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HISTORY MADE AT PORTACOOL TEXAS WORLD DIRT TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP
- Ryan Gustin wins both Modified and SUPR Late Model Titles to become first driver in track history to accomplish that feat
- Nick Clinkenbeard claims Limited Modified championship
FORT WORTH, Texas (May 16, 2015) -- History was made Saturday night at the Portacool Texas World Dirt Track Championship.
Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa became the first driver in track history to win two races at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track on the same weekend as he captured the Modified and SUPR Late Model championships.
>“I didn’t think anybody had won the Late Model and the Modified before but that’s awesome and pretty cool that we were able to do that tonight,” Gustin said.
He was also surprised to learn he was the first driver to accomplish the feat on the same weekend.
“Really? That’s awesome,” he said. “That feels really good. Luck was on our side for sure with everything that went on tonight and we will take it.”
Gustin took advantage of two leaders going out of the Modified championship with mechanical issues to claim his first title of the evening.
He took his first lead of the race on lap five when pole sitter Jason Hughes went out of the race. He held the lead until lap 19 when Clyde Dunn Jr. made a strong move to the inside on turn four to take over the top spot.
Dunn held that lead until lap 33 when he went out with a tire issue and Gustin once again assumed the lead with only seven laps remaining.
“When Clyde got by me I saw that his right rear tire was smoking so I knew that he was pushing it hard,” Gustin, a former United States Modified Touring Series national champion, said. “I was just kind of riding it out and his tire went away and mine stayed.”
Triston Dycus closed on him in the final few laps before Gustin held him off at the finish to claim the title. Chase Allen finished third.
After a short Victory Lane celebration, Gustin was back in his Late Model car and a chance at history. He returned to the track with knowledge he gained from the race he had just completed.
“It really helped us (to run, and win, the Modified race),” he said. “Everyone else pretty much had not been on the race track and they were kind of feeling around to see where you could drive and we had a pretty good idea of what to do.”
It definitely did as he led from the pole the entire race as he made history.
He won the race by 3.02 seconds over Allen Tippen who started the race on the outside of row one. The only time Gustin was challenged by Tippen was on two re-starts on laps 8 and 21. He quickly increased his lead on both of those as he easily won the final race of the evening. Ray Moore, who started on the inside of row two, finished third.
“A couple of times I searched higher and higher and it didn’t feel any better so I tried to keep it on the tires on the bottom and hoped for the best and it turned out to be the right call,” he said. ““I like that this track is wide and you can race all over it. It’s more fun when you can race on a wide track because it has multiple grooves and that is why we enjoy coming here. It’s an awesome facility and a great race track.”
Nick Clinkenbeard won the Limited Modified championship race as he dominated the 30-lap race.
The Weatherford, Texas native started on the outside of row one and passed pole sitter RJ Stroman on the second lap and then went on to lead the remainder of the race.
“The door was left open for me early in the race and I took advantage of it,” he said. “A track like that, with fast cars, you have too.”
Stroman had his best chance to regain the lead in Lap 14 as he almost overtook Clinkenbeard at the start/finish line but could not get in front of him before they reached turn one.
The first, and as it would turn out to be the only, caution of the race occurred in lap 19 and Clinkenbeard was once again able to hold off the field on the re-start. Stroman then mounted one last charge a few laps later but was held off again and he wound up finishing third.
Clinkenbeard then extended his lead over the final laps of the race and won by 2.75 seconds over Craig Oakes.
He also knew realized the importance of winning this championship.
“This is the biggest win for us,” Clinkenbeard said. “This is the one you dream of winning. If you could pick one to win, this would be it.
“It’s nice to win close to home and you always want to win at Texas Motor Speedway,” he said. “It gives us a chance to represent all of the Texas guys out here. It’s just a big race to win.”