Zack VanderBeek took control with eight laps in the books, and then withstood a caution with two laps remaining to score the victory Tuesday night at the Luxemburg Speedway in the opening round of the USMTS Badgerland Summer Shootout presented by Prestige Custom Cabinetry.
One of seven drivers in attendance Tuesday who were here when the United States Modified Touring Series last visited the 1/3-mile dirt oval in 2005, VanderBeek actually arrived in Eastern Wisconsin two days early and may have picked up a little luck when his Casey’s General Stores team visited Lambeau Field in Green Bay on Sunday night.
But Tuesday morning changed everybody’s mood.
Word spread quickly today about a tragic accident early this morning which ended the life of Jessica Miller—the founder of Karsyn’s Krusaders, friend of the USMTS family and a walking instruction manual of how to treat others.
“It just leaves an empty feeling in the pit of your stomach,” VanderBeek said following his win. “We met Jessica three or four years ago at P.R.I. (Performance Racing Industry trade show), and have been friends since. She was an inspiration to a lot of people.”
It was his race car that helped keep VanderBeek and his crew busy and focused throughout the day.
“I hadn’t worked on the car since Deer Creek (Speedway) last week, so we that kept us pretty locked in,” he added.
His race car almost kept him out of the main event Tuesday night. A failed bearing in one of the rear wheel hubs in his heat race forced the team to thrash on their machine until feature time, just finishing their work and making it into the lineup for the parade lap.
Unlike his last visit to Luxemburg where he started 16th and finished fifth, the ‘Z-Man’ rolled off from the inside of the second row.
Polesitter Mike Mashl led the first five laps and Curt Myers paced the next three circuits before VanderBeek took charge and took off from the pack in what was nearly a caution-free affair.
After lapping the 11th-place car of Lucas Schott and with the white flag in flagman Ryne Staley’s hands, the race’s first yellow flag waved with 38 of 40 laps complete.
That set up a green-white-checkered finish with Ryan Gustin and Cade Dillard tucked in behind the leader.
But VanderBeek was unfazed by the late-race disruption and the 32-year-old from New Sharon, Iowa, cruised the final two laps to his fourth USMTS victory of the season and second straight in the RHRSwag.com USMTS Northern Region presented by Summit Racing Equipment.
He pocketed $3,000 for his efforts while extending his points lead in the region and notching his 40th career triumph.
Gustin, who started seventh, held off Dillard for the runner-up spot while Dereck Ramirez raced from 11th to get fourth at the finish line.
Thirteenth-starting Benji LaCrosse got by fellow Dairy State driver Cory Crapser during the final two-lap sprint to claim fifth, with Myers, Paul Niznik, Jake Timm and Stormy Scott rounding out the top 10.
Mashl, who saw a top-10 run extinguished on the final lap, earned the Sybesma Graphics Pole Award by being the driver who collected the most money in his helmet during intermission when drivers walked through the crowd to collect donations for Jessica Miller’s family and Karsyn’s Krusaders.
Karsyn’s Krusaders is a not-for-profit charity started in 2010 by Miller and her husband, Andy, to raise money and awareness to help others affected by cancer. Karsyn’s Krusaders works with drivers, race tracks and dirt track fans across the country. At the age of 3, the Millers’ daughter, Karsyn, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008. She was successfully treated and today is a vibrant little girl who continues to be the inspiration for the charity that helps children and their families across the country.
USMTS drivers will do the fan walk-through at the other three events this week.
Wednesday marks the series’ first-ever visit to the 141 Speedway near Francis Creek. General admission is $20, seniors and students ages 12-16 are $10 and children 11 and under are free. Pit passes are $35.
The pits and grandstands open at 2:00, hot laps begin at 5:30 and racing starts at 6:00. Street Stocks and Sport Mods will also be competing.
The 141 Speedway is a high-banked 1/3-mile clay oval located off of I-43 at exit 160, then 1.1 mile east on CR K, then 2.0 miles north on CR R in Maribel, Wis. For more information, call (920) 863-3377 or visit www.141speedway.com.
On Thursday, July 13, the USMTS moves around Lake Winnebago to the Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway in Oshkosh, followed by the finale on Friday at the Plymouth Dirt Track in Plymouth.
Drivers each night will battle for a $3,000 top prize, and local drivers will be getting a big bonus thanks to Prestige Custom Cabinetry. An accomplished racer himself, owner Mike Mashl and his company are supporting a four-race points fund for the local racers in the Wisconsin Bay Area competing in the Badgerland Summer Shootout.
Any driver that has raced at least two times at any of the four tracks will be eligible for the bonus money. Drivers will have to race in at least three of the four events to earn bonus money, and points will be awarded by finishing position for locals vs. locals using the USMTS points system.
