PARK CITY, Kan. -- Jeremy Payne of Springfield, Mo., recorded his third win of the season and 14th of his career Thursday night when the United States Modified Touring Series returned to the 81 Speedway after a five-year absence.
A big crowd was on hand for the event which featured no support classes … just 54 USMTS Modifieds and their pilots with the spotlight all to themselves.
From the front row, Stormy Scott of Las Cruces, N.M., jumped out to the early lead in the main event before Payne took control for good on the third lap.
Scott gave chase the rest of the way but had to settle for a runner-up finish while Payne pocketed the $4,000 first-place prize money and padded his points lead in the Arbor Masters Central Region presented by Day Motor Sports.
Jason Hughes of Watts, Okla., who took home the winner’s trophy the last time the USMTS circled the 3/8-mile clay oval in 2008, took third while Mayetta’s Darron Fuqua passed six competitors en route to a career-best fourth-place finish and the Mesilla Valley Transportation Hard Charger Award.
Multi-time NCRA champ Brian Franz of Halstead was fifth while teammates Dereck Ramirez of Woodward, Okla., and Johnny Scott of Las Cruces, N.M., wound up sixth and seventh.
Two-time defending USMTS national champion Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, slid off the track midway through the race, rejoined the field in 16th and then clawed his way back to an eighth-place finish.
Six days after winning the most recent USMTS Casey’s Cup Series event in Wisconsin, Rodney Sanders of Happy, Texas, nabbed ninth while New Sharon, Iowa’s Zack VanderBeek continued his string of strong finishes by rounding out the top 10.