Congratulations to Ryan Gustin for his 85th career USMTS win on Hypercoils coil-over springs!
Gustin wins 7th Annual Silver Dollar Nationals
It’s a good thing they give out trophies instead of rings at USMTS crown jewel events because Ryan Gustin would be fresh out of fingers and toes.
In front of an overflow crowd Saturday night at the I-80 Speedway, the 26-year-old from Marshalltown, Iowa, nabbed his first feature win at the Greenwood, Neb., speedplant as he fended off Rodney Sanders for the $10,000 top prize and title of 7th Annual Imperial Tile Silver Dollar Nationals champion.
Sanders, who started seventh on the grid and was looking to claim his eighth straight Silver Dollar Nationals feature win, was within striking distance for much of the race and pulled even with Gustin on a couple of occasions, but he was never able to dislocate ‘The Reaper’ from the lead.
The 40-lap main event started three-wide with Gustin on the outside of the front row. Cade Dillard, who filled the middle of the front row next to polesitter Johnny Scott, jumped out to the early lead as he looked to complete a clean sweep of the weekend after winning both of his qualifying heats on Friday.
But Gustin, who also won both of his heat races the night before, found the long way around the 4/10-mile high-banked oval to his liking and powered in front of Dillard with 11 laps in the books.
Sanders followed into second a few laps later and closed in on Gustin, but despite three late-race cautions that kept the field tight he could never wrestle the lead away and had to settle for the runner-up paycheck behind Gustin.
For Gustin, it was his 85th career USMTS triumph but his first at the I-80 Speedway and may have cleaned up some unfinished business he had with the race track.
Gustin came from the 34th starting position to take the lead on lap 47 of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series main event during the Silver Dollar Nationals in 2013. Gustin held the lead until misfortune struck on lap 55 when struck the back of a back-marker, causing significant damage to his car and bringing out the caution flag for the lapped car. Gustin fired into turn number one on the restart, but his ill-handling car rammed into the concrete wall, causing even more damage which ended his quest for a $27,000 check after a magnificent run.
The last ten months have been a completely different story for the two-time USMTS national champ.
Since last September, Gustin has won every dirt modified crown jewel event, including the USRA Modified Nationals ($40,000 to win), USMTS Chisholm Trail Showdown ($5,000 to win), USRA Fall Nationals ($12,000 to win) and King of America VII ($10,000 to win).
A little more than a month ago, Gustin captured the richest race in the 19-year history of the United States Modified Touring Series when he won $50,000 in The Modified Masters at the Cedar Lake Speedway, and now the Silver Dollar Nationals is a part of his résumé.
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