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Gustin returns to winning ways in Grain Valley
posted: Apr 23, 2012 3:13:14
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GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. -- Ryan Gustin rolled into victory lane for the first time in six months Friday night as the defending USMTS National Champion scored his first USMTS Casey’s Cup Series win of the 2012 campaign at the Valley Speedway.

After five runner-up finishes this year, the 21-year-old from Marshalltown, Iowa, was a man on a mission in the 40-lap main event, coming from tenth on the starting grid to overtake polesitter Ken Schrader for the lead with just ten laps in the books.

Determined not to settle for another bridesmaid result like he did last year here, Gustin used every inch of the racing surface to slice his way through lapped traffic while current points leader Rodney Sanders shadowed him in and out of the back-markers for the final 30 circuits.

A caution with four laps to go bunched the field for a final sprint to the finish, but ‘The Reaper’ was too tough to tame tonight as he roared away for a 1.680-second win over ‘The Rocket’ while Schrader held on for a third-place finish.

Kelly Shryock finished fourth while Stormy Scott saw his string of three straight wins end with a fifth-place paycheck. Sixth was Dereck Ramirez and Johnny Scott recovered from a next-to-last lap slide over the embankment while running third to claim the seventh spot. Rusty Griffaw, Bryan Rowland and Jeremy Payne rounded out the top ten.

Rowland, who hails from tornado-ravaged Woodward, Okla., passed twelve cars from his original starting position to earn the Mesilla Valley Transportation Hard Charger Award.

Gustin’s 49th career triumph was worth $2,000 and solidified his position on the all-time wins list behind Shryock (176 wins) and Jason Hughes (106).

His first win came less than four years ago on August 28, 2008, at the Highway 3 Raceway in Allison, Iowa. That win made him the youngest winner in USMTS history at 17 years, 10 months and 13 days old – a record that stands today.

His most recent win came during a preliminary qualifying night on October 19, 2011, at the Humboldt Speedway during the inaugural King of America Modified Nationals.