The Summit USMTS National Championship presented by RacinDirt was back at the 81 Speedway in Park City, Kan., for a second night of the inaugural Ed Gressel Memorial on Friday, and Tyler Wolff was back in flawless form as he notched his second wire-to-wire triumph of the 2023 campaign.
Several of his chasers stayed close early on but Wolff always found an extra burst of speed whenever anybody got close. Yellow flags on laps 13 and 22 wiped out his lead on two occasions, but both kept him from having to deal with a swarm of soon-to-be lapped cars.
Thursday’s winner, Tanner Mullens, and Cayden Carter kept Wolff in their sights but neither threatened the rim-riding Wolff for the lead. That all changed after the second restart when Rodney Sanders powered around the high side of the 3/8-mile dirt oval to jump from sixth to second in less than a lap.
From there, Sanders stayed within striking distance of Wolff, finally making a charge with two laps to go. ‘The Rocket’ peaked underneath Wolff’s No. 4W Lobo Racing machine but Gary Christian’s broken ride sitting at the top of turn 2 forced the race’s third yellow flag to wave.
Two more quick cautions occurred but on each occasion Wolff drove away from Sanders, eventually taking the checkers with about a five-car-length cushion over the four-time Summit USMTS National Champion.
Despite starting third, Wolff led all 35 laps and pocketed the $5,000 winner’s share of the prize money.
“I am a mess, I am wore out but that’s a good run there,” an elated Wolff said in victory lane. “I knew that start would be critical and thought I’d had to take advantage of it. I gotta thank (Jimmy) Mars and ECE Racing Engines. We put a different engine in it and this thing screams. We’ve been having to tone it down all weekend.
“I trust Rodney very well and know that he’s not going to do anything crazy. He’s a teammate of mine so I really appreciate that, but it was awesome to see him up around behind me. It made me happy I knew that we had two good MB cars. and that’s good.”
RacinDirt co-owner/pit reporter Trenton Berry advised Wolff to get a designated driver if he went anywhere after his victory celebration because no Kansas State Trooper would believe he hadn’t been drinking.
“I got enough for bail, we’re good,” replied Wolff, who was soaked with warm Coors Light—one of Ed Gressel’s favorite beverages.
With the win, Wolff now has four at four racetracks in four states. He’s the first two-time winner this season and the 16th different winner in the 27 USMTS main events held at the 81 Speedway.
Behind Sanders, Jake O’Neil crossed the finish line third with Carter finishing fourth and Dereck Ramirez taking the checkers in fifth. Mullens, Tom Berry Jr., Terry Phillips, Tanner Black and Darron Fuqua completed the top 10.
After finishing second in the Kansasland Dash 4 Cash, Ramirez had the chance to start on the outside of Mullens on the front row when Mullens turned down the cash bonus, but the 2021 Summit USMTS National Champion opted to take $1,250 and start sixth, putting O’Neil in the second starting spot next to Mullens.
On Saturday, the Kansasland Dash 4 Cash is worth $1,000 with special thanks to Rock Island Recycling, Duvall Electric and McCowan Farms.
Racing continues Saturday with the Gressel Memorial finale that will see no less than $10,000 going to the winner. The JLR Property Management 316 A-Mods and AutoTech Service Super Stocks join the on-track action.
With his efforts Friday night, Wolff becomes the new points leader heading into Saturday’s finale and will bolt on the coveted dayglo orange Weiland Points Leader spoiler for tomorrow’s show. O’Neil jumped to second and Hughes slipped to third after sitting atop the rankings since the second event of the season. Phillips and Fuqua round out the top five.
For complete event information, check out the FAST FACTS or visit 81speedway.com.
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