SCOTT LEE STEWART
Special to the Tribune
HUMBOLDT – Billed as the “Hummer Hustle,” the first major racing event of the 2020 season brought the nationwide United States Modified Touring Series to the Humboldt Speedway Friday night, to the delight of a huge crowd of racing fans.
Thirty-two modified cars were aboard for the main event. After qualifying heats and two “B” features, 26 cars took to the Hummer High Banks in the 40-lap “A Main” event.
The first half of the race was a door-to-door battle between two identical cars belonging to the Ramirez racing stable, with Derick Ramirez of Woodward, Okla., the pole sitter and current USMTS points leader out in front. Patiently, Marshalltown, Iowa driver Ryan Gustin stalked his competitor until, on lap 20, Gustin made his move to take the lead. For the next 20 laps, Gustin, a former winner of The King of America series at Humboldt, drove a flawless race all the way to Victory Lane. Meanwhile, Jake O’Neil of Tucson, Ariz., made his way through the field and secured a late race pass that netted him the runner-up spot and relegated Ramirez to third place.
Local racer Tyler Kidwell tallied his first Hummer feature win of the young season with a Ray’s Metal Depot B-Mod feature win. It was a tightly run event with multiple position changes. Lansing driver Jake Richards finished runner-up, joined on the winner’s podium by third place Mike Striegel of Wheatland, Mo.
Journeying from Joplin, Mo., Jared McIntire topped the 16-car field in the Love’s Travel Stop main event, after coming from his dead-last starting position. Norman Mackley of Ft. Scott was second, with Ryan Smith of Moran in third.
The O’Reilly Parts Sport Compact feature was won by Barry Luthi of Topeka. Rick Andres tagged the runner-up spot, and Allen Jesseph of Earlton took the third position.
Chanute’s Jon Westhoff made it two of three in Home Savings Bank Factory Stock features, winning a hard-fought race with runner-up Scott Collins of Humboldt. Ethan Vance, also of Chanute, was third.
This week, OCRS Sprint Cars will join B-Mods, Factory Stocks, Sport Compacts, and Street Stocks at The Hummer. Midwest Modifieds will be on a bye week. Admission will be $15 for adults, $14 for seniors, and $5 for kids. Gates open at 6 pm, and racing starts at 8 pm.