Gustin pockets $10,000 at Winter Freeze finale
By Joshua JoinerDirtonDirt.com staff writer
TUCSON, Ariz. (Jan. 19) — Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, dominated Sunday’s Winter Extreme main event, leading every lap to earn a career-high $10,000 victory in the final round of at Tucson International Raceway’s six-race miniseries.
Starting from the outside of the front row, Gustin, the open-wheel modified standout who began transitioning to Late Models in 2012, grabbed the lead over polesitter Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, on the start of the race and was never seriously challenged. | Complete Winter Extreme coverage
“I knew I was gonna have to beat Simpson to the first corner,” said Gustin, who earned his third straight top five in Tucson after engine issues plagued his efforts in the opening three rounds. “Once I got down there, I just tried to cruise and maintain. Normally, when it’s rubbered-up like that around the bottom, unless you completely screw up you’re not gonna get passed. I was just trying to make good clean laps and looking for lap 50 on the board.”
Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., crossed the finish line second after turning back heavy pressure from third-place finisher John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., in the race’s closing laps. A.J. Diemel of Elk Mound, Wis., was fourth with Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., rounding out the top five.
Gustin’s only tense moment came on lap 34 when he nearly repeated a miscue from last season that cost him a $27,000 victory in I-80 Speedway’s Silver Dollar Nationals. Much like his ill-timed mistake last July, Gustin was well ahead in Sunday’s feature when he ran into the back of Justin Kay while trying to put him a lap down.
But unlike the I-80 incident, which left Gustin’s car with heavy front-end that eventually ended his night, Sunday’s tangle with lapped traffic proved trivial. Gustin continued to dominate through the remaining distance and crossed the finish line with nearly a straightaway advantage in claiming the first $10,000 Late Model victory of his career.
“I figured the nose was torn off of it once again,” Gustin said in recalling his costly miscue at I-80 last season. “But it wasn’t and everything worked out. It was smooth sailing from there.”
Clanton briefly challenged Gustin after the lap-34 restart, but he was forced to settled for second after his car faded in the closing laps.
“His car was real good,” said Clanton, who came just one position short of repeating his victory in last year’s Winter Extreme finale. “I killed the right-rear tire because I was so tight. I was just riding the last 10 laps there just hoping to make it to the end. Luckily, we did.”
The race was slowed by two cautions. Mike Balcaen of Winnipeg, Manitoba, slowed to bring out the first yellow flag on lap 15, and Gustin’s lap-34 tangle with Kay of Wheatland, Iowa, sent Kay spinning to cause the second caution.
Notes: Gustin’s Ed and Cinde Gressel-owned Rocket Chassis has a Pro Power Engine and sponsorship from McCarthney Welding, Integra Racing Shocks, Eibach Springs, VP Race Fuels, Midwest Hearing Aids, Sybesma Graphics, FastShafts by AxleExchange, Hinchman Racewear and R2C Performance Products. ... Gustin became the sixth different winner in Tucson’s six Winter Extreme races this season. ... Polesitter Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, ran second for much of the race and was fourth when he slowed with a flat right-rear tire on lap 35.
Winter Extreme (Jan. 19): (1) Ryan Gustin, (2) Shane Clanton, (3) John Blankenship, (4) A.J. Diemel, (5) Kent Robinson, (6) R.C. Whitwell, (7) Chase Junghans, (8) Jimmy Mars, (9) Morgan Bagley, (10) Tim Fuller, (11) Will Vaught, (12) Donny Schatz, (13) Justin Asplin, (14) Jason Papich, (15) Jordan Yaggy, (16) Chris Simpson, (17) Billy Moyer, (18) Justin Kay, (19) Garrett Alberson, (20) Terry Phillips, (21) Brandon Sheppard, (22) Travis Dickes, (23) Mike Balcaen, (24) Max Blair. Fast qualifier (among 52 cars): Clanton, 16.513 seconds. Heat winners: Clanton, Simpson, Gustin, Diemel, Robinson, Blankenship. Consolation winners: Moyer, Sheppard, Alberson.
Row 1: Chris Simpson, Ryan Gustin
Row 2: Shane Clanton, Kent Robinson
Row 3: John Blankenship, A.J. Diemel
Row 4: Mike Balcaen, Chase Junghans
Row 5: Justin Asplin, R.C. Whitwell
Row 6: Jason Papich, Jimmy Mars
Row 7: Tim Fuller, Donny Schatz
Row 8: Justin Kay, Morgan Bagley
Row 9: Travis Dickes, Will Vaught
Row 10: Billy Moyer, Brandon Sheppard
Row 11: Garrett Alberson, Terry Phillips
Row 12: Max Blair, Jordan Yaggy
Consolation race results
Top two finishers transfer to main event
First consolation: Billy Moyer, Terry Phillips, Ricky Weiss, Kyle Beard, Trevor Glaser, Jason Krohn, Steven Pfeifer, Cody Laney, Sean Bray, Marshall Miles, Dean Moore.
Second consolation: Brandon Sheppard, Max Blair, William Thomas, Jason Hughes, Lance Matthees, Matt Crafton, Lonnie Parker Jr., Mason Zeigler, Tony Toste, Dave Smith, Dave Deetz.
