cresco Speedway in Cresco, Iowa. Remarkably, it was the last time he stood in victory lane at the conclusion of a USMTS main event.
Now riding a winless streak of more than five years, Hughes has not been out of the picture though. In fact, during the time since his last victory he has amassed more than 40 top-five finishes and winding up in the runner-up spot on eight occasions.
Nonetheless, Hughes will be sporting the daiglo orange Weiland Points Leader spoiler when he leads a pack of hungry leadfoots into the 81 Speedway this weekend. With seven shows in the books, seven different drivers have tasted victory. Hughes hopes to be the next.
Summit USMTS National Championship presented by RacinDirt
Points standings as of April 19, 2023
1. 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla. … 558
2. 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo. … 543 (1 win)
3. 60 Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, Minn. … 538 (1 win)
3. 4W Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark. … 538 (1 win)
5. 0 Jake O'Neil, Tucson, Ariz. … 529
6. 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan. … 519
7. 10C Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa, Iowa … 497 (1 win)
8. 24C Jim Chisholm, Osage, Iowa … 492
9. 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa … 481
10. 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla. … 475
Tom Berry Jr., Des Moines, Iowa (1 win)
Cade Dillard, Robeline, La. (1 win)
Jake Timm, Winona, Minn. (1 win)
Complete standings at usmts.com/points.
Racing action kicks off Thursday paying $3,000 to win the Summit USMTS main event. Following a $5,000-to-win contest on Friday, the event reaches a final crescendo paying a $10,000 top prize on Saturday.
Alongside the USMTS stars on Thursday night will be the United Rebel Sprint Series (URSS). The JLR Property Management 316 A-Mods and AutoTech Service Super Stocks join the fun on Friday. The Heyglassman.com Stock Cars complete the two-class card Saturday.
Mel Hambelton Ford hosts open house: Mel Hambelton Ford in Wichita, Kansas, invites all race fans, drivers, crew members and their families to the 3rd Annual USMTS Open House on Friday, April 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet your favorite drivers while you enjoy food, fun, contests and more. Click here to learn more.
Friday night live: A perfect blend of country and rock from the nation's heartland since 2012, the midwest's most prominent Heartland Rock band, Tequila Ridge will be playing live music following the races on Friday night.
Cornhole Tournament: 81 Speedway will host a Cornhole Tournament and silent auction for door panels on Saturday, April 22. Winners will receive cornhole boards as prizes. Click here to register. Space is limited. The cost is $50 per team and the tournment starts at 10 a.m. for more information call (316) 304-1454 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kansasland Dash 4 Cash: Competitors can earn some serious bonus money on Saturday, beginning with the Kansasland Dash 4 Cash each night. Each night the top 8 drivers in passing points will re-draw to lineup the eight-lap Dash. If the winner chooses to take the $500 cash prize, he will then start sixth. If he refuses, he will start on the pole and the Dash runner-up gets choice. If the runner-up refuses the cash, the money will be added to the next night's pot.
Friday's Kansasland Dash 4 Cash amount is $750, so if the Thursday money is held over then Friday's amount climbs to $1,250 with the same rules and procedures as Thursday. On Saturday, the Kansasland Dash 4 Cash is worth $1,000. If Friday's money is in play, it's worth $1,750 and if both Thursday and Friday go unclaimed, then Saturday's prize is worth $2,250.
If the stars align, Saturday's top prize could be $12,250. Thanks to Kansasland Tire, Rock Island Recycling, Duvall Electric and McCowan Farms for making this special award happen.
But wait, there's more: VP Racing Fuels-Heartland is adding incentives to driver's in Saturday's main event. If the driver who starts 2nd wins, hey will get an extra $200 in honor of the Gressel Racing No. 2G driven by Brandon Givens. If the driver who starts 19th wins, he will get an extra $1,900 in honor of the No. 19R driven by Ryan Gustin. If the driver who starts 25th wins, he will get and extra $2,500 in honor of the No. 25 driven by Scott Green.