To learn more about the United States Modified Touring Series, visit www.usmts.com online or call 515-832-7944. You can also like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usmts, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/usmts and Instagram at www.instagram.com/usmts or subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usmtstv. Keep up to speed with everything USMTS by joining our email list at www.usmts.com/subscribe.
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United States Modified Touring Series
Casey’s USMTS National Tour powered by S&S Fishing & Rental – RHRSwag.com USMTS Northern Region presented by Summit Racing Equipment
Badgerland Summer Shootout presented by Prestige Custom Cabinetry – Round #1 of 4
Luxemburg Speedway, Luxemburg, Wis.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown, chassis/engine builder, laps completed and money won.
SIMPSON PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #1 (8 laps):
1. (1) 42 Paul Niznik, Medford, Wis.
2. (4) 49jr Jake Timm, Winona, Minn.
3. (5) 21 Jacob Bleess (R), Chatfield, Minn.
4. (7) 05M Mike Mashl, De Pere, Wis.
5. (2) 4K Kyle Kudick, Two Rivers, Wis.
6. (3) 24g Greg Gretz, Kewaunee, Wis.
7. (8) 10 Paul Parker, De Pere, Wis.
8. (6) 5x Joey Taycher, Appleton, Wis.
DNS – 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla.
FAST SHAFTS HEAT RACE #2 (8 laps):
1. (2) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa.
2. (4) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa.
3. (6) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla.
4. (5) 54 Benji LaCrosse, Green Bay, Wis.
5. (3) 69 T.J. Smith (R), Menasha, Wis.
6. (7) 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M.
7. (1) 13 Eddie Lemay Jr., Milwaukee, Wis.
8. (8) 25 Mike Simons II (R), Genoa City, Wis.
EDELBROCK HEAT RACE #3 (8 laps):
1. (1) 1M Curt Myers, Cameron, Wis.
2. (3) 51 Chris Oertel, Marshfield, Wis.
3. (8) 97 Cade Dillard, Robeline, La.
4. (7) 99M Mike Mullen, Suamico, Wis.
5. (4) 10 Austin Arneson, Fargo, N.D.
6. (5) 72M Brian Mullen, Seymour, Wis.
7. (2) 6 Konnor Wilinski, Seymour, Wis.
8. (6) 69 Lucas Schott, Chatfield, Minn.
THE JOIE OF SEATING HEAT RACE #4 (8 laps):
1. (5) 55 Cory Mahder (R), Eau Claire, Wis.
2. (6) 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis.
3. (2) 23b Brett Bumgardner, Hawkeye, Iowa.
4. (4) 23 Adam Kates (R), Tonganoxie, Kan.
5. (1) 00 Robby Bunkelman, Abbotsford, Wis.
6. (7) 661 Tyler Hackett, Algoma, Wis.
7. (8) 72 Justin Ritchie (R), New London, Wis.
8. (3) 18 Jardin Fuller (R), Memphis, Mo.
REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #1 (12 laps, top 5 advance):
1. (2) 54 Benji LaCrosse, Green Bay, Wis.
2. (1) 99M Mike Mullen, Suamico, Wis.
3. (4) 10 Austin Arneson, Fargo, N.D.
4. (5) 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M.
5. (10) 69 Lucas Schott, Chatfield, Minn.
6. (6) 24g Greg Gretz, Kewaunee, Wis., Slick/ChevPerf, $75.
7. (3) 4K Kyle Kudick, Two Rivers, Wis., Taylor/Competition, $75.
8. (7) 10 Paul Parker, De Pere, Wis., MadMan/ChevPerf, $75.
9. (9) 5x Joey Taycher, Appleton, Wis., B&B/Extreme, $75.
10. (8) 13 Eddie Lemay Jr., Milwaukee, Wis., Pro/Wheeler, $75.
DNS – 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla., Hughes/Mullins, $400.
REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #2 (12 laps, top 5 advance):
1. (6) 72M Brian Mullen, Seymour, Wis.
2. (2) 23 Adam Kates (R), Tonganoxie, Kan.
3. (3) 69 T.J. Smith (R), Menasha, Wis.
4. (1) 23b Brett Bumgardner, Hawkeye, Iowa.
5. (7) 72 Justin Ritchie (R), New London, Wis.
6. (5) 661 Tyler Hackett, Algoma, Wis., MadMan/ChevPerf, $75.
7. (4) 00 Robby Bunkelman, Abbotsford, Wis.
8. (8) 6 Konnor Wilinski, Seymour, Wis., SSR/Ellertson, $75.
9. (10) 18 Jardin Fuller (R), Memphis, Mo.
10. (9) 25 Mike Simons II (R), Genoa City, Wis., MS/TNT, $90.
CASEY’S GENERAL STORES “A” MAIN (40 laps):
1. (3) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Sput’s, 40, $3000.
2. (7) 19r Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, Hughes/Mullins, 40, $1700.
3. (4) 97 Cade Dillard, Robeline, La., MBCustom/ASI, 40, $1200.
