Dalton hitting stride, takes fifth USRA Modified win at Springfield
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August 18, 2012  |  by Ronnie Williams

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Budweiser USRA Modified driver Jackie Dalton of Carthage is hitting stride here late in the 2012 season as the five-time Springfield Raceway track champion took command away from 2010 champion Mitch Keeter on lap 11 and survived some mid-race cautions in taking his fifth feature win of the season Saturday.

The redraw placed Keeter on the pole with Nick Whitehead on the outside. Keeter, still in the hunt for the track championship, was trying to close the gap between him and Dalton as only 17 points separated the duo. Keeter grabbed the opening lead as Brian Green, Rob Muilenburg, last week's winner Stephen Muilenburg and Whitehead completed the first lap order.

Stephen Muilenburg began a charge to the leaders and was coming as Keeter and Green stayed up front. Dalton, who redraw the eighth spot, was swinging the top groove and moved into the top 4 by lap 3. Stephen Muilenburg's bid for back-to-back wins ended on lap 6 as he pulled to the infield with problems. Up front, Keeter had opened up a four-car-length lead on Green who was making a strong showing tonight.

On lap 8, Rob Muilenburg went around on lap 8 bringing out the first yellow. Keeter found the pack coming to him as Green picked the top lane on the restart as Dalton went inside. Keeter shot to the lead as Dalton moved around Green as the Springfield duo were preparing fans for another classic feature. The pace slowed on lap 10 as Fred Slagle got crossed on the backstretch slowing the pace. During the caution, Green's car stopped with problems as Brent Holman also stopped. This placed both drivers to the rear of the field.

On the restart, Keeter shot fast as Dalton kept pace while John Yeoman and former Turkey Classic winner Jody Tillman were side by side. Tillman had charged from the 11th starting spot while Yeoman started seventh. Dalton took the lead on lap 11 on the low side of Keeter. Caution flew on lap 12 as Green and Holman got together slowing the pace. Keeter picked the low groove as Yeoman pulled even. Dalton lead them to the green flag as Yeoman and Keeter were side by side.

Dalton pulled to a four-car-length length lead as Keeter moved back around Yeoman and began to close in on Dalton. With Yeoman, bobby Pearish and Jerry Lankton all slicing for spots, the crowd had two different battles going on. Keener pulled to within three car-lengths of Dalton but could never get any closer as Dalton brought home the Doug's Pro Lube/Garrison Performance/Hoffman to the win as Keeter in the Mid-America Rebuilders/Yeoman Engines/TRE was a close second.

Yeoman brought his Yeoman Engines 25th Anniversary/Dynatech/Hoffman to third followed by Pearish in the Pearish And sons Construction/Yeoman Engines/ Hoffman and 16th starting Jerry Lankton in the Lankton's Welding/Yeoman Engines/Hoffman a fast-moving top 5 spot.

Twelve of the 16 starters completed the lead lap.

The Reliable Chevrolet/GM Performance USRA B-Mods had a rough start, but really came to life late in the feature. On the first start, Stephen Muilenburg grabbed the opening lead but yellow waved forcing a restart. Don Luna, who travels two hours to compete weekly at Springfield, grabbed the lead as rookie Jeremy Thulin was rim-riding the top side in the runner-up spot.

The battle behind Luna and Thulin was tight all over. Following a couple of cautions, Luna was pulling away as Thulin, Derek Watson and a tight pack of others battled. Luna was setting a quick pace as current point leader and USRA national points leader Scott Drake began his move forward. A lap 8 caution placed Drake to Luna's bumper with last week's winner Andy Beauchamp, J.C. Morton, Thulin and Watson closing in.

On lap 9, Drake made the pass on Luna to take over the lead. The caution hurt Luna as it seemed that his tires didn't come back up to temperature as he started going backwards. Drake pulled away as Beauchamp and Morton staged a side-by-side battle back and forth for second place. Drake captured the win as Beauchamp, Morton, Luna and Ryan Stacye from his 16th starting spot completed the top 5.

Seventeen of the 23 starters finished on the lead lap.

The Transport Graphics Championship Chase continues next Saturday night, Aug. 25, with USRA Modifieds, USRA B-Mods, Midwest Modifieds, Legends, Young Lions, Pure Stocks and Street Stocks racing at 7:30 p.m.

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American Racer USRA Weekly Racing Series
Springfield Raceway, Springfield, Mo.
Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012


Feature: 1. Jackie Dalton, Carthage; 2. Mitch Keeter, Webb City; 3. John Yeoman, Joplin; 4. Bobby Pearish, Oronogo; 5. Jerry Lankton, Lampe; 6. Rob Muilenburg, Sparta; 7. Diaran Hendrix, Joplin; 8. Jody Tillman, Branson; 9. Danny DeMasters, Joplin; 10. Daniel Franklin, Eureka Springs, Ark.; 11. Nick Whitehead, Nixa; 12. Scott Symmonds, Bolivar; 13. Fred Slagle, Pierce City; 14. Brian Green, Pierce City; 15. Brent Holman, Rogers, Ark.; 16. Stephen Muilenburg, Sparta.

Heat #1: 1. Yeoman; 2. Keeter; 3. R. Muilenburg; 4. Dalton; 5. Hendrix; 6. Tillman; 7. Symmonds; 8. DeMasters.

Heat #2: 1. Green; 2. Whitehead; 3. S. Muilenburg; 4. Pearish; 5. Holman; 6. Franklin; 7. Slagle; 8. Lankton.


Feature: 1. Scott Drake, Webb City; 2. Andy Beauchamp, Springfield; 3. J.C. Morton, Springfield; 4. Don Luna, St. James; 5. Ryan Stacye, Fair Grove; 6. Bobby Maggard, Republic; 7. Dakota Maggard, Republic; 8. Jeremy Thulin, Miami, Okla.; 9. Derek Watson, Willard; 10. Jared Thulin, Stillwater, Okla.; 11. Kaleb Copher, Webb City; 12. Terry Williams, Springfield; 13. Taylor Moore, Bois D'Arc; 14. Tony Myers; 15. Chris Ratterree, Mountain Grove; 16. Toby Thompson, Mountain Grove; 17. Dustin Shaw; 18. Bobby Ratterree, Mountain Grove; 19. Michael Page, Webb City; 20. Jason Bridgeman, West Plains; 21. Michael Maggard, Republic; 22. Stephen Muilenburg, Sparta; 23. Thomas Hylton, Avilla; DNS - Tyler Chainey, Springfield.

Heat #1: 1. Drake; 2. Muilenburg; 3. Copher; 4. Jeremy Thulin; 5. Brigeman; 6. Stacye; 7. D. Maggard; 8. C. Ratterree.

Heat #2: 1. B. Ratterree; 2. Watson; 3. Thompson; 4. Page; 5. Jared Thulin; 6. B. Maggard; 7. Chainey; 8. Moore.

Heat #3: 1. Luna; 2. Beauchamp; 3. Morton; 4. M. Maggard; 5. Hylton; 6. Williams; 7. Shaw; 8. Myers.

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