Third consolation: Garrett Alberson, Jordan Yaggy, Tony Jackson Jr., Pat Doar, Billy Moyer Jr., Brad Williams, Clay Daly, Rob Sanders, Rick Ortega, Tyson Turnbull.
Consolation race lineups
Top two finishers transfer to main event
Row 1: Billy Moyer, Terry Phillips
Row 2: Kyle Beard, Ricky Weiss
Row 3: Travis Glaser, Steven Pfeifer
Row 4: Jason Krohn, Dean Moore
Row 5: Cody Laney, Marshall Miles
Row 6: Sean Bray, Nick Bartels
Row 1: William Thomas, Brandon Sheppard
Row 2: Lance Matthees, Max Blair
Row 3: Jason Hughes, Matt Crafton
Row 4: Mason Zeigler, Lonnie Parker Jr.
Row 5: Tony Toste, Dave Deetz
Row 6: Dave Smith
Row 1: Brad Williams, Garrett Alberson
Row 2: Tony Jackson Jr., Jordan Yaggy
Row 3: Billy Moyer Jr., Pat Doar
Row 4: Rob Sanders, Tyson Turnbull
Row 5: Clay Daly, Rick Ortega
Row 6: Joey Moriarty
Heat race results
Top three finishers transfer to main event
First heat: Shane Clanton, Mike Balcaen, Tim Fuller, Billy Moyer, Kyle Beard, Trevor Glaser, Jason Krohn Cody Laney, Sean Bray.
Second heat: Chris Simpson, Chase Junghans, Donny Schatz, Terry Phillips, Ricky Weiss, Steven Pfeifer, Dean Moore, Marshall Miles, Nick Bartels.
Third heat: Ryan Gustin, Justin Asplin, Justin Kay, William Thomas, Jason Hughes, Lance Matthees, Mason Zeigler, Tony Toste, Dave Smith.
Fourth heat: A.J. Diemel, R.C. Whitwell, Morgan Bagley, Brandon Sheppard, Max Blair, Matt Crafton, Lonnie Parker Jr., Dave Deetz.
Fifth heat: Kent Robinson, Jason Papich, Travis Dickes, Brad Williams, Tony Jackson Jr., Billy Moyer Jr., Rob Sanders, Clay Daly, Joey Moriarty.
Sixth heat: John Blankenship, Jimmy Mars, Will Vaught, Garrett Alberson, Jordan Yaggy, Pat Doar, Tyson Turnbull, Rick Ortega.
Heat races start straight up from qualifying
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga. 16.513
Mike Balcaen (10), Winnipeg, Manitoba 16.788
Jason Krohn (7k), Slayton, Minn. 16.887
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark. 16.912
Tim Fuller (19), Watertown, N.Y. 17.064
Trevor Glaser (2), Tangent, Org. 17.523
Kyle Beard (86), Trumann, Ark. 17.278
Cody Laney (77), Bakersfield, Calif. 17.523
Sean Bray (14), Tucson, Ariz. 17.955
Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa 16.783
Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan. 16.995
Donny Schatz (15), Fargo, N.D. 17.008
Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo. 17.096
Ricky Weiss (7), Winnipeg, Manitoba 17.297
Dean Moore (14), Grand Junction, Colo. 17.424
Steven Pfeifer (11), Minot, N.D. 18.017
Marshall Miles (7), Siera Vista, Ariz. 18.449
Nick Bartels (27), El Segundo, Calif. 20.211
Ryan Gustin (19r), Marshalltown, Iowa 16.727
Justin Asplin (77A), Birch Tree, Mo. 16.767
Jason Hughes (12), Westville, Okla. 16.987
William Thomas (19), Phenix City, Ala. 17.112
Justin Kay (15k), Wheatland, Iowa 17.250
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa. 17.378
Lance Matthees (90), Winona, Minn. 17.422
Tony Toste (91t), Pismo Beach, Calif. 17.431
Dave Smith (06), Edmonton, Alberta 18.141
R.C. Whitwell (5), Tucson, Ariz. 17.038
A.J. Diemel (58), Elk Mound, Wis. 17.253
Brandon Sheppard (b5), New Berlin, Ill. 17.281
Morgan Bagley (14m), Longview, Texas 17.489
Matt Crafton (88), Tulare, Calif. 17.684
Lonnie Parker Jr. (8p) El Mirage, Ariz. 17.873
Max Blair (111), Titusville, Pa. 17.886
Dave Deetz (98D), Las Cruces, N.M. 18.343
Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind. 17.286
Jason Papich (91p), Nipomo, Calif. 17.399
Travis Dickes (6), Madison, Neb. 17.507
Tony Jackson Jr. (56), Lebanon, Mo. 17.545
Brad Williams (23), Tucson, Ariz. 17.561
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark. 17.690
Rob Sanders (10n), Bakersfield, Calif. 17.739
Joey Moriarty (51), Phoenix, Ariz. 17.863
Clay Daly (32b), Watsonville, Calif. 17.997
Pat Doar (11), New Richmond, Wis. 17.225
Will Vaught (1v), Crane, Mo. 17.345
Tyson Turnbull (10), Estevan, Saskatchewan 17.437
John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va. 17.663
Rick Ortega (24), Las Cruces, N.M. 17.684
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis. 18.184
Garrett Alberson (43), Las Cruces, N.M. 18.292
Jordan Yaggy (77), Rochester, Minn. 19.023