4. (11) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., LG2/Cornett, 40, $1000.
5. (13) 54 Benji LaCrosse, Green Bay, Wis., Harris/ChevPerf, 40, $800.
6. (5) 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis., MBCustom/Troys, 40, $800.
7. (2) 1M Curt Myers, Cameron, Wis., LG2/Sput’s, 40, $700.
8. (8) 42 Paul Niznik, Medford, Wis., Rocket/Niznik, 40, $550.
9. (9) 49jr Jake Timm, Winona, Minn., MBCustom/Sput’s, 40, $600.
10. (19) 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M., GRT/Mullins, 40, $550.
11. (21) 69 Lucas Schott, Chatfield, Minn., MBCustom/Sput’s, 40, $500.
12. (10) 51 Chris Oertel, Marshfield, Wis., MBCustom/Tomcat, 40, $450.
13. (24) 00 Robby Bunkelman, Abbotsford, Wis., Rocket/Baxter, 40, $425.
14. (12) 21 Jacob Bleess (R), Chatfield, Minn., MBCustom/Sput’s, 40, $400.
15. (18) 69 T.J. Smith (R), Menasha, Wis., Outlaw/ChevPerf, 40, $375.
16. (14) 72M Brian Mullen, Seymour, Wis., Harris/Baril, 40, $275.
17. (16) 23 Adam Kates (R), Tonganoxie, Kan., LG2/Speedway, 40, $325.
18. (1) 05M Mike Mashl, De Pere, Wis., MBCustom/Baril, 39, $250.
19. (17) 10 Austin Arneson, Fargo, N.D., GRT/ChevPerf, 39, $300.
20. (6) 55 Cory Mahder (R), Eau Claire, Wis., MBCustom/PowerLine, 38, $300.
21. (15) 99M Mike Mullen, Suamico, Wis., MadMan/Competition, 32, $300.
22. (22) 72 Justin Ritchie (R), New London, Wis., Banshee/AEB, 26, $300.
23. (20) 23b Brett Bumgardner, Hawkeye, Iowa, SSR/Midnight, 12, $300.
24. (23) 18 Jardin Fuller (R), Memphis, Mo., Hughes/Mullins, 7, $300.
(R) = Grant Junghans Rookie of the Year contender
Lap Leaders: Mashl 1-5, Myers 6-8, VanderBeek 9-40.
Total Laps Led: VanderBeek 32, Mashl 5, Myers 3.
Margin of Victory: 0.519 second.
Time of Race: 14 minutes, 20.237 seconds (1 caution).
Provisional Starters: Fuller, Bunkelman.
KSE Racing Products Hard Charger: Schott (started 21st, finished 11th).
Next Race: Wednesday, July 12, 141 Speedway, Francis Creek, Wis.
RHRSwag.com Northern Region Points: VanderBeek 677, Hughes 592, Dillard 553, Timm 531, Gustin 513, Bleess 475, Scott 471, Ramirez 448, Crapser 447, Travis Saurer 431.
Grant Junghans Rookie of the Year Points: R.C. Whitwell 1894, Travis Saurer 1766, Tyler Wolff 1685, Kates 1336, Billy Vogel 982.
Engine Builder of the Year Points: Mullins 312, Sputs 263, ASI 261, Durham 206, Hatfield 185.
Manufacturers Championship Points: MBCustoms 317, Hughes 309, GRT 270, VanderBuilt 267, LG2 212.
Allstar Performance – Niznik.
American Racer – Ramirez.
Beyea Custom Headers – Gustin.
BigDeal Car Care – VanderBeek.
BSB Manufacturing – M. Mullen.
Casey’s General Stores – Kates.
Chix Gear Racewear – Timm.
Day Motor Sports – Bumgardner, Fuller.
Deatherage Opticians – Oertel.
Dickson Racing Shocks – Smith.
E3 Spark Plugs – Dillard.
Edelbrock – Myers.
Fast Shafts – LaCrosse.
Forty9Designs.com – Bleess, Arneson.
Fuel Safe Racing Cells – Crapser.
GRT Race Cars – Scott.
Hooker Custom Harness – Bunkelman.
Integra Shocks & Springs – Mashl.
Jerovetz Motorsports Racing Parts – Kates.
Keyser Manufacturing – Scott.
KSE Racing Products – Schott.
Out-Pace Racing Products – B. Mullen.
QA1 – Mahder.
Real Racing Wheels – all non-qualifiers.
Simpson Performance Products – Niznik.
Sweet Manufacturing – Ritchie.
Swift Springs – VanderBeek.
Sybesma Graphics – Mashl.
Tire Demon – Schott.
Tyler Rinken Photography – Mahder.
VP Racing Fuels – Crapser.
Wehrs Machine & Racing Products – Crapser.
Wilwood Engineering – Myers.