MASON CITY — On a night when the high line at Mason City Motor Speedway was the way to go, Jason Cummins more than made due with the far less popular bottom side.
Cummins, last year’s Modifieds track champion, worked his way through traffic and a few cautions to catch pole sitter Ryan Ruter by the final lap and eventually drove on to victory.
“You’ve just kind of got to go where they’re not if the track allows it. It was a pretty racey race track,” Cummins said. “I kept showing the bottom because that’s what was there – everybody was on the top. He (Ruter) went to the bottom and I thought ‘Oh, I’ll take the top then.’”
With three laps to go, Cummins restarted third and used the bottom line that he’d been running all night to ease into second.
In the middle of turns 3 and 4 on the second-to-last lap, Ruter, who had been firmly planted on the top side, moved to the bottom to try and cut Cummins off. It didn’t matter to the 71 machine as it eased around Ruter coming to the white flag.
“I might have been a sitting duck out there,” Ruter said. “They had plenty of restarts to see what was going on and I kind of didn’t feel like I restarted very good those last couple of times – the last time especially wasn’t very good. I was just getting into a rhythm, and if it stayed green I think we could’ve maybe held them off, but the 71 is very good.”
It was Cummins’ second feature win of the season, and this one came on a night he had to work extra hard for it after starting in eighth.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Cummins said of the traffic. “That’s what racing is all about – passing cars. As long as we go forward and don’t wreck anything, it’s a fun night.”
It was the high line that worked in Luke Sathoff’s favor in the Stock Car feature.
Sathoff, who started from the pole, gave up an early lead to points leader Kevin Donlan but passed him halfway through the race and held off numerous charges to secure his second win in Mason City of the year.
It was the switch from the bottom to the top that pay dividends.
“I didn’t get to watch the B-Mod race but the heats and some of the early features it looked like a lot of guys were down low and I figured it was going to be one of those old fashioned Mason City tracks where everybody was hugging the tires,” Sathoff said. “I started on the inside because I thought unless somebody shows me their nose… I was running smooth and it was working good and then Donlan didn’t show me his nose; he went by me and blew my doors off and I thought ‘Oh oh. This isn’t good.’”
Once on the top, Sathoff could sense he was a little better getting into the corner than Donlan so he knew if he could push up to the cushion, it might work.
What happened, though, was Donlan himself drove over that cushion out of Turn 4 and that wobble allowed Sathoff to drive by. All that was left to do was hold off Donlan’s charges on the inside.
“You’ve got a guy side-by-side to you but he’s 40 feet away … that’s good racing. That’s fun,” Sathoff said.
Brandon Hare, who came into Sunday night second in the B-Modifieds standings, started from the second position in the feature and rode his way around through a caution-free feature for his first win of the season.
“It means quite a bit,” Hare, a resident of Elma, said of the win. “They pay $500 to win so that always helps, and that’s more than any other track. That’s the reason why we drive an hour to get here.”
Chanse Hollatz led wire-to-wire to win the Hobby Stocks feature and Mitch Balik broke Devin Jones’ streak of three feature win in a row to win the Tuners.
-- Racing action at MCMS will take a break next Sunday for the 4th of July weekend.
-- Look for a feature on track veteran and Clear Lake’s own Ryan Ruter in the July 7th edition of Lead Lap in the Globe Gazette.