Three weeks ago the USMTS closed up shop for a summer vacation with Rodney Sanders standing in victory lane. He was back at it again Friday night with a dominating win on the first night of the 5th Annual Silver Dollar Nationals at the I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb.
Not even the redraw could stand in the way of ‘The Sandman’ as he used his pole position to evade any chance of a brush-up thwarting his path to victory. In fact, only a few other drivers got next to Sanders-that was while he was briefly lapping them.
Sanders started 13th in Saturday’s United States Modified Touring Series main event, but it took him just 15 laps to take the lead and speed to his second win of the weekend at the I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb., during the 5th Annual Silver Dollar Nationals.
Sanders’s 59th career USMTS triumph was his sixth straight in the Silver Dollar Nationals, completing his third straight sweep at the Kosiski family’s crown jewel event at the high-banked 4/10-mile speedplant.
Outside front row starter Jeremy Payne held off polesitter Corey Dripps to lead the first lap, and then built a huge margin between himself and the field over the next eight laps.
A caution on lap 9 erased Payne’s advantage, and two laps after the restart Dereck Ramirez snuck underneath at the flagstand to lead lap 11.
However, the next yellow flag on lap 13 was for Ramirez who slowed quickly with a broken suspension, handing the lead over to Terry Phillips.
Phillips was able to fend off Sanders for one lap, but by lap 15 Sanders had control and never relinquished the lead again, pacing the final 20 laps to score another $3,000 paycheck.
Jason Hughes, who started four spots behind Sanders in 17th, came on strong late in the race and was actually faster than Sanders on the stopwatch but ran out of laps and had to settle for the runner-up finish for the second time in as many nights.
After starting fourth and finishing tenth Friday, USMTS rookie points leader Jesse Sobbing started tenth on Saturday and clawed his way to a third-place finish at the checkers ahead of Phillips.
Brian Green recorded his career-best USMTS finish in fifth, while Zack VanderBeek, Jordan Grabouski, Casey Arneson, Tyler Groenendyk and 21st-starting Daniel Hilsabeck rounded out the top 10.
Although he won from the pole on Friday, Sanders’s stellar run through the pack was nothing new at the I-80 Speedway for the 25-year-old from Happy, Texas.
In last year’s sweep, he came from eighth and twelfth, respectively, and his 2013 feature wins came from the fifth and fifteenth starting spots.
He is now just 12 wins shy of matching Ryan Gustin’s record of 71 career USMTS wins. With 24 race nights remaining on the 2015 calendar, few would be shock to see ‘The Rocket’ challenge for that third spot on the all-time wins list.