JEFFERSON, SD (USMTS) – Friday is payday for Jake O’Neil and the 29-year-old from Tucson, Ariz., deposited another $10,000 into his bank account after a wire-to-wire win in Friday’s main event for the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s at the Park Jefferson Speedway, Jefferson, S.D.
Barely an hour away, O’Neil pulled the same feat last Friday at the Rapid Speedway in Rock Rapids, Iowa, where he led every lap to collect his first checkered flag of the season.
Friday night’s encore performance in the 9th Annual USMTS River City Rumble presented by Malvern Bank brought his four-race take to $23,400 over the course of the last eight days.
Tyler Wolff, who won the most recent race last Sunday at the Upper Iowa Speedway, pressured O’Neil at times but the biggest threat to all 27 starters was tire wear.
“I was sweating bullets. That could’ve been the longest race of my life,” O’Neil said in victory lane. “It took a lot of luck, you know, we had to start on that front row and I think that was definitely the winning ticket.
“I just I wasn’t sure where the rubber was at. I kept feeling it and I would slide out of it and I thought by then I’d done used my tire up,” O’Neil added. He had enough still on the wheel to bring his Ford-powered LG2 Race Cars USMTS Modified home for his 12th career win.
Others were not as fortunate, including Tyler Davis who watched a probable top-three result evaporate when his right rear tire exploded with just four laps remaining. Seven cautions in all—five of them for blown tires—made for a 30-minute-long 35-lap contest.
Wolff followed O’Neil across the finish in second while Dereck Ramirez finished third and regained the Wrisco points lead from Rodney Sanders, who finish sixth after rolling off 11th for the start of the race.
Lucas Schott started and finished fourth and Dan Ebert was fifth. Behind Sanders, Tanner Mullens, Jacob Bleess, Jason Hughes and Zack VanderBeek completed the top 10.
In the ninth show for the USMTS at the Park Jefferson Speedway, O’Neil became the ninth different winner.
Ramirez regained the points lead over Sanders by 17 markers (1119 to 1102). O’Neil is third with 1098 points followed by Wolff (1034), Terry Phillips (1009), Schott (1002), Mullens (1000), Ebert (959), Hughes (914) and Dustin Sorensen (893).
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