Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Schultz, Hovden, Bryant, Gulbrandson lead USRA Weekly Racing Series title chase into final stretch

Andy Bryant. Reed Bros. Racing Photos

Andy Bryant. Reed Bros. Racing Photos


WEBSTER CITY, Iowa-The 2015 USRA Weekly Racing Series is nearing the final lap, and the quest to become one of four USRA national champions gets hotter and hotter as the finish line gets closer and closer.

Terry Schultz of Sedalia, Mo., has been close enough to reach out and touch the USRA Modified title the last two years, finishing fifth in last year’s campaign and fourth in 2013 after leading the points battle at one time or another in both seasons.

This season Schultz finds himself within grasp of a USRA national championship once again as he sits atop the standings heading into the month of October. With 11 wins so far, he also has 36 top-five finishes and a whopping 43 top-ten efforts in his 50 starts.

Not far behind, young gun Jake Gallardo of Las Cruces, N.M., has Schultz in his sights as he tries to follow in the footsteps of his father, Fito Gallardo, who captured last year’s USRA Modified title. Gallardo also has 11 wins, but in less than half as many starts as the points leader.

Two-time USRA Modified national champion Brad Waits of Rochester, Minn. (2007-2008), has the most wins among the lead pack with a dozen trips to victory lane and a remarkable 23 top-fives in 27 starts. Fourth is 2012 champ Brandon Davis of Medford, Minn., with Webb City, Mo., racer Mitch Keeter in the fifth spot.

USRA Modifieds (top 10 after Sept. 26):
1. 90 Terry Schultz, Sedalia, Mo. … 4371
2. J17 Jake Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M. … 4335
3. 24 Brad Waits, Rochester, Minn. … 4314
4. 50iii Brandon Davis, Medford, Minn. … 4287
5. 52 Mitch Keeter, Webb City, Mo. … 4272
6. 5 Robbie Reed, Mexico, Mo. … 4266
7. 1k Tim Karrick, Basehor, Kan. … 4199
8. 98 John Allen, Chanute, Kan. … 4177
9. 29 Dennis Elliott, Mt. Ayr, Iowa … 4156
10. G17 Fito Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M. … 4153

Mitch Hovden is looking to make history in the USRA Stock Car class. The driver from Decorah, Iowa, has two USRA Stock Car national championship trophies on his mantle from the 2011 and 2012 seasons, along with a USRA Hobby Stock national championship he earned in 2007.

Winning the 2015 USRA Stock Car title would put him alone at the top with four crowns, breaking a tie with three-time USRA B-Mod titlist Matt Jones.

Chasing Hovden is Las Cruces, N.M., wheelman Jaime Torres who is hoping to become the third straight pilot from the Land of Enchantment to claim the USRA Stock Car title.

Last year’s runner-up, Brett Heeter of Kansas City, Kan., is currently third, followed by Dean Wray of Jamesport, Mo., and Noah Hollingshead of Las Cruces, N.M.

USRA Stock Cars (top 10 after Sept. 26):
1. 15 Mitch Hovden, Decorah, Iowa … 4341
2. 44jt Jaime Torres, Las Cruces, N.M. … 4268
3. 05 Brett Heeter, Kansas City, Kan. … 4231
4. 77 Dean Wray, Jamesport, Mo. … 4214
5. 3h Noah Hollingshead, Las Cruces, N.M. … 4103
6. 44x George LaRose, Las Cruces, N.M. … 4061
7. 67 Kyle Falck, Decorah, Iowa … 4029
8. 33 Kevin Donlan, Decorah, Iowa … 4022
9. 74j Jason Josselyn, Tularosa, N.M. … 4017
10. 18 Tom Schmitt, Independence, Iowa … 4014

At 15 years old, USRA B-Mod driver Andy Bryant of Fort Scott, Kan., is the latest teenage phenomenon to circle the dirt tracks in America’s heartland. While he has competed in a division-leading 57 events this season, he has turned 15 of those into trips to victory lane.

Bryant holds a slim 58-point cushion over Jeremiah Christensen of Sioux Falls, S.D., who has 11 wins to his credit, and sitting in third is the brother of the USRA Stock Car points leader.

Dan Hovden of Decorah, Iowa, has 16 wins to match his car number and trails Christensen by a single marker entering the month of October.

Brad Smith of Belton, Mo., who came up one finishing position short in one main event from taking the 2013 USRA B-Mod national championship, rides in fourth with Erik Kanz of Winona, Minn., completing the top five that features races from five different states.

