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Fito Gallardo wins first USMTS feature in Winter Meltdown opener
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February 27, 2014  |  by Jeff Nun, USMTS.com

LAS CRUCES, N.M.—Tenth-starting Fito Gallardo tracked down race-long leader Dylan Smith with 10 laps to go and went on to win his career first USMTS main event Thursday on opening night of the 20th Annual Winter Meltdown at the Southern New Mexico Speedway.

Despite four yellow flags that slowed the pace of the race, polesitter Smith held the lead for the first 25 laps and turned back the challenges from several top guns, including Johnny Scott, four-time Winter Meltdown winner Terry Phillips and reigning USMTS national champion Rodney Sanders.

Gallardo, however, was able to do what his peers could not accomplish before him and snuck by Smith following the race’s final caution period on lap 24 and then drove away to seal the victory at his hometown racetrack.

The win was worth $2,000 to Gallardo, whose son, Jake Gallardo, came ten laps short of winning his first USMTS main event just five days ago at the El Paso Speedway Park.

Although Smith came up short in his quest for a win against the Best of the Best, his third career start in a USMTS Casey’s Cup powered by Swan Energy event netted a runner-up paycheck.

While trying to overtake Smith on lap 7, Phillips slipped over the embankment and found himself in 17th by the time he regained his momentum.

But the three-time defending Winter Meltdown champ clawed his way back for a third-place finish ahead of Jake Gallardo and teammate Jordan Grabouski, who turned a last-row starting spot in the second Real Racing Wheels “B” Main into a fifth-place finish in the “A” Main.

Jake O'Neil, MVT Gulf Coast Border Region points leader Stormy Scott, Dereck Ramirez, Sanders and Adam Penn rounded out the top 10.

Action continues at the 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval on Friday and Saturday. The first to the finish line Friday earns $3,000 and Saturday’s main event victor will pocket $4,000.

USRA Stock Cars, USRA B-Mods and Mini-Sprints will also be in action with racing at 6:30 Mountain Time both nights. Adult admission is $12 Friday and $15 Saturday while kids ages 10 and under get in for free every night. Pit passes are $40.

For those unable to attend this weekend’s clash in person, we’ve got the next best thing. All three nights will be carried live via pay-per-view. Visit www.RacinDirt.tv for ordering information and don’t miss a single lap of the unforgettable action.

The Southern New Mexico Speedway is a 3/8-mile semi-banked clay oval located 11 miles west of Las Cruces at the Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds. Take exit 132, go left and take the frontage road south of I-10 heading west. For more information call 575-524-7913 or 505-524-7913 or visit www.snmspeedway.com online.

To learn more about the United States Modified Touring Series, visit www.usmts.com online or call 515-832-7944. You can also like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usmts, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/usmts or check out our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usmtstv.

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OFFICIAL RESULTS
United States Modified Touring Series
USMTS Casey’s Cup powered by Swan Energy – MVT Gulf Coast Border Region presented by Day Motor Sports
20th Annual Winter Meltdown – Night 1 of 3
Southern New Mexico Speedway, Las Cruces, N.M.
Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014

Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown, chassis/engine builder, laps completed and money won. The top 12 drivers in passing points accumulated in the heat races are locked into the “A” Main, with the top 8 re-drawing for starting positions 1-8.

C&R RACING HEAT RACE #1 (8 laps):
1. (2) 2j Blake Jegtvig (R), Hawley, Minn.
2. (1) 88n Jake O'Neil (R), Tucson, Ariz.
3. (6) 0 Chris Sims (R), Las Cruces, N.M.
4. (7) 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M.
5. (3) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla.
6. (8) 61 Bobby Sikes Jr. (R), Eunice, N.M.
7. (5) 20r Bryan Rowland, Woodward, Okla.
8. (9) 22b Rick Beebe, Shawnee, Kan.
9. (4) 7 J.R. Bonesteel, Albuquerque, N.M.

JRi SHOCKS HEAT RACE #2 (8 laps):
1. (1) L1 Larry Clevenger, Greenwood, La.
2. (4) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
3. (5) 98 Alex Stanford (R), Chowchilla, Calif.
4. (3) 87 Lee Heiligenthal, Las Cruces, N.M.
5. (6) J17 Jake Gallardo (R), Las Cruces, N.M.
6. (7) 44 Christy Georges, El Paso, Texas.
7. (8) 78 Trevor Egbert, Salado, Texas.
8. (2) 54 Carlos Ahumada Sr., El Paso, Texas.
9. (9) 75g Jordan Grabouski, Beatrice, Neb.

EDELBROCK HEAT RACE #3 (8 laps):
1. (4) 111 Bumper Jones, Mesilla Park, N.M.
2. (1) 16 Eddie Martin, Stilwell, Okla.
3. (3) 6p Travis Peery (R), Williston, N.D.
4. (2) A16 Aaron Spangler (R), Dove Creek, Colo.
5. (5) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla.
6. (8) 91 Brody Spangler (R), Dove Creek, Colo.
7. (7) 5 Shane Sprinkle (R), Andrews, Texas.
8. (6) 65 Carlos Ahumada, Jr., El Paso, Texas.
9. (9) 75 Alan Sharpensteen, Amarillo, Texas.

