Phillips wires Winter Meltdown field for third straight $10,000 payday
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- The 19th running of the annual $10,000-to-win Winter Meltdown at the Southern New Mexico Speedway just outside of Las Cruces, N.M., provided some outstanding racing action during the three-day stretch of events from March 1-3, and in the end saw Terry Phillips come out on top of the 50-lap USRA Modified finale for the third consecutive year.
Phillips grabbed the lead at the start of the event front outside of the front row, took command early and ran out to a sizeable advantage early in the race.
Polesitter Blake Jegtvig and Bumper Jones battled for the runner-up spot behind Phillips, who was rapidly running away from the field. Jegtvig and Jones had a great early race for second, while Johnny Scott, Stormy Scott and Dereck Ramirez were locked in battle just behind.
All the while, Phillips ran alone out front and stretched his advantage to nearly a half-lap before the first caution of the race flew on lap 29. On the restart, Phillips took off again and left nothing to the imagination as he strolled away from the field while Jegtvig and the Scott twins continued to wage a war for second. Behind them, another great battle had resumed between Jones, Ramirez and Jason Hughes.
With under 20 laps remaining, the battle for second heated up as Stormy Scott got by his brother into third and set his sights on Jegtvig for the runner-up spot. A lap later, He dove to the inside of Jegtvig and tried to maneuver by, but made contact and spun himself in turn 4, bringing out the second caution of the race and ending his hopes at a top-5 run.
On the restart, Phillips again checked out but suddenly Johnny Scott came to life and stole second from Jegtvig and rapidly began to run down Phillips with under 10 laps to go. With six to go, it appeared as if Johnny Scott was going to be able challenge Phillips for the lead, but just as Phillips was working toward the tail of the field, the third and final caution flew on lap 45, which killed the momentum Scott had built up and put a clear track in front of Phillips.
Phillips then cruised the final five laps to his third straight Winter Meltdown title ahead of Johnny Scott, Jegtvig, Jones and Whitwell. Ramirez, Hughes, 11th-starting Fito Gallardo, 17th-starting Jimmy Owens, who earned hard charger honors, and 15th-starting Christy Georges rounded out the top 10.
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American Racer USRA Weekly Racing Series
19th Annual Winter Meltdown
Southern New Mexico Speedway, Las Cruces, N.M.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
C-Main: Robbie Chiles, Joey Galloway, Pat Carney, Masen Big Eagle, Scott Logston, Christy Georges, Mercedes Harris, Duane Murphy, Jimmy Owens, Kevin Clark, John Carney, Greg Jelvik, Steven Villegas, Chad Falco, Billy McDaniel, John Calvert Jr., Vince Ogle, Paddy Rush, Greg Gorham, Donovan Ooley, Levi Roberts.
B-Main: Fito Gallardo, R.C. Whitwell, Joey Galloway, Royal Jones, Christy Georges, Phillip Houston, Jimmy Owens, Pat Carney, Rick Gallardo, Max Sadler, Terry Tipton, Scott Logston, Jimmy Owens, Duane Murphy, Masen Big Eagle, Kevin Clark, Chris Sims, Mercedes Harris, Holly Jones, Lee Heiligenthal.
A-Main: Terry Phillips, Johnny Scott, Blake Jegtvig, Bumper Jones, R.C. Whitwell, Dereck Ramirez, Jason Hughes, Fito Gallardo, Jimmy Owens, Christy Georges, Royal Jones, Joey Galloway, Phillip Houston, Stormy Scott, Terry Tipton, Toby Herring, Jimmy Ray, Rick Gallardo, Robbie Chiles, Scott Logston, Duane Murphy, Jake Gallardo, Max Sadler, Pat Carney.