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Phillips lays claim to third Winter Meltdown title
posted: Mar 06, 2012 11:09:04
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LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Veteran racer Terry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., enjoyed his trip to victory lane at the Southern New Mexico Speedway at last year’s Winter Meltdown, he decided to make a return trip Sunday night with a wire-to-wire win of the 50-lap, $10,000-to-win USRA Modified main event.

Phillips, who earned the pole position by virtue of his preliminary win Friday night, took the lead at the start from Jake Gallardo and raced out to a comfortable margin early on while Gallardo, Johnny Scott, Stormy Scott and Rodney Sanders quickly got in the mix for top 5 running spots.

Phillips continued his Sunday drive out front, while Sanders and Johnny Scott had a great race for second.

The lone caution of the event flew on lap 20, which kept the field bunched for the restart, but Phillips was up to the challenge and rolled away from the battles behind him and was never seriously challenged over the remaining 30-lap distance.

Sanders felt constant pressure from Johnny Scott for second, while Stormy Scott broke up the Fito Gallardo vs. Jake Gallardo battle for fifth.

Stormy Scott raced to fourth a few laps later, while 18th-starting Ryan Gustin was picking off cars left and right and appeared in fifth with a dozen laps to go.

The last two USMTS National Champions, Gustin and Jason Hughes were locked in a battle for fifth for quite some time, but Gustin was able to drive away and reel in Stormy Scott as Johnny Scott and Sanders were still nose to tail for second.

Meanwhile, out front, Phillips' momentum was only slowed momentarily as he began to negotiate slower traffic, but Johnny Scott and Sanders were only able to close a small gap before Phillips stretched it out once again for his second consecutive Winter Meltdown title.

Johnny Scott held off Sanders for second while Stormy Scott held off the charging Gustin for fourth. Hughes, Fito Gallardo, Bumper Jones, Jake Gallardo and Dereck Ramirez rounded out the top 10 finishers when the final checkered flag flew.

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