Hughes, Dillard tangle for USMTS title in Featherlite Fall Jamboree openerCole Queensland
SPRING VALLEY, Minn.—Jason Hughes won all three regional titles this season and has led the points through all but one night during the 16 events so far in the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup, but a tight race exists going into the final points race of the season.
When the checkered flag drops on opening night of the Featherlite Fall Jamboree on Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Deer Creek Speedway, the USMTS will crown it’s 18th national champion and Hughes leads Dillard by a mere 10 points entering the finale while Sanders is 49 markers out of first place with an outside chance of scoring his third USMTS crown.
While Dillard and Hughes have competed in every USMTS event in 2016, Sanders missed 10 point races throughout the campaign. By merely showing up at those events, the deficit going into next Thursday’s crown jewel event would be eight points or less.
Amazingly, the difference between Hughes and Sanders entering last season’s finale was four points. It doesn’t get much closer than that.
Many scenarios exist for how the points could shake out, but one thing is for sure: a win by Hughes seals his third USMTS national championship. Should Dillard win, Hughes would likely have to finish second to secure the crown.
The difference between first and third place in the main event is 10 points. A win by Dillard and a third-place finish by Hughes leaves the duo tied, with Dillard claiming the crown via the first tie-breaker of most wins during the Hunt.
Dillard has four. Hughes has three.
Of course this is assuming Hughes does not score one bonus point by leading at least one lap. If he does, however, and finishes third behind Dillard then Hughes would win by one point.
But leading the most laps in the “A” Main also awards two additional bonus points. Go ahead and start working through the math on that one, and then start working your way back through the field and the possible outcomes are seemingly infinite.
Sanders, on the other hand, needs a lot of help.
As the top two in the standings, Hughes and Dillard are guaranteed at least provisional starting spots. That means the least amount of points each will earn is 50. Therefore, Sanders basically has to win while Hughes and Dillard experience early-race trouble and wind up outside the top 20 in the final run down.
While Hughes and Sanders are both chasing a third USMTS national championship, this would be the first for Dillard who claimed top rookie honors just two seasons ago.
Hughes was the United States Modified Touring Series Rookie of the Year in 2001.
The 18th Annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree takes place Thursday-Sunday, Sept. 22-24, at the Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn. USMTS drivers will be racing for $5,000 to win the first two nights and a big $10,000 paycheck on Saturday.
Friday’s and Saturday’s Modified program will be co-sanctioned by the USMTS and USRA, with USRA national points awarded both nights.
Drivers can enter by calling the USMTS office at (515) 832-7944 or download the entry form at http://usmts.com/ClientFiles/EntryForms/usmts-entry-20160922-24(1).pdf.
Fan may purchase tickets online at www.deercreekspeedway.com or by calling toll-free 877-DCS-RACE.
For fans unable to attend the 18th Annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree in person, the entire event from the first lap of the first heat until the last checkered flag waves will be broadcast live via pay-per-view by RacinDirt.com.
The Deer Creek Speedway is a high-banked 3/8-mile clay oval which sits on 60 acres with one of America’s most popular state-of-the-art racing complexes and an adjoining campground. For track or campground info, call 507-346-2342 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.