June 19, 2003
Hughes Picks Up Win In USMTS Special At SCS
It's hard to say what was more impressive Saturday night when the United States Modified Touring Series made its second stop of the season at Scotland County Speedway.
First there was the four-wide opening parade lap to start the 24-car show finale. The two dozen cars that qualified from the nearly 50 suitors that converged on SCS Saturday night opened the feature race in style. Each driver was given a full sized United States Flag to tote around the track for the parade lap.
That brought the nearly full house to its feet as the modifieds made their way around the track flying the Stars and Stripes.
While that was a site for all the spectators what followed was even more impressive for the race fans as the packed field ran all 30 laps without a single crash. The lone yellow of the race came out well after the midway point of the race when the 77 car of Jim Lynch of Bloomfield, IA, broke in the backstretch.
The SCS fans had several familiar faces to cheer for as three other regulars (along with Lynch) at the Memphis track qualified to race against the stars of the USMTS.
Jim Roach started on the inside of row seven in the B4 car. Tony Fraise (45) wound up on the outside of the fifth row. Lynch (77) was relegated to the 11th row.
All three got big applause from the local fans. But the most noise came when the fourth regular, Ryan Meyer (82M), drew the pole position after winning his heat race to guarantee a top eight start.
Meyer was the second of the top eight drivers to pick the starter Frisbee and he drew number one. After all eight spots were drawn, the drivers autographed the Frisbees and sent them flying into the crowd for a handful of lucky fans.
While Meyer definitely had the eye of the fans starting out front the second row starters proved to be the ones to watch once the race got underway.
Meyer had a slow start and quickly dropped back into fourth place in the opening lap as the 65 car of Tommy Meyer jumped out to the early lead. He brought his fellow second row starter Jason Hughes (12) in tow with him to take over second place.
USMTS points leader Kelly Shryrock moved into third place and the trio pulled away from the rest of the pack early on in the race.
The trio battled for position through the first 15 laps before Hughes decided to try a new line up high. That proved to be a key move as he finally was able to get past Meyer and take over the lead.
While that trio was working on each other Dan Chapman and Justin Boney were trying to move into contention after starting side by side on row four. They got by the front row starters Meyer and 4B.
Meanwhile back at the front of the pack the racers began to get into lapped traffic. That didn't slow Hughes down as he began to widen the gap between himself and Tommy Myer. By that time Boney had put the 18 car into third place with Shryroch pulling the 3 car into fourth with Chapman right on his tail in the #1 car.
When the lone yellow of the race flew it looked as if it might make things interesting. The restart brought Hughes and Meyer back to the pack where the trio of Boney, Shryrock and Chapman had legitimate shots at the leader.
Boney took advantage of the opportunity and picked off Meyer right off the bat when the green flag fell. But Hughes stuck to the high side of the track riding the top railing around the turns. Boney made it interesting but Hughes held on for the win. Boney finished second followed by Chapman, Tommy Myer and Shryroch.
A night after taking second place in the USMTS show at Lee County Speedway, Fraise held his own but was unable to make the big push up the field. He finished in ninth ahead of Meyer in 10th. Roach ran near his fellow SCS drivers before spinning out on the final lap and falling to 20th place. Lynch finished 22nd.
Heat race wins went to Ryan Meyer, Chapman, Hughes, Boney and Shryroch. Fraise and Scott Drake picked up the victories in the two B-Main races.
The USMTS show capped off a full slate of races as the late scheduling of the special forced the track officials to keep the standard six-class schedule for the night as well.
The B-modifieds opened the night and showcased the division's largest field of the year with 19 cars.
Josh Foster's luck continued as his 77 car drew the pole position. After two consecutive wins the Montrose, IA pilot had a prime opportunity for a third straight win.
The outlook got even better for Foster when Chris Larson and Jerry Poor got together early in the race in turn three forcing both to the back of the pack.
Of course as big a lead as Foster built it didn't look like there was any luck needed as he coasted to the checkered flag.
The hottest action was for the rest of the top five spots where Bobby Cookson (in his 2003 SCS debut), Jack Evans, Jr., Gary Dreyer and Jerry Reese had their four cars trading places the entire race.
Reese (2R) made a bold move to split two of his counterparts coming out of turn two to move into second place at the midway point.
But Reese got a bit too high in the turn on the final lap and Evans, Jr. (00), passed into second place. Dreyer (8) finished fourth followed by Cookson (8Z).
The late model show only sent 14 cars to the main event but the class had the most exciting finish of the night as Jody Wood held off Tommy Elston by inches in a photo finish.
Wood took the low road while Elston held to the top of the track as the two cars went around the track nearly side by side for the second half of the race. After starting on the fourth row, Wood made his way past Elston taking the 51 car underneath Elston in turn four to pull into first place.
The two drivers battled the remainder of the race with Wood narrowly holding on for his first win at SCS. Elston finished second followed by Jason Krigbaum and Terry Schlipman.
Mike Robinson made it one of the most uneventful stock car features of the season as he quickly got the 78R car out front and never really looked back.
He built a big lead over Ryan Cook (27R) and was not even bothered by a couple restarts as he went on to the win.
Eric Flander got the 12 car past Cook late in the race to take third. Corey Stout (94) followed Cook across the line for fourth.
The hobby stock division had a rough night and after half a dozen caution flags the race went to checkered under the final yellow flag.
Jeff Soper (43S) took the win. Rob Wilsey (03) earned second followed by Abe Huls (30C) and Mark Holt (11). Huls and Holt came from starting spots well back in the field to make their push towards the lead.
In the cruiser class it was Rick Hudson and Brandon Elenbaas passing on the final lap to take the checkered flag.