USRA B-Mods (top 10 after Sept. 26):
1. 28 Andy Bryant, Fort Scott, Kan. … 4455
2. 7m Jeremiah Christensen, Sioux Falls, S.D. … 4397
3. 16d Dan Hovden, Decorah, Iowa … 4396
4. 99 Brad Smith, Belton, Mo. … 4372
5. 23k Erik Kanz, Winona, Minn. … 4296
6. 66 Ryan Gillmore, Springfield, Mo. … 4284
7. 83 Kylie Kath, Owatonna, Minn. … 4277
8. 5 Dakota Foster, Gardner, Kan. … 4260
9. 18 J.C. Morton, Springfield, Mo. … 4244
10. 17 Mike Striegel, Wheatland, Mo. … 4220

In nine years of sanctioning for the class, no driver has even won the USRA Hobby Stock national championship more than once, but Dustin Gulbrandson is in a fine position to do just that.

The driver from Sioux Falls, S.D., has a healthy 191-point cushion over second-place Steve Holthaus of Cresco, Iowa-the first of five Iowa racers trying the track down the defending champ.

Fellow Cresco racer and 2009 USRA Hobby Stock national champion Chris Hovden is third, Decorah, Iowa’s Steve Larson is fourth and Brady Link of Waukon, Iowa, rounds out the top five.

USRA Hobby Stocks (top 10 after Sept. 26):
1. 6 Dustin Gulbrandson, Sioux Falls, S.D. … 4311
2. 70 Steve Holthaus, Cresco, Iowa … 4120
3. 07 Chris Hovden, Cresco, Iowa … 4029
4. 22 Steve Larson, Decorah, Iowa … 4002
5. 29 Brady Link, Waukon, Iowa … 3959
6. 81 Josh Ludeking, Decorah, Iowa … 3856
7. 13 Brian Hoing, Sioux Falls, S.D. … 3747
8. 19 Paul Seabrooke, Elgin, Iowa … 3659
9. 40 Cole Gulbrandson, Hartford, S.D. … 3478
10. 2 Tim Gebel, Lawler, Iowa … 3319

There are just a handful of USRA-sanctioned races remaining on the 2015 calendar. Here’s what has been submitted to the USRA headquarters from member tracks:

Friday, Oct. 2
Lakeside Speedway, Kansas City, Kan. (USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars, USRA B-Mods)
Lawton Speedway, Lawton, Okla. (USRA Modifieds)
Southern New Mexico Speedway, Las Cruces, N.M. (USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars)

Saturday, Oct. 3
Cresco Speedway, Cresco, Iowa (USRA Stock Cars, USRA B-Mods, USRA Hobby Stocks)
I-35 Speedway, Winston, Mo. (USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars, USRA B-Mods)
Lawton Speedway, Lawton, Okla. (USRA Modifieds)
Superbowl Speedway, Greenville, Texas (USRA Modifieds)
Valley Speedway, Grain Valley, Mo. (USRA Modifieds, USRA B-Mods)

Sunday, Oct. 4
Dodge County Speedway, Kasson, Minn. (USRA Modifieds)

Friday, Oct. 9
Lakeside Speedway, Kansas City, Kan. (USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars, USRA B-Mods)
Lucas Oil Speedway, Wheatland, Mo. (USRA B-Mods)
Mississippi Thunder Speedway, Fountain City, Wis. (USRA Modifieds, USRA B-Mods)
Southern Oklahoma Speedway, Ardmore, Okla. (USRA Modifieds)

Saturday, Oct. 10
I-35 Speedway, Winston, Mo. (USRA Modifieds, USRA B-Mods)
Lucas Oil Speedway, Wheatland, Mo. (USRA B-Mods)
Mississippi Thunder Speedway, Fountain City, Wis. (USRA Modifieds, USRA B-Mods)
Valley Speedway, Grain Valley, Mo. (USRA B-Mods)

Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 15-17
2nd Annual USRA National Championships @ Lakeside Speedway, Kansas City, Kan. (USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars, USRA B-Mods, USRA Hobby Stocks)

Friday, Oct. 23
Southern New Mexico Speedway, Las Cruces, N.M. (USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars, USRA B-Mods)

Saturday, Oct. 24
I-35 Speedway, Winston, Mo. (USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars, USRA B-Mods)
Southern New Mexico Speedway, Las Cruces, N.M. (USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars, USRA B-Mods)
Valley Speedway, Grain Valley, Mo. (USRA B-Mods)

Sunday, Oct. 25
Southern New Mexico Speedway, Las Cruces, N.M. (USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars, USRA B-Mods)

This year’s USRA National Championships event at the Lakeside Speedway, Oct. 15-17, will be a pivotal race in determining the 2015 USRA national champions. Each of the three nights will be a complete show of heat races and main events with USRA national points awarded each night.

