Sanders Is King Of America
HUMBOLDT, Kan. — Reigning USMTS National Champion Rodney Sanders arrived at Humboldt Speedway on Thursday still winless in 2014. He left on Saturday night with a $10,000 paycheck and now the reigning King of America.
The 26 starters performed the four-wide parade lap with fireworks exploding in the background, but it was the fireworks with seven laps to go that will keep fans talking until the fifth running of the event in 2015.
The 24-year-old from Happy, Texas, started the 100-lap main event from the pole position and led the first lap but outside-front-row-starter Jordan Grabouski roared past Sanders entering the first turn and swiped the lead away the next time around.
For the next 92 laps, three cautions slowed the action and several drivers got near the lead duo, but the race to sit in the king’s throne and wear the King of America IV crown was between “Grabo” and “The Rocket.”
After the first caution on lap 16, Dereck Ramirez briefly scooted past Sanders, but two laps later it was Grabouski and Sanders sailing away from the pack again.
Brandon Davis took third from Ramirez on lap 25 while Daniel Hilsabeck, Zack VanderBeek and Jason Krohn had a spirited battle for the fifth spot.
Davis eventually ran down the leaders and took the runner-up spot away from Sanders following a yellow flag restart with 34 laps complete, but the ‘Medford Monster’ was unable to mount a serious challenge to Grabouski.
At the halfway mark, it was Grabouski leading Davis, Sanders, VanderBeek, Hilsabeck, Ramirez, Krohn, 17th-starting Stormy Scott, Jason Hughes and 19th-starting Bryan Rowland.
Lap 53 found Ramirez nestled against the concrete retaining wall in turn two to bring about the race’s third caution period. Back under green, Grabouski continued to set a blistering pace and pulled out to a sizeable ten-car-length advantage over the next ten laps.
Sanders powered underneath Davis on lap 64 to maneuver back into second, and then reeled in the leader over the next 10 laps. Searching for a way to put Austin Theiss a lap down on the 72nd circuit slowed Grabouski’s momentum and allowed Sanders to pull up to his rear bumper.
Grabouski slipped by Theiss on the inside while Sanders worked around the outside underneath the flagstand. The two made contact and Sanders’s No. 20 MB Customs machine pulled a “wheelie” going into the first corner. The car slammed down on the track just in time for Sanders to crank the wheel to the left and keep it off the wall.
Apparently suffering no damage in the stunt, Sanders again found his way back to the rear bumper of Grabouski’s No. 75 GRT Race Cars chassis while the rest of the field followed far back in the distance in a race for third on back.