PBM PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #4 (8 laps):
1. (1) 1st Johnny Scott, Las Cruces, N.M.
2. (2) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Waukee, Iowa.
3. (8) 71 Philip Houston, Odessa, Texas.
4. (4) 32 Max Sadler (R), Springerville, Ariz.
5. (6) 49 Duane Murphy, El Paso, Texas.
6. (9) 5* Adam Penn (R), Shreveport, La.
7. (5) 22 John Calvert Jr. (R), Rio Rancho, N.M.
8. (7) 10s Rick Spencer II (R), Tucson, Ariz.
9. (3) 99 Terry Tipton (R), Duncan, Ariz.

HEAT RACE #5 (8 laps):
1. (3) 95 Dylan Smith (R), Osceola, Neb.
2. (5) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas.
3. (6) G17 Fito Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M.
4. (2) 28 Tom Georges (R), El Paso, Texas.
5. (4) 51 Kelly Shryock, Fertile, Iowa.
6. (8) 9 Jimmy Ray, Las Cruces, N.M.
7. (7) 131 Royal Jones, Las Cruces, N.M.
8. (9) M16 Rocko Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M.
9. (1) 25p Mike Petersilie, Hoisington, Kan.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #1 (15 laps, top 6 advance):
1. (2) 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M.
2. (5) J17 Jake Gallardo (R), Las Cruces, N.M.
3. (7) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla.
4. (1) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Waukee, Iowa.
5. (6) 5* Adam Penn (R), Shreveport, La.
6. (17) 25p Mike Petersilie, Hoisington, Kan.
7. (4) 32 Max Sadler (R), Springerville, Ariz., TRE/King, $80.
8. (3) 87 Lee Heiligenthal, Las Cruces, N.M., DirtWorks/Heiligenthal, $60.
9. (10) 78 Trevor Egbert, Salado, Texas, Hughes/Sput’s, $80.
10. (9) 9 Jimmy Ray, Las Cruces, N.M., AOS/AOS, $80.
11. (8) 61 Bobby Sikes Jr. (R), Eunice, N.M., Skyrocket/Gray, $80.
12. (11) 5 Shane Sprinkle (R), Andrews, Texas, Hughes/RoushYates, $80.
13. (12) 131 Royal Jones, Las Cruces, N.M., GRT/Klein, $80.
14. (16) 75 Alan Sharpensteen, Amarillo, Texas, SRP/GMPP, $60.
15. (14) 65 Carlos Ahumada Jr., El Paso, Texas, LG2/BMS, $60.
16. (13) M16 Rocko Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M., Shaw/, $60.
17. (15) 7 J.R. Bonesteel, Albuquerque, N.M., D&M/Hyper, $60.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #2 (15 laps, top 6 advance):
1. (1) 98 Alex Stanford (R), Chowchilla, Calif.
2. (15) 75g Jordan Grabouski, Beatrice, Neb.
3. (2) 6p Travis Peery (R), Williston, N.D.
4. (10) 20r Bryan Rowland, Woodward, Okla.
5. (5) 49 Duane Murphy, El Paso, Texas.
6. (9) 44 Christy Georges, El Paso, Texas.
7. (7) 51 Kelly Shryock, Fertile, Iowa.
8. (4) 28 Tom Georges (R), El Paso, Texas, AOS/TNT, $80.
9. (12) 22b Rick Beebe, Shawnee, Kan.
10. (8) 91 Brody Spangler (R), Dove Creek, Colo., SBR/Victory, $80.
11. (14) 10s Rick Spencer II (R), Tucson, Ariz., SRP/Klein, $80.
12. (6) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., MBCustom/Mullins, $400.
13. (3) A16 Aaron Spangler (R), Dove Creek, Colo., SBR/Victory, $80.
14. (11) 22 John Calvert Jr. (R), Rio Rancho, N.M., Shaw/J&J, $80.
15. (13) 54 Carlos Ahumada Sr., El Paso, Texas, LG2/BMS, $60.
16. (16) 99 Terry Tipton (R), Duncan, Ariz., Shaw/Craft, $80.

