Hughes honored for second USMTS title at awards banquet; Sobbing reaps rookie accolades

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Jan. 30) — A record 228 people attended Saturday night’s annual USMTS Awards Banquet in the Star Pavilion located at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City as the United States Modified Touring Series closed the curtain on the 2015 season.

Jason Hughes was celebrated as the 2016 USMTS national champion following one of the most exciting points races in the 17-year history of the series.

The 41-year-old from Watts, Okla., blended together experience and hard work with a dash of good fortune in producing a nearly flawless effort in winning the opening night of the Featherlite Fall Jamboree to clinch his second USMTS title.

Hughes entered the night with a delicate four-point lead over two-time defending USMTS national champion Rodney Sanders, but proceeded to go uncontested as he led every lap of the main event to secure the win and the USMTS crown.

Hughes began the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental tied for 15th in the standings and 82 points behind leader Jesse Sobbing. Winning three main events along the way, he slowly chipped away at the deficit and notched his fourth win of The Hunt in dominating fashion on the last night.

In claiming his second title, Hughes netted a $20,000 prize for topping the points plus valuable contingency awards from COMP Cams, Fast Shafts, Kevko Oil Pans & Components, MSD, VP Racing Fuels, AFCO Racing Products, Allstar Performance, Bell Racing Helmets, Beyea Custom Headers, Crane Cams, Driven Racing Oil, Edelbrock, Eibach Springs, FK Rod Ends, Genesis Racing Shocks, JRi Shocks, Keyser Manufacturing, KSE Racing Products, Marsh Racing Wheels, Quarter Master, Sybesma Graphics, Tilton Engineering and Wehrs Machine & Racing Products.

Also in charge of the wrenches for Hughes in 2010, crew chief Steve Karver was honored as the 2015 USMTS CPD Racing Shocks Crew Chief of the Year Award.

Hughes now owns two titles, along with Sanders and Ryan Gustin. Kelly Shryock, who won the first eight from 1999-2006, has nine overall. Hughes was runner-up to Shryock in many of those seasons.

Final 2015 USMTS Casey’s Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental points:
1. 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Oka. … 1335
2. 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas … 1300
3. 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M. … 1194
4. 99 Jesse Sobbing, Malvern, Iowa … 1189
5. 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa … 1118
6. 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla. … 1101
7. 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla. … 963
8. IOU1 Brent Larson, Lake Elmo, Minn. … 959
9. 2 Casey Arneson, Fargo, N.D. … 942
10. 97 Cade Dillard, Robeline, La. … 921
11. 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis. … 895
11. 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Adel, Iowa … 895
13. 1st Johnny Scott, Las Cruces, N.M. … 808
14. 23k Ben Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan. … 748
15. 2 Grant Junghans, Manhattan, Kan. … 725

Despite coming up short of a $100,000 payday for winning three regional titles and the USMTS national championship, Sanders may have settled for the runner-up spot in the final standings but claimed three regional titles on his way there.

In total, Sanders collected more than $23,000 from the various points funds in addition to contingency awards from COMP Cams, MSD, VP Racing Fuels, AFCO Racing Products, Allstar Performance, Beyea Custom Headers, Crane Cams, Driven Racing Oil, Edelbrock, Eibach Springs, FK Rod Ends, Genesis Racing Shocks, JRi Shocks, Keyser Manufacturing, KSE Racing Products, Marsh Racing Wheels, Quarter Master, Sybesma Graphics, Tilton Engineering and Wehrs Machine & Racing Products.

Final 2015 MSD Central Region presented by Day Motor Sports points:
1. 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas … 741
2. 97 Cade Dillard, Robeline, La. … 622
3. 99 Jesse Sobbing, Malvern, Iowa … 598
4. 2 Grant Junghans, Manhattan, Kan. … 587
5. 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa … 546
6. 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla. … 543
7. 2 Casey Arneson, Fargo, N.D. … 539
8. 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Oka. … 499
9. 40 Brian Green, Pierce City, Mo. … 471
10. 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo. … 454

Final 2015 Farm Boy BBQ Sauce Northern Region presented by Day Motor Sports points:
1. 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas … 926
2. 60 Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, Minn. … 779
3. IOU1 Brent Larson, Lake Elmo, Minn. … 771
4. 99 Jesse Sobbing, Malvern, Iowa … 762
5. 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa … 746
6. 7x Jesse Glenz, Cadott, Wis. … 738
7. 2 Casey Arneson, Fargo, N.D. … 672
8. 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis. … 623
9. V2 Joey Jensen, Harris, Minn. … 586
10. 51 Chris Oertel, Marshfield, Wis. … 582

Final 2015 Double H Bands Southern Region presented by Day Motor Sports points:
1. 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas … 756
2. 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla. … 688
3. 2 Grant Junghans, Manhattan, Kan. … 640
4. 99 Jesse Sobbing, Malvern, Iowa … 587
5. 97 Cade Dillard, Robeline, La. … 579
6. 71 Philip Houston, Odessa, Texas … 559
7. 1st Johnny Scott, Las Cruces, N.M. … 556
8. 89c Steve Whiteaker Jr., Corpus Christi, Texas … 529
9. 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla. … 526
10. 5* Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M. … 522

The other regional title went to Austin Arneson of Fargo, N.D., who electrified onlookers during USMTS Speedweeks in February and early March. He netted $5,000 plus contingencies from AFCO Racing Products, Crane Cams, Driven Racing Oil, JRi Shocks, Keyser Manufacturing and Quarter Master.

