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COUNTDOWN TO ‘THE HUNT’ BEGINS WITH 32 POSSIBLE CHAMPIONS
by: Jeff Nun
WEBSTER CITY, Iowa (July 9) - Although ‘The Hunt’ for the O’Reilly USMTS National Championship doesn't begin for another month, drivers are already positioning themselves for a run at the title and the opportunity to dethrone eight-time reigning O’Reilly Auto Parts United States Modified Touring Series national champion Kelly Shryock.
Shryock, however, holds the advantage right now and hopes ‘The Hunt’ will be yet another glowing entry in his coveted racing résumé. His eighth O’Reilly USMTS title last year moved him ahead of such legends as Richard Petty, Michael Schumacher and Dale Earnhardt, and put Shryock among some elite company in the business of motorsports title collecting.
Major Motorsports Championships:
Steve Kinser, World of Outlaws Sprint Series, 20-time champion
John Force, NHRA Drag Racing Series - Funny Car, 14-time champion
Bob Glidden, NHRA Drag Racing Series - Pro Stock, 10-time champion
Kelly Shryock, O’Reilly Auto Parts United States Modified Touring Series, 8-time champion
Frank Kimmell, ARCA RE/MAX Series, 8-time champion
Mike Eddy, ASA Late Model Series, 7-time champion
Michael Schumacher, Formula One World Championship, 7-time champion
A.J. Foyt Jr., USAC IndyCar Championship, 7-time champion
Richard Petty, NASCAR Winston Cup Series, 7-time champion
Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR Winston Cup Series, 7-time champion
Ricky Carmichael, AMA Motocross, 7-time champion
Shryock, 42, enjoyed his career-best season in 2006, scoring 31 wins and a remarkable 51 top-10 finishes in 59 starts against the best Modified drivers on the face of the planet. During one stretch last summer, the second-generation pilot from Fertile, Iowa, recorded a Series record 11 straight wins.
He's been no slouch in 2007 either. With 29 National Events in the books, Shryock has 10 wins and 25 top-10s — 24 of which have been top-5s. He currently leads the standings in all four regions, as well as the USMTS Southern Series where he has notched an additional four wins in eight starts.
On Tuesday, July 31, the Cresco (Iowa) Speedway will host the final points race in the Yeager Machine Northeast Region and will award the first set of National drivers a spot in ‘The Hunt’ for the O’Reilly USMTS National Championship. The first week of August will see the other three regional champions crowned, beginning with the Central Region finale on Saturday, Aug. 4, at the Pepsi Scotland County Speedway in Memphis, Mo. From there, the rugged O’Reilly USMTS road warriors travel to the Humboldt (Kan.) Speedway for the final event in the Southern Region. Drivers head north to the Beatrice (Neb.) Speedway on Wednesday, Aug. 8, for the final Western Region points race and the last event before ‘The Hunt’ for the O’Reilly USMTS National Championship begins on Thursday, Aug. 9, at the Thunderhill Speedway in Mayetta, Kan.
The 2007 season wraps up with ‘The Hunt’ for the O’Reilly USMTS National Championship — 16 races in 32 days, culminating with the crowning of the 2007 O’Reilly USMTS National Champion at the 9th Annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree at the Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., Sept. 6-8.
As of July 9, the following drivers are eligible to earn points in ‘The Hunt’ for the O’Reilly USMTS National Championship, showing the points they would start with if ‘The Hunt’ started today:
1. 3 - Kelly Shryock, Fertile, IA … 60
2. 33z - Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, IA … 51
3. 12 - Jason Hughes, Colcord, OK … 41
4. 7 - Al Hejna, Clear Lake, IA … 40
5. 02 - Tommy Weder Jr., Woodward, OK … 36
6. 27 - Greg Skaggs, Bixby, OK … 26
7. 5 - Steve Holzkamper, Gentry, AR … 25
8. 14 - Jon Tesch, Watertown, SD … 24
8. 49x - Jay Poidinger, Somerset, WI … 24
10. 25 - Scott Green, Derby, KS … 22
11. 5 - Randy Timms, Woodward, OK … 13
12. 12 - Johnny Bone Jr., Pea Ridge, AR … 12
13. 32 - Donovan Lodge, Moline, IL … 11
14. 31 - Corey Dripps, Waterloo, IA … 9
14. 19g - Richie Gustin Jr., Gilmar, IA … 9
16. 1F - Jason Friesen, Sutton, NE … 8
16. 20 - Rodney Sanders, Happy, TX … 8
18. 19 - Jamie Burford, Keatchie, LA … 7
19. 7k - Jason Krohn, Slayton, MN … 6
19. 31j - Jeremy Rasmussen, Bentonville, AR … 6
19. 13 - David Mitchell, Ashdown, AR … 6
22. 58 - Scott Vesely, Mosinee, WI … 5
22. 76 - Chase Allen, Midlothian, TX … 5
22. 11 - Brandon Morton, Coweta, OK … 5
22. 54 - Dena Wilson, Coweta, OK … 5
22. 21b - Brandon Kenny, E. Woodward, OK … 5
22. 7m - Brandon Melton, Longview, TX … 5
22. 4x - Bobby Malchus, Red Oak, TX … 5
22. 17 - Charles Lasater, Garland, TX … 5
30. 65 - Tommy Myer, Blooming Prairie, MN … 3
31. 7II - Mike Hejna, Clear Lake, IA … 2
32. 17p - Brad Pinkerton, New Sharon, IA … 1
‘The Hunt’ will be comprised of the final 16 races of the season, with qualifying through prior regional events. The O’Reilly USMTS National Championship points system will be used at all regional events, with the top-10 in the final standings of each Region earning 10 points for first place, 9 points for second place and so forth, descending to 1 point for the 10th-place finisher in the region. In addition, each driver who attended all events in a region will earn 5 bonus points. The total points earned for all regions will serve as the base points that each driver will start ‘The Hunt’ with.
USMTS Southern Series drivers are also eligible to qualify for ‘The Hunt’. Drivers may use their best points combination from the four National Event regions or a combination of three regions and the USMTS Southern Series as their base points to begin ‘The Hunt’ with.
After base points have been established, the O’Reilly USMTS National Championship points system will be used at the remaining events for the drivers in ‘The Hunt’ to determine the 2007 O’Reilly USMTS National Champion.
Created for the fans, the ‘The Hunt’ serves as a “playoff” for the O’Reilly USMTS National Championship. While handicapping gives a slight advantage to the drivers that compete on the entire National Events circuit, each of the top-10 drivers in any of the four regions or the USMTS Southern Series has a legitimate shot at capturing the O’Reilly USMTS National Championship.
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USMTS TITLE SPONSOR: O’Reilly Auto Parts.
USMTS OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Race Tires, AMSOIL, Arizona Sport Shirts, BRODIX, Fast Company Performance, Holley Performance Products, Home Pride Companies, Intercomp, KEVKO Oil Pans & Components, Marsh Racing Wheels, Nitroquest Web Solutions, Olympic Fire Protection, Real Racing Wheels, Rookies Rockin’ Sports Bar, Yeager Machine.
USMTS PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: Boom Drilling, Borco LP, Day Motor Sports, Gressell Oil Field Services, Hughes Racing Chassis, KraftKar Race Cars, McVicker Oil Fields, Rinehart Trucking.
USMTS CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: AFCO Racing Products, Belleville Motorsports, Bilstein Shocks, Boyer’s Engine Development, Dynatech Racing Exhaust, GRT Race Cars, Hawk Performance, Hyperco, Isky Racing Cams, KSE Racing Products, Quarter Master, QuickTime Performance Race Parts, Racer’s Choice (RCI).