CASEY’S GENERAL STORES “A” MAIN (35 laps):
1. (10) G17 Fito Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M., LG2/AOS, 35, $2000.
2. (1) 95 Dylan Smith (R), Osceola, Neb., Jet/Woods, 35, $1500.
3. (5) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Hatfield, 35, $1000.
4. (15) J17 Jake Gallardo (R), Las Cruces, N.M., LG2/AOS, 35, $900.
5. (16) 75g Jordan Grabouski, Beatrice, Neb., GRT/Hatfield, 35, $700.
6. (11) 88n Jake O'Neil (R), Tucson, Ariz., LG2/Black, 35, $600.
7. (13) 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M., LG2/ProPower, 35, $500.
8. (17) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Ramirez/ProPower, 35, $450.
9. (6) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustom/Sput’s, 35, $400.
10. (21) 5* Adam Penn (R), Shreveport, La., Hughes/Geddes, 35, $350.
11. (7) 71 Philip Houston, Odessa, Texas, Hughes/RoushYates, 35, $325.
12. (14) 98 Alex Stanford (R), Chowchilla, Calif., PCD/Tim’s, 35, $300.
13. (12) 16 Eddie Martin, Stilwell, Okla., Skyrocket/Gray, 35, $275.
14. (19) 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Waukee, Iowa, Hughes/Mullins, 35, $400.
15. (25) 22b Rick Beebe, Shawnee, Kan., MBCustom/Mullins, 35, $400.
16. (18) 6p Travis Peery (R), Williston, N.D., Hughes/Rodgers, 35, $250.
17. (9) 0 Chris Sims (R), Las Cruces, N.M., DirtWorks/RAM, 35, $250.
18. (26) 51 Kelly Shryock, Fertile, Iowa, Skyrocket/PTS, 24, $400.
19. (20) 20r Bryan Rowland, Woodward, Okla., LG2/ProPower, 23, $400.
20. (8) 2j Blake Jegtvig (R), Hawley, Minn., MBCustom/Sturdy, 23, $250.
21. (4) 111 Bumper Jones, Mesilla Park, N.M., GRT/Sput’s, 23, $250.
22. (3) 1st Johnny Scott, Las Cruces, N.M., Ramirez/ProPower, 23, $400.
23. (2) L1 Larry Clevenger, Greenwood, La., Skyrocket/PTS, 18, $250.
24. (24) 44 Christy Georges, El Paso, Texas, GRT/Barnett, 13, $250.
25. (23) 25p Mike Petersilie, Hoisington, Kan., 1stClass/Sput’s, 4, $200.
26. (22) 49 Duane Murphy, El Paso, Texas, GRT/AOS, 3, $200.

(R) = Rookie of the Year contender.

Lap Leaders: Smith 1-25, F. Gallardo 26-35.
Total Laps Led: Smith 25, F. Gallardo 10.
Margin of Victory: 2.777 seconds.
Provisional Starters: Beebe, Shryock.
Sybesma Graphics Pole Award: B. Jones.
Mesilla Valley Transportation Hard Charger: J. Gallardo (started 15th, finished 4th).
Next Race: Friday-Saturday, Feb. 28-March 1, Southern New Mexico Speedway, Las Cruces, N.M.
MVT Gulf Coast Border Region Points Standings: .
Rookie of the Year Points: J. Gallardo 558, Penn 427, Sprinkle 392, Cade Dillard 346, Darron Fuqua 273.
COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Year Points: ProPower 70, Sput’s 61, Geddes 45, Hatfield 38, AOS 37.
Manufacturers Championship Points: LG2 76, MBCustom 68, Ramirez 57, GRT 49, Hughes 43.

Contingency Awards:
American Racer – B. Jones.
Beyea Custom Headers – R. Jones.
Brass Monkey Racing Products – Shryock.
C&R Racing – Jegtvig.
Edelbrock – B. Jones.
FK Rod Ends – Beebe.
Forty9Designs.com – Hilsabeck, Rowland.
Fuel Safe – O’Neil.
GRT Race Cars – Grabouski.
Hooker Harness – Martin.
JRi Shocks – Clevenger.
KEVKO Oil Pans & Components – Sanders.
Keyser Manufacturing – Penn.
Marsh Racing Wheels – C. Georges.
Mesilla Valley Transportation – J. Gallardo.
MSD Ignition – F. Gallardo, Smith.
PBM Performance Products – J. Scott, F. Gallardo.
Power Lift Racing Products – Sims.
Real Racing Wheels – all non-qualifiers.
Sybesma Graphics – B. Jones.
VP Racing Fuels – F. Gallardo.

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USMTS OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Racer Racing Tires, AMP Energy, Casey’s General Stores, COMP Cams, Day Motor Sports, Farm Boy BBQ Sauce, Intercomp, KEVKO Oil Pans & Components, MSD, Nitroquest Media Group, RACEceiver, RacinDirt.com, Snickers, SpiderWeb Modular Storage Solutions, Swan Energy, VP Racing Fuels.

USMTS PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: Arizona Sport Shirts, ASi Racewear, BRODIX Cylinder Heads, Double H Bands, ElbowsUp.com, Erson Cams, Integra Racing Shocks & Springs, Major League Bowhunter, Mesilla Valley Transportation, New Vision Graphics, Olympic Fire Protection, Penn Transport, Road Runner Crane, Road Runner Trucking, S&S Fishing & Rental, United Cellular Services.

USMTS CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: AFCO Racing Products, Bell Racing Helmets, Beyea Custom Headers, Brass Monkey Racing Products, C&R Racing, CPD Racing Tools, Edelbrock, FK Rod Ends, Forty9 Designs, Fuel Safe, Genesis Racing Shocks, GRT Race Cars, Hooker Harness, JRi Shocks, Keyser Manufacturing, KSE Racing Products, Marsh Racing Wheels, PBM Performance Products, Power Lift Racing Products, Quarter Master, Real Racing Wheels, Sybesma Graphics, Tiger Rear Ends.



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