Ryan Gustin battled mechanical gremlins from the time he left his home in Marshalltown, Iowa, on Thursday afternoon through early Saturday evening, but when the big money was on the line Saturday night ‘The Reaper’ exorcised the demons and bolted to his second Masters title in three years.
After a tight three-way battle between early leader Jake Timm and Dirt Late Model Hall of Famer Jimmy Mars, Gustin finally passed Mars with ten laps remaining and then drove away to score another crown jewel victory and a $10,000 winner’s check.
“It feels good,” Gustin said in victory lane. “Any time you can outrun Jimmy Mars at his home race track you’ve done something right.
Mars led the opening lap but conceded the top spot to Timm the second time around the high-banked 3/8-mile clay oval.
Timm set a torrid pace for the next 18 circuits while Mars and Gustin used every inch of the race track to keep pace with the second-generation speedster.