Final 2015 MVT Gulf Coast Border Region presented by Day Motor Sports points:
1. 10 Austin Arneson, Fargo, N.D. … 925
2. 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla. … 881
3. 99 Jesse Sobbing, Malvern, Iowa … 847
4. 71 Philip Houston, Odessa, Texas … 839
5. 97 Cade Dillard, Robeline, La. … 817
6. 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Okla. … 797
7. 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa … 785
8. J17 Jake Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M. … 766
9. 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Adel, Iowa … 736
10. 2 Grant Junghans, Manhattan, Kan. … 720

Jesse Sobbing was the only one driver to compete in every USMTS points race in 2015, but he only needed 24 starts to easily capture the 2015 USMTS Rookie of the Year Award.

In his first full-time season battling the Best of the Best in dirt modified racing, Sobbing nabbed two feature wins and came into the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup as the points leader before finishing fourth in the final standings.

The 34-year-old from Malvern, Iowa, also finished among the top-five in each of the four regions and took home contingency awards from COMP Cams, MSD, AFCO Racing Products, Allstar Performance, Beyea Custom Headers, Crane Cams, Driven Racing Oil, Eibach Springs, FK Rod Ends, Fuel Safe, Genesis Racing Shocks, Holley Performance, Keyser Manufacturing, Quarter Master, Tilton Engineering and Wehrs Machine & Racing Products.

Final 2015 USMTS Rookie of the Year points:
1. 99 Jesse Sobbing, Malvern, Iowa … 2117
2. 2 Casey Arneson, Fargo, N.D. … 1804
3. 23k Ben Kates, Tonganoxie, Kan. … 1541
4. 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis. … 1501
5. 60 Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, Minn. … 1359

Final 2015 USMTS COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Year points:
1. MB Customs, Menomonie, Wis. … 451
2. LG2 Race Cars, Newport, Tenn. … 389
3. GRT Race Cars, Greenbrier, Ark. … 373
4. Hughes Racing Chassis, Watts, Okla. … 363
5. Larry Shaw Race Cars, Batesville, Ark. … 147

Final 2015 USMTS Manufacturer of the Year points:
1. Geddes Racing Engines, Colorado Springs, Colo. … 397
2. Mullins Race Engines, Mt. Olive, Ill. … 373
3. Sput’s Racing Engines, Owatonna, Minn. … 368
4. Durham Racing Engines, High Point, N.C. … 242
5. Cornett Race Engines, Somerset, Ky. … 239

Final 2015 USMTS Sybesma Pole Award points:
1. 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Oka. … 451.0
2. 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla. … 327.0
3. 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas … 318.0
4. 1st Johnny Scott, Las Cruces, N.M. … 185.5
5. 97 Cade Dillard, Robeline, La. … 129.0

Final 2015 USMTS Hard Charger points:
1. 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas … 109
2. 12 Jason Hughes, Watts, Oka. … 67
3. 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa … 61
4. 22d Daniel Hilsabeck, Adel, Iowa … 27
4. 99 Jesse Sobbing, Malvern, Iowa … 27

Saturday’s ceremony was a joint effort for both the USMTS and United States Racing Association (USRA).

The 2016 USMTS Casey’s Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental will kicks off Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 11-13, at the Shady Oaks Speedway in Goliad, Texas, followed by tripleheader weekends at the Heart ‘O’ Texas Speedway near Waco, Texas, Feb. 18-20; Ark-La-Tex Speedway in Vivian, La., Feb. 25-27; and Southern Oklahoma Speedway in Ardmore, Okla., March 3-5.

Each show will pay $2,000, $3,000 and $4,000 to win, respectively, and will comprise the first dozen events in the expanded 17-race USMTS Production Jars Southern Region presented by Day Motor Sports.

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 and Instagram at www.instagram.com/usmts or subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usmtstv.

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USMTS OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Racer Racing Tires, Argo Spring Manufacturing, Casey’s General Stores, Chix Gear Racewear, COMP Cams, CP-Carrillo, Day Motor Sports, Deatherage Opticians, Farm Boy BBQ Sauce, Fast Shafts, Intercomp, Jerovetz Motorsports Shock Service, Kevko Oil Pans & Components, KSE Racing Products, Leaf Racewear & Safety Equipment, Malvern Trust & Savings Bank, MSD, RacerWebsite.comRealTruck.com, S&S Fishing & Rental, The Joie of Seating, VP Racing Fuels.

USMTS PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: AMP Energy Drink, Arizona Sport Shirts, ASi Racewear, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Duvall Electric, ElbowsUp.com, Erson Cams, I-29 Trailer Sales, Mesilla Valley Transportation, Olympic Fire Protection, Oreo, Production Jars, RACEceiver, RacinDirt.com, Rivers Edge Scrap Management, Snickers, Sour Patch Kids, YouDirt.com.

USMTS CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: AFCO Racing Products, Allstar Performance, Bell Racing Helmets, Beyea Custom Headers, BSB Manufacturing, CPD Racing Shocks, Crane Cams, Driven Racing Oil, Edelbrock, Eibach Springs, FAST, FK Rod Ends, Forty9 Designs, Fuel Safe Racing Cells, Genesis Racing Shocks, GRT Race Cars, Holley Performance Products, Hooker Custom Harness, Integra Shocks & Springs, Keyser Manufacturing, Marsh Racing Wheels, Midwest Sheet Metal, PBM Performance Products, QA1 Precision Products, Quarter Master, R2C Performance Products, Real Racing Wheels, Simpson Performance Products, Sybesma Graphics, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products, Wilwood Engineering, Zero One Shocks & Service.

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