Phoenix wire report
The United States Modified Touring Series made its maiden voyage to Thunderbird Speedway on Friday for the inaugural York Street Tire Thunderbird Rumble, with Johnny Scott of Arroyo Hondo, N.M., getting the win after apparent winner Jason Hughes of Watts was disqualified during post-race technical inspections.
From the outside of the front row of a 23-car race, Hughes jumped out to the early lead in the 25-lap main event, with Springfield, Mo.’s Jeremy Payne and Scott giving pursuit. Scott rode the cushion into second place early on and then got by Hughes with six laps to go.
Scott began to stretch out his lead when the caution flag flew with two laps to go. Taking advantage of a second chance, Hughes slid by Scott on the white flag lap and beat his fellow Hughes Racing Chassis driver to the finish line.
But the drama didn’t end with the thrilling last-lap pass. During post-race technical inspections, it was discovered that Hughes had an unapproved rev-limiting chip on his machine. Hughes noted that the team had made an engine change earlier in the day and simply forgot to put the correct chip in.
Unfortunately for Hughes, the win and the $4,000 first-place prize money went to Scott as he garnered his first USMTS victory of the season. It was the 14th career USMTS win for the 23-year-old from Las Cruces, N.M., which moved his ahead of Johnny Bone Jr. and into a tie with Terry Phillips on the all-time wins list.
Scott’s twin brother, Stormy Scott, was one of the fastest cars on the track when mechanical woes sidelined him during the race, dropping him to third in the USMTS Arbor Masters Central Region points standings while Johnny Scott moved into the lead – eight points in front of Kelly Shryock of Fertile, Iowa.
Payne scored the runner-up finish Friday night with Canadian speedster Joey Galloway notching his career-best USMTS finish in third. Shryock was fourth and Thomas Tillison Jr. of Wellston rounded out the top five.
Jason Thoennes of Garfield, Minn., finished sixth, Jeff Conner clawed his way from 22nd on the starting grid to finish seventh, Jeremy Ross of Locust Grove raced from 19th to eighth, Chris Brown of Spring, Texas was ninth and 10th went to Eddie Martin.
A pair of Fort Gibson drivers, Brett Hansen and Dan Morris, finished 13th and 17th, respectively. kay’s Andy Morris was 21st.
In regular division races, Ken Hughey won Pure Stock, James Gillean in 360 Modified and Dalton Ragsdale in Street Stock.