Sweetening the pot for competitors at the 2nd Annual USRA National Championships is the “True Car Count Bonus” awarded to driver in each class all three nights. Whereas a driver is awarded bonus points equal to the car count on any given night at USRA-sanctioned races, the maximum is set at 24 points for car counts of 24 or more.

However, at this year’s USRA National Championships each driver will earn a car count bonus equal to the actual car count with no maximum. Therefore, if 60 USRA Stock Cars are racing one night then each driver in that class will get 60 bonus points toward their nightly total. This could have a huge impact on USRA national points in all four divisions.

No USRA track points are awarded at any track during the three-day event, and national points are awarded at this event only.

Competitors at the USRA National Championships will take part in heat races and main events each night. USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars and USRA B-Mods will compete all three nights while USRA Hobby Stocks are on the card for Friday and Saturday. Drivers will duke it out on Thursday and Friday, with the combined points earned for both nights (Friday only for USRA Hobby Stocks) setting the line-ups for Saturday.

Entry fees are $100 for USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars and USRA B-Mods; $50 for USRA Hobby Stocks. Entry fee and completed entry form must be received or postmarked by 5 p.m. Central Time on Monday, Oct. 5. Late or at-the-track entry fees are double. Call the USRA headquarters at 515-832-6000 or download the entry form at www.usraracing.com/downloads.

On Saturday, USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars and USRA B-Mods will each be racing for $4,000 to win. USRA Hobby Stocks will race for $1,000 to win Saturday. Saturday’s championship features will start three-wide in all four divisions. Saturday will also serve as the final points race for the Holley Iron Man Series featuring USRA Stock Cars and USRA B-Mods.

The Lakeside Speedway is a 4/10-mile semi-banked dirt oval located 1.0 mile west of I-435 (exit 18) on SR 5 (northwest of Kansas City, Kan.). For more information call 913-299-9206 or check out the track’s website at www.lakesidespeedway.net.

To learn more about the USRA, visit www.usraracing.com or call 515-832-6000. You can also like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usraracing, follow us at www.twitter.com/usraracing on Twitter and check out our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usratv.

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USRA OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Racer Tires, BRODIX Cylinder Heads, COMP Cams, Day Motor Sports, Intercomp, KEVKO Oil Pans & Components, MSD, Nitroquest Media, RACEceiver, RacinDirt.com, Radical Race Gear.

USRA PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: Boubin Tire & Automotive, ElbowsUp.com, Erson Cams, Heartland Auto Racing Show, New Vision Graphics.

USRA CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: AFCO Racing Products, ASi Racewear, Beyea Custom Headers, BSB Manufacturing, COMP Cams, Edelbrock, Forty9 Designs, Genesis Racing Shocks, Harris Auto Racing, Hooker Custom Harness, KSE Racing Products, Marsh Racing Wheels, Mitchell Machine, PBM Performance Products, QA1 Performance Products, Quarter Master, Real Racing Wheels, Sybesma Graphics, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products.

USRA PARTICIPATING TRACKS: Ark-La-Tex Speedway, Boothill Speedway, Callaway Raceway, Caney Valley Speedway, Central Missouri Speedway, Chateau Raceway, Crawford County Speedway, Cresco Speedway, Dallas County Speedway, Deer Creek Speedway, Devil’s Bowl Speedway, East Texas Speedway, El Paso Speedway Park, Fairmont Raceway, Fayette County Speedway, Hamilton County Speedway, Heartland Park Topeka, Humboldt Speedway, Huset’s Speedway, I-35 Speedway (IA), I-35 Speedway (MO), I-90 Speedway, Lakeside Speedway, Lawton Speedway, Lonestar Speedway, Lucas Oil Speedway, Mississippi Thunder Speedway, Monett Speedway, Nevada Speedway, North Central Arkansas Speedway, Randolph County Raceway, Rapid Speedway, Red River Speedway, RPM Speedway, Sioux Speedway, Southern New Mexico Speedway, Southern Oklahoma Speedway, Springfield Raceway, Superbowl Speedway, Upper Iowa Speedway, Valley Speedway.

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