The Ed Gressel Memorial will feature a special one-of-a-kind victory lane banner. The 10x20 sign will autographed by USMTS drivers, and then after Saturday's finale one lucky person will take the banner home. Proceeds will go to the choice of Ed's widow, Cinde Gressel. Bidding starts Thursday.
Adam Gressel will offer a $1,000 cash award for Saturday's FK Rod Ends Hard Charger Award winner, which makes the award a total of $1,100. On top of that, former crew member for Gressel Racing going all the way back to Scott Green, Joe Wright is putting up $800 for the longest tow to the event—$200 each to the farthesst travelers from east, north, south and west.
Even more 'Reaper Madness' ensues as Chris Sutton with the RPM Speedway in Hays, Kan., has a crisp $100 bill for the 19th-place finisher in honor of the Gressel Racing No. 19R driven by Gustin, who garnered two Summit USMTS National Championships while driving for Gressel Racing.
Competitor & Pit Information: Line up boards are located at the pit shack, BillsBuilt parts building and in front of the watch stand on the outside of turn 4. You can also find lineups on MyRacePass and listen to the announcer by tuning to FM 95.7 on your radio.
Officials at the 81 Speedway have recently installed pit stall markers along the pit perimeter fence. They are black strips that are the full height of the fence. Please center your rig on these markers to help us park the rigs more efficiently. Do not park long rigs directly behind the pit grandstands as this causes congestion on pit road.
There are plenty of trash cans in the pit area, so please use them. Trash will be picked up Friday morning and Saturday morning. Do not leave used tires. There are two used oil receptacles—one is located off of turn 1 and one is located off the backstretch. Use these—do not put oil in the trash cans.
Concessions are available in pits from cart that travels around the pit area, and at the BillsBuilt parts store. When visiting the grandstands from the pits, use the walk gate at south end. The north gate at turn 4 will be locked.
Visit usmts.com for schedules, points, photos, souvenirs, videos and more. Follow our social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Click here to get USMTS news delivered to your inbox.
USMTS OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Racer Racing Tires, Beyea Headers, Callies Performance Products, Chevrolet Performance, Fast Shafts, FK Rod Ends, KSE Racing Products, Malvern Bank, Mesilla Valley Transportation, Nitroquest Media, PEM Racing Gears & Drivetrain, RacinDirt, Summit Racing Equipment, Super Clean, VP Racing, Wieland.
USMTS PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: ARMI Contractors, Boomtest Well Service, Boubin Tire & Automotive, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Collins Brothers Towing, D&T Marriott Enterprise, LLC, DAY Motorsports, Duvall Electric, Gunshepherd.com, Hacienda Mechanical, Kenny's Tile, Mel Hambelton Racing, Midwest Wrap Co., Miller Welders, PBM Performance Products, Rancho Milagro Racing, S&S Fishing & Rental, Salty's BBQ & Catering, Shocker Hitch, Shop Quik Stores, YouDirt.com.
USMTS CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: AERO Race Wheels, AFCO Racing Products, Allstar Performance, BigDeal Car Care, Bryke Racing, BSB Manufacturing, Champ Pans, Deatherage Opticians, Edelbrock, Hooker Harness, Hyperco, Integra Racing Shocks and Springs, JE Pistons, K1 RaceGear by Ryan Bowers Motorsports, Keyser Manufacturing, MD3, MSD Performance, Penske Racing Shocks, Performance Bodies & Parts, QA1, Quarter Master, RacerWebsite.com, Real Racing Wheels, Simpson Performance Products, Swift Springs, Sybesma Graphics, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products, Wilwood Racing.
USMTS RACETRACKS: 81 Speedway, Ark-La-Tex Speedway, Arrowhead Speedway, Cedar Lake Speedway, Deer Creek Speedway, Fayette County Speedway, Hamilton County Speedway, Humboldt Speedway, I-70 Speedway, Lakeside Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track, Lucas Oil Speedway, Mason City Motor Speedway, Ogilvie Raceway, Rocket Raceway Park.